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Focus on Ag: New law puts hay haulers in a bind

Hay haulers will meet in Gustine on Tuesday to air concerns about new state rules for securing loads. They require side-to-side strapping rather than the front-to-back method that haulers have been using. Haulers say the new method could cause bales to fall off, putting other drivers in danger. They also say using both methods, to assure safety and compliance with the new rules, would add to hauling times and costs. The meeting will be at 11 a.m. at Anthony Peters Trucking, 30376 Sullivan Road. A barbecue will follow. People planning to attend should call Peters at 602-1911 or Curt Schmidt at 587-5566.

The 12th annual Ag Aware Luncheon, a fund-raiser for FFA programs in Modesto City Schools, will take place Thursday. The event, sponsored by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and Blue Diamond Growers, will be at 11:30 a.m. at the SOS Club, 819 Sunset Ave. The guest speaker will be Paul Wenger, a Modesto-area nut grower and first vice president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. The $25 tickets are available at the chamber office, 1114 J St., 577-5757. Each table sponsorship is $350 and includes eight tickets.

Ray Gene Veldhuis, a dairy farmer in the Winton area, received a Member of Distinction Award from Dairy Farmers of America. The cooperative presented the award to Veldhuis and six other members at its March 20 annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo. Veldhuis has 2,500 cows and 26 employees on his 600-acre farm, which produced nearly 69 million pounds of milk in 2005. He also farms 1,500 acres of almonds. The cooperative cited Veldhuis' involvement in planning and environmental issues, as well as the group's legislative affairs. He also provides access to his farm to students from Cornell University, Syracuse University and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

To submit items about agribusiness, call 578-2385, send a fax to 578-2207, or send an e-mail to