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» March 31, 2008 «
Consumers should see more strawberries in stores during the next few weeks, as production increases from the nation's top growing region. Farmers are starting to harvest berries along California's Central Coast. Observers say a number of shippers in the Watsonville area plan to open this week, and that harvest will continue to accelerate through April. That will be welcome news for shoppers in other parts of the country, who saw strawberry supplies dip this winter after freeze damage to Florida-grown berries.
Worldwide wine consumption leveled off in 2007, and a new report says global wine production declined about 7 percent compared to the previous year. The International Organization of Vine and Wine said consumption in the United States rose at "a substantial rate." But wine consumption in Europe declined again. European nations also produced less wine, accounting for much of the drop in worldwide production.
Grape growers in California will soon be able to purchase new vines that resist pest damage. University of California plant breeders will release five new grape rootstocks in Davis today (Monday). The university says the rootstocks resist damage from soil pests known as nematodes and phylloxera. Commercial nurseries will now be able to sell the new rootstocks, and wines produced from them could reach shelves by 2013.
There's growing optimism among the nation's young farmers and ranchers. An annual survey by the American Farm Bureau checks attitudes among farmers and ranchers aged 35 and younger. More than 80 percent said they're more optimistic about farming, and 90 percent said they're better off than they were five years ago. The chairman of California's Young Farmer and Rancher Committee says higher crop prices have improved the outlook for farmers nationwide.Top