Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Washington State Department of Agriculture director leaving

- Agriculture Director Bud Hover was scheduled to go before the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday for a confirmation hearing after two years on the job. He says he will leave office at the end of the legislative session.

Washington livestock bill focuses on dairy cows

- Electronic reporting of cattle transactions is confined to unbranded dairy cows in the latest version of a bill in the Washington Legislature.

Friends, family pay tribute to Jack Jones

- A prominent figure in agriculture in the northern part of Washington's Columbia Basin was remembered by family and friends.

Potato Board provides spud price tool

- The U.S. Potato Board has funded development of a tool to help retailers understand how fluctuations in potato prices may affect demand.

Report calls for better data to plan for droughts

- A new report from the California Department of Water Resources suggests improvements are needed in measuring groundwater conditions and predicting whether the next season will be wet or dry.

Tulip festival wins the weather game

- The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival near Woodburn, Ore., gets an early boost from spring-like weather.

New Idaho rules relax import restrictions on livestock

- The Idaho Legislature has approved two pending rules that would relax import restrictions on some livestock. Idaho State Department of Agriculture officials said the new rules would still ensure herd health is protected.

Under House plan, tax breaks for processors face expiration

- The Washington state House budget proposal would let tax breaks for food processors expire.

New water reservoir to help irrigators

- The Roza Irrigation District, serving the northern edge of the Yakima Valley, has only junior water rights, meaning it can be cut off in droughts. It's building a $26 million reservoir to help conserve water.

National wool and sheep report

- Light slaughter lambs were $10-50 lower; heavy slaughter lambs were steady to $5 lower. Slaughter ewes were uneven, mostly steady to $5 lower.

Western hay prices

- Premium and Supreme Alfalfa were sharply higher in Idaho on improved demand.

West Coast grain prices

- Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during March for ordinary protein were 10 to 12.75 cents per bushel lower from $6.15-6.3925, mostly $6.2725 compared to March 19 noon bids for ...

California shell egg report

- Asking prices for next week are 5 cents higher for Large and unchanged on all other sizes.

National slaughter, feeder and stocker cattle report

- Yearling feeder cattle traded firm to $5 higher with instances $6-8 higher.

Selected Western livestock auctions

- Trade was active with very good demand and good buyer attendance at the Toppenish, Wash., Livestock Auction.

Assessing the many benefits of planned grazing

- Columnist Doug Warnock discusses the latest in managed grazing.

Portland daily grain report

- Bids as of 9:30 a.m. Pacific time; subject to change.

Coal country turns to vines as way to attract visitors

- Seco, like so many Central Appalachian communities, owes its existence to coal — its name is an acronym for South East Coal Company. But as mining wanes, officials are looking for something to replace the traditional...

Federal funding in short supply for rural water projects

- The federal government is responsible for paying about $3 billion to complete several rural water projects around the country. The amount represents a fraction of the more than $600 billion needed to address the nation ...

Senate to consider bill raising Washington’s minimum wage

- A committee in the Republican-controlled Senate is scheduled to discuss the measure Monday.

Missouri organic farmers eligible for reimbursement

- The state received $127,800 in federal funds, which will pay producers and handlers 75 percent of expenses to certify their products as organic.

Police kill cougar above popular hiking trail

- It's the second time a cougar has been killed in Bend,Ore., in just over two months.

Forest Service building a better fire shelter

- Developers are trying to find the right combination of weight that won’t add too much to a firefighter’s pack but that can also withstand temperatures well past 1,000 degrees for short periods.

Center shifts focus to sage grouse

- Derek Tilley and his staff at the USDA's Aberdeen Plant Materials Center have a new focus — developing wildflower seeds and planting techniques to avert a sage grouse endangered species listing.

New bioengineering lab benefits UMass Dartmouth students

- Students study bacteria that come from the soil or other natural environments that produce compounds.

Warm, dry weather pushes strawberry season

- California strawberry production is off to a fast start in 2015 because of warm afternoons and a lack of rainfall in the state's prime growing regions. The peak season is arriving about a month earlier than usual.

