Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityEfforts for estate tax reform for farmers and ranchers
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» September 9, 2009 «
Walnut farmers are starting what should be their second largest harvest ever. A federal government report says growers will harvest about 415,000 tons of walnuts this year. That's down five percent from the 436,000 tons last year, which was a record harvest. The crop is reported in generally good condition following good chilling hours last winter and favorable weather during the growing season. Harvest usually starts this month. California leads the nation in walnut production.
Rice farmers say they expect above average yields from their fields this season. Harvest of early varieties will start about mid-September. Other farmers are preparing their fields to start harvest around the end of the month. Rice grows in a few inches of water and farmers remove the water before harvest begins. Consumers should find good supplies of California grown rice in stores.
Peach, plum and nectarine growers report good fruit quality this season. The tree fruit harvest is wrapping up in the Central Valley though late harvest varieties will be available for several weeks. Cooler early morning temperatures help workers complete picking before the heat of the day and still provide plenty of fruit for consumers. A few farmers have pulled their older orchards after harvest. Some are planting mandarins, which have been earning better prices in recent years.
Congress plans to pass some type of estate tax reform this fall. One bill introduced this summer would allow farms and ranches to be exempt from the estate tax as long as the family keeps it in the farming business. Farm groups are now encouraging members of Congress to adopt the plan, and organizers are working for support from members of both political parties. A recent study shows farmers 20 times more likely to pay the estate tax than those in the top income brackets. Paying the tax often requires farmers to sell a portion of their farm.Top