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Audio ActualityFarmers markets and how food stamp recipients use them
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» September 26, 2008 «
Horseradish harvest is under way in the Tulelake region--and yields are above average. Growers there say they produce the best horseradish in the nation. However, due to the high cost of shipping, only one load of horseradish is going to eastern markets this year. Just a few farmers grow the crop, and as one farmer retired, acreage devoted to it has declined. But even with the drop in demand from East Coast markets, supply and demand remain about equal, and growers are getting good prices. Harvest continues until November.
Hand-held computers are changing the way dairy farmers operate. Farmers collect cow-side information on the devices such as body condition and milk produced. They then download it to desktop computers, eliminating the need to write the information on paper and then enter it by hand onto the desktop. Also, more farmers are tagging their cows with radio frequency identification tags to keep better track of them. Farmers say the hand-held devices are the best things they've put on the farm since computers.
Farmers markets continue to grow in popularity as more consumers buy their fresh produce there. Many consumers appreciate knowing the people who grow their food. Customers who use food stamps have also increased purchases from farmers markets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently issued grants to five California farmers markets to install the electronics needed to read the benefit cards food stamp recipients now use. Grant money is gradually being distributed to markets nationwide.
Americans enjoy the taste and texture of walnuts, and demand for them increases every year. However, it takes several years for trees to begin bearing marketable nuts. The Agricultural Research Service and University of California, Davis, researchers have embarked on a four-year study to determine the genetic makeup of walnut trees. More than 600 are being grown for the research, which is hoped will give walnut tree breeders the information needed to breed trees that gain maturity faster.Top