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» November 17, 2005 «
Because natural gas is a key component of nitrogen-based fertilizers, both farmers and home gardeners can expect to pay higher prices for fertilizer next year. American Farm Bureau representatives say rapidly rising natural-gas prices have caused spikes in fertilizer costs. In some cases, those costs have doubled since 2002, and are expected to rise again before the main planting season next spring.
Saying farmers work hard to meet their environmental responsibilities, farm representatives said yesterday (Wednesday) that there's no reason to classify animal manure as hazardous waste. Some federal court cases seek to have manure regulated under Superfund laws. American Farm Bureau representatives asked a congressional subcommittee to reaffirm that Congress never intended that. A Farm Bureau spokesman noted that animal waste has been used as fertilizer since time began.
Extended, mild autumn weather has aided California olive growers. The conditions allowed farmers to lengthen their harvest until they could find enough workers to pick the crops. Labor shortages had been a serious concern in olive groves during the earlier part of the harvest. The latest figures show farmers have harvested more olives than predicted, about 105,000 tons statewide. The Olive Growers Council says some farmers may have earned their first profit in several years.
Nurseries have sold out of pomegranate trees for planting next year, indicating continued acreage increases in the Central Valley. This year's harvest has ended. Observers say rain near the end of harvest hurt some of the fruit. But farmers were able to sell the fruit for processing. And, because of an international shortage of pomegranate juice concentrate, farmers earned a relatively good price for the rain-damaged fruit.Top