Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityFresno County farmer's comments about irrigation water availability
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» January 5, 2009 «
Mandarin orange plantings continue to increase to meet growing consumer demand. The fruit has a lot of appeal to people who like their sweet flavor and easy-peeling attributes. Plant researchers continue to work on developing new varieties of mandarins—not to replace Clementines or Satsumas, but to enhance them. UC Riverside scientists have recently released to tree nurseries varieties called Gold Nugget and Yosemite Gold. They continue working on producing even better varieties of the fruit.
California hens produced 7-million more eggs in November than they did in October. Farmers earned a penny more per dozen eggs in November from October. However, the 96 cents they earned is about 29 cents less than they earned in 2007. The number of hens producing eggs increased about three percent in November. California ranks fifth in the nation in egg production, but must import eggs from other states to satisfy consumer demand.
Lack of water continues to depress the local economies in the Central Valley. Farmers have reduced planting plans and will use what little water that may be available to keep permanent crops alive. Below-average precipitation and court rulings to protect endangered species have dried up irrigation water availability. One farming operation usually employs 30 people this time of year, but has reduced that to two. Others have made similar reductions.
Dairy farmers will earn eight cents more per gallon for their milk in January. The formula used to establish the price was changed following a December fact-finding hearing, which delayed the price announcement. The new formula closely resembles the federal formula. Higher cheese prices pushed the average milk price to $1.53 a gallon. However, that is still lower than the December 2007 price when farmers earned $2.01 a gallon. The California Department of Food and Agriculture does not set the retail milk price.Top