Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Farmer and his family growing Royal produce

- Santos and Zenaida Guadarrama are closing in on 20 years of operating a 12-acre vegetable farm near Royal City, Wash., providing produce to farmers’ markets in Wenatchee and Moses Lake.

PNW cherry harvest enters final stretch

- Cherry growers in the Pacific Northwest have enjoyed relatively good weather and fruit quality, but crop compression kept prices and grower returns low in mid-season.

Growers worried by packer’s bankruptcy

- Gold Diggers Apples Inc., a small, grower-owned cooperative on the U.S.-Canadian border, is in bankruptcy. Growers are concerned about getting paid.

Feds increase immigration-related fines

- Federal departments have increased a number of fines for violations of immigration and foreign guestworker regulations, the WAFLA farm labor association warns.

California’s fresh pear crop estimated to be down 8 percent

- Conversion of acreage to wine grapes, fire blight disease and demand by canneries all are contributing to California’s continued decline in fresh pears.

Noncitrus fruit production down in 2015

- The latest USDA NASS report on U.S. noncitrus fruit shows production down 4 percent and value down 2 percent in 2015 from the previous year.

California forecasts smaller apple crop

- The California apple industry has been declining for years but that could be turning around, the director of the state’s apple commission says.

Dairies reducing nitrogen, EPA says

- The EPA says three dairies are making progress three years into an agreement to address nitrogen levels contributing to groundwater contamination. It’s costing the dairies millions of dollars.

Number of Hispanic farm operators continues to grow

- From poverty and early death of his mother in Mexico, Jesus Limon became an orchard owner in Washington state. Hispanic farm owners are increasing but slowly because of lack of capital and marketing.

PNW cherry harvest moving well

- Packouts are rebounding after June 18 rain damage and Pacific Northwest cherry volume will remain heavy the next two weeks with supply fairly even with demand.

Washington leads again in blueberries

- For the second year in a row, Washington leads the nation in blueberry production. About 70 percent of the state’s crop is processed and 30 percent sold fresh.

Big apple states expecting larger crops

- Washington and Michigan eye larger fall apple crops and New York’s early forecast comes soon. Industry leaders expect strong prices to continue.

Ag’s reaction to Supreme Court’s immigration ruling mixed

- Upheld or not, Obama’s order on immigration would have benefitted illegal workers but not alleviated labor shortages, agricultural leaders say.

Difficult year for Washington apple exports

- A strong dollar, small crop and high prices all contributed to a decline in Washington apple exports over the 2015 sales season that ends this fall.

Rain takes a bite out of Washington cherry crop

- A heavy rain damaged Washington’s cherry crop June 18, but there’s still plenty of fruit and later fruit that wasn't damaged.

Maritime weigh-in rule dispute appears resolved

- An association representing 19 major ocean carriers has agreed to accept combined cargo-container weights from marine terminals to keep exports moving.

Pear Bureau loses organic promotion funding

- A majority of organic fresh pear growers and shippers in the Pacific Northwest have decided to drop out of generic promotions by The Pear Bureau Northwest in favor of promoting their own brands.

PNW hop acreage records may be broken

- The United States, Washington and Idaho may set new records in hop acreage harvested this year while Oregon is far short of its record set in 1935.

Members of Congress tell administration to speed up H-2A applications

- More than 100 members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, fault federal agencies for failure to process H-2A-visa foreign farmworker applications on time.

Washington teen eager to become a farmer

- At 14 and 15 years of age, Ian McGregor is conducting his own field corn field trials. He can't become a farmer soon enough.

Mexico drops temporary tariffs against Washington apples

- Mexico has dropped tariffs ranging from 2.44 to 20.82 percent on Washington apple exporters, ending a case of alleged apple dumping against them.

Cherries escape first heat wave

- Washington and Oregon cherry growers are well into harvest with finding enough workers their main issue as fruit quality stands up to first blast of hot weather.

Yakima irrigators cross their fingers

- Growers lost millions of dollars in crops the Yakima Basin last season due to drought. They hope to get through this summer and fall with no water restrictions but it's iffy.

Washington’s snowpack going fast, but reservoirs full

- Washington mountain snowpack is going, going, going. Yakima Basin reservoirs, vital for farm irrigation, are full and beginning their summer drawdowns.

Pacific Northwest pear crop early, light

- Pear producers foresee another early harvest in the Pacific Northwest but the crop will be lighter, which should benefit pricing for growers.

Farmworker shortage costs Canadian growers $1.5B a year, study finds

- Canada faces an increasing shortage of farmworkers and will need more foreign guestworkers to maintain its tree fruit and vegetable sectors.

Domestic, foreign labor in short supply in Central Washington

- Central Washington growers are dealing with a shortage of domestic farmworkers and delays in getting foreign H-2A-visa guestworkers.