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» March 10, 2005 «
With money running low from government grants, the California Grown campaign is working to reinvent itself. The campaign encourages California residents to buy agricultural products grown in the state. Its most visible feature has been television ads starring Governor Schwarzenegger. Participating farm groups help pay for California Grown, and its chief executive says he's "exploring every avenue" to replace the expiring government money.
Recent reductions in agricultural border inspections concern congressional investigators, who urged federal agencies to figure out why that has happened. The inspections aim to prevent the accidental or deliberate introduction of pests or diseases that could harm American farms and ranches. The report, released yesterday (Wednesday), said much is being done to protect agriculture, but noted that inspections of farm products at ports of entry have dropped since 2002.
As steady supplies of large-sized artichokes emanate from fields along the Central Coast, farmers say they hope Mother Nature cooperates with moderate temperatures. Forecasts of 80° highs in the Castroville region worry artichoke farmers. Artichoke plants prefer cooler weather than that. Harvest is in full swing now. Farmers predict ample supplies for Easter, but say there may be fewer artichokes available after that if the warm weather prevails.
More California counties will participate in tests of a natural fungus that attacks a spiny weed. Yellow starthistle spread over thousands of acres of California rangeland. Researchers have tried a number of strategies to fight the invasive plant. The latest weapon, a Turkish rust fungus that attacks the starthistle in Europe, has been tested in 20 California counties so far. State officials say they plan to test it in more locations this year.Top