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» June 20, 2005 «
Farmers have a new incentive to convert their irrigation pumps to electricity from diesel power. The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a program that offers lower electric rates to farmers who convert their pumps. A California Farm Bureau spokeswoman says the new rates could be a significant help to farmers who make the switch. Air quality regulators have enacted stricter rules governing use of diesel engines for pumps and other equipment.
By the end of the year, a new source of advice should be available to farmers, as they work to improve air quality. The University of California Cooperative Extension system plans to fill a new position for an expert in air quality research. The advisor would provide information to growers about new findings on how to curb dust and enhance air quality. The new person will advise farmers on how to implement the university's air-quality research.
Veterinarians continue to urge horse owners to have their animals vaccinated against West Nile virus, as more cases of illness turn up. So far, three California horses have been diagnosed with West Nile virus this spring, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture. The cases have occurred in Kern, Plumas and Sonoma counties. None of the animals has died so far. The disease killed 228 California horses last year.
They're no bigger than a speck of dust, but tiny wasps could be helpful in keeping pests out of packaged foods. Agricultural researchers say the beneficial wasps effectively control moths that can infest stored products such as grain cereal or pet food. The wasps don't bother people, and farmers use them to control outdoor pests. The new tests indicate the beneficial wasps could also be used in warehouses or even in grocery stores.Top