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Audio ActualityNeed for continued funding for the Williamson Act
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» July 8, 2009 «
Farm groups are asking state budget negotiators to continue funding for farmland protection under the Williamson Act. More than half of the state's prime farmland is currently protected by the act. It reduces property taxes for landowners who sign contracts to keep land in agricultural production. Much of that land also has scenic value as well as value for wildlife, in addition to providing consumers with plentiful, healthy food.
Apple harvest in California will start from 7 to 10 days late this year about July 20. The California Apple Commission says that thus far weather has been great, and the crop is sizing well and the fruit is developing good sugar content. The crop is projected to be about the same size as last year, when more than 3 million boxes were produced. Acreage planted in apples stands at more than 20,000. California ranks fifth in the nation in apple production.
Pistachio farmers expect to harvest a bigger crop than last year, according to the Western Pistachio Association. Harvest is expected to begin in September and exceed 425 million pounds. Wholesale prices are increasing as demand increases in both the domestic and export markets. Crop quality is reported to be excellent. California produces about 96 percent of the U.S. pistachio crop.
Varroa mites have been attacking bees nationwide for years, hampering the beneficial insects' ability to pollinate almonds, blueberries, apples and many other flowering crops. Research scientists have created an artificial bouquet of honeybee aromas. The substance placed on a sticky board attracts the mites, who then starve when they cannot move. Tests showed 50 percent of the mites dropped off bees in favor of the substance and free roaming mites found the artificial aroma even more attractive.Top