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» February 11, 2005 «
Large chunks of Central Valley farmland will fall to suburban sprawl during the next 40 years, according to a study released yesterday (Thursday). The Public Policy Institute of California said that at least one quarter of San Joaquin Valley farmland would be lost, if current trends continue. A California Farm Bureau spokesman called the potential farmland losses "staggering," and said they mirrored earlier trends seen along the South Coast and in the Santa Clara Valley.
The annual surge in cheese demand before the Super Bowl will be reflected in California milk prices next month. The state Department of Food and Agriculture said yesterday that on-farm milk prices will rise by an average of $0.07 a gallon on March 1st. Higher cheese and butter prices led to the change. The March increase will only partially restore a sharp drop in farm milk prices that occurred at the start of this month.
A shrinking number of large buyers dominates the fresh produce market, and that's causing challenges for people who sell fruits and vegetables. During a seminar at the World Ag Expo in Tulare yesterday, a representative of the group Western Growers said that five large retail chains and two food-service firms dictate the market. Those companies want to buy from farms that can supply produce year round. So growers unable to harvest all year must form alliances with farmers elsewhere.
The bees are getting busy in Central Valley almond orchards. Observers say about 15 percent of the valley's almond trees have bloomed. The trees must be pollinated by bees, in order to produce a crop this summer. Fears of widespread bee shortages have subsided. More beekeepers came from out-of-state, attracted by higher pollination fees. Almond farmers generally prefer to rent three beehives for each acre of trees, to insure proper pollination.Top