Ag Report 3/3/2011

FRESNO, Calif.

Valley Congressman Jeff Denham has introduced a bill to increase water storage in the Central Valley.

Denham wants to increase the capacity of Lake McClure in Mariposa County by modifying the spillway of a nearby dam. Denham says it would make an additional 70,000-acre-feet of water available, which is enough to supply 160,000 homes.

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The state has launched a new system to monitor the risks of long term exposure to pesticides.

The network is the first of its kind in the nation. It will keep track of 24 different pesticides. It's been set up in Shafter in Kern County -- Salinas in Monterey County -- and Ripon in San Joaquin County.

The information will help state health officials determine if there's a link between certain pesticide use and the health of people in those communities.

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Valley peach growers can learn how to grow bigger fruit with smaller trees.

Merced County's U.C. Cooperative Extension Service is having a mechanized blossom thinner demonstration for peach growers.

Experts say the blossom thinner has been proved to increase fruit size and yield, while reducing hand thinning costs in certain peach varieties.

The demonstration is Friday, March 4th starting at 10 a.m. in Ceres. It's at the Voss Orchard on Gilbert Road south of Hatch Road. Tor details call the Merced County Cooperative Extension office at 209-385-7403.

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