Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Wild duck, captive falcon infected with bird flu in Washington

- Officals say avian flu has been found in Washington state. Ten British Columbia poultry farms have been infected with a highly contagious strain of avian influenza.

Mint farm’s candy gains a sweet presence in Oprah’s magazine

- Farmer Mike Seely says the publicity in Oprah's magazine is great, but candy production uses only 2 percent of his mint oil harvest.

Ranchers mostly pleased with omnibus bill

- Public lands ranchers have a lot to be happy about in the government funding bill passed by both the House and Senate, from a pullback of EPA regulation to grazing and rangeland support. Trade and marketing provisions, howe...

Cows missing from Pocatello butcher

- Two cows were reported stolen, and one missing cow was found. In an earlier incident, police shot another cow after it escaped.

It’s official: GMO labeling loses recount

- Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown has certified a recount that shows Measure 92 was defeated by 837 votes.

CME cash dairy markets mixed

- Columnist Lee Mielke wraps up the week's dairy news.

Officials agree not to enforce GMO ban pending trial

- Oregon's Jackson County will not enforce a ban on genetically engineered crops while a lawsuit over the prohibition is underway.

WSDA sleuths identify bugs for much of U.S.

- The Washington Department of Agriculture entomology laboratory in Olympia is the go-to place in the Western United States for the identification of moths and butterflies.

Rice ‘strawlage’ researchers, growers working out the kinks

- Ranchers, rice growers and University of California Cooperative Extension researchers are still fine-tuning their methods for preparing rice straw for use as an affordable cattle feed. The use of "rice strawlage" has been p...

A lot goes into quest for fruit quality

- From fruit tree breeding to design of tree structure and chemical blossom thinning for desired crop load, a lot happens in the growing of tree fruit that consumers may rarely think about.

Federal spending bill pays dividends to ag

- The recently approved $1.1 trillion federal spending bill contains a lot to please agriculture.

Maui group wins ability to intervene in GMO case

- SHAKA Movement attorney Michael Carroll says the judge’s ruling on Monday will allow his clients to file their own motions and to respond and object to plaintiff motions.

Trust protects swath of Jackson Hole acreage

- The conservation easement was supported by the U.S. Forest Service and the state of Wyoming. It preserves a migration corridor used by elk as well as riparian habitat along the Snake River.

Montana bighorn sheep dying of pneumonia

- The pneumonia outbreak was in the Upper Yellowstone sheep herd near Gardiner.

Idaho beer distributors challenge brewpub license

- The law is designed to prevent large producers from controlling the distribution chain and squeezing out competitors. Members of the Idaho Beer and Wine Distributors Association say the Anheuser-Busch purchase means 10 Bar...

Holy cow! Vatican to open pope’s farm to public

- Soon, the public will be able to see the free-range hens housed in a majolica-decorated chicken coop, the ostriches, turkeys, rabbits and 80 cows that feed Pope Francis and his staff.

Portland daily grain report

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

Ex-employee of Whitgro pleads guilty, to be sentenced in January

- A former Whitgro employee will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty to stealing more than $300,000 from the Whitman County, Wash., grain company.

Water supply task force inches forward

- An Oregon water fund task force is making progress toward a compromise that would make $10 million available for water storage projects.

Proposed water testing rules worry fruit growers

- Tree fruit officials are concerned federal food safety rules will be a burden to orchard irrigation and one industry leader says the regs could become as onerous as the Endangered Species Act.

Appeals court to reconsider national forest case

- In March, a divided three-judge panel sided with the state of Alaska and found the U.S. Department of Agriculture had legitimate grounds in 2003 to temporarily exempt the Tongass from the Roadless Rule.

Water dispute nears end between tribes, government

- Five San Diego County tribes filed a lawsuit 45 years ago against two California agencies and the U.S. government for diverting most of the water from the San Luis Rey River.

Agency extends time for comments on fisher listing

- A larger cousin of the weasel, the Pacific fisher lives in forests of California, Oregon and Washington.

