Food & Farm News
» October 31, 2012 «
The growing popularity of almonds, walnuts and other orchard and vineyard crops affects demand for the commercial plant nurseries that sell young trees and vines. Nurseries say demand from farmers for new trees and vines is so high that some nurseries have already sold out for new plantings to take place this winter, and are already taking orders for next year. In addition to filling customer demand, new tree and vine varieties often resist disease and drought better.
Rice growers in the Sacramento Valley are about two-thirds of the way through the harvest and say the crop looks good so far. Weather forecasts of light rain in the Sacramento region in the coming week likely won't be a significant concern. The U.S. Agriculture Department anticipates that after a slow start, the California rice crop will come near to matching last year's totals. Nearly all of California's rice is grown within 100 miles of Sacramento.
With the raisin harvest now complete, farmers and analysts say both weather and market forces reduced the crop. The Raisin Administrative Committee estimates this year's crop is one of the smallest of the past decade, down about 20 percent from last year. The dry and cold winter and spring contributed to a smaller crop because the fruit was not able to develop as well as usual. And many grapes were sold to winemakers instead of being dried for raisins.
Budget cuts have taken a toll on school field trip opportunities, so the National Ag Science Center has taken its show on the road, literally. The center, based in Modesto, built a traveling science laboratory called Ag in Motion. The tractor-trailer visits schools to teach children about the role science plays in the food they eat and the clothes they wear. It includes 20 lab stations, microscopes, two video screens and supplies.Top