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» June 22, 2005 «
As the Senate works to finalize federal energy legislation this week, farm groups say provisions in the bill will benefit both farmers and consumers. An American Farm Bureau spokesman says the energy bill provides incentives to develop renewable, domestic energy sources. Additional supplies of crop-based ethanol and biodiesel would lessen dependence on foreign oil. Farmers also favor searching for more natural gas, a key component of fertilizer.
Cultivating foreign buyers for California farm goods will be aided, through activities announced yesterday (Tuesday). The U.S. Agriculture Department disclosed how it will spend money to promote American farm products to foreign customers. The USDA said it will provide nearly $23 million in matching funds to California-based trade organizations, for the overseas promotional work. Nationwide, the program totals more than $141 million.
Higher prices for cheese and butter mean a partial rebound in on-farm milk prices. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says farmers will earn an average price of $1.33 a gallon as of July 1st. That's up about three cents from current levels, though prices had dropped 12 cents a gallon on June 1st. The department uses a formula to set on-farm prices but does not control retail milk prices.
Unusual spring weather continues to affect California field crops. Federal inspectors say both cotton and rice are developing slower than they did last year. No cotton bolls have formed and none of the rice is headed yet. By comparison, 9 percent of the rice was headed by this time last year, and 19 percent of the cotton had formed bolls. Farmers report about two-thirds of rice is in "fair" condition and a third of the cotton is reported as "fair."
On the Calendar:
The theme is "Say Cheese!" for the Sonoma-Marin Fair, which opens today (Wednesday) in Petaluma. The Redwood Acres Fair starts in Eureka.