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» September 26, 2005 «
Cattle ranchers in Texas moved their animals to higher ground and cotton farmers worked overtime in preparation for Hurricane Rita. Veterinarians had urged ranchers in the storm's path to evacuate livestock and to stockpile feed, water and other supplies. Cotton farmers near the Texas Gulf Coast hurried last week to harvest their crops, and officials said they didn't expect the hurricane to have much impact in the state's main cotton-growing region.
Hurricane damage from a year ago led to an unusual result: California led the nation in the on-farm value of citrus-fruit crops during the just-concluded marketing year. Florida retained its lead in the volume of production, and typically leads in value. But a government report says damage from Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne cut the on-farm value of Florida citrus crops by 25 percent, while California's rose slightly.
A second utility has adjusted its policies about trimming walnut trees beneath transmission lines. Farmers have said that utility tree trimmers damage walnut trees when they prune them. Southern California Edison said (Friday) it has started a pilot program, testing different ways of pruning walnut trees to keep them away from the power lines. Earlier, Pacific Gas and Electric Company offered to pay farmers to remove trees beneath its lines.
A change in federal tax rules will affect farmers who use undyed diesel fuel for off-road purposes. Farmers who use the fuel to power farm equipment do not owe federal excise taxes. But, beginning October 1st, the government will require farmers to pay the tax up front and apply for a refund. The policy does not apply to diesel fuel that is dyed to show that it is exempt from the federal excise tax.
On the Calendar:
On the calendar: Agriculture, education and health officials launch a statewide anti-obesity campaign at a news conference today (Monday) in Roseville.