AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Some Valley farmers are getting help to control the spread of the European grapevine moth.

Workers with the State Department of Food and Agriculture will begin removing fruit from grapevines, in Del Rey. The pest has been found in several counties, including Fresno and Merced. Farmers who would prefer to keep their fruit also have the option of ground treatment with an organic compound.

A meeting is being held this evening to discuss the treatment program. It will be at the Fresno County Department of Agriculture building in the West Wing Conference Room, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday night.

Lending institutions are starting to encourage farmers to adopt risk management practices.

In a recent report, Wells Fargo warned that the business of financing agriculture will need to change to deal with increased price and margin volatility. While some producers are beginning to use risk management tools such as futures and options, most farmers aren't familiar with those strategies.

Agricultural lenders are getting involved. Many are providing seminars to educate farmers about what's available.

The United Farm Workers Union is encouraging legal residents to be farm workers.

The union is launching a campaign called "take our jobs". It wants to bring attention to the importance of immigrant workers and the need for agricultural reform.

The Contra Costa Times reports union members wrote a letter to lawmakers saying farm workers are ready to train citizens and legal residents who wish to replace immigrants in the fields.

Farm industry leaders and union officials say undocumented workers provide a vital role to U.S. agriculture and other industries.

California tomato growers aren't expecting a huge crop for processed foods. The national agricultural statistics service estimates the state's growers have contracts to produce 12.3-million tons of processing tomatoes. Last year, Central Valley farmers overcame drought and water shortages to harvest 13.5-million tons.

The state's cool, wet spring has pushed back harvests this year and caused diseases. The California Tomato Growers Association reports while some fields in the Fresno area look healthy, many plantings in Kern County and in the northern areas are showing bacterial speck. It says it's too soon to know how the problem will affect prices.

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