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» January 19, 2007 «
Some Farmers and ranchers will get fees they have been paying on water rights back under a decision by the Third District Appellate Court in Sacramento. The California Farm Bureau and other groups brought suit saying the fees were an unconstitutional tax in that they were not passed by a two-thirds majority of the legislature. The court ordered that the fees be repaid to those who filed petitions. It is not clear if the state will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Citrus farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have another problem with which to cope, a lack of propane. They use this clean burning fuel to power wind machines, which offer frost protection. Additional cold weather is predicted for the weekend in the growing region, and without propane lemon growers are fearful their trees may be frozen and they would lose the trees as well as the crop. Farmers have been told two refineries are off line for maintenance and to repair damage.
Olive growers across the state are assessing frost damage to their trees. The freezing temperatures are especially harmful to recently planted young trees. Many producers of boutique olive oil have young orchards, which have been damaged. These plantings are in areas such as Napa and Sonoma Counties as well as traditional locations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. The Olive Growers Council says table olive production was about half of average following the freeze in 1990.
California dairy farmers will get an average increase of 12 cents a gallon February 1 for their top grade milk, or an average $1.31 a gallon, according to the California Department of Agriculture. The increase will still not be enough for farmers to meet their production costs. The increase came about when the department revised the formula used to set milk prices to include dry whey. But the price is higher than last year when the February 1 price was $1.25 a gallon.Top