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» March 29, 2006 «
The U.S. Senate plans to start debating immigration reform later this week, and California farm groups say they're encouraged by the bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. California Farm Bureau President Doug Mosebar called the bill an important step in solving immigration problems and securing the nation's borders. The bill includes an improved guestworker program and other provisions that family farmers support.
Storms have nearly doubled the Sierra snowpack in the past few weeks. A monthly snow survey taken yesterday (Tuesday) shows the water content of Sierra snow to be 125 percent of average. Surveyors call this measurement the most significant of the year, because it provides the best characterization of the snowpack for the season. Water forecasters use the snow surveys to help determine water supplies for the coming summer.
It's a classic mixed blessing for California wheat farmers. Springtime rains have allowed them to skip irrigation of their crop. But while they save on one hand, they must incur added expense to protect their wheat from a disease called striped rust. Wet weather helps the disease gain a foothold, unless farmers react. Wheat prices are better than they have been in several years, so growers have the possibility of a profitable year even with the added expense.
Rain has halted navel orange picking in most Central California growing regions. The fruit can withstand rain, but can bruise easily if handled when wet. Precipitation also makes it dangerous for workers to climb ladders. There are ample supplies of the fruit in the pipeline to provide consumers with an uninterrupted supply. Farm prices for navel oranges remain strong. Harvest operations will resume as soon as orchards dry.Top