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» January 26, 2007 «
Governor Schwarzenegger pledged the state government will do whatever is needed to help farmers, farmworkers and farm-related businesses recover from the impact of this month's damaging freeze. The governor met in Dinuba yesterday (Thursday) with people affected by the cold wave, which destroyed more than $1 billion worth of California crops. Schwarzenegger said the government has already acted to make aid programs available to farms, farmworkers and businesses.
The January freeze affected dozens of California crops, and some of the state's newer fruit crops show varying degrees of damage. Mango trees in Riverside County won't produce a crop this year, and the freeze destroyed some mango trees, which must now be replaced. Papayas, however, appeared to escape serious damage. Blueberry bushes in the San Joaquin Valley will still produce a crop, but not as large as farmers once anticipated.
For cherry growers, concern centers on the lack of rain. Farmers know it will rain sooner or later, and worry that the rain will come when the cherry trees bloom. That could reduce crop size. Some farmers have or will soon lightly irrigate their orchards to provide needed moisture. Cherry trees have had plenty of chill hours this season, but farmers won't know how much fruit their trees will produce until the crop is picked in May and June.
A surge in imports from China has caused honey prices to drop 20 percent this winter ... and California beekeepers say they worry that the lower quality of the imports could discourage consumers from buying honey altogether. At a beekeepers' meeting in Sacramento yesterday (Thursday), most said their hives survived the January freeze with only minor trouble. But the freeze may have damaged citrus blossoms to the extent that there won't be enough pollen for bees this spring.Top