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» November 16, 2005 «
With dry weather predicted for the entire state for the next week to 10 days, ranchers will assess the effects on pastures and rangelands. Many ranchers report that earlier rain stimulated rangeland grasses. But offshore winds cause concern, because dry grass remains susceptible to fire. Ranchers in locations where it hasn't rained say they worry that fire on these windy days could destroy their animal forage.
Growers of many California crops have reported labor shortages at harvest time, and observers say the shortages will likely continue into the winter harvest season in Southern California. Labor contractors who have studied the situation say about 40 percent of former farm laborers have taken jobs in construction trades instead. Another 12 percent have moved to Gulf Coast states, where high paying jobs are temporarily available for hurricane cleanup.
Almond growers have shipped 665 million pounds of nuts as of November 1st. The Almond Board of California predicts a crop of about 880 million pounds, once the entire crop has been shipped to market. Almonds rank as California's top agricultural export. So far this marking year, the Almond Board says export shipments are running slightly below last year's figures.
More than 30 groups from government, business and education are working to revive plans to develop a garden at every California school. Teachers who oversee school gardens say they provide real-life examples as learning. Students plant seeds, nurture them to maturity and harvest the fruits of their labor. Farm groups participating in the project say school gardens help children learn and appreciate the work needed to bring food to the table.Top