Current News Articles 2006
It’s strawberry time in Sumner County
Gallatin News Examiner, 5/10/06
Portland has been known for years as the strawberry capital of Middle Tennessee and thanks to the many strawberry growers the tradition continues. Complete text: http://www.gallatinnewsexaminer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060510/MTCN0408/305100070/1441/MTCN04
Farr Secures Millions For California Agriculture
House Commitee Approves Agriculture Appropriates Bill
5/9/06, KSBW-TV, Monterey, CA
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The House Appropriations Committee passed the Agriculture Appropriates Bill Tuesday afternoon. The bill - which must still be passed by the full House - includes millions of dollars for agricultural research and investment that will benefit the specialty crop industry, the growing organic industry, and the wine industry. Complete text: http://www.theksbwchannel.com/news/9187910/detail.html
Sweet! This Year's Strawberry Crop Is Right Ontime!
HamptonRoads Pilot Online, 5/8/06
On Easter Sunday, Steve Berryman got two special deliveries: strawberries fresh from the field and a new baby boy.
Jake, at 9 pounds, was a natural occurrence. The early arrival of the strawberries called for a lot more work. Complete text: http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=104036&ran=196702
Growers Expect Berry Good Pickin
Salisbury, MD Daily Times, 5/6/06
Eat 'em whole, mash 'em with sugar, top 'em with whipped cream or blend 'em into a shake. Whatever the pleasure, this year's strawberry crops should be "pretty good," Eddie Johnson, educator for the Maryland Cooperative Extension, said Thursday. Complete text: http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060506/NEWS01/605060302/1002
California's berry lucrative crop
Growers work to improve quality
4/30/06 L.A. Daily News
A fifth-generation farmer, John T. Dullam faces the same kind of day-to-day uncertainties as his ancestors over weather, production costs and market conditions. But unlike the farming Dullams before him, John T. can rely on scientific and technological advances techniques he helped create in bringing his strawberry crop to harvest. Complete text: http://www.dailynews.com/business/ci_3767436
Strawberry fields endeavor
4/30/06 North Carolina Sun Journal
Sure sign of spring is annual the appearance of a tasty treat
Basket in hand, 5-year old Ashley Baldree walks through the fields of Village Creek Farm, pausing to sample the first strawberries of the season. The late-April forays have become an annual tradition for Baldree and her mother who, like many Carolinians, like to get their berries fresh. Complete Text: http://www.newbernsj.com/SiteProcessor.cfm?Template=/GlobalTemplates/Details.cfm&StoryID=27571&Section=Local
EPA Drops Plan to Approve Pesticide
L.A. Times, 4/27/06
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn its plan to approve a highly toxic fumigant for strawberries and other high-value crops after California officials, labor unions, environmentalists and others objected that nearby residents and farmworkers could be in danger. Complete text: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-fumigant27apr27,1,5626130.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california
Rain Rain, Please Stay, Make the Dry Days Go Away
In spite of very dry weather, "The strawberry growers in Virginia Beach, which is the state's largest strawberry producer, have had a beautiful spring with the nice cool weather. We have an abundant crop that is developing a week to 10 days earlier this year," thanks in part to well-established irrigation systems to make up for slack rainfall. Complete Text: http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=103133&ran=163573
Alabama strawberry growers report high yields
The Birmingham News, 4/16/06
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The you-pick-them strawberry crop for greater Birmingham has burst expectations this year by ripening earlier and in larger numbers that any crop in recent memory. Complete Text: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/local/14357108.htm
Farmworkers left homeless due to deluge and lack of work
Santa Cruz Sentenel, 4/14/06
WATSONVILLE — Dozens of Mexican farmworkers left homeless and jobless due to the rain have been seeking shelter at the Salvation Army, a pride-swallowing venture for many who prize independence and pooling money to make ends meet. Complete Text: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2006/April/14/local/stories/02local.htm
Ready for Picking: Strawberry Growers Call This Year's Crop One of Best
ThePilot.com, North Carolina, 4/14/06
Red, ripe and abundant are the words most strawberry growers are using to describe this season's crop. Strawberry picking season has already begun at the Berry Patch near Carthage, and the Lewis Ring farm will open its season next week. Complete text: http://www.thepilot.com/news/041406Strawberry.html
Hydroponic farm makes picking easy
A horticulturist invented the vertical system used at Red Shed Strawberry Farm.
Orlando Sentenel, 4/15/06
Complete text: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/lake/orl-lredshed1506apr15,0,2138716.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-lake
Rain falls, growers fret, workers wait
Strawberries rot, lettuce harvest delayed
Monterey Herald, 4/11/06
Farmworkers battle the rain and wet fields while planting lettuce in a field off Armstrong Road near Salinas.As berries rot and farm equipment sinks into knee-deep mud, wet weather has become more than an inconvenience to the county's $3.4 billion agricultural industry. Complete text: http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/14314895.htm
Work Visa System Unwieldly for Many
Lakeland Ledger, 4/2/06
The 200 acres of strawberries at Florida Pacific Farms near Plant City underscore why Congress is engaged in an emotional immigration debate and thousands of Latinos have flooded city streets to protest a proposed crackdown.
Of about 7,000 acres of strawberry fields in Florida, the berries at Florida Pacific are the only ones being picked by foreign laborers with temporary work visas, according to the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. Only a handful of other fruit and vegetable growers in the state use the guest worker program. Complete text: http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060402/NEWS/604020398/1039
Now More Growers Plow Berries Under to Plant Other Crops
Lakeland Ledger, 4/1/06
By March each year, the market for Florida strawberries collapses because of competition from California, nearly five times larger, and Mexico. From Thanksgiving to January, Florida is the only source of fresh strawberries in the eastern U.S. markets. Complete text: http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060401/BUSINESS/604010333/1178
Alternatives Sought To Banned Pesticides
Lakeland Ledger, 4/1/06
Since the 1940s, methyl bromide has served farmers well as a stunningly lethal fumigant, killing off pests such as fungi, weeds, insects and rodents. Florida strawberry and tomato growers say the soil fumigant plays a crucial role in producing a quality crop.
