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» July 21, 2008 «
As harvests accelerate around California, farmers and shippers cope with the high price of moving crops to market. Rapid increases in diesel fuel prices have truckers passing along surcharges for the farm produce they carry. One trucker who hauls produce says his costs for diesel have jumped 40 percent during the past couple years. Analysts say fuel and energy prices play a big role in rising retail food costs.
Despite a mid-month hot spell, California dairy cows produced more milk during June. Cows generally reduce their milk production during hot weather, but the June heat wave didn't last long enough to make a big dent in total output. A report (released Friday) showed California milk production rising by more than 2 percent, compared to the same month a year ago. In part that's because there were more cows being milked, but production per cow also rose slightly.
Three more California counties have been declared natural disaster areas by the U.S. Agriculture Department. Drought takes the blame in two cases. In Fresno County, water shortages have affected cotton, tomatoes and other crops. Drought damage in Tehama County caused a 75 percent reduction of forage for cattle. Frost caused the disaster in Santa Barbara County, where a spring freeze hurt grapes, pistachios and other crops.
Athletes and visitors at the Beijing Olympics will be able to enjoy California-made cheese. The Chinese purchased cheese from a Merced County farm after it was introduced at a food show in Shanghai. The cheese will be served in meals provided to athletes in the Olympic Village, plus in restaurants where visitors purchase their food. Earlier, California-grown strawberries earned permission to be served at Olympic events.Top