AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

There are new heat rules to protect people who work outside but farm worker advocates are skeptical, it will improve safety.

Thursday, the State Occupational Safety Board voted to change the rules that say when companies must protect outdoor workers. New rules say once the temperature hits 85 degrees, employers must provide shade for a quarter of their outside crews. It also allows employers to use trees and vines for shade breaks instead of tarps or umbrellas.

Labor advocates said those exceptions won't keep workers safe because some workers fear they'll be fired for taking a break.

The rules are expected to take effect this fall.

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Ag officials have expanded the quarantine for the European grapevine moth to include San Joaquin County.

Across the state almost 2,000 square miles are affected by the quarantine, including parts of Fresno and Merced counties. Officials have detected the pest in the Lodi area.

Farmers, as well as those who harvest or handle crops are affected primarily by the quarantine. The pest destroys grapes and other crops and plants.

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Pork is getting pricey. Bacon prices alone are up a dollar per pound over this time last year.

Over supply and panic in foreign markets over the swine flu drove down prices to $100 a pig. Now pigs will fetch $160.

Last year's low prices drove down pork production, just as exports started picking up again.

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More farmers and ranchers will soon have access to broadband.

The U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the federal government will spend another $363-million to expand broadband internet access in rural areas of the country. The money will fund 218 projects in 16 states, including California.

Vilsak says broadband expansion is important for farmers and ranchers because it provides them the real-time information and the capacity to market their products.

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