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» February 9, 2005 «
Years of struggle to bring supplies in line with demand may yield results for Central Valley grape growers this year. During a seminar at the World Ag Expo in Tulare yesterday (Tuesday), speakers said farmers have been offered more money for grapes used for wine, juice or the fresh market. That, in turn, could reduce supplies of raisins. In response to previous low prices, Central Valley farmers have removed 36,000 acres of grapes since 2000.
A petition to ban biotech crops in a Northern California county will undergo study, before supervisors decide whether to adopt it or place it before voters. Sonoma County supervisors ordered the study yesterday, to determine the measure's potential impact on county departments. The Sonoma County Farm Bureau announced its opposition to the measure, noting that biotech crops offer many potential benefits, including reduced pesticide and fuel use.
Resumption of beef exports to Japan moved a step closer yesterday. A Japanese government panel accepted a U.S. system to determine the age of cattle. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said the action resolves the outstanding technical issues on resuming beef sales to Japan. Those sales have been suspended for more than a year, since a single case of the cattle disease BSE was discovered in the U.S.
Naturally occurring compounds in citrus fruit appear to reduce cholesterol, and scientists expect to learn more about that during an ongoing study. The compounds, known as "limonoids," occur in fresh citrus fruits and juices. U.S. Agriculture Department researchers in Northern California discovered in laboratory tests that the compounds lower cholesterol. Currents tests with healthy volunteers should produce preliminary results later this year.Top