CIRS Blog about Rural California

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WASHINGTON - The egg producers and animal rights advocates who once battled over animal housing in California see a new farm bill as a chance to put an unusual alliance into action. If lawmakers agree, the bill would phase in the first national standards to include larger cages for egg-laying hens, stricter egg labeling and limits on ammonia buildup.

The farm bill, though, remains a work in progress for which 198 Senate amendments await action, any one of which could alter the legislation’s direction. Nor it is clear that the proposal for national henhouse standards, written by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will last long enough to get a vote.

“I won’t bring it up if it’s going to lose,” Feinstein said.

Spanning 1,010 pages, the Senate’s farm bill, now being debated, gives skeptics and supporters alike plenty to chew over. Self-styled reformers can attack subsidies and home-state lawmakers can seek regional advantage.

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in Farm Bill 4240 0

By Gail Feenstra*, David Visher*, and Shermain Hardesty**

A recent study by University of California researchers examines factors that influence the development of emerging distribution networks embedded in values-based supply chains.  Included in the study are financial considerations, government regulations, industry business practices and entrepreneurial factors.  The study looks at five values-based supply chains in the California produce industry to draw out insights, best practices and conclusions.

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How would US fresh fruit and vegetable producers respond to higher labor costs?  Case studies suggest that there would be labor-saving mechanization in commodities such as raisin grapes and higher prices in strawberries.  Weather is the single most important factor affecting fresh fruit and vegetable trade, but labor and transportation costs also shape trade patterns.  Affluence created a demand for fresh fruits and vegetables year-round, and new seeds and better storage enabled producers to supply commodities year round.  Rising wages can prompt labor-saving mechanization instead of rising imports.  Vegetables are far more mechanized than fruits— about 75 percent of US vegetable and melon tonnage is machine harvested, but less than half of the fruit tonnage.  There was significant interest in mechanization in the 1960s and 1970s, when the end of the Bracero program and the rise of unions led to rapid increases in farm wages.

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in Farm Labor 20176 0

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