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» November 30, 2005 «
A regional partnership of farmers, agencies and organizations working to protect water on the Central Coast has won statewide recognition. The Agriculture Water Quality Alliance was among recipients of the 2005 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards. The group has helped farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that reduce erosion and runoff into Monterey Bay. Six county Farm Bureaus participate in the alliance.
Ranchers continue to provide supplemental feed to their animals as they wait for California rangeland to revive. Most beef cattle have been moved from high elevation summer ranges to valley winter pastures, according to a government report. Spotty rainfall left rangeland dry in some areas, while others have seen pastures begin to turn green. Fire danger has been reduced somewhat by cooler temperatures and light rain.
Green bean prices remain high at wholesale markets across the country. The few California growers who still had green beans available enjoyed strong demand in recent weeks, but there are not many growers in the Golden State. Many California farmers stopped growing green beans, because of previous low prices. Prices have risen now because of hurricane damage to Florida-grown green beans.
One gene in one variety of mushroom may improve production of ethanol. California-based researchers for the U.S. Agriculture Department noted that Shiitake mushrooms thrive in forests, by converting downed wood into sugars. They have isolated the gene that governs the mushroom's ability to dissolve wood. They hope to learn if a similar process can turn rice hulls or other harvest leftovers into ethanol more efficiently.Top