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Agriculture briefs

Published: Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.

Plowing Play Day coming May 19

Clydesdales, Percheron, Shire and Belgian draft horses and mules will pull plows and wagons May 19 at the 30th annual Plowing Play Day.

The event, presented by the North Coast Draft Horse and Mule Association, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Jack London State Park outside Glen Ellen.

The day will feature plowing and harnessing demonstrations, free horse-drawn wagon rides, blacksmiths, early day gas engines and medieval horseback Skill at Arms. Food will be offered for sale.

The park formerly was author London’s ranch, where he raised Shire draft horses.

The event is free but participants must pay a $10 parking fee to enter the park. For more information, call 938-5216 or go online to

UFW, ag leaders unite to back immigration plan

As many as 400,000 California undocumented farmworkers may get a fast track to legal status under a potential landmark accord between the agricultural industry and the United Farm Workers union.

The agreement, hashed out with guidance from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., stands to be a major component in immigration legislation introduced Wednesday in the Senate.

Backers hail the farm labor accord as an elixir to a worker shortage in California’s $44.3 billion agricultural industry.

The deal would allow undocumented people who worked steadily in agriculture in recent years to receive a “blue card” legal work permit while speeding up prospects of achieving permanent legal residency. It would also establish a new agricultural guest worker program with wage protections.

New York becomes nation's biggest yogurt producer

New York says it’s now the cream on top of the country’s yogurt production.

State statistics show New York producers churned out 692 million pounds of yogurt last year to take the top spot. California was No. 2 after producing 587 million pounds.

New York yogurt plants have nearly tripled production in the last five years — the same span that saw milk production rise by 1 billion pounds to over 13 billion, making it the nation’s fourth-largest milk producer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lifted some environmental protection regulations regarding cattle waste that will allow dairy farms to produce more milk this year. Farmers will be able to milk more cows without having to build substantially larger barns. The measure was part of the results of a “yogurt summit” Cuomo held in August with yogurt manufacturers and farmers.

— Staff and wire reports. Submit items to

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