AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Black farmers, due a $1.2-billion settlement by the agriculture department, suffered a new setback. The senate is refusing again to pay the bill.

As many as 3,000 farmers claimed the USDA denied loans because of their race. The agency admits that discrimination occurred in certain areas

Last week, the senate stripped the money for the claims from an emergency spending bill, along with $3-billion dollars for a settlement with American Indians who say they were swindled out of royalties by the federal government.

Opponents say it's a question of where congress would get the money.

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A fungus spreading among the nation's basil crop may leave lovers of Italian and Thai food feeling a bit bland.

Basil downy mildew surfaced in the U.S. around 2007, and is slowly ruining the herb for growers nationwide. Hardest hit areas are on the east coast, but it also has been found in California.

Plant pathologists say the fungus is worst for home gardeners and herb farmers who may not have access to fungicides used by large commercial growers. Gardeners can help control the fungus by spacing plants farther apart and planting them in areas that get more sun.

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The wine industry consulting firm, Gomberg, Fredrikson and Associates says California wine exports have increased during the first five months of the year. By volume, exports are up 17 percent and by value, up 25 percent.

Improving economies are one reason for the increase. Hong Kong and China combined now represent the third largest customer for California wine, and Hong Kong has eliminated wine duties.

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You can meet the new president of the California Association of Wine Growers in less than two weeks.

There is a meet and greet for John Aguirre, on Monday, August 9, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Appellation California, in Madera.

Contact the San Joaquin Valley Wine Association at 559-354-1409

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