Food & Farm News
» February 21, 2006 «
Saying that it plans to take a "global approach" to fighting fruit flies, the U.S. Agriculture Department announced a five-year plan to enhance the nation's protection against the Mediterranean fruit fly and similar pests. Exotic fruit flies threaten hundreds of crops, including many California-grown fruits and vegetables. The USDA says it will tighten prevention efforts in the U.S., and support programs to combat fruit flies in Mexico plus Caribbean and Central American nations.
A former Bush administration official says momentum is building to update the federal Endangered Species Act. Craig Manson, who formerly served as assistant secretary of the Interior, told a California Farm Bureau meeting that he thinks there's a good chance the U.S. Senate will vote to modernize the act. The House passed a bill last year to update the species act. Farm groups support the plan because it encourages partnerships with farmers who want to help species recover.
Food will remain a bargain for American consumers, according to long-term projections by government analysts. In a forecast of agricultural trends for the next 10 years, analysts say retail food prices will increase less than the general inflation rate. The report says growing demand will cause farmers to earn higher prices for their crops during the coming 10 years, but that much of the increase will be absorbed by higher production costs.
Lower retail prices for competing meats may start to push beef prices lower. Strong demand has kept retail beef prices at record or near-record levels for the past couple of years. But government forecasters note that prices for pork and chicken have been coming down. In addition, larger supplies of high-quality beef may start to reach market later this year. That could also cause retail prices to decline.Top