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» January 12, 2005 «
Inspectors are still assessing farm damage from heavy rain, which hit Southern California this past week. Ventura County appears to have the most, estimated by the agriculture commissioner at $25 million. That figures are expected to increase as roads are cleared so inspectors can check growing regions that have been isolated by roads that have been blocked by mud and water. Celery and strawberries are hard hit, but erosion along wild running creeks and rivers has damaged orchards and nurseries as well.
California rice farmers are donating 250,000 pounds of rice for Tsunami relief in South Asia. A truckload was sent to Los Angeles yesterday (Tuesday) from the Farmers Rice Cooperative mill in West Sacramento to be air freighted to the devastated area. In addition, the cooperative is sending four more 20 foot containers through the Port of Oakland to Sri Lanka as part of the humanitarian effort later this week.
Ventura County strawberry growers have their work crews picking berries for processing plants. The rain has made the crop unmarketable for fresh market buyers. However, the farmers need to remove the ripe fruit to prevent disease. Picking also causes the plant to produce more fruit. Farmers are also applying materials to prevent fungal disease. Forecasts are for at least a week of dry weather, which should allow harvest to resume soon.
Federal farm programs are achieving their goals and should be allowed to run their course, according to the leader of the nation's largest farm group. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says Congress should refrain from changing farm programs before they expire in two years. Stallman told the Farm Bureau's annual meeting that the farm programs help the work of U.S. negotiators, who want other nations to remove unfair subsidies and trade barriers.Top