With perennial rice at hand, is perennial wheat far behind?

- Researchers in China and Australia are close to releasing a perennial rice. U.S. researchers are mixed on how long it will take to release a perennial wheat.

Planning grant to help city untangle rail congestion

- The city of Connell, Wash., has received a $50,000 planning grant to look into ways to address current and expanding railroad congestion.

Apple commission not eager to promote clubs

- An idea of promoting club apple varieties wasn't embraced by the Washington Apple Commission at a recent meeting.

Monsanto fined for not reporting chemical releases

- Monsanto noted there were no allegations that the releases exceeded state of federal standards, or that they contributed to any known health concerns in the area.

Man, 71, killed in collapse of potato cellar

- The men reportedly were tearing down the cellar when the frame collapsed, pinning them underneath.

Prairie Reserve seeks to put bison on public allotment

- American Prairie Reserve has asked the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to add 22,000 acres of new habitat for the bison to the 30,000 acres already in use.

Unprecedented sage grouse protection deal signed in Nevada

- The deal involves Barrick Gold Corp., The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service and establishes a “conservation bank.”

Portland daily grain report

- Bids as of 9:30 a.m. Pacific time; subject to change.

Grafting company stays busy

- Jose Lujano and his sons are busy this time of year with their seasonal, Yakima-based business, grafting fruit trees in orchards througout Central Washington. It's a way of switching tree varieties.

State health agency rewriting farmworker housing standards

- The Washington Department of Health is working on new standards for temporary farmworker housing.

Expected drought shows need for water projects

- An irrigation district serving the Kittitas Valley may not have water to last the season because of drought and that only emphasizes the need for planned reservoir enhancements, an irrigation district board member says.

Oregon farm zone changes raise concerns

- Bills that change allowable uses in farm zones have made farm and property rights groups uncomfortable, albeit for different reasons.

Caution urged after bird flu turns up in Wyoming goose

- Businesses and individuals who keep domestic fowl should keep wild birds away from their flocks and be sure to disinfect equipment, clean cages regularly and change food and water daily.

73-year-old gets 75 years for trying to reclaim former ranch

- A former Montana rancher spent 27 years behind bars after convictions beginning in the mid-1980s for intimidating judges, attorneys and others involved in the court-mandated sale of the ranch.

California lawmakers heading to Cuba on spring trade trip

- Officials in California, the nation’s top food producer, see an opportunity for more trade.

Wyoming ag committee focuses on rustling

- Cattle theft presents a unique challenge for law enforcement. In Wyoming, four brand investigators cover the entire state.

White House unveils plan to fight antibiotic-resistant germs

- The Food and Drug Administration has already successfully encouraged many drug companies to phase out the use of antibiotics used for animal growth promotion, but advocacy groups have called on the agency to limit other use...

Congress in no hurry to pass meat-labeling fix

- Congress is apparently waiting for the outcome of the U.S.' appeal of a World Trade Organization ruling against its mandatory meat-labeling rule before crafting a bill to avert potential trade sanctions by Canada and Mexico...

Apple commission discusses GM position

- With U.S. and Canadian approval of genetically-modified apples, the Washington Apple Commission is discussing it future position on the issue.

Bill grants livestock producers capital gains tax deduction

- A bill that has passed the Idaho Legislature would ensure that partners in a livestock operation are treated the same as other industries when it comes to a state tax deduction for capital gains.

Expert: Oregon neonic ban would be disruptive

- Banning neonicotinoid pesticides could spur farmers to use more toxic chemicals, an expert testified before Oregon lawmakers.

One Washington, two sides

- Washington's east-west divide predates statehood and endures.

Slugs remain a mystery, experts say

- Farmers and researchers recently discussed the mysteries surrounding slugs at Oregon State University's "Slug Summit," in Salem, Ore., on March 25.

More water storage needed across West

- It promises to be a dry summer in most areas of the West, underscoring the need for more water storage.