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» July 7, 2010 «
When the California apple harvest begins later this month, farmers say they expect a good-looking crop. Cooler temperatures have caused the fruit to develop good color and the California Apple Commission says the fruit is sizing well. Growers say they expect to produce about 3-million boxes of apples, with each box holding 40 pounds of fruit. However trees on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley for which there was no water last year will not be back into production this season.
The summer travel season coincides with the time when invasive pests tend to show up in California. July through September often marks the busiest time for officials who protect crops and native plants from exotic pests. Those officials ask travelers not to carry foods or plants that could harbor invasive pests. Regulators say they are ready to combat any new outbreaks, as they work to eradicate known infestations. Thus far the only new infestation is an Oriental fruit fly found in Sacramento County.
Look for more news about the federal estate tax this autumn. Congress faces a deadline for action on the estate tax, as an earlier tax reform law expires at the end of the year. The issue is particularly important to family farmers, who may face selling part of their land or re-mortgaging it in order to pay the estate tax. Farmers favor a bill that would defer the estate tax on farm property, so long as it remains in agricultural use.
Weather has had its impact on California's wild rice crop this year. Farmers only planted about half of the acreage they did last year. Then an unusual hard freeze last month in the mountain growing regions also caused damage. Central Valley farmers opted to plant more white rice, which may provide a better return. Record harvests of wild rice in both California and Minnesota last year created a surplus, which lowered the price farmers earn.Top