10-22 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

The suit filed in 1999 contends that Indian farmers and ranchers lost about $500 million because they were denied federal loans. The agreement also includes $80 million in farm debt forgiveness for the Indian farmers.

A hearing on preliminary approval of the deal is set for October 29th

The Central Valley's raisin industry is ending its two price system for export sales. That means the entire raisin crop will be available for sale.

In past years, 15 percent of the crop was held back to pay for marketing raisins overseas. But world raisin production has declined and its driven prices up to levels which have not been seen in recent years.

The Raisin Administrative Committee says export sales are up nearly 50-percent in four years.

The world's worst palm pest has been found in the southland.

The Red Palm Weevil has never before been found in the United States. But the State Department of Food and Agriculture confirmed the discovery of the pest in the Laguna Beach area.

It's described the weevil as "the world's worst pest of palm trees." The department wants to learn if a full-scale infestation exists. The pest would threaten decorative palm trees, nurseries that grow the trees, and date palms that produce fruit.

Next spring could be a challenge for the state's almond farmers.

A University of California bee expert says those farmers need bees to pollinate almond blossoms, and the availability of bees has been hurt by the unexplained "colony collapse disorder."

Experts say the continued planting of new almond orchards has expanded demand for pollination, meaning that more than a million bee colonies will be needed for the almonds.

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