9-15 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

It took two months to examine ten levees. The engineers found Marysville, Sacramento and Stockton all have levees that didn't meet standards. It means those levees would not get federal funding for repairs if they were weakened during a storm.

Inspectors told a Sacramento television station most of the problems were old and deteriorated pipes. Seepage was found in the southern portion of the levee system.

16 other levees are still being inspected. Results are expected to be released by this winter.

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There are concerns about a pesticide that's slated to be approved for use in California.

The department of pesticide registration has proposed allowing the use of "methyl iodide" as a fumigant for strawberries and other crops but with certain restrictions. But a new report shows dangerous levels of the compound "iodide" has been found in Florida groundwater where the pesticide is already in use

The maker of methyl iodide funded the pesticide safety study as a condition of the chemical's approval for use on Florida farms. The report was circulated by environmental and farm worker groups that want to prevent the pesticide from being used in California.

A spokesman for the chemical company says the fumigant was not to blame for the high levels of iodide in groundwater.

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California farm groups are backing a Korean free trade agreement.

The United States and South Korea signed a free trade agreement in 2007, but it still needs Senate approval.

South Korea ranks fifth in farm imports, spending $500-million each year.

Farmers say the potential exists to boost those numbers if the previously negotiated free trade agreement is ratified. Members of the California Farm Bureau Federation as well as other groups met last week with Korea's ambassador as well as members of the governor's office.

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You should see a lot of jack-o-lanterns this Halloween.

The mild summer in the central valley has encouraged pumpkin growth. Farmers say their pumpkins are ripening right on schedule for the fall.

Harvest has already started for the early varieties, including Halloween pumpkins being prepared for shipment to Hawaii.

One farmer says the warm-but-not-hot days and cool nights have helped pumpkins grow and gain color and that crop quality could be the best in many years.

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