Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityStraw bale construction and other uses for rice straw
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» August 6, 2007 «
The cost of farming rose sharply in California, according to a new government report. The U.S. Agriculture Department says the average cost to produce crops and livestock rose 15 percent in the state last year. Production costs here rose more than twice as fast as the national rate. The annual report determines what the average farm spent for a variety of services and supplies, including labor, fuel, feed, taxes and rent.
Farm real estate values have reached record highs in California and the United States. A report (issued Friday) said the average value of California farmland and buildings rose to $6,000 an acre, up 11 percent for the year. Overall U.S. farm real estate values increased 14 percent. Analysts attribute the rising values to strong commodity prices, favorable interest rates, urban growth and other factors.
Two new police substations being dedicated in Visalia today (Monday) become the first public buildings in the state constructed from bales of rice straw. Most existing straw-bale construction has been used for private homes. The California Rice Commission says the straw provides exceptional insulating and load-bearing properties. A commission spokesman says it continues to seek alternative uses for the straw, which is left over after rice harvest.
After recalculating runoff into the San Joaquin River and other factors, a federal project decided to release more water for use in the eastern San Joaquin Valley. The Central Valley Project raised water supply allocations to 65 percent for farmers and other customers of its Friant Division. That's up 5 percent. Supplies from water projects have been tighter because of the dry winter, and other CVP customers saw no change.Top