Food & Farm News
» January 3, 2005 «
American consumers will buy more of their vegetables from other countries during the next decade, according to a government report. The U.S. Agriculture Department projects that vegetable imports will grow nearly 4 percent a year for the next 10 years. On the other hand, the report says U.S. vegetable production will grow only about 1 percent a year. Suppliers in Mexico, Central America and South America are leading the import competition to U.S. vegetable farmers.
People who want to curb their sugar intake may soon find watermelons designed just for them. Government plant geneticists have developed a new, low-sugar watermelon. The melon retains the crisp texture and red color of traditional melons, but with less than half the sugar. Researchers say the market for the low-sugar watermelons could be substantial, especially for people with diabetes. But commercial production remains several years away.
Consumers might see lower egg prices this year. Poultry specialists say the farmgate price of eggs will be lower, so that farmers will not make a profit. The last two years have been profitable overall for growers. The lower price projections are based on 10 million additional hens being added to production in 2004 and another 10 million expected in 2005. Retail prices don't always reflect farmgate prices. For example, farmers received $0.59 a dozen for their eggs in December.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has "Beagle Brigades" at 22 airports across the country. The dogs use their noses to detect fruit, nuts and meat in international passengers' luggage. Their job is to sniff the bad stuff and eliminate any danger to the country's food supply. Everyday the animals turn up items that should not be brought into the country. Handlers say they've found unwanted exotic pests in the confiscated material.Top