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» March 24, 2005 «
A university study suggests increasing costs of logging regulations may prompt more timber landowners to sell their property for development and other uses. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo says in the study that the average cost of meeting logging regulations has increased 1,200 percent over the last 30 years and now tops $30,000. Those higher costs also put California companies at a competitive disadvantage in marketing their lumber.
Easter is the biggest holiday for lamb consumption. Lamb prices for California farmers have reached record highs this year, and some farmers reporting lamb sales at $2 a pound. Growers say the biggest factor in improved prices are the weaker dollar compared to New Zealand and Australia currencies. Those nations have also had production declines due to drought. California producers say they believe consumers who've tried lamb for Easter have begun consuming it year-round thus increasing demand.
A new variety of cauliflower may appear at your farmers' market this year. Cheddar cauliflower seed is more plentiful now, and seed sellers say sales are strong. The cauliflower is described as yellow-orange in color and boasts more nutrients than the traditional white variety. How soon it appears in retail stores may depend on how strong demand is for the new vegetable at farmers' markets.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the most dramatic change in consumer spending is the shrinking cost of food. In 2003, food accounted for only 13 cents of every dollar spent by Americans, down from 32 cents in 1950 and 43 cents in 1901. Advertising Age magazine says about 55 cents of every food dollar is spent on away-from-home meals. Restaurant dining and take-out food amounted to 41 percent of food spending, up from 21 percent in 1960.
On the Calendar:
"Turning points and decisions" will be the theme of the Water Education Foundation's annual briefing on water issues, which opens today (Thursday) in Sacramento.