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» October 4, 2005 «
Saying it wants to improve government accountability and reform the California political system, the state's largest farm group has announced support for the Paycheck Protection initiative on the November ballot. The California Farm Bureau endorsed Proposition 75 yesterday (Monday). It would require public-employee unions to obtain consent from government workers before using their union dues for political purposes.
Objecting to an eminent-domain procedure involving a working ranch, and to the participation of an unelected tribal council in the action, farm and property-rights groups urged Governor Schwarzenegger to veto a measure on his desk. The bill would allow the tribe to participate in a Joint Powers Authority created to condemn the Conaway Ranch in Yolo County. Farm Bureau says Yolo County has not made a convincing argument for public ownership of the ranch.
Completion of a new contract allows California sugar beet growers to begin planning for their 2006 crops. A farmers' group has signed contracts with the new owners of sugar processing plants in the Imperial and San Joaquin valleys. A cooperative called Southern Minnesota Beet Growers bought the plants earlier in the year. It has invited California farmers to join the co-op, thus taking an ownership role in the two plants.
Recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita has been slow in Louisiana, where a Farm Bureau spokesman calls the situation "grim." Louisiana Farm Bureau spokesman Mike Danna says hurricane damage affects every crop and commodity grown in the state. He said many of the services on which farmers depend remain disrupted. Colleagues from Mississippi and Texas said timber farms in those two states appeared to suffer the worst losses from the storms.Top