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» April 21, 2006 «
First official estimates of crop damage from inclement spring weather have reached $50 million dollars. The figure comes from reports issued in only three counties: Fresno, Tulare and Santa Cruz. Authorities say the numbers will likely increase as more damage becomes apparent. Rain, hail and unseasonable temperatures damaged crops including flowers and nursery plants, berries, vegetables, tree fruits and nuts.
State officials urge dairy farmers to develop emergency evacuation plans for their animals, in the event of natural disasters. They'll visit a dairy in Merced today (Friday) to highlight the need for evacuation plans. Cows from the dairy had to be evacuated when floodwaters threatened the animals. The cows are still being housed on higher ground. Flooding threats have eased somewhat, though officials warn that many rivers will remain high for weeks.
Farmers who buy water from California's largest irrigation system learned yesterday (Thursday) that the spring storms have made more water available. The federal Central Valley Project says it will provide 85 percent water allocations to farm customers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The previous allocation was only 65 percent. Customers of the State Water Project learned earlier this week that they would receive 100 percent allocations.
Fuel prices continue to rise, in part because California gasoline and diesel production dropped last week. The California Energy Commission says spot prices increased 22 cents a gallon in a week's time. Inventories were actually higher than last year at this time, but refinery outages for planned and unplanned maintenance tightened production. California diesel-fuel production declined by almost 5 percent from the previous week.Top