AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Federal authorities have signed off on another increase in water deliveries for Valley farmers on the west side.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Monday it will increase water deliveries to 45-percent of normal. That's five-percent more than the 40-percent allocation last month.

State authorities made the same change. Conditions have improved somewhat for the Central Valley, which is still struggling with the effects of three years of drought and restrictions on delta pumping.

Even with the higher allocation, experts say many communities will still suffer water shortages.

Local water districts are still deciding how to allocate the additional water flowing into San Luis Reservoir.

Last month, a judge lifted pumping restriction for salmon, sending between 200,000 to 300,000 acre feet of water to the reservoir. At the same time, reservoirs throughout the state are filling as an improved snowpack begins to melt.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says there have been discussions about revising the Central Valley project water allocation for agriculture, but no decision has been made.

A battle plan has been launched in the Los Angeles basin against the Asian Citrus Psyllid.

The California Farm Bureau says there is a large infestation exists near dodger stadium. They report some success in containing the insect in other areas of Southern California.

The pest can carry a plant disease that kills citrus trees. The disease has not yet been found in California.

Backyard citrus trees are threatened just as those in commercial orchards.

The nation's mint farmers are struggling to stay in business. While buyers are offering mint farmers more attractive contracts for their mint oil, foreign competition, mainly from India, has flooded the market with cheaper versions of the oil.

Mint oil flavors everything from toothpaste to candies. The small family owned farms that once supplied most of the nation's mint are fading away.

Government figures show that between 1997 and 2007, the number of U.S. mint farms dropped from 964 to 341. Peppermint and spearmint production fell from 12.5-million pounds to just under 9-million pounds.

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