Food & Farm News
» September 11, 2013 «
Congress returns to Washington this week with two big pieces of unfinished business affecting farmers and ranchers. One involves federal farm policies, which expire at the end of the month. The “farm bill” affects nutrition programs, as well as agricultural research, conservation and market-development programs. Farm groups also want Congress to reform federal immigration policies, and were among organizations taking part in a “Day of Action” in Washington Tuesday.
Ranchers continue to look for cattle in areas burned by the Rim Fire, as they assess losses from the wildfire near Yosemite National Park. Tuolumne County ranchers have lost cattle, feed, fences and buildings to the fire. By putting out hay on burned land, the ranchers hope to attract any cattle that are still alive, so they can be evacuated. Government crews assessing damage will include rangeland specialists to help restore grazing land. (Watch a brief video of ranchers evacuating cattle.)
Monsoon rains that have swept through the Southern California desert have ruined some early lettuce fields in the Imperial Valley. The Imperial County Farm Bureau says storms the past two weeks have also damaged citrus fruit, dates and forage crops. The rains have hit as farmers plant crops for winter harvest. The Imperial Irrigation District reports about $4 million in damage to ditches, drains and canal banks.
Climate change could be troublesome for farmers—but government regulations tied to climate policy could be worse, according to a survey of farmers released Tuesday by the University of California, Davis. The study's authors said policymakers have not done enough to gain farmers' support for climate policy efforts. The survey indicated that farmers remain willing to participate in incentive programs to adapt to climate change.Top