Agriculture briefs: Strawberries assessed

Siskiyou County strawberry plant nursery growers report vast improvement since a July storm damaged their fields. However, it still is uncertain how many plants will be available this fall.

Farmers who want to plant early may find shortages will be greater than those who normally plant later. Plant harvest will start about a week later than usual. Weather since the storm has been good, and some plants that looked dead have rebounded. The California Strawberry Commission and the county's agricultural commissioner's office agree there will be a shortfall, but no one is certain what the impact will be on next year's production.

Groups push AgJOBS

As farmers harvest, farm groups are pressing Congress to pass the AgJOBS bill. The measure that would provide temporary foreign workers to assist in farm production. Thus far reports from farm fields indicate that the labor supply this year is tight. But, growers are concerned about the impact of a federal administrative rule which would require farmers to dismiss workers whose Social Security numbers do not match their names.

Pumpkins head for stores

California-grown pumpkins are headed to retail stores, and some chains already have them for sale. Growers say this has been a good year for pumpkin production as it wasn't as hot as last year.