Food and Farm News

Farmers wait to see if water supplies improve

With reservoirs at or above average levels and the Sierra snowpack improved by storms in March, farmers await word on whether their water supplies might improve. Most farm customers of federal and state water projects have been told to expect 20 percent allocations. Operators of both projects say they're trying to determine if late-season storms could allow them to provide more water. Farmers say that might let them increase crop plantings.

Exporters consider effects of Chinese tariffs

Long-term efforts to build sales of California farm goods in China may suffer from the ongoing trade dispute between China and the U.S. Exporters of nuts, wine and fruit crops that now face new tariffs in China say they have been renegotiating contracts with their buyers there. Some products originally destined for China may be redirected to other locations, and exporters say competing products from other countries may now secure a larger foothold in China.

Almond farmers watch for frost impact

One farmer says he has his "fingers crossed" as he monitors his Sacramento Valley almond orchards. The extent of damage from a February freeze remains uncertain. Farmers and agricultural commissioners say the effect appears to vary greatly, depending on location, tree variety and other variables. In some cases, farmers may not know the full impact until close to harvest time. The first government estimate of the almond crop will be released next month.

Grape growers gear up for new season

California-grown table grapes will begin reaching stores next month, and marketers say they're preparing plans to promote the crop to customers in the U.S. and abroad. The California Table Grape Commission says about two-thirds of the state's table grapes go to the domestic market, with the rest shipped to customers in 59 countries around the world. California farmers sold more than 109 million boxes of table grapes last year.

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