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» July 15, 2009 «
Farmers and ranchers are working with members of Congress to develop estate tax reform that will allow families to continue farming when the farm passes from one generation to the next. Without Congressional action the tax resumes in 2011 at the much higher 1999 rate. In some cases families can be forced to sell parts of their farms to pay estate taxes. Farm Bureau and other groups ask that farmland not be included in estate value if it remains in the farming business.
Discovery of six guava fruit flies in Garden Grove, Orange and Santa Ana has caused the California Department of Food and Agriculture to begin an eradication program in a 10 square mile area of Orange County. Small blotches of a pheromone and pesticide are applied high on trees and utility poles to attract and kill male flies. No agricultural quarantine is being imposed at this time, but residents are urged not to move backyard fruit from their property. The pest can destroy many backyard and farm raised fruits.
Walnut farmers have prepared for the predicted heat applying white material to reflect light and heat from trees. The nuts are in danger of sunburn even at this early stage of development. But, grower concerns are lessened by the forecast for cool nighttime temperatures. Lows in the 50s and 60s give the trees and nuts a chance to cool down and reduce potential damage. Harvest will begin in September.
California's cotton crop is a little late in developing, according to a federal government report. However, 95 percent of the crop is reported in good or excellent condition. About 30 percent of the crop is setting bolls this week, compared to 36 percent last year at this time. Cotton acreage in California has been greatly reduced in response to price and lack of irrigation water. Government projections are for a farm price from 48 to 60 cents per pound for this year's crop. Cotton prices averaged 49 cents per pound last year.Top