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Agriculture briefs

Sheep and wool lovers can see demonstrations of shearing, carding and spinning next Saturday and Sunday at the inaugural Wool Festival in Valley Ford.

The free event will be held each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Valley Ford Mercantile and Wool Mill, 14390 Highway 1, in Valley Ford.

Visitors can learn about the care and preparation of fleeces, as well as see what’s involved in felting, spinning and weaving. Artisan goods for sale will include clothing, bedding, home accessories, blankets, rugs and hand-spun yarns.

For information on each day’s schedule, visit www.valleyfordwoolmill.com.

Ram sale in Cloverdale

A variety of sheep breeds will be represented Saturday at the 88th annual Cloverdale Ram Sale.

The sale will feature such breeds as Suffolk, Dorset, Corriedale, Columbia, Shropshire and Rambouillet. About 100 black-faced rams are consigned for sale.

In addition, buyers will bid on whiteface yearling ewes.

The event, held at the Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, will begin at 8 a.m. with a preview of rams and ewes. A barbecue will follow at 11:30 a.m. and the auction will start at 1 p.m.

For more information, contact sale manager Tom Crane, 480-0378 or send an email to cloverdaleramsale@gmail.com.

Record pork, beef prices

Pork and beef retail prices are setting records amid tighter supplies.

The average price for beef climbed in March to $5.40 per pound, a 23 percent increase compared to the 2010-2012 average, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. It was the sixth straight month of new record retail prices.

For pork, the average retail price reached $3.83 a pound. That was higher than the prior four months and eclipsed a record level set last fall.

“Farmers and ranchers are raising smaller numbers of hogs and cattle,” said John Anderson, the federation’s deputy chief economist. “This is the key factor contributing to higher retail meat prices, a trend that is likely to continue through the summer and, at least for beef, into next year.”

Back-to-back droughts in 2011 and 2012 resulted in less feed available for cattle, and ultimately forced a significant drop in the size of U.S. herds. The federation noted that the USDA has reported that year-to-date beef production has declined nearly 5 percent.

(Compiled by Robert Digitale. Submit items to robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com.)

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