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Bitter cold grips West; citrus and lettuce damaged

January 14, 2013 • Business


This Jan. 11, 2013, photo shows farm worker Javier Hernandez harvesting oranges in a grove to get ahead of the expected hard freeze in Ivanhoe, Calif. As an unusual cold spell gripped parts of the West for a fifth day, some California citrus growers reported damage to crops and an agriculture official said national prices on lettuce have started to rise because of lost produce in Arizona. (AP Photo/The Fresno Bee, Craig Kohlruss) LOCAL PRINT OUT (VISALIA TIMES-DELTA, REEDY EXPONENT, KINGBURG RECORDER, SELMA ENTERPRISE, HANFORD SENTINEL, PORTERVILLE RECORDER, MADERA TRIBUNE, THE BUSINESS JOURANL FRENSO); LOCAL TV OUT (KSEE24, KFSN30, KGE47, KMPH26)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — As an unusual cold spell gripped parts of the West for a fifth day, some California citrus growers reported damage to crops and an agriculture official said national prices on lettuce have started to rise because of lost produce in Arizona.

The extreme chill in the West comes as the eastern U.S., from Atlanta to New York City, is seeing spring-like weather.

In California’s San Joaquin Valley, where farmers are fighting to protect about $1.5 billion worth of citrus fruit on their trees, Sunday temperatures dropped to 25 degrees in some areas and stayed low longer than previous nights.

Prolonged temperatures in the mid-20s or below cause damage to citrus crops.

“It was our coldest night to date,” said Paul Story of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual, an association of the state’s 3,900 citrus growers. “I think mandarin growers are going to see a range of significant damage, enough that they will have to separate their crops.”

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