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» December 18, 2007 «
After a long struggle with low prices, olive growers say they had a profitable year … the first since 2001. The Olive Growers Council says farmers harvested nearly 115,000 tons of olives, and estimates the on-farm value of the crop at more than $95 million. California farms are the only source of domestically produced olives, but farmers and processors have faced significant competition from imported products.
Work should start next month, to reconcile the versions of federal farm-policy legislation adopted by the two houses of Congress. The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill last week, sending the measure to a conference committee. A California Farm Bureau spokesman says the bill provides more than $2 billion in research and market-development programs for fruits, vegetables, nuts and other "specialty" crops. That marks a change from earlier Farm Bills.
Strawberry farmers have been able to buy enough plants to satisfy demand. That wasn't a sure thing this season. An unusually strong storm in Northeastern California last July damaged strawberry plants grown for transplanting in Southern California. The California Strawberry Commission says some farmers bought varieties they don't typically plant, as a result of the storm damage. But the commission says farmers were able to plant all the strawberry acreage they planned.
More than 2,000 acres of peach trees will likely be removed in the Central Valley this fall and winter, as farmers continue efforts to bring supplies of cling peaches in line with demand. The California Canning Peach Association says nearly 1,900 acres of trees have already been pulled in the weeks since harvest ended. Sales of California canned peaches have been losing shelf space in stores to imported peaches, which cost less to produce.Top