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» February 4, 2009 «
Demand for California olive oil continues to increase as more trees are planted. Last year farmers produced an estimated 675,000 gallons of olive oil—almost double the 2004 production. Acreage for olive oil trees is about 21,000 and that is expected to increase by about 10,000 acres each year through 2020. Much of the new production is in high-density plantings that allow for machine harvesting, which reduces labor costs.
Ranchers statewide are hoping for precipitation. In Southern California warm temperatures have taken moisture out of range grasses. However, ranchers say if the storm expected Thursday provides ample moisture, the forage can still rejuvenate and provide nutritious food for their cattle. Previous rain has been sporadic with some ranches getting more rain than others. Ranchers have reduced their cattle numbers in response to drought conditions. Most have still been providing supplemental hay to their cattle.
Farmers of cling, or canning, peaches have removed more than one thousand acres of trees, or almost 5 percent of last year's bearing acreage. Growers are attempting to get supply and demand in balance. However, new plantings are coming into production this year so the California Canning Peach Association expects bearing acreage to decline only 400 acres. If the trees produce about the 10-year average, the 2009 crop will be about the same as last year.
Urban Farming is a national group reaching out to California and other states in an effort to end hunger by planting gardens on unused land in urban areas. They have garden sites in Los Angeles and hope to develop sites in other California cities. Celebrities have donated help, and volunteers train young people about healthy eating and giving back to their community. One of the hallmarks of Urban Farming is that the food is free for the community. Residents living near the gardens say they are not targeted by vandals.Top