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» January 12, 2009 «
Economists have warned dairy farmers that 2009 would be a poor year. Yet, farmers were shocked to learn that February 1 their per-gallon milk price will drop 55 cents to 98 cents. Farmers base their earnings on hundredweight of the milk, and the $6.15-per-hundredweight decline is the largest monthly drop since 1955. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says all the commodities used to establish the price declined, led by cheese, which dropped the most.
Central California coastal farmers are harvesting their winter vegetable crops now, providing various fresh commodities for consumers throughout the nation. Family farmers have changed their cropping patterns a little as consumer demand has changed. Members of one family farm are increasing bok choy plantings as interest in that vegetable rises. Mainstream consumers now purchase many vegetables that were once favored only by ethnic groups. Demand for fresh winter vegetables continues to increase.
Farmers in Mendocino County are concerned about water supplies for the coming year. Many lost grapevines to the frost last spring, and the concern is that if there is not enough water this spring for frost protection, there could be additional losses. It has been dry and cold thus far this winter and reservoirs are low. Cold temperatures have caused irrigation pipes and valves to burst. Farmers are busy repairing damage while also pruning vines in preparation for the next crop.
Pistachio processors are shipping increased supplies of the nuts to meet the increased demand for Super Bowl Sunday. That day marks one of the largest sales times of the year for pistachios. Consumers demand roasted nuts in the shell and flavored varieties for snack trays for Super Bowl parties. Farmers had a good crop this year as newly planted orchards came into production. Reports of the health benefits of pistachios may also have helped increase demand.Top