But amid requirements farmers stop using it, University of Georgia students are joining an international effort to find an earth-friendly alternative. Complete text: http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060401/BUSINESS/604010334/1178
Immigration Reform May Deprive Americans of Fresh Produce
From coast to coast, Americans eat berries grown in Oxnard, California and picked by immigrant workers. One grower, who wanted only to be identified as Tom, has been in the strawberry business all his life.
"I've never had an American come ask me if they can pick strawberries," Tom said. "I've never had an American come ask me for any job on the farm."
Tom says he only employs workers who show him legal documents.He says he doubts there will be new federal laws making the hiring of undocumented workers a felony. But says it if happens, the effects will be crippling. Complete text available at: http://www.49abcnews.com/news/2006/mar/30/immigration_reform_may_deprive_americans_fresh_pro/
Impending Closure of the Beltsville Fruit Laboratory
President Bush recently announced budget calls for a reduction in agricultural programs, one being berry research. The North American Strawberry Growers Association (NASGA) has drafted a letter for members to send to their elected representatives.
The current proposed budget for the Agricultural Research Service for FY 2007 eliminates funding for the entire small fruit program at Beltsville, MD. This lab is a valuable resource and if the research and breeding of strawberries, blueberries, and brambles ceases at this facility it will severely impact the U.S. berry industry — affecting producers, nurseries, and ultimately the consumer.
NASGA vice president Steve Polter said, "This matter must be handled quickly, since the agriculture committee's appropriations hearings begin in March. For a sample letter to communicate with your elected officials, go to http://www.americanvegetablegrower.com/vegwire/letter.html
Farmers push for guest worker bill during D.C. visit
(California Farm Bureau, 3/22/06)
Watsonville strawberry grower Elia Vasquez, left, who is a Mexican immigrant and CFBF director, talks to reporters for CNN Spanish News about needed immigration reform during last week's congressional visits by U.S. farm leaders. Backed by the support of a broad spectrum of Californians, a group representing the state's family farmers and ranchers walked the corridors of Congress last week. Their mission was to encourage officials to enact meaningful immigration reform--meaning improved border security and a viable guest worker program.
"Immigration reform affects every part of the economy," California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar said, underscoring the need for comprehensive reform and the involvement of Farm Bureau members to make sure that happens.
"Immigrant workers play a crucial role in providing a safe, stable supply of American-grown food," Mosebar said. "That's critical to our national security." Complete text available at: http://www.cfbf.com/agalert/AgAlertStory.cfm?ID=559&ck=3A0772443A0739141292A5429B952FE6
For UF club, strawberries are cash crop
Jeanmarie Mitchell, a member of the Graduate Club for Horticulture Sciences, helps Sam Hutton, president, unload 100 strawberry flats at Willard M. Fifield Hall Monday evening.
am Hutton says he's in love with the tomato, but he doesn't mind selling a few strawberries on the side if it'll help raise funds and awareness for the University of Florida Graduate Club for Horticultural Sciences.
Hutton, graduate club president, took a van south to Dover, which is home to the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, to pick up more than 800 pounds of the sweet fruit to sell today at UF's Reitz Union and Fifield Hall. Complete text available at: http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060321/LOCAL/203210347/1078/news
Berry farmers fear losing trusty fumigant chemical
Methyl bromide being phased out, but replacement has its drawbacks
(Ventura County Star, 3/15/06)
For years, methyl bromide has been the miracle chemical for strawberry farmers, denuding the soil of weeds and pests before the seedlings are planted in the fertile Oxnard Plain and around the state.
In Ventura County, where strawberries are the biggest crop in a billion-dollar agricultural industry, the toxin has been a savior for farmers. More than 1.4 million pounds were used in 2004, making it one of the most heavily used chemicals on local crops. The chemical helped county strawberry growers gross $363.6 million in sales that year.
Complete text available at: http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs/ox/article/0,1375,VCS_238_4542853,00.html
Strawberry harvest sets rapid early pace
One Bakersfield, 3/8/06
As of the end of February, farmers had shipped more than 100 million pounds of berries, up sharply from the same time a year ago. The California Strawberry Commission attributes the increase to perfect early-winter weather, along with additional acreage in production. Most of the berries are coming from Southern California fields. Complete text available at: http://www.1bakersfield.com/news/read/25/68545
Berry impressive: Strawberry growers predict another record year
Calif Farm Bureau, 3/1/06
The challenges are there, including an ever-changing regulatory environment, high input costs and a potentially dire labor situation. But so is the optimism. With acreage up about 5 percent this year, California's strawberry growers are hopeful of surpassing production records set in 2005.
"Last year we hit a record volume and we are well on our way to exceeding that this year. Overall, statewide our production is double year-to-date over last year," said Mary DeGroat, California Strawberry Commission director of public relations. "About 94 percent of American households eat strawberries. California provides 88 percent of that, so being committed to quality and providing a safe product is what makes California stand out above the rest."
The commission's acreage survey for the 2006 season reports a total of 34,155 acres planted statewide. The reported increase over 2005 is 1,518 acres or an additional 4.7 percent.
Complete text available at: http://www.cfbf.com/agalert/AgAlertStory.cfm?ID=543&ck=81448138F5F163CCDBA4ACC69819F280
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