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» August 3, 2005 «
Analysts say California farmers will gain greater access to some 44 million consumers, now that President Bush has signed the Central America Free Trade Agreement. The president signed the agreement yesterday (Tuesday). An American Farm Bureau analysis says it could eventually boost exports of California-grown vegetables, fruits, meats and other crops by up to $118 million a year. Tariffs imposed by Central American nations have slowed sales before now.
Governor Schwarzenegger endorsed proposed new rules designed to prevent heat stress, during a state Capitol news conference yesterday. The proposed regulations affect people who work outdoors at farms, construction sites and other locations. They include requirements for drinking water, shade and training of employees. Farm groups say the rules should benefit workers while providing flexibility for employers. A state board could adopt the rules next week.
The late rains and cool spring that challenged a number of California crops appear to have been ideal for many weeds. Farmers report bumper crops of weeds in many areas. For example, a noxious weed called yellow starthistle has thrived. The weed is a particular problem on rangeland, and can poison horses if it becomes mixed with the animals– hay. A farm advisor says the starthistle population has risen, in the Central Valley and in the foothills.
Most California farmers have a computer with Internet access, according to a federal survey. The U.S. Agriculture Department says about 60 percent of California farmers have access to a computer, and slightly more than half have Internet access. Both numbers are similar to what they were the last time the USDA conducted the survey, two years ago. Of the California farmers with Internet access, nearly 60 percent depend on dial-up service.
On the Calendar:
The theme is "A Country Fair with Ocean Air" as the Ventura County Fair starts today (Wednesday) in Ventura. The Yuba-Sutter Fair opens today in Yuba City.