Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityHigh diesel fuel costs and trucking problems incurred by farmers
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» August 19, 2005 «
High fuel prices have disrupted the normal operations of farmers, truckers and produce buyers. Farmers say truckers are no longer willing to stop at multiple farms to fill their trucks. Now, they want full loads from one stop. And produce buyers, who often pay freight costs, have negotiated prices that require farmers to share fuel surcharges. Growers say some independent truckers have parked their vehicles altogether, until diesel prices ease.
To strengthen the state's defenses against avian flu, exotic Newcastle disease and other poultry ailments, a farmers' group has won a federal grant to improve farm security. The California Poultry Federation will use the money to enhance its security program for small-scale producers and processors. The program teaches farmers how to make sure their flocks stay disease-free. It aims to reach farmers who don't have the resources to develop their own "biosecurity" program.
Bartlett pears were among the California fruit crops to see the hardest impact from springtime rain and cool weather. The first official estimate of the pear crop, issued yesterday (Thursday) by state forecasters, says production of the green Bartlett pears will be down nearly 20 percent, compared to last year. The cool, rainy spring destroyed blossoms on pear trees, and more fruit fell to subsequent rain and hail. California farmers grow about 30 percent of the nation's pears.
On-farm receipts for California-grown crops and commodities totaled $31.8 billion last year, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture. That represents a 14 percent increase from 2003, thanks to recovering prices for many crops. The figure does not reflect farm profits, which have been hurt by rapidly rising production costs. California has been the nation's number-one farm state since the end of World War Two.Top