Farm groups work
with new Congress
As the new Congress convenes, California farm groups say they will renew their efforts to pursue key issues at the federal level.
A California Farm Bureau policy specialist says farmers want Congress to address issues such as water, immigration reform, taxes and foreign trade.
Because Republicans now control both houses of Congress, farm groups say they expect more bills to pass but increased tension between Congress and the administration.
The main impact of the New Year’s freeze that hit much of California could be on supplies of fresh vegetables.
Farmers in the Southern California desert say the cold temperatures delayed harvest of lettuce and other vegetables.
That means supplies to the market could be reduced for the next couple of weeks.
The six-day freeze also threatened citrus fruit, but farmers say the fruit appears to have escaped serious damage.
China may import
more citrus fruit
Citrus disease in China could lead to additional demand for California-grown fruit.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Chinese orange production will drop 10 percent this year, because of a plant disease known as citrus greening.
At the same time, demand for fresh fruit in China continues to increase.
As a result, USDA says it expects China to import more oranges and other citrus fruit.
Ranchers welcome rangeland improvement
The grass is greener on California hillsides and rangelands—an encouraging sight for livestock ranchers who have struggled to provide feed for their animals during the drought.
Late autumn and early winter rains have helped the grass grow, aided by mild temperatures for much of the season. Many ranchers reduced their herds last year as pastures dried out.
Ranchers warn the improved range conditions will be only temporary unless rain returns frequently during the winter.