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» January 22, 2008 «
Winter rains have helped California pastures, but rangeland here and elsewhere still needs more rain. Range conditions and other factors encouraged cattle ranchers nationwide to send more animals to market at the end of last year … and beef prices have come down. A new report says retail prices for Choice beef dropped slightly last month. It says large supplies of competing meats and concerns about the economy will place continued downward pressure on beef prices.
With the Super Bowl less than two weeks away, shippers of celery and other vegetables say they expect to see a boost in demand. Shippers told a trade publication sales traditionally increase at this time of year, as consumers prepare vegetable trays for Super Bowl parties. Marketers say celery quality has been good, though supplies are down a bit compared to last year. California farms produce more than 90 percent of domestically grown celery.
There's a transition underway in the California citrus harvest. Farmers say their harvest of Clementine mandarins is nearly complete. Now, farmers have begun to pick a different mandarin variety, known as the W Murcott. It's a similar variety that ripens later in the season. Supplies of the W Murcott should be available until about April. Marketers say the weather this year has been favorable for citrus production, and fruit quality is very good.
"It's not your father's shop class." That's one way proponents describe Career Technical Education programs in California schools. The programs train students for careers in agriculture, engineering, construction and other sectors. But they've been hurt by budget cuts and changing educational priorities. A daylong "summit" in Sacramento last week included talks from legislators discussing efforts to revitalize Career Technical Education programs.Top