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» September 4, 2008 «
Farmers and ranchers in Southern California are expressing their concern over the proposed routes of power transmission lines. Proposals for the lines would idle at least 860 acres now used to raise cattle, wheat, alfalfa and other feed crops. However, farmers and ranchers say the likely impact is more serious than that, as tractors and agricultural aircraft would have to avoid the power lines, leaving much more land unusable.
Sweeter dried plums will soon be making their way to grocery store shelves. Researchers have developed new varieties using traditional breeding techniques. The Sutter variety is extra high in sugar, and the Muir Beauty packs a burst of fruit flavor. The researchers predict that the Muir Beauty will be marketed in the future like fine wine, as a varietal. Both dried plum varieties are now on the market but consumers may have difficulty recognizing them, as they aren't labeled differently.
California egg production increased by about 10 million dozen in July. However, a government report says farmers earned 32 cents a dozen less for their eggs. At 64 cents per dozen, the price is below production costs for many farmers. Production costs have jumped because of the price farmers pay for corn to feed their chickens. Energy costs have also increased. Summertime is traditionally when farmers earn the least for their eggs.
Wheat farmers who depend on rain, not irrigation, for moisture have had a tough year. Some fields were not harvested, as the growth was so poor. A few growers were able to salvage some of the crop by harvesting green grain for forage use by dairy farmers. Those who have crop insurance are able to recover the cost they incurred to plant the crop. Some fields produced less than half the grain of an average year.Top