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» April 13, 2005 «
Tornadoes and hail that ripped through the Central Valley last week appear to have taken a particular toll on the region's almond orchards. A representative of the Blue Diamond Growers cooperative says tornadoes uprooted about 350 almond trees. Orchards near Manteca and Ballico were hit by separate windstorms. In the Chico area, about 500 acres of orchards suffered significant damage from hail, which pounded almonds off of trees.
A special election among California winegrape growers this spring will determine the future of a research program that fights a deadly vine disease. Farmers have been paying into the program, which studies ways to combat Pierce's disease and the insect that carries it, the glassy-winged sharpshooter. About 6,000 farmers will receive ballots next month. The referendum needs a 65 percent "yes" vote for the program to continue.
A food-safety program by cantaloupe growers and shippers has been successful, according to a University of California Extension researcher. More than 2,000 California melons, tested at random, showed no trace of disease-causing bacteria. California farmers take extra steps to keep their cantaloupes free of salmonella. Researchers say irrigation and packing techniques reduce the fruit's potential exposure to microbes.
Dairy farms continue to move out of Southern California, and figures from the state Department of Food and Agriculture show a net decrease in the number of dairies statewide. The department says Riverside and San Bernardino counties saw a net loss of 34 dairies last year. Some of those farms have moved to the San Joaquin Valley, which saw a net increase in dairies. But statewide, there were 18 fewer dairies than the year before.Top