9-17 Am Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

The California Date Commission says crews have been harvesting the medjool variety, which is often eaten fresh. Dates used for cooking will be harvested beginning next month.

The commission says the state's farmers expect to harvest about 25-million pounds of dates. That's up slightly from last year.

California produces more than 80 percent of dates grown in the U.S.

A republican senator is threatening to hold up a food safety bill that would give the food and drug administration more power to prevent salmonella outbreaks, like the recent tainted egg recall.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn says democrats must find a way to pay for the bill. The legislation would give the FDA more power to recall tainted products, require more inspections and producers to follow stricter health and safety standards.

A farmer hopes to drive home a message to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, so he's riding his tractor on city streets.

John Boyd is the head of the national black farmer's association. He rode his tractor to Capitol Hill yesterday and says he'll make the tractor ride each day.

The senate is in session until it approves a $1.25-billion settlement for black farmers. This is the second round of a 13-years-old discrimination case.

In July the house approved a bill that provided money for a payout. But an attempt to approve the funds failed in the senate last month.

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