Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» December 23, 2005 «
Farmers fear worsening shortages of harvest help, as picking of winter vegetables accelerates in the Imperial Valley. The desert region will be a key source of lettuce, broccoli and other vegetables for the next several weeks. Cool weather has slowed the early harvest, but observers say many crews are 20 percent to 30 percent short of people. Farmers say the shortage will likely intensify as the pace of harvest picks up.
Now that they have regained the ability to sell to Japanese consumers, American beef marketers will start a long-term effort to rebuild demand. Japan reopened its market this month, after a nearly two-year ban related to concerns about the cattle disease BSE. American meatpackers have hosted Japanese reporters, to demonstrate safety procedures. And exporters plan a variety of promotions to encourage Japanese consumers to resume buying American beef.
Planting trends indicate that consumers will see more California-grown olive oil and cherries on the market in coming years. Nursery operators say they've seen increased demand for trees that bear olives used to produce oil. Farmers, in turn, appear to be responding to heightened consumer interest in domestic olive oil. And cherry trees have been in great demand in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Orchards in that region can produce fruit earlier in the spring.
New machines that chip and shred orchard brush could help farmers comply with air-quality rules. Equipment manufacturers have developed an array of new wood-chipping machines. Some spread the wood chips on the orchard floor, whereas others allow the chips to be removed. Air-quality rules will prohibit the burning of branches pruned from fruit and nut trees. The ban already applies to some crops.Top