Food & Farm News
» July 21, 2005 «
A rash of artichoke thefts along the Central Coast prompted farm groups to seek establishment of a rural crime-prevention program. Law-enforcement officials and legislators announced this week that the state budget includes $300,000, to set up a crime-prevention program in Monterey County. One part of the program will allow farmers with chronic theft problems to obtain surveillance cameras from law enforcement, to help deter and identify thieves.
As harvest seasons converge in much of California, growers and shippers report few problems obtaining the trucks or railcars they need to ship crops to market. But the organization Western Growers says the long-term outlook remains volatile. The number of available trucks has shrunk, and many packing facilities lack ready access to rail sidings. The main produce items now shipped by rail include onions, potatoes, citrus fruit and carrots.
Innovative contributions to environmental conservation have brought recognition for a Northern California cattle ranch. The Prather Ranch, based in Shasta County, has been selected as a regional winner in a stewardship program sponsored by government and private agencies. The families who run the ranch will be honored for practices that include creation of wildlife habitat, increased plant diversity and innovative grazing management.
Demand has been growing for garbanzo beans, leading more Central Valley farmers to view the beans as an alternative crop. Farmers have been selling garbanzo beans both dried and as fresh beans, known as chickpeas. Sales of fresh chickpeas have increased. In addition, farmers say the garbanzo-bean plants act as a good rotation crop for cotton, by adding nutrients to the soil.Top