Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Tree fruit trade groups’ merger effort slows

- The Northwest Horticultural Council and Northwest Fruit Exporters have been looking at a merger for two years. It may or may not happen.

Agency too slow on H-2A applications, farm labor director says

- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn’t seem interested in helping a foreign guestworker program work for agriculture, a farm labor organization director says.

Stink bug spreads across Washington state

- Washington crops could be endangered by brown marmorated stink bugs next year. An uptick in trappings has scientists concerned.

Apples remain top Washington state crop

- Apples led Washington’s agricultural production for the 11th year in a row in 2015 with $2.4 billion of the state’s total $10.7 billion in farmgate value.

Larger Washington apple crop may weigh on prices

- Washington’s 2016 apple crop is growing and the larger it becomes the more challenging the sales season becomes.

Pace International settles with EPA, upgrades equipment

- Pace International, of Wapato, Wash., has agreed to pay a penalty and upgrade equipment, the EPA says, after the agency found Clean Air Act violations.

Growers say elk damaging Wenatchee orchards

- Orchards south of Wenatchee, Wash., are being damaged by elk again as they were last winter. The state Fish and Wildlife Department has nearly doubled elk hunting permits in the area this fall.

Japan may get first U.S. apples in 16 years

- A Washington apple shipper is pursuing the first U.S. apple exports to Japan in 16 years. With a large 2016 crop, the industry wants more export markets.

Washington orchard workers sue over spray drift

- A crop duster and a produce company in Central Washington have been sued by orchard workers alleging illness caused from spray drift of pesticides.

Noxious weed changes proposed

- The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board is holding a public hearing in Wenatchee, Wash., Nov. 1, on proposed changes in weed listings.

WSU leads Columbia basin study

- A large study on how the Columbia basin in seven states can cope with climate change and growing populations is being headed by Washington State University.

Ellensburg gains another hay exporter

- Mike Hanjy, with 19 years of experience in hay exports, has started his own company despite difficult industry times.

Exporters deal with shipping rate increases

- Exporters are dealing with varying ocean freight rate increases because of the bankruptcy of one major shipper. Increases may be more on dry than perishable goods.

Hanjin bankruptcy causes grass seed airlift

- An Oregon company air freights 88,000 pounds of grass seed to golf courses in the United Arab Emirates after its larger shipment is stuck in South Korea because of Hanjin shipping line bankruptcy.

Pacific port parties to talk contract

- The Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union say they will start talking about extending their contract.

Hop supply catching up to demand

- Hop growers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho are concluding another harvest while pre-harvest inventories show supply maybe finally reaching demand.

Growers get tips on Cosmic Crisp apple

- Growers need to think about the best tree structure for robotic picking, a researcher says.

Grower likes new potato digger

- A potato grower enjoys his new self-propelled digger that he believes is among very few of its type in Washigton’s upper Columbia Basin.

USDA approves genetically modified Fuji apple

- The USDA has approved a Canadian-developed Fuji apple, genetically modified to reduce browning when sliced, after approving GM Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples from the same company in 2015.

First phase of large Washington winery nears completion

- A large new winery, located near the center of Central Washington, is nearing the end of its first $10 million in development to serve its own vineyards and those of others.

National hay growers honor Eckenberg

- The National Hay Growers Association paid tribute its president Bob Eckenberg last week by meeting in Pasco, Wash., and touring his hay press plant 60 miles to the north in Mattawa.

Group of growers start new fruit company

- Five partners have started a new tree fruit packing company, Pine Canyon Growers, in Orondo, Wash., north of Wenatchee.

Quest for robotic apple picker continues

- Researchers continue to pursue development of robotic apple pickers they say could be commercially available in three to five years.

Nurseries propagate millions of Cosmic Crisp apple trees

- Central Washington tree fruit nurseries are budding close to 4 million of the new Cosmic Crisp apple trees for 2018 planting, a top nursery says.

West Coast hay growers look for market bottom

- Inventory still clogged from the port slowdown, quality issues and low milk prices are all keeping hay prices down. Opinions differ on whether market bottom has been reached.

Immigration, labor toughest political issues facing many in agriculture

- Presidential candidates offer agriculture a mixed bag on immigration. Hillary Clinton favors legalizing farmworkers but is unlikely to improve guestworker programs. Trump is more likely to improve those programs but not leg...

DNR to auction farmland owned by trust

- Farmland surrounded by development and prime for residential development in Pasco, Wash., will be auctioned in November by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

West Coast exporters feel shipper bankruptcy

- Whether West Coast exporters use Hanjin Shipping or not, they will be impacted by the shipper’s bankruptcy, a freight forwarder says.

Yakima reservoir levels low but adequate

- Reservoirs providing water to nearly 464,000 acres of farmland in the Yakima Basin are expected to finish the irrigation season next month at around an 80 percent drawdown, which is slightly below normal.

Ninth Circuit OKs class action in employment case

- A class action lawsuit against a southern Washington farm for allegedly turning away job seekers and failing to tell them of higher paying jobs may proceed in federal court.

Larger apple crops predicted for many countries

- Northern Hemisphere apple producers expect large crops this fall, likely making the new sales season more challenging for Washington growers.