Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityHow the dry year is affecting San Joaquin Valley farmers
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» May 30, 2007 «
Farmers facing irrigation water cutbacks in the San Joaquin Valley employ a variety of strategies to cope. After a dry winter, the federal Central Valley Project will sell only 50 percent supplies to farm customers south of the delta. Farmers with orchards or vineyards buy additional water on the open market or pump groundwater. Others may reduce or shift plantings of field crops. Farmers say the situation will worsen if there's a second straight dry year.
A seasonal slowdown in the California lemon harvest may be followed by an unusual gap in supplies of domestically grown fruit. Lemon marketers say supplies generally taper off at this time of year and pick up again in August, with fruit grown in the California desert. But the January freeze caused considerable damage to desert lemons. That means that retailers may have to import more lemons from other countries to meet consumer demand.
Nearly all the lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens produced in California will be covered by a new inspection and certification program. The state Department of Food and Agriculture said yesterday (Tuesday) that 111 handlers of leafy green crops had enrolled in the marketing agreement. It says that represents "nearly 100 percent" of the leafy greens produced in the state. Participating handlers will be subject to mandatory inspections, due to begin within weeks.
It will be about a month before Southern California date farmers learn how successful this year's pollination season has been. Right now, highly skilled workers known as palmeros are hand-pollinating date palm trees. The California Date Commission says farmers are concerned that an exotic pest from Spain could migrate here on trees imported for landscaping. The red palm beetle has destroyed many palm groves in Spain.Top