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» January 4, 2005 «
New immigration policies, reform of endangered-species laws and other items of interest to California farmers and ranchers will be debated by the 109th Congress, which opens its session this week. A California Farm Bureau spokesman says he's detected "a lot of pressure’ to reform immigration rules, including an agricultural guestworker program. He says he expects tax reform and Social Security policies to be the main focus for the new Congress.
When oranges get wet, they bruise more easily ... so farmers in the Central Valley have halted harvest of navel oranges. The orange-growing regions received plenty of rain the past few days, with more expected. It takes about three days for the fruit to dry enough to pick, and forecasters predict there won't be enough drying time this week. Orange marketers say consumers probably won't notice much change in availability, as there is enough fruit in cold storage to meet demand for now.
Rain has been light enough on a few Southern California strawberry farms to allow farmers to continue harvesting fruit. But observers say rain has disrupted winter strawberry supplies from many farms. Growers who sell berries in the winter have their harvests interrupted occasionally, but plants return to production once dry weather resumes. In the meantime, strawberry supplies will be limited, and consumers can expect to find higher prices at retail.
Food-safety officials and cattle organizations expressed confidence yesterday (Monday) in Canada's response to a second case of the cattle disease BSE. Canadian authorities quarantined a farm in Alberta and said the affected cow did not enter the food chain. The U.S. Agriculture Department said Canada's policies provide "the utmost protection’ to U.S. consumers and livestock. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association also expressed support for Canada's actions.Top