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» October 30, 2007 «
As family farmers regain access to their farms in areas evacuated because of Southern California wildfires, they learn more about the impact to their crops and equipment. Some will lose their entire production. One San Diego County farmer says all 15-hundred trees in his avocado grove appear to have been ruined by fire. Other farmers lost crops because of electrical failure, which prevented them from operating pumps needed to irrigate their crops.
Now that strong winds have abated, Southern California farmers are removing fallen fruit and broken tree limbs from orchards, and assessing damage to other crops. The Riverside County Farm Bureau says vegetable farmers in desert growing regions lost crops of carrots and potatoes to wind damage. A pumpkin farmer says blowing sand buried most of his remaining pumpkins up to their stems, making them unmarketable.
The farmers reporting crop damage from last week's windstorms include date growers in the Coachella Valley, where most domestically produced dates are grown. Farmers say the strong winds blew fruit off the trees, making it unfit for sale. In some cases, date palms blew down in the high winds. Coachella Valley citrus-fruit farmers also reported wind damage to their crops.
Light rain in Orange County forced red imported fire ants to do some house cleaning, and that provided inspectors with information they needed to attack fire ant colonies. The ants damage crops and sting people, and officials have been working to control them. The rain helped by knocking dirt into the ant colonies. Worker ants cleaned the debris from the colonies, creating mounds of dirt. That alerted people who called the local vector control district to eradicate the colonies.Top