August 20, 2000 |
The steel milking carousel in Ken DeGroot's dairy barn is bigger than a carnival ride, allowing him to milk 54 rotating Jerseys in a matter of minutes. His neighbor, Rob Hilarides, has ordered one just like it, only bigger, accommodating 80 cows at a time. By "super-sizing" their dairies and introducing such high-tech innovations as this monster milker, California dairy farmers have managed to thrive, even as federal price supports have eroded and milk prices have dropped.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 6, 2000 |
Group cites risk of disease and pests in its effort to have Department of Agriculture reverse new policy. Citrus growers announced Wednesday that they intend to file a lawsuit aimed at overturning a federal decision to allow Argentine citrus to be imported into the United States. The Santa Paula-based U.S. Citrus Science Council, which has spearheaded the fight against the importation of Argentine citrus, notified U.S.
June 9, 2000 |
When Joe Kretsch looked into the jar of ugly-looking bugs, he knew the war against the latest voracious pest to threaten California agriculture had finally reached his doorstep. Inside the jar were half a dozen glassy-winged sharpshooter nymphs from a friend's backyard vine--confirmation that infestation has spread to the heart of the Central Valley, state agriculture officials said this week.
May 28, 2000 |
CalPERS, the country's largest public pension fund, will soon begin investing a portion of its $175-billion fund in California agriculture, a surprising vote of confidence in a sector that has not been generating strong investment returns. It is also a worrisome development to local farm groups who fear that big institutional investment will hasten consolidation in the industry and encourage more housing development on farmland.
May 21, 2000 |
Dee Slayman knows the sad history of the pomegranate--the maligned, messy and misunderstood fruit that for 5,000 years has fought a losing battle of bad publicity. In Greek mythology, Persephone was condemned to spend months in Hades every year for eating a handful of pomegranate seeds. And many biblical scholars believe that when Eve reached out to the tree of good and evil she snatched, not an apple, but . . . you guessed it.
May 7, 2000 |
The kid in the huge booth at the Torrance Farmers Market, with his spiky bleached hair, baggy shorts and an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt, hardly looks the part of a new wave of agricultural entrepreneurs. But Shaun Rosendahl, whose sunburned face belies his 21 years, will sell more than $10,000 worth of apples, strawberries, cherries and other fruit on this day in Torrance, at just one of the 44 booths at farmers markets he manages this time of year from his Hermosa Beach apartment.
April 19, 2000 |
California's main program for enforcing fair wages and working conditions in the farm industry imposed the lowest total fines in its history last year. The program alleged just 11 minimum-wage violations statewide. Only three dozen times did its inspectors charge the state's farms and ranches with illegally hiring children, one-quarter the number of citations for underage workers issued six years earlier.
April 15, 2000 |
State and federal agriculture officials have enlisted a team of Brazilian scientists to map the genetic code of the microbe that causes Pierce's disease, a bacterial scourge affecting thousands of acres of California vineyards, in an attempt to stop its spread across the state.
April 9, 2000 |
They are tourists not even a chamber of commerce can love. A virtual rogues' gallery of migrant pests--drawn to California's legendary clime and bountiful opportunities for advancement--are increasingly hitchhiking, sailing and flying into this state, often with devastating consequences: Crop losses alone cost about $1 billion a year.
February 10, 2000 |
The "California Raisins" danced off the advertising stage six years ago as a marketing phenomenon par excellence--their sassy television ads so popular that raisin character spinoffs sold almost as well as the dried fruit they promoted. But six years after the soulful, animated characters left TV, raisin sales are lagging so badly that the campaign is coming back. Sort of.