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» May 3, 2005 «
A proposed free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Central American nations has won the endorsement of the California Farm Bureau. The state's largest farm group says the agreement will open markets for California farm goods. Now, Central American nations assess tariffs of up to 43 percent when they import U.S. farm products. The agreement would phase out those tariffs. Most Central American farm goods already enter the U.S. duty free.
An important overseas market for California beef has reopened. Taiwan resumed importing American beef last week. It had suspended imports in late 2003, after a single case of the cattle disease BSE was discovered in Washington. The California Beef Council says ranchers are pleased to see the Taiwan market reopen. Taiwanese shoppers were pleased, too. The first shipments of U.S. beef sold out in a few hours at markets there.
After rising in response to high-protein diets, California egg prices have now fallen far below production costs. Market watchers say farmers now earn about $0.40 a dozen for eggs, and that they may be selling eggs at a loss for the rest of the year. The average on-farm price for California eggs last year stood at about $0.64 a dozen. Analysts say egg prices have dropped because of large production increases in other states.
With their trees now in full bloom, San Joaquin Valley olive growers will be watching weather forecasts intently. The Olive Growers Council in Visalia says the new crop escaped damage from rain that hit Tulare County last week. That county produces more than half the olives grown in California. Olive groves in Northern California are a little slower to bloom. California produces all the olives grown in the United States.Top