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» May 26, 2005 «
Farm and business groups rallied in Washington D.C. yesterday (Wednesday) in support for the proposed Central America Free Trade Agreement. The American Farm Bureau says the agreement will benefit "the overwhelming majority of American farmers and ranchers." The California Farm Bureau has also endorsed the treaty, saying it will reduce barriers that have stifled farm exports to Central American nations. Congress must still approve the agreement.
American officials say they're optimistic, about the latest move toward reopening the Japanese market for U.S. beef. The Japanese government asked an independent commission this week to examine a partial reopening of the market. Japan stopped importing American beef in late 2003, after a single case of the cattle disease BSE was found in the U.S. Japan has been the top overseas market for California beef exports.
There's a new twist in the methods used to plant fruit and nut orchards. Global positioning satellite systems make the project easier. Growers level the field and have specialists use the high-tech equipment to plant the orchard. The satellite technology assures that the tree rows stay straight and that the distance between trees remains accurate. Planters have been charging $1 per tree for the service, though high fuel prices may create a need for a surcharge.
Horse breeders report this has been a good year. Conditions for foals are good, and breeding is going well. Demand for all types of horses, both for show and recreation, remains strong. In fact, breeders report a shortage of horses in most categories. But they worry about the pressures that urban development places on horse ranches. And horses are vulnerable to West Nile virus, though they can be vaccinated against the disease.
On the Calendar:
The theme is "A Slice of California," as the 90th annual National Orange Show opens today (Thursday) in San Bernardino.