BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - It's been one of those years where everything went wrong for area farmers. That's the focus of a report in today's Business First. Farmers have dealt with a warm early spring, followed by frost, then a hot summer with near-drought conditions. The report says vegetables were spared, but anyone looking for fruit this summer at area farmstands can see the consequences, with shortages of cherries and apricots. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says New York apple production is down 52 percent this year. Pear production will be down 79 percent. Peaches were down 60 percent. Those are record lows. Farmers say the remaining fruit that will come in will have higher prices, but farmers will never make a profit. They'll just try to minimize losses.
Health insurance rates will jump again in 2013, but not as much as in the past. A Business First report says pending approval from the state, most large plans will increase between about five to 10 percent. Rates for small groups and self insured plans will vary. You can get exact figures for Independent Health, Univera and Blue Cross Blue Shield in today's Business First.