Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Apples to flow between U.S., China

- It likely will take time to reach any volume, but greater trade of apples between the U.S. and China is being allowed after years of efforts.

Early crop gives NW cherry growers high hopes

- Pacific Northwest cherry growers are just starting to harvest a lighter crop with more defects but are delighted by the prospect of record June volume and good prices.

California cherries wrap up light

- California's cherry crop may fall short of its estimate but good quality and timing sets a good table for Washington.

Roza District keeps looking for water; forecast drops

- Summer water supply in Washington's Yakima Basin is now forecast at 44 percent of normal because of drought. A major irrigation district continues its quest for water to lease.

Governor candidate has agriculture background

- An international trade consultant and Port of Seattle commissioner has announced his candidacy for Washington governor.

Seattle port terminal to close for oil protest

- One of the Port of Seattle's terminals will close Monday because of protests planned related to Shell Oil Co. storing Arctic drilling equipment at the port.

Rain eases drought, but not much

- Several days of rain gave some short-term relief to Central and Eastern Washington farmers dealing with drought but also damaged some first-cutting alfalfa.

WSU still looking at McFerson for Extension job

- Washington State University is continuing to consider Jim McFerson, manager of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, for the directorship of the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. A decision may be made ...

Irrigators cope as streamflow forecasts drop

- A large irrigation district in Washington's Yakima Valley has started a temporary shut down, is trying to lease water and use emergency wells as summer streamflow forecasts continue to drop.

Dairies, environmentalists settle lawsuit

- A long legal battle between three dairies in the Sunnyside, Wash., area and citizen and environmental groups over ground water contamination has ended with a pre-trial settlement.

WSU Extension hires new tree fruit specialist

- A Penn State Extension educator will take the WSU Extension tree fruit specialist job in Wenatchee, Nov. 1.

Apple growers on fire blight watch

- Washington state may escape its fire blight danger zone relatively unscathed, but growers in New York are on the bubble, a tree fruit specialist says.

Food safety top apple industry concern, leader says

- The president of the U.S. Apple Association says food safety has become the top concern in the Washington apple industry following a listeria outbreak in California apples that caused three deaths last winter.

Export, import picture helping apple sales

- More exports and less imports are helping Washington apple shippers as they are pressed for time to sell the rest of the 2014 crop.

Record low streamflows forecast for parts of Washington

- The summer streamflow outlook for Washington state continues to drop, concerning irrigators in the Yakima Basin and other watersheds.

Irrigation district shuts down temporarily to save water

- A major irrigation district in the Yakima Basin is ceasing water deliveries for 14 to 21 days to save water for late summer. Water supply is forecast at 47 percent of normal and may drop to 38 percent.

Pregnancy discrimination suit settled

- A tree fruit grower has settled a discrimination lawsuit by agreeing to pay a former employee for firing her because she was pregnant.

New migrant housing to open soon

- Washington Growers League has built more migrant farmworker housing in the Wenatchee area five years after its first facility. A separate camp operated by Chelan County may be in its last year.

Yakima water forecast lowered again

- The forecast for summer water supply in Washington's Yakima Basin was lowered again on May 4 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Water districts meet May 5 to discuss their next moves.

Frost worries fade to surplus apple worries

- Apple producers in Washington, New York and Michigan are more concerned about Washington's big 2014 apple surplus than they are frost or freeze damage.

Western cherry crop off to early start

- California has started harvesting another light cherry crop as the Pacific Northwest eyes another large crop. The season is early.

USDA to make $18.3 million bonus apple buy

- The USDA is making its largest bonus buy of apples and processed apple products in history to help out with an oversupply of apples from the 2014 harvest.

Drought cuts into second-cutting hay

- With drought reducing the water supply in Washington's Kittitas Valley, growers are preparing for just one cutting of Timothy and alfalfa. The main irrigation district hopes to have enough water left for pastures, cattle an...

Washington irrigators look for water

- Irrigation districts in Washington's Lower Yakima Valley are rationing water, considering temporary shutdowns and trying to lease water from each other as the drought unfolds.

Washington asparagus industry eyes a comeback

- Washington asparagus may be at a turning point after 24 years of decline. Yields should improve with high-density planting but finding enough pickers is a problem.

Craft brewers boost demand for hops

- Continued growth of small craft breweries across the country is putting the squeeze on hop growers. They're planting more acres, even in states where it's just been a hobby, but it may not be enough.

Two-job scenario raises conflict concerns

- The manager of a state tree fruit research commission pitches himself to faculty he would oversee if he becomes director of the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center.

Sportsmen question orchard’s use of public land

- Future use of public land that's an elk and deer migratory path is discussed by orchardists, sportsmen and state officials.

New McDougall apple line eight months into maiden season

- McDougall & Sons Inc., Wenatchee, Wash., is on the move with a huge new apple and cherry packing facility to keep up with its expanding orchards.

Twin sisters turn heads on packing line

- Twin sisters live together and pack apples together. People can't tell them apart.

Twin sisters turn heads on packing line

- Twin sisters live together and pack apples together. People can't tell them apart.

Wind machines, heaters fend off frost in Washington

- Freezing temperatures early the morning of April 15 may have damaged tree fruit and wine grapes in Central Washington, but probably not as much as last November's freeze. Effects of that are just now becoming more evident.

Immigration action back in limelight

- A U.S. Court of Appeals hears arguments, April 17, on an injunction that stopped Obama's executive order to give work status to illegal aliens but the issue could take longer if it goes to the Supreme Court.

ICE: Don’t help workers with immigration programs

- Farm labor association tries to get safe harbor for employers who want to help employees apply for temporary legal work status. ICE says no.

McFerson considering WSU tree fruit center job

- The manager of a state tree fruit research commission, funded by and representing private industry, is looking at also directing WSU's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center.

Packers shrink apple crop as sales push continues

- Washington apple shippers continue to discard apples to help reduce the size of the record 2014 crop. Prices are low and may not have bottomed out.

Early bloom record set in Wenatchee

- Red Delicious apple trees are blooming their earliest in the past 93 years in Wenatchee due to warm weather in February and March. It means tree fruit is suceptible to frost damage longer.

Central Washington irrigation district reduces water deliveries

- An irrigation district that serves two-thirds of irrigated acreage in Washington's Kittitas Valley around Ellensburg will start the season at slightly more than half volume.

Spud planter says GPS has dulled abilities

- A Washington potato planter says he could plant a straight line before the days of GPS. Now anyone can do it, he says.

Cold Train owner sues BNSF Railway

- The owner of a refrigerated rail service that went out of business is suing BNSF Railway for failing to provide service therefore messing up sale of the refrigerated service.

Washington snowpack smallest in 35 years

- With the lowest mountain snowpack in decades, Washington state is eyeing probable summer hardships for irrigators in the Yakima and Kittitas valleys and the Walla Walla area.

Apple issues continue in Mexico, China

- Washington apple shippers are trying to maintain access into Mexico and are waiting on process for the final green light for all varieties into China.

Newhouse leads letter for guestworker reform

- Sixty-one members of Congress signed a letter drafted by freshman Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., telling congressional leaders that guestworker reform has to accompany enforcement measures in immigration reform.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.