10-21 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Most pears come from California, Washington, and Oregon. The cool, wet spring in the west could knock down overall pear production by eleven percent from last year. But the 2009 crop was plentiful and a report says analysts expect plenty of pears to be available for both domestic and export markets.

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Many of the nation's cattle producers are struggling to get reasonable prices for their animals. They say it's a trend that could eventually mean lesser-quality meat on your dinner table.

The Associated Press interviewed cattle producers who reported having no choice but to sell the vast majority of their cattle to the single buyer who submitted a competitive bid. An analysis of shipping logs and sales receipts confirmed their accounts.

The producers say the struggle to get a decent price is forcing ranchers and feedlot owners out of business. The complaints have also drawn the interest of federal regulators, who are investigating possible antitrust violations.

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California citrus growers will be paying more to help stop a devastating pest.

The State Ag Secretary has approved an increase in the annual assessment on citrus growers. Instead of a penny per box, growers will pay nine-cents per 40-pound box of citrus crops.

The money will be used to control the Asian citrus psyllid. The pest spreads H.I.B. disease which can kill a citrus crop. The insect has been confirmed in Southern California, although the disease has yet to be detected in the state.

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Potato growers say the spud is being unfairly singled out by healthy food advocates.

Families on the federal WIC program can no longer buy potatoes with their federal dollars after a recommendation by the institute of medicine. Potatoes are the only vegetable not allowed.

The institute has also recommended that the U.S. Department Of Agriculture-backed School Lunch Program limit use of potatoes.

The head of the Washington Potato Commission, is so exasperated by the proposals that he's in the midst of a 60-day, all potato diet to demonstrate that potatoes are nutritious.

Potatoes have plenty of potassium and vitamin c, but they also are loaded with carbohydrates.

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