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» December 13, 2005 «
California-grown beef could be on its way to Japan by the end of the week. The Japanese government announced a partial removal of its two-year-old ban on U.S. beef yesterday (Monday). At one San Joaquin Valley firm, Harris Ranch, a spokesman says it hopes to have its first shipment bound for Japan as early as tomorrow (Wednesday). The company says it has the necessary paperwork showing the age of its beef animals, and has complied with other rules established by the Japanese.
Demand for butter and cheese typically grows during the holiday season, but market prices for both cheese and butter have declined the past several weeks ... and that affects the price California dairy farmers earn for milk. The on-farm price for a gallon of milk will drop an average of a nickel on January 1st, to $1.25. That marks the second straight month of a five-cent-per-gallon drop in farm milk prices.
Poinsettias have become a holiday tradition, but poinsettia producers are bringing variations to the tradition. A leading poinsettia wholesaler, the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, says it developed a new, peach-colored poinsettia this year. In addition, upscale florists allow consumers to select a plant colored to order. The florists dye white poinsettias in whatever color the customer desires. And traditional, red flowers remain popular.
Rain, or the lack of it, influences the progress of Central Valley grain crops. For example, wheat growers in San Joaquin County report a very slow start for their winter wheat crop. The wheat that emerged did not have enough moisture for vigorous growth, and then was hit with freezing temperatures. But to the south in Tulare County, recent rain benefited early-planted winter grains, though it slowed planting operations for a while.Top