Food & Farm News
May 20, 2015
Reduced California rice plantings aid competitors
As drought and water shortages cut California rice production, other states have stepped in—and taken business that California farms once served. Most California farmers grow medium-grain rice, different from the long-grain varieties grown in Southern states. But farmers in the South have been switching to medium-grain rice because of reduced California production, and some of that Southern rice has been competing in markets that have bought California rice.
Drought-tolerant wheat varieties show promise
In research fields near Davis, University of California plant breeders say they’re making progress in developing drought-tolerant wheat varieties. The researchers are testing various cross-bred varieties, to see which perform best. Scientists say they’ve identified the genes that help wheat survive with less water, but need to be sure the drought-tolerant varieties also maintain the other desirable characteristics that wheat customers want.
Strategy aims to benefit bees
Production of crops including fruits, vegetables and nuts depends on honeybees and other pollinators, and federal agencies released a strategy Tuesday aimed at improving conditions for pollinating insects. Diseases, pests and other problems have hurt bee populations. The federal initiative aims to slow that trend. The strategy includes plans to improve pollinator habitat on millions of acres of federally managed land.
Report assesses state’s rural roads
It’s a bumpy ride on many rural roads, and a report released Tuesday says it can also be dangerous. In California, the traffic-fatality rate on rural roads was more than four times the statewide average. The report from a transportation-research group called TRIP also describes structural problems on California rural roads and bridges. The report’s authors called for improved national investment in rural transportation facilities.