California dam being removed

- The built-up sludge behind the dam is going to be left in place, planted with native trees and grasses, and surrounded with a rock berm, which should allow the reservoir to revert to nature once the dam is removed next year.

Federal ruling a win for California’s bullet train

- The ruling makes it clear that federal law has precedent over state law as it pertains to construction of the high-speed rail line.

Minnesota to pump potash into lake to kill zebra mussels

- The potash application is a follow-up to earlier treatments with the bacteria-based pesticide Zequanox and copper.

Kansas boosts efforts to fight cattle theft

- The new unit will combine the law enforcement authority of the attorney general’s office with the livestock investigations authority of the agriculture department.

Brucellosis found in second Montana cow

- Brucellosis has been largely eradicated from livestock but persists in elk and other wildlife in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Halal beef supplier vows to contest fraud charges

- The company and its directors are charged with conspiring to make and use false statements and documents, sell misbranded meat and commit mail and wire fraud.

Apple commission mulls tough year

- It's a tough year for Washington apples. The Washington Apple Commission is working to build export demand. Oversupply could end up as livestock feed.

WSU study: Yakima Basin projects don’t pencil out

- Washington State University study concludes cost of building water storage in Yakima Basin would exceed economic benefits.

Retiring OSU researchers honored

- Seven long-time Department of Crop and Soil Science personnel are honored as they retire.

Idaho growers look to whole-farm insurance

- The Risk Management Agency is rolling out a new whole farm insurance program.

Gray fox in Southern Oregon tested positive for rabies

- Health authorities urge caution when approaching animals acting strangely.

National wool and sheep summary

- Slaughter lambs were steady to $10 lower, except at New Holland, Pa., steady to $10 higher. Slaughter ewes were steady.

Western hay market report

- In Oregon, trade activity was light with the holidays coming up and inclement weather hindering some trade.

Selected West Coast grain markets

- Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during December for ordinary protein were steady to 2.75 cents per bushel higher from $6.85-7.3755, mostly $7.0675.

California egg markets

- Trade sentiment is mostly steady. Offerings are moderate on moderate to fairly good demand. Supplies are moderate

Chobani shows off new filtration system

- Chobani has installed a high-tech reverse osmosis system at its Twin Falls plant to convert acid whey into pure water and a high-nutrition feed product.

National slaughter, feeder and stocker cattle report

- Feeder calves under 550 lbs. sold mostly steady to $5 higher early week, with trends from mid-week on turning mostly $5 to instances $10 lower.

Hermiston extension center hires approved

- One position filled, another approved by dean.

Researcher warns of soil compaction effects

- Heavier equipment means soil compaction that can affect crop yield, says University of Idaho soil scientist John Hammel. Farmers need to start thinking about how to address the issue.

Apple trade groups eye getting closer

- They redefined their roles last March and now two Washington apple industry trade organizations are looking at greater cooperation.

Registration opens for Organicology 2015 in Portland

- The annual event in Portland attracts organic producers, retailers and others.

Apple industry interested in changing labor law

- Absorbing tens of millions of dollars in losses weekly from a West Coast longshoremen's work slow down, the Washington apple industry is interested in curbing union power.

Idaho ag posts another revenue record

- Idaho has set a record for farm-gate revenue for a fifth consecutive year.

Rain above average, but snow lagging in Washington, Oregon

- Snowpacks are inadequate in Oregon and Washington but Idaho has fared better so far.

Voluntary sage-grouse initiatives in Oregon appear protected from congressional spending block

- Private landowners and soil and water conservation districts in eight Oregon counties are engaged in voluntary sage grouse habitat measures.

Full U.S.-China apple access ‘highly likely’

- It looks likely apples will flow both ways between the U.S. and China in a couple of months, industry officials say.

UI, Simplot renew Parma research station agreement

- J.R. Simplot Co. and University of Idaho have renwed an argeement that has helped the university's Parma research and extension station in Southwestern Idaho remain open. Under the agreement, Simplot provides the Parma sta...