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Agriculture briefs

Kunde Mickelson joins Fair Board

Fourth generation winegrower Marcia Kunde Mickelson of Santa Rosa has joined the Sonoma County Fair Board.

Also, Lisa Carreño, executive director for Scholarship Sonoma County, this fall became president of the 15-member fair board.

Kunde Mickelson oversees the daily management of Kunde Family Estate in Kenwood, a family-owned winery and vineyard operation. She also is co-owner of Sonoma Mountain Herefords, a registered Hereford cattle operation.

Other fair board officers include Vice President Cindy Crane, owner of Crane Melon Barn in Santa Rosa; Treasurer Teejay Lowe, CEO of G&G Markets in Santa Rosa and Petaluma; and Secretary Lisa Wittke Schaffner, executive director of the John Jordan Foundation in Healdsburg.

The 2014 fair will be held July 24 through August 10 at the fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.

Milk prices could soar without farm bill

Some pundits are calling it a “dairy cliff” — warning that if a farm bill doesn’t pass before year’s end, consumers early next year could see milk prices double to $8 a gallon.

However, analysts are predicting action will be taken to prevent a decades-old milk pricing formula from kicking in and causing sticker shock at the dairy case a few weeks from now.

Mike Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen in Modesto, and other analysts point out that even if a comprehensive farm bill isn’t in place by year’s end, Congress still can pass a short-term extension of the dairy law to buy time. Perhaps such an extension could be included in the next government funding bill, due Jan. 15.

Probably Congress’ biggest incentive: No member wants to return to his or her district to explain $8-a-gallon milk.

Psyllid quarantine expanded in Central Valley

State farm regulators have placed another 234 square miles in Tulare and Kern counties under quarantine for the Asian citrus psyllid.

The action came late last month after the detection of three psyllids near Exeter, Lemon Cove and the unincorporated area southeast of Porterville in Tulare County, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture. The region’s total quarantined area now stands at 888 square miles, including nearby portions of Fresno County.

Other quarantines exist in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The psyllid is an invasive species that can carry a disease known as citrus greening. The disease is blamed in Florida for the loss of an estimated 6,600 jobs and $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers.

— Staff and wire reports. Submit items to robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com

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