Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Proposal seeks to keep ports open during labor disputes

- Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse is working on a second bill to prevent strikes and slowdowns at seaports from disrupting the economy.

Chinese fruit importers visit Pacific Northwest

- A delegation of Chinese fruit importers visited apple and pear packing sheds and orchards in Washington and Oregon this week. The industry hopes it translates into increased sales.

Researcher offers irrigation options for farmers

- As prospects of back-to-back drought years loom, Washington State University offers ways for growers to save irrigation water.

CPoW drops out of wolf advisory group, wants it abolished

- A cattle group drops out of Washington's wolf advisory group and calls for its abolition. Another group, the Washington Cattlemen's Association, says the advisory group is finally beginning to make progress.

Wolf panel discusses ‘wolf-friendly beef’

- A "wolf-friendly beef" label for meat from cattle raised under wolf protection measures and ways to help a rancher who lost a lot of sheep to wolves were discussed by Washington's wolf advisory group.

Hops carryover less than last year

- The inventory of old crop hops is down in the U.S. from last year and this year's production is likely to be up in the U.S. and down in Europe.

Growers check out robotic apple picker

- A robotic apple picker, five to six years away from commercialization, was among the technologies talked about and demonstrated at a Washington State University field day in Prosser, Wash.

Irrigation district to wrap season at 60 percent

- A Washington irrigation district with about half its acreage in farmland and half in cities will finish the season on schedule despite being dependent on seepage from other districts.

CRP grazing extended for fire, drought victims

- The Farm Service Agency has extended emergency grazing on CRP lands in Washington from Sept. 30 to Dec. 15 which will help ranchers who lost fall pastures to wildfires.

Kittitas growers find alternative water source

- Kittitas Valley pear and apple growers found other means to water when irrigation district ran out.

Yakima reservoir levels likely to be half of normal by end of season

- Mountain water reservoirs serving the Yakima Basin will start winter refill from half the normal volume, which raises the spector of not completely refilling.

Roza district growers get water a little longer

- One of the largest irrigation districts in Washington's Yakima Valley is pushing water delivery into October. Apples, pears, cherries, wine and juice grapes and field corn have all been impacted by drought.

Washington state vineyards busy with earliest harvest

- Washington vineyards, concentrated in the central region of the state, are busy in harvest. Production is estimated to still climb despite heat, drought.

Apple harvest could finish early

- An early start may mean an early finish of the normally three-month Washington apple harvest. There's a lot of small fruit and some quality issues because of prolonged, excessive heat in June.

Smaller California pear crop helps PNW

- A lighter California pear crop means less competition and should help the Pacific Northwest sell a large pear crop, says the president of The Pear Bureau Northwest.

Rain, snow dampen N. Washington fires

- Precipitation dampened large wildfires in Okanogan County, Wash., a large backburn was avoided and the U.S. Interior Departmernt secretary visited. Locals told her forests need better management.

Pear harvest shifts into high gear

- Pacific Northwest pear growers are busy in harvest and dealing with smaller fruit and increased cullage due to too much heat early in the growing season.

Researcher seeks natural insect controls

- A University of California at Riverside entomologist studies how to control spotted wing drosophila and other pests with natural compounds found in fruits and other foods.

Ranchers criticize forest management, firefighting tactics

- Scores of ranchers throughout Western states are dealing with livestock, grazing, hay and fence losses from wildfires. A major complaint is that state and federal agencies need to reduce fuel loads and fight fires better.

Promotion leaves tree fruit endowed chair open

- A WSU tree fruit faculty position in Wenatchee may change with the promotion of the researcher who held it.

Washington irrigators alter drought project

- Manual labor replaced the idea of pumps to get more water from wilderness lakes for Wenatchee Valley pear growers.

Okanogan fire hits ranchers hard

- Loss of grazing ground and hay stacks is hitting ranchers hard in the Okanogan fire. Firefighting continues in several areas.

PNW gets new refrigerated rail service

- An Atlanta, Ga., company is providing new refrigerated rail service from the Northwest to the Midwest and East Coast.

PNW gets new refrigerated rail service

- An Atlanta, Ga., company is providing new refrigerated rail service from the Northwest to the Midwest and East Coast.

Stemilt Basin drought grant approved

- A state grant will help with this year's drought and expansion of Kyle Mathison cherry orchards in Stemilt Basin.

Apple price recovery may take time, expert says

- Washington wholesale apple prices should rise this season due to a smaller U.S. crop, but they still may take time to rebuild.

Washington grower must pay $16,000 to DOL before he can sell his apples

- "Basically, they had me over a barrel,” a Mesa, Wash., grower said after DOL stopped his apples from being packed.

Grower pays $16,000 DOL fine to sell apples

- The U.S. Department of Labor has fined a Washington state apple grower after allegedly finding children working in the orchard.

Farmworker camp will likely remain open

- The state of Washington and Chelan County likely will sign an agreement soon keeping a seasonal, migrant farmworker camp open in the Wenatchee area.

McFerson hired to run WSU tree fruit center

- Jim McFerson will continue as manager of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission while becoming director of the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center.

Washington, California peach crops lighter

- Peaches, apricots, nectarines and other soft fruits are much bigger crops in California than in Washington. Crops are earlier and lighter this year in both states.

Wildfire claims apple packing plant

- Wildfires that quickly grew out of control around Chelan, Wash., on Aug. 14 destroyed a major apple packing plant, homes and businesses.

China’s currency devaluation worries ag exporters

- China's devaluation of its currency and its impact on other Asian countries has U.S. agricultural exporters worried. It makes U.S. exports more expensive overseas.

Cherry season started early, ends early

- Pacific Northwest sweet cherry growers just concluded their 2015 season that was great in June but collapsed in a glut after the Fourth of July.

Hop estimate up 5.5 million pounds

- The latest estimate of this year's U.S. hop crop is 7 percent greater than a month earlier because the crop is more mature. Demand still exceeds supply.

WSU tests unmanned helicopter to dry cherries

- Washington State University is testing an unmanned helicopter for blowing rainwater off cherries and for spray applications.

Exporters buying less hay this season

- Already squeezed by excess inventory due to last winter's port slowdown, West Coast hay exporters now face the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, which has dragged down other Asian currencies with it.

Apple foundation awards scholarships, grants

- The Washington Apple Education Foundation has awarded more than $850,000 to 225 students headed to colleges and vocational institutes this fall. It's also given grants for farmworker children schooling.

Price rebound predicted for Washington apples

- The Washington apple industry is hoping for better prices in the 2015-2016 sales season off a 2015 crop expected to be 10.5 percent less than last year's crop.