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» March 11, 2005 «
Arbitrary actions by an international panel leave American farmers at a disadvantage, farm groups said yesterday (Thursday). The panel reduced U.S. requests for continued use of the soil fumigant methyl bromide. A treaty requires American farmers to cut its use faster than their competitors in China, Mexico and other countries. The American Farm Bureau told a congressional hearing that U.S. farmers should be allowed to use it until alternatives can be developed.
As Congress begins work on the federal budget, farm organizations intensify their call to avoid deep cuts in agricultural programs. The American Farm Bureau says proposed budget cuts for cotton, rice and other commodity programs would weaken the U.S. position in world trade talks. It says other countries subsidize their farmers at much-higher rates ... and that American programs must remain in place while cuts in foreign subsidies are negotiated.
A new air-quality advisor will be hired by the University of California, to help San Joaquin Valley farmers comply with additional regulations. The university said yesterday the first-of-its-kind position will serve farmers in Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. In all, UC said it would fill 11 farm-advisor positions in county Cooperative Extension offices around the state. Retirements and state budget cuts have left many of those jobs unfilled.
California farmers have been working to reduce production of valencia oranges for several years ... but Mother Nature appears to have other ideas. In response to market forces, farmers have been removing valencia orange trees, including a 12-percent reduction during the past year. But a government report issued yesterday estimates the state's valencia orange production will jump more than 40 percent. That's because the average tree has produced twice as many oranges as last season.
On the Calendar:
Five Central Valley women will be honored for agricultural, philanthropic and community service at the Common Threads Awards ceremony today (Friday) in Fresno.