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Audio ActualityState findings about farmland conversion to urban uses
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» February 15, 2007 «
The nation's number-one farm county also leads in another category. Fresno County lost more farmland to urbanization than any other California county, during the first three years of this decade. An upcoming report from the state Department of Conservation says that, statewide, more than 50,000 acres of California farmland are converted to other uses every year. A department spokeswoman says local officials use the information to try to limit farmland losses.
The January freeze and the ongoing dry winter have taken a toll on wildflowers. Because of that, there's not as much food to sustain worker bees, until almond trees burst into bloom in coming weeks. Beekeepers have been placing hives in almond orchards for pollination. But because fewer wildflowers are available, the beekeepers must provide their hives with supplemental feed. And a University of California expert says bees don't reproduce as well under those conditions.
Dairy farmers who have struggled with rising costs and low milk prices will see partial relief on one side of the ledger next month. California dairy farmers will earn an additional 6 cents per gallon for their milk. The state Department of Food and Agriculture says the average on-farm price for a gallon of milk will reach $1.37 on March 1st. Rising prices for cheese, butter and nonfat milk led to the increase.
Consumer beef prices could stay steady for the next several years, but shoppers could see more-attractive specials on beef than they've seen the past couple of years. The California Beef Commission says analysts forecast a slight decline in the prices ranchers earn for beef cattle. Ranchers have been planning to expand their herds. When that happens, prices generally start to decline, but forecasters say they don't expect cattle prices to drop as much as they did a decade ago.Top