Food & Farm News
» October 16, 2013 «
Increasing demand around the world leaves walnut growers optimistic as they continue their annual harvest. People in the walnut business say demand remains very strong both in export markets and domestically. In response, California farmers are planting more walnut trees and say they expect that trend to continue. Farmers say this year's crop looks good, although harvest volumes may fall short of the preseason estimate.
For farmers who run agritourism businesses, October can be the biggest month of the year. Pumpkin patches take center stage, and many farms have added other activities such as corn mazes and hay rides. Agritourism operators say they face decisions each year about how to make their destinations stand out, while maintaining the features their customers expect. Farmers say they're not only selling crops, but creating an experience for their visitors.
Farm groups say they want to be sure an updated state plan to protect wildlife doesn't constrict agriculture in the process. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has begun holding meetings around the state to discuss the State Wildlife Action Plan. Farmers and ranchers say the plan should recognize the wildlife habitat provided by agricultural activities, including grazing. Officials will be working on the plan through 2015.
To raise money for scholarships, the leader of University of California agricultural programs says she's willing to wear bees or eat insect larvae. UC vice president Barbara Allen-Diaz says if she can raise $2,500 by the end of the month, she'll participate in a stunt involving thousands of honeybees clustered on her. If she can raise $5,000, she says, she'll eat larvae “to promote awareness of alternative protein sources.”Top