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» March 6, 2006 «
Members of the House Agriculture Committee heard California farmers ask for policy that enhances demand for American farm goods and gives farmers the tools to be the most efficient producers. The committee held a meeting in Stockton Friday to collect information to be used in rewriting federal farm legislation. Farmers also told the committee that the new Farm Bill should expand investments in conservation programs, research and protection against pests and diseases.
California cherry growers report some observable frost damage to buds, as a result of the cold February temperatures. However, thus far the damage probably won't have a significant impact on total production. Cherry trees in the southern San Joaquin Valley have started to bloom, while trees in the north remain a week or two away from that. Cherry blossoms are vulnerable to rain, and forecasts indicate orchards could be exposed to frequent rain in coming days.
Bloom will start in about two weeks in Central Valley prune orchards. Farmers and marketers hope for favorable weather, after a heat wave during last year's bloom led to a very short crop. The light 2005 crop means there are very few dried plums remaining as carryover from previous years. Marketers say a recovery in production this year would allow them to satisfy demand while helping to stave off competition from dried plums grown in other countries.
Most blueberries grow in climates where rain often falls, so California blueberry farmers won't have to worry about rain during their crop's bloom time. Blueberry bushes will start blooming in mid-March. Farmers have expanded blueberry production in recent years. There will be about 3,000 acres in production in the state this year, mainly in the southern San Joaquin Valley.Top