Food & Farm News
» May 31, 2005 «
Farmers have formed "watershed coalitions" in California to improve and document their efforts to enhance water quality. One such group serves members in Santa Barbara and southern San Luis Obispo counties. Participating farmers say the coalition helps them stay up to date on techniques to improve water efficiency. Farmers have adjusted irrigation methods and fertilizer applications, and taken other steps to guard water quality and prevent soil erosion.
Despite lingering concerns about how springtime weather may affect the size of California tree-fruit crops, analysts say conditions point to high-quality crops of peaches, nectarines and plums. A government report says the cool, rainy spring may reduce supplies of early-season plums and late-season peaches and nectarines. But it says tree fruit has both good size and good color, and that warm, clear weather will allow it to achieve higher sugar levels.
Health studies may spark consumer interest in a new plum variety that features black skin and juicy red flesh. Supplies of the "black splendor" plum should begin reaching stores in mid-June. Researchers in the Central Valley developed the plum. A study by Texas A&M University showed the black splendor plum to be rich in antioxidants and additional compounds that can battle cancer and other diseases.
Aiming to benefit farmers on both sides of the California-Mexico border, universities will formalize an agreement for cooperative agricultural research. Representatives of the University of California and a university in Baja California will sign the agreement in Holtville tomorrow (Wednesday). The two universities have worked together for many years. The new agreement makes it easier for Mexican students to obtain visas to conduct research in California.Top