Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» August 30, 2005 «
The ramifications of Hurricane Katrina may be felt among farmers throughout the country ... especially because the hurricane caused an immediate spike in already-high fuel prices. In addition, New Orleans is an important port for shipping farm products overseas, handling more than 60 percent of U.S. grain shipments. In California, agricultural shippers expect few direct effects, because California farm exports move mainly through West Coast ports.
Growing olives has become increasingly difficult, according to the Olive Growers Council of California, which says profits have been elusive for both farmers and processors. Costs for fuel, labor and pest control have all risen sharply, and imports have eroded markets for California olives. This year's harvest will begin in a couple of weeks, and farmers hope for cooler temperatures before then, to allow olives to grow to larger sizes.
California's growing ethnic diversity brings opportunity for farmers who want to raise goats for meat. A University of California researcher suggests goats may be of particular interest to small-scale farmers. Her study shows increasing demand for goat meat ... and that California's Latino population, in particular, offers a large built-in market. The study indicates that California's climate is ideal for raising goats.
Could California become a new location for raising papayas? That question should be answered by this autumn, when trees at a Tulare County research station either produce fruit or don't. The papaya trees have been grown in mobile greenhouses, with some success. But researchers say this will be the "make or break" year for their experiment. They're also testing mangos, litchi nuts and other tropical crops, in an effort to find crops that small-scale farms could profitably grow.Top