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» March 30, 2005 «
A bill extending the life of the Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Program stalled in the Senate Public Safety committee. The bill received a 3-0 vote, but needed four votes to advance. Farm groups are rallying support for the bill, as it provides more than $3 million to eight Central Valley counties in tight budget times. Farm groups say the current program has been successful in reducing rural crime and should be extended. The bill will receive reconsideration from the committee.
California wheat farmers are reporting reappearance of rust, the fungal disease that attacks their crop. Wet weather helps the fungal disease thrive. The news is disappointing as most growers planted two varieties thought to be resistant to rust. But, the spores mutated and attacked the new plantings. Farmers are applying materials effective against rust spores, adding to their production costs when wheat prices are low. There are reports of rust from throughout the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.
California apple growers say it looks as if they will have a slightly larger crop than last year. Weather at bloom time was favorable, but the crop is still susceptible to weather damage, which could reduce the current crop estimate. The California Apple Commission says the set looks heavier for all varieties than it was last year. Even though some additional acreage has been pulled out of production, a crop of five million boxes is predicted. That's slightly higher than the four and a quarter million boxes in 2004.
Diamond Walnut ran a television commercial in the Super Bowl game promoting their Emerald Nut as snack food. The ad was highly rated by Super Bowl observers. Since then, sales of Emerald products jumped 56 percent in the four weeks following the appearance. The Emerald brand share of the snack nut market increased 40 percent. Diamond Walnut recently announced a proposal to convert from a cooperative to a publicly traded stock company.Top