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» May 14, 2007 «
They've seen a steady rise in the prices they earn, but dairy farmers say they're still scrambling to cope with sharply higher costs of milk production. On June 1st, the average price California farmers earn for milk will rise the equivalent of 22 cents a gallon, to $1.73. On-farm milk prices have risen throughout this year, but dairy farmers say the prices they pay for feed and for fuel still outpace the improved income.
Other states and nations watch carefully, as authorities in California fight an infestation of the light brown apple moth. The pest, an invader native to Australia, threatens some 250 California-grown crops. Mexico reportedly has told the US that it may impose restrictions on shipments of crops grown within the eight counties where the moth has been trapped. Within the US, at least five states have asked for advance notice of nursery shipments from the affected counties.
Warm, dry weather during the bloom season helped insure larger California peach crops this year. The season's first government forecast shows a 10% increase in production of freestone-variety peaches, and a 25% jump in production of clingstone peaches. The report says farmers began harvesting peaches in mid-April and that the fruit appears to be in excellent condition throughout the state.
It's not just the check that's in the mail. More frequently, wine moves that way, too. A report from a company that tracks direct wine shipments shows a 31% rise in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period a year ago. Consumers from California lead in purchasing wine directly from wineries, but the report shows strong growth in direct wine sales to consumers in Minnesota, Washington, Texas and Illinois.Top