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» March 17, 2005 «
A proposal to encourage farmers to switch to electric power for irrigation pumps may go before the state Public Utilities Commission next month. Farm groups told a state Senate hearing this week they expect the program to help air quality, by removing a number of diesel-powered irrigation pumps. The program would provide reduced electric rates for farmers who convert pumps. But farm representatives say some proposed pump rules seem to conflict, making it difficult for farmers to know how to proceed.
If you're serving corned beef for St. Patrick's Day celebrations today (Thursday), you're in good company. The California Beef Council says sales of corned beef rise to nearly 15 times the weekly average, during the two weeks before the holiday. St. Patrick's Day also provides a seasonal boost for cabbage consumption. And avocado marketers have joined the celebration, promoting green guacamole in honor of the Irish holiday.
Although the Sierra snowpack remains above average, Northern California rain and snowfall has dropped below average since February. So operators of the state's largest water project have held the line on estimates of summer irrigation supplies. The federal Central Valley Project says it still expects to deliver 65 percent of contract water supplies to its agricultural customers. The forecasts help farmers plan for crop planting.
Because their trees have mainly passed their peak bloom, Central California cherry growers say the prospect of rain this weekend should not cause them serious problems. The California Cherry Commission says weather during bloom has been ideal so far, leading farmers to expect a good fruit set on their trees. The cherries will ripen in May and June, and growers hope weather stays dry at that point. California farmers harvested more than 70,000 tons of cherries last year.
On the Calendar:
Specialty markets for cattle, sheep and goats will be the focus of a conference opening today (Thursday) at Chico State University.