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» May 4, 2007 «
The progress of negotiations between Congressional leaders and the Bush administration will affect availability of disaster aid to California farmers and ranchers. A supplemental spending bill vetoed by the president this week included money to help farmers who suffered losses from the January freeze, from last summer's heat wave and other weather disasters. A California Farm Bureau spokeswoman says she's hopeful the disaster package will be included in a compromise spending bill.
Increasing thefts of copper and other metals from farms, ranches, homes and businesses have prompted some metal recyclers to take steps to slow the thefts. At least one recycler has stopped accepting copper wire altogether. Others have started paying less for wire and still others have begun paying by check, rather than cash. Farm and law-enforcement groups support a bill that would bring consistent and stricter record-keeping practices for scrap-metal dealers and recyclers.
There should be more California-grown plums, peaches and nectarines available this year. The California Tree Fruit Agreement estimates that the total harvest of the three crops will be up 6 percent, compared to a year ago. Farmers have begun harvesting peaches and nectarines, and the plum harvest will start soon. The Tree Fruit Agreement says weather has been favorable so far and that fruit quality is excellent.
They'll probably show up in farmers' markets first and in retail stores a few weeks later, as California-grown blueberries begin to reach market. Harvest has begun in the southern San Joaquin Valley, and will move northward starting next week. Farmers have been planting more blueberries in the Central Valley. Because of that and because weather has cooperated so far, farmers expect to have more berries to sell this season.Top