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» December 8, 2006 «
The production and marketing of California wine and winegrapes adds nearly $52 billion a year to the state's economy. A report issued yesterday (Thursday) by groups representing vintners and farmers says grape growing and winemaking generate more than 300,000 jobs in the state. Because nearly three-quarters of the wine produced here is sold in the other 49 states, the report says California wine adds more than $100 billion to the national economy.
A pest that threatens citrus fruit, ornamental plants and many other crops continues to show up in Southern California. Known as the diaprepes root weevil, the pest has been found in expanded areas of San Diego County. County authorities have ordered a new quarantine zone in Oceanside and expanded zones in Fairbanks Ranch and La Jolla. The quarantine regulates movement of host plants in an effort to keep the weevil from spreading to new locations.
Leaders of state agencies say California will work to influence federal farm policy ... and to help farmers find more people to harvest their crops. Speaking at the California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura said he wants the state to play a larger role in developing the new federal farm bill. State Labor Secretary Victoria Bradshaw said her agency can help farmers develop plans to expand the state's agricultural workforce.
Now that the California rice harvest has ended for the year, many farmers have added water to their fields to provide habitat for waterfowl. The California Rice Commission says more than 12 million waterfowl migrate on the Pacific flyway each year, and that many birds use rice fields as a stopover. Snow geese, ducks and terns all can be seen in the farm fields, feeding on leftover grain and weeds. The birds also aid in helping the rice straw to deteriorate.Top