Ag Report - 2/18/11

FRESNO, Calif.

Freezes have hit Florida, Mexico, Arizona and southern California in recent weeks. Marketers say supplies have dropped for crops including bell peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes.

Produce brokers say supplies may be tight until California farms increase their shipments, next month.

Farmers who grow canning peaches are working to expand their market.

Growers have had a very strong crop for a number of years. Marketers say they want to increase domestic production by emphasizing the nutritional value of canned peaches.

The California Canning Peach Association has also been working to open new markets abroad. It says there's strong potential in India.

Private well owners in the south valley could get some free help to make sure their drinking water is safe.

U.C. Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are conducting free private water well tests for people in Tulare County.

Many in Seville and other rural areas are taking advantage of the offer because normally, the tests would cost hundreds of dollars. The Community Water Center in Visalia is helping with testing along with the university and says many well-owners have problems with nitrates and bacteria in their drinking water.

"For private well owners it's really up to them to figure out what's in their water, and the cost is on them so this is a free opportunity for private well owners to be part of a process that not only can give them a short term goal or solution for what's in their water, but be part of a broader water program that will hopefully bring about change," said Susana DeAnda with the Community Water Center.

U.C. Davis hopes its research on the quality of ground water in the south valley will lead to tougher rules for contaminants which can get into the soil.

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