Apple shortage in Chile, delayed harvest in Washington boosts demand for California apples, growers say; California farmers sell nearly 63,000 tons of apricots this year, on par with 2010 total

SACRAMENTO, California , October 26, 2011 (press release) – Apple growers report strong demand

An apple shortage in Chile and a delayed harvest in Washington have boosted demand for California-grown apples. California apple farmers report their harvest is wrapping up, after a season that featured large and high-quality fruit. Typically, as many as one-third of California apples are sold in export markets, but this year more of the crop has been consumed domestically.

Apricot growers see steady results

A new balance between supply and demand benefits California apricot growers. Final reports show that California farmers sold nearly 63,000 tons of apricots this year, on par with the 2010 total. As with many other crops, the apricot harvest began later and ran longer than usual. The Apricot Producers of California organization says that after years of surplus, growers are now able to sell all that they produce.

Easements protect farms and ranches

Calling it “an historic year,” a U.S. Agriculture Department agency says it has been able to protect 14 California farms and ranches through a conservation-easement program. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says it has partnered with public and private groups to invest about $20 million in the easement program. The program preserved 5,000 acres of productive California farmland that was otherwise threatened by development.

Farmers welcome Korean trade agreement

Of the three free-trade agreements signed by President Obama last Friday, the one with South Korea will likely bring the biggest boost to California farms and ranches. A University of California report says South Korea's strong economy and demand for fresh fruits, vegetables and meat will bring new export opportunities. The agreement will reduce South Korean tariffs on California crops such as table grapes, strawberries, apples and lettuce.

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