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» May 4, 2005 «
A successful rural-crime prevention program has survived an early test in the state Legislature. The state Senate Public Safety Committee approved a bill yesterday (Tuesday) that would extend the program. Unless the Legislature acts, the crime-prevention program will expire at the end of June. Farmers and sheriff's detectives say the program has helped prevent and solve rural crimes in the nine Central California counties it serves.
Another consequence of high fuel prices will affect farmers as harvest seasons accelerate. Trucking firms have added surcharges to the prices they charge growers to ship crops to market. The truckers are passing along recent price increases for diesel fuel. That makes the fuel prices at least a triple whammy for many farmers, who are also paying higher fuel costs for their equipment and as a component in the supplies they use.
The season's first California-grown peaches and nectarines have reached market. The California Tree Fruit Agreement says cooler-than-average weather has allowed peaches and nectarines to size well and attain excellent quality. But supplies will likely be lower this season. Farmers have removed some trees in reaction to previous low prices, and report that bloom conditions were far from ideal.
Early tests indicate that it will grow well along the coast, so University of California researchers say rhubarb could become a viable specialty crop in the region. In test plots, farm advisors have been evaluating the best potential varieties. They say rhubarb could be a natural crop to sell alongside strawberries at farmers' markets and fruit stands. Right now, most commercially grown rhubarb comes from Michigan and the Pacific Northwest.Top