Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» September 23, 2005 «
The U.S. Senate approved the 2006 agricultural spending bill Thursday that includes benefits for California. Nearly $30 million is provided for research and eradication of the glassy winged sharpshooter. Language in the bill closes a loophole in federal dairy policy that allows out-of-state dairies to sell unlimited amounts of milk in California at much lower rates than California dairies can charge. Funds for Sudden Oak Death research and fruit fly exclusion and detection are also included.
Methane gas derived from dairy waste offers a substitute for natural gas to power motor vehicles, according to a newly released study. Some dairy farmers have digesters that turn dairy waste into electricity. Additional technology could produce renewable energy for cars. Western United Dairymen is calling for incentives to encourage development of the needed infrastructure to develop the fuel. At least one car manufacturer, Volvo, is producing a car engine powered by methane.
Winegrape harvest in the Napa Valley is getting under way in earnest, about three weeks later than average because of cool temperatures during most of the growing season. A Napa Valley winegrape grower reports that the crop is larger than usual and the flavors are excellent. Harvest is expected to continue through mid-October and growers are worried about the potential for botrytis and mildew problems if there is any significant rain during the next few weeks.
Some Imperial Valley sugar beet growers have been forced to disc under their crop. Mechanical problems in the refinery slowed the ability of that facility to accept beets. When the crop passed maturity and began to lose quality farmers had no choice. The new plant owners have offered growers contracts for next year, and the opportunity to join the cooperative. Details are still being negotiated. Northern California sugar beet farmers had to switch crops when refineries there closed 5 years ago.Top