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» January 9, 2009 «
Uncertainty over how much irrigation water will be available this season is causing concerns for processing tomato farmers both north and south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Dry weather has reduced reservoir supplies, and court-ordered restrictions to protect endangered species are adding to the problem. Many acres will not be planted this year. Price negotiations with canneries are ongoing. However, without water supplies farmers cannot raise a processing tomato crop regardless of prices they could earn.
Farmers whose land is near or adjacent to cities are asking local governments to adopt policies that will allow for farmers to continue their businesses. Urban residents enjoy the picturesque open space of nearby farms but sometimes don't realize that if farmers can't make a living from the land, the farm cannot continue. Fertile land does not exist everywhere, so farmers who move may not be able to produce as much food and fiber. Farmers are hoping for orderly urban growth.
Snowstorms over the Upper Colorado River Basin have created a snowpack that is 113 percent of average for this time of year. Southern California depends on Colorado River water for much of its supply. River managers caution that it is early in the season, adding that last year started strong also, but storms dried up in late winter. Lake Mead, where water for Southern California is stored, is about 5 feet lower than it was last year at this time.
A sixth-grader's science project has convinced University of California researchers that navel orangeworms prefer pistachios over other nut and fruit crops. His experiment showed that female orangeworms preferred to lay their eggs in pistachios rather than almonds and walnuts. Researchers are now trying to use this new information to better control the pest.Top