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Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Small town to get grape crushing plant

- A wine grape crushing facility is being planned for George, Wash., which will boost city revenues and may spark development of an industrial park.

Agriculture may contribute to air pollution, state says

- Agricultural ammonia and nitrogen from vehicles in certain weather conditions are believed to be causing high nitrate levels that can be harmful near Yakima, Wash. Farm fertilizers and dairies might be sources of the ammonia.

Central Washington nursery sells its last trees

- One of Central Washington's fruit tree nurseries is closing its doors after more than half a century in business.

Irrigators get new water source

- A project saving water for salmon is giving a small group of landowners near Cowiche and Tieton, Wash., a new source of irrigation water.

Fruit trees blooming early in Central Washington

- Warm temperatures, particularly at night, are hastening blossom of Central Washington fruit trees and allowing more time for frost damage.

Organic apples may run out sooner than usual

- Prices and demand for organic apples are so good that Washington shippers will run out of them sooner this season. Marketers say it's fueled by a growing organic lifestyle and retailers willing to trim profit margins.

Snowpack, streamflows healthy in Washington

- With adequate Washington snowpack the only water worries are mid-summer for orchards along certain streams if higher-than-average spring temperatures continue.

Big machine helps in orchard replant

- It's the time of year tree fruit orchards are being replanted and expanded. The big AGCO TerraGator is being used in micromanagement of fertilizer applications in replanting, a task it once only did for row crops.

Orchards focus on getting water

- Irrigators continue to work to get water to orchards as investigation continues of crack in Wanapum Dam.

Farm equipment auctioneer Jesse A. Heaverlo dies at 67

- A third-generation farm industry auctioneer passes in Yakima. His wife and brother carry on business with roots back 100 years.

Dairies, ranchers beset by too many elk

- A state senator has called a meeting to address a problem of elk consuming forage on dairies and ranches meant for feeding dairy and beef cattle.

WSU opens lottery on new apple variety

- It's known now only by its research name, but WA 38 should have a new name in June when the first commercial growers of the new apple variety are chosen by lottery.

Washington orchards face crunch time

- Irrigation districts and orchards large and small from Wenatchee to south of Rock Island are modifying systems to reach water for the irrigation season.

Life after an I-9 audit

- An apple and pear grower in North Central Washington says he's facing a rough road after a federal audit that cost him virtually his entire workforce.

Survey to help new tree fruit website

- Washington State University wants tree fruit growers and affiliated industry people to take a survey to help it decide the types of information to provide on a one-stop-shop tree fruit website.

Newhouse picks up support for congressional bid

- Dan Newhouse, former director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, announced the support of 16 local officials in his candidacy for Congress. Newhouse is one of six Republicans running.

Roles redefined for apple export organizations

- Two Yakima organizations, at the behest of the Washington Apple Commission, are dividing duties of market access and export work plans.

Russian troubles may hurt apple, pear exports

- U.S. sanctions on Russia could result in loss of U.S. apple and pear markets there. Meanwhile, Washington apple industry remains locked out of China.

Apple commission gains MAP money

- The Washington Apple Commission will receive more federal export promotion money in the next fiscal year and adopts an increased budget.

Grower wonders if orchard will survive drawdown

- A grower south of Malaga, Wash., survived two wildfires last summer and now faces no water.

River drawdowns threaten orchards

- A crack in Wanapum Dam, causing drawdowns of reservoirs upriver, is threatening numerous orchards within weeks of when irrigation water is critical. It is unknown how long the drawdowns will last.

Wash. pesticide worker removal up in 2013

- More pesticide applicators were temporarily removed from work in 2013 due to overexposure to pesticides than in the previous six years, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries says.

Apples continue good sales pace

- Imported apples aren't likely to be too much competition against domestic sales in the second half of the season, a Washington apple marketer says.

No cause for Washington birth defects pinpointed

- With a state Department of Health study finding no commonalities in an increase in a rare birth defect in three Washington counties, it may be statistical variance, a WSU scientist says.

Another wine grape record in Washington

- Washington wine grapes reached a new record tonnage in 2013. The industry keeps growing, citing good demand.

New owner plans to expand Cold Train

- The Cold Train refrigerated rail service is being bought by a Michigan Railroad company that plans to triple its capacity in five years.

More canned pears needed, expert says

- More pears may be needed to save the canned pear industry as consumers continue to prefer fresh over canned pears and growers make good money on both, a canned pear promoter says.

DNR drops Stemilt orchard idea

- A Chelan County, Wash., official says the Washington Department of Natural Resources has dropped plans to develop cherry orchards in Stemilt Basin near Wenatchee. West Mathison, president of Stemilt Growers, says that's a l...

Tree fruit groups work on merger details

- Four Washington tree fruit organizations may be closer to becoming one for a clearer lobbying voice.

Newhouse joins congressional race

- A farmer and former legislator and state director of agriculture, Dan Newhouse, enters the Republican race for Washington's 4th Congressional District, vowing to work to repeal Obamacare. He joins Clint Didier and

Number of H-2A workers may grow in Oregon

- Use of H-2A visa foreign guestworkers continues to climb in Washington's tree fruit industry, and Oregon strawberry growers may turn to it.

H-2A can attract domestic workers

- Pacific Northwest tree fruit growers are using more H-2A visa foreign guestworkers but they shouldn't forget program benefits can help attract domestic workers, a labor association director says.

Higher minimum wages hurt competitiveness, Nassif says

- Higher minimum wages makes agriculture less competitive globally, Western Growers president says.

Newhouse, Peck may run for congressional seat

- It likely will be a crowded Republican primary contest for the nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings. Dan Newhouse, former state ag director, is seriously looking at it. So is Brad Peck, a Franklin County commissione...