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Audio ActualityFarmer's comments about uncertainty about what to plant
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» February 23, 2007 «
The passage of time after the severe mid-January freeze has brought a few shreds of optimism about the condition of the state's orange crop. The freeze caused severe damage, but marketers say there may be more fruit available than initially feared. At the Sunkist Growers annual meeting this week, the board chairman said more fruit escaped severe damage than was first thought possible. Citrus packers added extra inspections to insure that only high-quality fruit reaches market.
Recovery has begun for winter vegetables from the Imperial Valley. Occasional gaps in supply may still occur because of the freeze. But cabbage growers say their crops generally withstood the cold temperatures, and are experiencing strong demand in the weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Day. On-farm prices for cabbage are about double what they usually reach this time of year, because of damage to crops in other parts of the country.
Vegetable farmers in Central California will wait a while longer to determine how much ground to plant this spring. Farmers and packers are trying to gauge demand for lettuce, spinach and other crops. At this time of year, farmers in the region prepare their fields for planting and wait for word from packers about their anticipated needs. Farmers say there's still time to make those decisions, because they won't start planting for another several weeks.
A strong economy south of the border led to a new record for shipments of United States beef to Mexico. U.S. shippers sold 668 million pounds of beef to Mexico last year, according to a government report. Overall U.S. beef exports have been hurt because Asian countries have been slow to reopen markets. As those markets reopen, the U.S. Agriculture Department forecasts a 25-percent increase in beef exports this year.Top