Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Cuba is potential market for PNW fruit

- Cuba's economy and middle class need to grow for it to buy Pacific Northest tree fruit, industry leaders say.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Longshore agreement may be near, port officials say

- Tacoma and Seattle port officials told Washington Apple Commission members on Dec. 11 that an agreement may be reached before a Dec. 15 longshore union meeting.

Mexican growers allege Washington apple dumping

- Washington apple growers are responding to allegations made by Mexican apple growers that they are sending apples to Mexico at below-market prices.

PNW cherry growers sell record crop

- Cherry growers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah are invited to the 72nd annual Cherry Institute in Yakima, Wash., Jan. 16. They will discuss the record 2014 crop and ways to sell more cherries.

Many uses seen for portable wind machine

- A portable wind machine from New Zealand is finding many uses from crop frost protection to cooling and keeping flies off cattle.

Poland wants U.S. apple access

- Much was talked about during the first day of Washington state's annual tree fruit meeting, including Polish apples possibly coming to the U.S. a year from now.

Speakers bullish on future of apples

- World population growth and a new generation of health-conscious consumers are reasons the future of apples is bright, speakers say at Washington state's annual tree fruit gathering.

Washington vineyards free of certain pests

- Certain wine grape pests, including some bad ones, have yet to show up in Washington vineyards, according to summer trapping.

Demand for orchard trees may slow

- Apple prices and grower returns are falling from this year's large Washington apple crop. It's likely to cause a drop in the backlog of orders for new trees.

Washington’s ‘big dig’ battles cold, rain, mud

- A freeze and then rain is making the toughest harvest for Washington tree fruit nurseries in years. They may have to wait to spring to finish.

Port slow downs bite apple industry

- Already reeling from low prices due to oversupply, the Washington apple industry now is losing important overseas sales due to the longshoremen's union work slow down.

H-2A continues rapid growth in Washington

- Use of H-2A visa foreign guestworkers continues to leap upward in Washington state, mainly driven by the state's tree fruit industry.

H-2A wage jumps throughout the West

- The U.S. Department of Labor has set new minimum wages for H-2A visa foreign guestworkers for 2015 that are up substantially for Washington and Oregon and less so in California and Idaho.

Farm labor keeps tightening, industry says

- It's hard to get a real handle on it, but agricultural labor sources say the shortage of farmworkers, particularly seasonal, continues to worsen. A big part of it, they say, is people leaving fields for more appealing work.

GOP must act on immigration, Nassif says

- A leader in negotiating the agricultural portion of the 2013 Senate immigration bill says Congress must reassert its constitutional authority to make and pass immigration reform.

Speaker urges fight for private property rights

- A former Reagan administration official urges defense of private property rights and says Reagan showed the way.

Real immigration reform must come from Congress, Farm Bureau official says

- It's good that the president is focused on immigration reform but real solutions can only come from Congress, an American Farm Bureau Federation official says.

Carlton Fire: Ranchers, growers face long recovery

- Four months after the largest wildfire in Washington state history burned 256,000 acres, caused one death and millions of dollars in loss of 300 homes, 1,000 cattle, 500 miles of fencing and millions of board feet of timber...

Immigration order unlikely to help ag, labor experts say

- Several agricultural industry labor experts say a presidential order giving legal status and work status to millions of illegal aliens won't help and may worsen the national shortage of seasonal farm labor.

Ag group opposes power rate increases

- An agricultural group doesn't like rate increases adopted by Grant County Public Utility District, saying they switch preference away from farm irrigators and residences to large industrial customers like Microsoft and Yahoo.

Bison meat industry looks to grow

- Bison meat is more common as a high-end, healthy food choice in grocery stores, but the number of farmed animals and producers dropped in the 2012 USDA Ag Census from the one in 2007.

Huge apple crop grows, prices fall

- Washington apple prices are the lowest they've been in eight years as the industry grapples with selling a crop 20 percent larger than the previous receond high.

Insurance extended for late apple harvest

- The federal government has extended multi-peril crop insurance for apple growers by an additional 15 days of harvest due to late maturity of apples.

Washington wine grapes to set record

- Washington wine grape growers are finishing up what will be a record harvest for the third year in a row. Increased acreage and good weather contributed.

Mason bee touted as better pollenizer

- Mason bees are a better alternative to honey bees for pollinating tree fruit and crops, a group of bee producers who are holding seminars in Wenatchee, Hood River and Stockton say.

NW Red, Golden Delicious apples allowed back into China

- China has reopened its doors to Pacific Northwest Red and Golden Delicious apples just in time to help Washington sell its huge apple crop. Industry leaders hope to sell 500,000 to 1 million boxes of apple there over the ne...

Pacific Northwest pear crop estimate grows

- The Pacific Northwest pear crop is larger than expected and off to a good start in sales and prices. Some growers likely will make more money on pears than apples this year.

Poland gains apple access in Canada

- Poland has gained access to Canada for its apples but it may not hurt Washington exports there.

New tree fruit group nominates board

- The temporary board of the new Washington State Tree Fruit Association has nominated a slate of candidates for a new board some of whom are the same. Others can run.

Huge apple crop pushes bin production

- With a huge Washington apple crop, producers of wood and plastic apple bins say they are making more but decline to reveal production levels. KapStone, the region's main cardboard box manufacturer, had no comment.

Stemilt picks a new apple

- One of the nation's largest tree fruit companies, Stemilt Growers Inc., has hooked up with the University of Minnesota for rights to grow and manage a new apple variety it's sure will be a winner.

Washington apple harvest starts final leg

- Washington apple harvest enters the home stretch with more selective picking than normal because of a huge crop. Harvest started Aug. 1 and will finish about Nov. 15.