Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Sales of Northwest pears are slow

- Even with a smaller crop, pear sales are slower than they should be in the Pacific Northwest this season, partly because of a large apple crop, a top pear man says.

Pear growers renew oldest marketing order

- Growers representing 90 percent of production volume voted to renew the Fresh Pear Committee of Marketing Order 927 for six years.

May Day immigration rallies planned

- Immigration activists encourage workers to strike for a day on May 1 to protest federal immigration policies and enforcement. Farmworker participation may not be all that high.

Nursery switches to white fiberglass stakes

- White fiberglass nursery tree stakes are an eye catcher near Quincy, Wash., and new to the area as other nurseries use bamboo and steel stakes.

El Salvadoran, Guatemalan H-2A workers hired

- The Washington farm labor association known as WAFLA is recruiting its first El Salvadoran and Guatemalan H-2A-visa workers for Washington orchard work and Christmas bough harvests.

Western innovator: Making harvests more efficient

- Out of small town California Basque sheep herding roots has come a man with a mind that sees innovative solutions to fruit and produce harvest. A machine 35 percent more efficient than harvesting apples with ladders.

Irrigation district may seek Bureau of Reclamation assets

- One of several irrigation districts served by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Yakima Basin Project may seek title to assets when it finishes paying a $5 million lease-loan.

Western Growers backs ICE focus on felons

- Growers’ association backs roundup of illegal felons and calls for forward path for noncriminal illegals working in agriculture.

Washington irrigation season outlook promising

- Abundant high-elevation snowpack and a cool spring all bode well for ample water for Washington irrigators this summer.

Funding for Washington wine research tops $1 million

- Annual funding for Washington wine and wine grape research is increasing 20 percent starting in July from a successful wine auction last August.

Associations seek seasonal farmworker housing

- A grower association seasonal farmworker housing project slips further behind schedule in Mattawa, Wash., while another association pursues projects in Okanogan and Chelan.

Some Washington ranchers fear USFS taking their grazing

- Ranchers in Okanogan County, Washington, believe the USFS is trying to take away rights to graze cattle on federal land. The USFS denies it. A congressman isn’t satisfied.

Washington member of Congress opposes grizzly bear restoration

- Summary: A federal plan to restore and reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascade Mountains is opposed by U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.

Fire destroys fruit packing shed in Wenatchee

- A small fruit packing company in Wenatchee, Wash., lost its main packing shed in a fire of undetermined origin the evening of March 24.

Ranchers fear Forest Service taking their grazing

- Ranchers in Okanogan County, Washington, believe the USFS is trying to take away rights to graze cattle on federal land. A county commissioner says more of the same might be happening in the West.

China boosts apple exports to U.S.

- Washington apple producers have benefited from full varietal access to China, which is also stepping up its export game

Chinese pear sales grow slowly in U.S.

- Imports of Chinese pears in the U.S. are slowly growing while imports of U.S. pears in China maybe stalled. Chinese growers may try to block our cherries.

Trade groups pursue joint plan

- Northwest Fruit Exporters and the Northwest Horticultural Council are working toward joint operations by fall. Both deal with foreign market issues for the Northwest tree fruit industry.

China boosts apple exports to U.S.

- Washington apple producers have benefitted from full varietal access into China, but China is also stepping up its game.

U.S. hops supply catches up to demand

- The U.S. hops industry has crossed the summit from too little supply to the start of too much as inventory is up for the second March in a row. Acreage and prices will start to decline next year, sources say.

WAFLA moves H-2A workers to PNW by air

- The farm labor association WAFLA has brought workers from Mexico to Idaho for the first time by air and plans to do more instead of using buses for the whole journey.

Apple commission plans to boost overseas promotions

- Reallocating dollars and encouraging shippers to use the Washington apple logo more overseas to build brand identity are two ways the Washington Apple Commission is trying to heighten promotions in an increasingly competiti...

Produce safety water rule reconsidered

- Water safety testing requirements for growers under the Food Safety Modernization Act are being reconsidered by the acting commissioner of the FDA, says a Yakima grower who testified for federal specialty crop funding.

Gala prices fall as marketers struggle with huge crop

- The crop shrinks. Prices drop. Washington apple marketers continue to deal with selling their second largest crop amid a strong national crop year.

Farm settles labor lawsuit for $1.2 million

- While continuing to deny wrongdoing, Mercer Canyons Inc. will pay $1.2 million to end a lawsuit accusing it of violating laws to avoid fully paying workers.

Winter delays Washington fruit tree pruning, bloom

- Pruning, bloom and the start of cherry harvest are all being delayed this year in Central Washington because of prolonged winter weather compared to the two most recent years.

Washington state’s snowpack improves

- After a cold, dry January, mountain snows developed nicely in Washington in February and are continuing into March providing optimism for irrigators.

Canal repairs delay irrigation start-up in Washington

- One of Washington’s largest irrigation districts will be seven days late in its spring startup of water deliveries to farmers because of canal damage from flash flooding.

Washington may reach 15,000 H-2A workers this year

- With domestic farm laborers continuing to grow scarce, the farm labor association WAFLA expects to help growers hirer more foreign guestworkers this year and hopes the process is made easier by the Trump administration.

No widespread crackdown on illegal immigrants seen in Yakima Valley

- U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents have reportedly arrested tree fruit packing shed employees in the Yakima Valley as alleged criminal illegal aliens. Workers and employers througout the region are said to...

Washington wine industry pioneer Terry Flanagan dies at age 79

- Terry Flanagan, who helped establish the modern wine industry in Northcentral Washington, has died at 79.

Good relations keep unions at bay, attorneys say

- The best deterrent to unionization is for employers to listen and treat employees well, labor attorneys say.

Report quantifies value of Washington’s H-2A workers

- Foreign farmworkers harvested a large part of Washington’s tree fruit crop in 2014, contributing to to the state’s economy, an economic analysis shows.

Pessimism on immigration reform

- Labor association leaders from Washington and North Carolina are not optimistic about immigration reform clearing Republicans divided in the House and Democratic opposition in the Senate.