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» April 15, 2009 «
Quarantine for the Asian citrus psyllid has expanded some and now includes portions of San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties. U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists are working on eradication efforts in all three counties as well as in northern Mexico, where the insects were first discovered. Entomologists are hopeful eradication efforts will succeed soon. Thus far none of the insects has been found to be carrying citrus greening disease, which could destroy California's citrus production.
Farmers and ranchers are concerned about plans by utility companies to upgrade electric transmission lines. The proposals would cut through thousands acres of California farm and ranch land. No one doubts the need to improve the electric grid. However, farmers and ranchers say some of the plans call for transmission lines to go right through orchards and vineyards. Farmers and ranchers are concerned about the short notice of the projects. They fear income loss from land damaged by the transmission lines.
California dairy farmers will earn an average 9 cents a gallon more for their milk starting May 1. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has set the price for the top grade of milk at $1.10 per gallon. However, that is only about half what it costs the average dairy farmer to produce a gallon of milk, as energy and feed prices remain high. Milk price earnings peaked in December 2007 at $2.01 per gallon. The state does not set the retail milk price.
Research scientists are urging greater caution be taken when approving plant material for introduction into the United States. The caution comes after years of probing into the pathogen that causes sudden oak death. Many tree nurseries have been forced out of business by the disease, which is causing nearly instant death to oak trees in western states. The pathogen also attacks other plant species. Scientists discovered the pathogen is millions of years old and has evolved into three separate diseases.Top