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Audio ActualityImpact of the Japanese border closure on California cattle ranchers
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» November 15, 2005 «
One key topic for this week's meeting between President Bush and Japan's prime minister will be Japan's continuing ban on American beef. Japan stopped importing U.S. beef nearly two years ago, after one case of the cattle disease BSE was discovered. It has been slow to reopen sales, though some observers say that might happen by the end of the year. California ranchers sold $86 million worth of beef a year to Japan before the ban.
Agricultural trade will be one focus of Governor Schwarzenegger's trip to China this week. The governor's traveling party includes state Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura and representatives of individual commodity groups. Members of the delegation conduct agricultural promotions in Beijing tomorrow (Wednesday), in Shanghai Thursday and in Hong Kong the following two days. California exports more than $450 million worth of farm goods to China each year.
Hurricane damage to Florida-grown green beans has heightened pre-Thanksgiving demand for California's crop. Florida farmers would typically provide most of the green beans served during East Coast Thanksgiving feasts. But this year, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association says growers will have few if any green beans to pick. California farmers have started picking their crop, and along with Mexican and other foreign growers will find heavy demand for their green beans.
The California navel orange harvest is increasing, but farmers report labor shortages that have reduced volumes in the early part of the harvest. Oranges can be stored on the trees, but growers worry that some of the fruit may not be picked before it spoils. Navel orange harvest will continue throughout the fall and winter. Farmers of a number of California crops have reported trouble finding enough harvest help this year.Top