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Audio ActualityComments about exports of California farm products
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» January 19, 2011 «
The heavy rain and snow in December has enhanced irrigation water supplies for California farmers. The federal Central Valley Project said yesterday (Tuesday) it expects to deliver full supplies to farmers north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and 45 percent of contract supplies to farmers south of the delta. Even at 45 percent, the south-of-delta allocation would be larger than the 40 percent those farmers had in 2010.
Continued increases in agricultural exports remain a hopeful sign for the California farmers, marketers, truck drivers and dockworkers who move the products to market. Agricultural exports rose during 2010, and trade specialists say they expect the trend to continue this year. An emerging middle class in a number of foreign countries has stimulated consumer demand for California farm products, and favorable currency exchange rates have helped, too.
The cool, foggy weather that has settled into the Central Valley will help fruit and nut trees meet their chilling requirement for the winter. Farm advisors tally the number of hours that trees are exposed to temperatures of 45 degrees or cooler. Adequate chilling helps to assure that the trees burst forth with a strong bloom in the spring. Cherries and apples require the most chilling, and the California Cherry Commission says the number of chill hours appears adequate so far.
In preparation for the coming growing season, fruit and nut farmers are pruning their orchards and vineyards. Recent dry weather has allowed the work to progress steadily, according to a government report. A number of grape-growing regions even hold pruning contests, to reward vineyard workers for their speed and skill in trimming the vines. In Sonoma County, for example, the competition starts on February 2nd and will include a youth contest this weekend.Top