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» February 16, 2005 «
The water outlook has improved a bit, for farmers who buy water from the federal Central Valley Project. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the project, said yesterday (Tuesday) it now expects to deliver 65 percent of contract water supplies to most of its farm customers. That's up 5 percent from a preliminary allocation announced last month. The early reports help farmers make crop plans. Much project water remains committed to environmental programs.
A biotech plant proved significantly more efficient than its wild counterparts, at removing a mineral from soil. Researchers report that transgenic plants absorbed two to four times more selenium from contaminated soil than wild plants. Buildup of selenium has damaged soil in the Western San Joaquin Valley. Scientists from the University of California and a federal agency tested the biotech "Indian mustard" plants at sites in Fresno County.
The terms "fast food" and "fresh fruit" haven't been heard in the same sentence too often ... but that's changing at many restaurants. The Wendy's chain, for example, has begun selling bowls or cups of fresh fruit at most of its 6,500 outlets. The fresh-fruit bowls include cantaloupe, honeydew melon, red grapes and pineapple. A Wendy's spokesman says the items will feature California-grown fruit, in season.
California farmers earned more for their total crop production last year, according to a new report. The U.S. Agriculture Department said yesterday that the overall, gross value of California fruits, vegetables, nuts and field crops rose more than 7 percent. The overall increase masks significant variation. For example, prices for crops such as almonds, grapes and tomatoes rose, while prices for cotton, rice, lettuce and other crops went down.Top