Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

H-2A provider increases bus inspections

- In light of fatal H-2A-worker bus accidents in other states, the largest provider of H-2A foreign guestworkers in the West is stepping up its inspections of transportation services it uses.

Cold Train amends lawsuit against BNSF

- An inoperative refrigerated rail service, Cold Train, renews litigation against BNSF after the original lawsuit was dismissed.

Quest for the best apple

- Washington State University Associate Professor of Horticulture Kate Evans steers the first apple breeding program to use DNA testing for quality.

Cattlemen fed up with fires

- Washington cattlemen blame state and federal agencies for their livelihoods being jeopardized by large wildfires.

Bill offers hope for forest fuel reduction

- Proponents of forest fuel reduction to combat wildfires are hopeful the key part of a bill they back will become law soon as part of federal budget funding.

Washington in Canadian tariff cross hairs

- Trade, interest rates, beef prices and wolves were all talked about at the Washington Cattlemen's Association annual meeting.

WAFLA workforce summits set

- The Washington Farm Labor Association will hold its annual Workforce Summit on H-2A visa guestworker issues in Ellensburg on Jan. 28 and in Canby, Ore., Jan. 26.

H-2A to increase as immigration stalls

- The Washington Farm Labor Association expects to see a continued rise in use of H-2A workers since immigration reform is stalled in Congress.

Apple crop continues to shrink

- Unless quality in storage becomes a problem, Washington's smaller apple crop has marketers eying better prices than last year.

Washington DNR denies cherry plans

- State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark says he's proceeding with sale of Stemilt Basin land, south of Wenatchee, to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife apparently ending plans of cherry orchard development.

Newhouse, Schrader introduce ports bill

- Members of Congress in Washington and Oregon introduce a bill to keep labor disputes from hobbling the flow of goods through U.S. ports and hindering the economy.

Animal laboratory gets more calls on toxic plant

- A Washington State University veterinary diagnostic toxicologist talks about weeds harmful to horses and cattle at the Washington State Weed Association's annual meeting.

FFA chapters help in aftermath of Chelan wildfire

- About 100 FFA members will repair livestock and orchard fences, haul brush and do other cleanup from last summer's wildfire at Chelan, Wash.

Tree fruit plants rebuilding after disastrous fires

- Central Washington tree fruit storage and packing facilities destroyed in wildfires last summer are being rebuilt with an eye toward completion for 2016 harvests.

Yakima reservoirs lowest in years

- Five mountain reservoirs serving irrigators in the Kittitas and Yakima valleys are at their lowest levels in years because of this year's drought. Rain should start filling them again.

USGS report may help dairies, attorney says

- The U.S. Geological Survey issued a report shedding more light on groundwater flow in the Lower Yakima Valley where dairies are under pressure for nitrate contamination. An attorney for four dairies says the report may actu...

Stink bug may meet its match in tiny wasp

- The spread of a non-stinging Asian wasp has U.S. scientists hopeful that it could control the crop-destroying brown marmorated stink bug.

Mulching, tilling replaces burning fruit trees

- It may be the way of the future. An entrepreneur and growers find mulching and tilling fruit trees can be more cost effective than yanking and burning and avoids burning regulations.

Willett hired to head research commission

- The Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission has hired a person well known in the industry as its new manager.

Pumpkin patch idea grows into popular stop for families

- A new, U-pick pumpkin patch with family amusements has been seeing lots of business in East Wenatchee, Wash. It's the only one of its kind in the immediate area.

Lewis heads WSU Extension tree fruit team

- A Washington State University Extension tree fruit specialist, Karen Lewis, has been appointed to lead colleagues in extension efforts.

Underground water storage tested in Washington

- The Washington Department of Ecology is looking for answers next year on the feasibility of storing water underground to help offset future droughts.

TPP seen as longer term help to tree fruit

- The Trans-Pacific Partnership doesn't include China and isn't likely to push pears and apples into Japan, but it may help Northwest tree fruit exports to Southeast Asia.

U.S.-Mexico apple dumping still unresolved

- Nine months after it started, a case alleging U.S. apple dumping in Mexico still hangs over the Washington apple industry. Washington hit record shipments there last season but is unlikely to this season.

Western alfalfa feeder hay prices plummet

- Low milk prices and other factors are contributing to slow hay sales and feeder alfalfa reaching low prices not seen in years.

Slightly smaller apple crop may help prices

- A large Washington apple crop shrinks some which may help prices except for small Gala of which there are many.

Washington conservation district signs sage grouse plan

- A conservation district in Douglas County, Washington, has signed a conservation plan with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing incidental takings of sage grouse and three other species in exchange for protecting the...

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.