What is in this article?:
- Biofuels industry making inroads in California
- Agriculture leads the way
- In the long run it will be interesting to see how biofuel crops will fare and how they might impact alfalfa and other commodities, pro and con.
- UC researchers have given high marks to switchgrass in the San Joaquin Valley and Imperial Valley.
- Camelina, a member of the mustard family, can be seeded and harvested with conventional farm equipment. The oilseed crop is considered to be an ideal jet fuel substitute.
Agriculture leads the way
In a recent visit to California, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack talked about a number of economic accomplishments that stand out in the current economy. Nationwide, ag exports have reached $135 billion and there’s a trade surplus. Five years ago the ag surplus was nearly $5 billion. Now, the surplus has climbed to $42 billion. California leads the way in production and ag exports at more than $12 billion annually. According to Vilsack, 8,400 jobs are created for every 1 billion dollars in trade.
Now that President Obama signed off on free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, U.S agriculture will get a nice boost. The forecast for trade opportunities with South Korea is nearly $2 billion, and there’s the potential of several hundred million dollars for the other two countries.