Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityImpact of imports on California flower production
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» August 8, 2008 «
Chances are much higher now that the flowers you buy for that special occasion will have come from another country. California flower growers say trade preferences given to South American countries take an increasing bite out of their markets. The California Cut Flower Commission said California had 64 percent of the U.S. flower market 16 years ago. Now, that share has plummeted to 24 percent. California farmers have tried to stay competitive by growing new flower varieties.
Here's another reason to put broccoli on the menu: A British study suggests that eating broccoli may reverse the damage diabetes causes to blood vessels in the heart. A compound found in broccoli and related vegetables encourages the production of enzymes that protect blood vessels. The study was carried out on cells in a lab, and researchers next want to expand their work to include human volunteers.
Fans of pasta, bread and other wheat-based foods will likely benefit from current research on striped rust, a fungal disease that's troubled California wheat fields. Plant breeders are developing new wheat varieties with improved resistance to the disease. With the help of research scientists, they've mapped the genetic profiles of wheat, pinpointing genes that help the crop fight off striped rust. Some varieties are already being used in commercial fields.
Real estate prices have softened in many cities, but average land prices in the country have continued to rise. An annual report from the U.S. Agriculture Department said the average value of an acre of farmland rose nearly 9 percent this year, compared to a year earlier. In California, average farmland prices increased at a slightly slower rate, 8.3 percent. The report set the average value of an acre of California farmland at $6,500 dollars.Top