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» May 25, 2005 «
By an overwhelming margin, California voters agree that the state's farmers make major contributions to the economy and jobs. A statewide survey showed that 86 percent of California voters recognized agriculture's economic importance. The study shows 68 percent agree the state should protect family farmers from high taxes and excessive regulations. The survey comes as the California Farm Bureau launches a new public education and political program.
Wet, cool spring weather has taken a toll on North Coast walnut orchards. Observers say a bacterial disease called blight has damaged walnuts and trees in Lake County. In the Central Valley, where the vast majority of the nation's walnuts grow, farmers say the problem has not been as serious. But farmers have had to treat walnut trees against the disease. Growers remain optimistic about this season's walnut production. The first official crop estimate comes in early September.
If you love navel oranges, you have only a couple more weeks to buy California-grown fruit. The California Citrus Growers Association says late-season navel oranges will be available until about mid-June. The association says farmers have enjoyed a good season for navel oranges. During the spring and summer, California farmers sell valencia oranges, which remain in good volume at retail stores.
Looking for a natural enemy for the microbe that causes "sudden oak death," government plant researchers are experimenting with what they call a compost tea. They brew the mixture in hopes of producing beneficial bacteria to protect rhododendrons, azaleas, oak saplings and other plants. Sudden oak death has hit plants in California and 19 other states. Scientists hope their work will ultimately benefit nursery operators and home gardeners.
On the Calendar:
Water issues will take center stage as the State Board of Food and Agriculture meets today (Wednesday) in Sacramento.