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» January 8, 2007 «
There's a need for more tomatoes to make salsa, ketchup and other products. Tomato-paste supplies are running low. Because of that, processors have begun offering higher prices to tomato farmers. The California Tomato Growers Association says some farmers have signed contracts with base prices of $63 a ton, up about 8 percent from last year's price. But the association says high corn prices may entice some farmers to plant corn instead.
Livestock in Colorado and other Plains states continue to suffer from severe storms that have left many cattle stranded with little to eat. While efforts continue to rescue the cattle, observers say it remains too early to know whether retail beef prices will be affected by cattle losses. The California Beef Council points out that a similar storm a decade ago killed more than 30,000 cattle. The council says retail beef prices at that time remained stable.
Organic milk sales continue to increase. The California Department of Food and Agriculture started tracking organic-milk sales last April. The department says they have increased from about 1.5 million gallons a month initially to more than 2 million gallons through November. The most popular variety of organic milk is the low fat or "1 percent" variety.
Mandarin orange harvest is in full swing. California-grown Clementine mandarins now take an expanding share of the market. Clementines imported from Spain once ruled the market, but California farmers say they expect to replace the Spanish fruit in the future. California farmers have been responding to market demand by planting more groves of Clementines and other mandarins every year. California-grown fruit became available in November and will stay on the market through May.Top