Capital Press | Capital Press Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:03:36 -0400 en Capital Press | Western FFA ag proficiency winners announced Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:48:09 -0400 INDIANAPOLIS — The following Western FFA members national received proficiency awards at the FFA Convention and Expo.

• Diversified Livestock Production — Entrepreneurship/Placement: Ross Blattner.

Ross Blattner of the Kuna FFA Chapter in Idaho has an SAE project with 57 registered Suffolk ewes and three registered Suffolk stud rams. He’s chosen the Suffolk breed because of their superior milking and mothering ability.

He’s also raised 19 market heifers.

Blattner raises the heifers to market weight before selling them to buyers. He is supported by his parents, Lori and Jack, and his FFA advisors, Shawn Dygert, Joe Blackstock, Travis Edward and Allison Touchstone.

This award is sponsored by Tractor Supply Co. and Wahl Clipper Corp.

• Equine Science — Entrepreneurship: Caleb Sloan McMillan.

For most of his life, Caleb Sloan McMillan of the Wilson Creek FFA Chapter in Washington has been training horses for rodeos and other equine events. He has trained for steer wrestling, calf roping and team roping. When he began learning about horses, his duties were restricted to feeding. Today, he manages all aspects of the operation, including feeding, medical checkups, fencing and tagging. McMillan is supported by his parents, Lynette and Mark, and his FFA advisor, Scott Mortimer. This

award is sponsored by Red Brand.

• Specialty Animal Production — Entrepreneurship/Placement: Jake Keith Bobo.

Jake Keith Bobo of the Baker FFA Chapter in Baker City, Ore., has been doing his SAE since the third grade. As a fourth-generation beekeeper, he bought his first pallet of bees with money he got from mowing lawns. In one year, his bees travel from California to Idaho to Washington and on to Montana before returning to Oregon. Bobo sells the honey he extracts before ending a production year with his bees. He is supported by his parents, Carolyn and Keith, and his FFA advisor, Bibiana Gifft. This award is sponsored by the National FFA Foundation and National FFA Organization.

Exeter FFA receives innovation award Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:32:53 -0400 INDIANAPOLIS — The Exeter FFA Chapter in California has been named the 2016 National Model of Innovation Chapter Award winner in community development at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

The nation’s top 10 three-star chapters in the community development division competed for the award. Exeter FFA was awarded a plaque in an onstage ceremony during the second general session.

Top chapters were also selected from the middle school, student and chapter development divisions.

Exeter FFA wanted to do its part to combat hunger in their community. During the “Hunger Heroes Food Hunt,” members were split into teams and assigned to a section of the city of Exeter. With adult drivers, the teams visited homes within their section to collect nonperishable food items for a local food bank. Many students and volunteer drivers participated in the event, collecting over 2,600 nonperishable food items during the one-hour activity. All of the food items were donated to the local food closet following the event. Because of the FFA chapter’s efforts, Exeter is one step closer to eliminating hunger in their community.

The Models of Innovation awards are sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Idaho-Eastern Oregon region produced more, bigger onions in 2016 Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:28:53 -0400 Sean Ellis NYSSA, Ore. — Onion yields and sizes in the Idaho-Eastern Oregon growing region were both bigger than normal this year.

Prices, however, are down near break-even for the 300 growers who produce roughly 25 percent of all the Spanish bulb onions consumed in the United States.

“We had a very good growing season and we had some good yields; quality looked very good and size is larger than normal,” said Snake River Produce Manager Kay Riley.

Riley said the result is a larger-than-average crop that has led to depressed prices at the moment, a situation exacerbated by a strong U.S. dollar and weak export market.

Bulb onion prices are off close to 50 percent from this time last year and are near the break-even price for farmers, he said.

Onion growers in the Treasure Valley region of Eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho are under a federal marketing order and produce more than 1 billion pounds of bulb onions each year, making this the nation’s largest onion-growing region in terms of volume.

About 90 percent of the bulb onions grown in this area are yellows, while the rest are red and white varieties. Harvest usually begins in August and is mostly complete by the end of October.

There are 36 packing sheds in the valley and the industry’s annual economic impact is estimate at about $1.3 billion, making onions the backbone of the region’s economy.

Onion acres were close to 20,000 this year and production is about 10 percent more than last year, said Riley, marketing order chairman of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee.

Growing conditions this year were superb and as a result, the area produced an unusually large amount of super colossals, the biggest bulb onion size.

“The crop is looking really good,” said Nyssa grower Paul Skeen, president of the Malheur County Onion Growers Association. “The one negative is that they’re actually too big. We have more super colossals than normal and less jumbos and mediums because of that. We may have a shortage of mediums and jumbos.”

The season got off to an early start, growing conditions were ideal and the oppressive heat that affected the crop the past two years skipped 2016, said Stuart Reitz, an Oregon State University cropping systems extension agent in Malheur County.

“Those onions just got bigger and bigger,” he said. “It was a good growing season so the onions naturally are big.”

Reitz said onion sizes were so big that a farmers cooperative in the area held a “biggest onion” contest this year and a lot of 3- pound onions were brought in. Super colossals are typically 1.5 to 2 pounds.

“There were some big ones out there, he said.

The good news, he added, is that quality is excellent. “There are some really nice looking onions out there.”

Omak FFA receives innovation award and national convention Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:26:21 -0400 INDIANAPOLIS — The Omak FFA Chapter in Washington state has been named the 2016 National Model of Innovation Chapter Award winner in chapter development.

The chapter was honored the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

The nation’s top 10 three-star chapters in the chapter development division competed at the convention and expo. Omak FFA was awarded a plaque in an onstage ceremony during the convention and expo’s second general session on Thursday.

Top chapters were also selected from the middle school, student and community development divisions.

Omak FFA developed a unique and fun social media campaign to promote FFA activities and membership. Each FFA officer selected a stuffed animal that would travel with them to FFA events. Officers then posted pictures and messages online with their mascot at the activity.

Through this campaign, the chapter exceeded their goal and membership increased over the previous year by 50 percent.

The Models of Innovation awards are sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. I

Yelm FFA named model of excellence winner at national convention Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:20:40 -0400 INDIANAPOLIS — The Yelm FFA Chapter in Washington has been named the 2016 National Model of Excellence Chapter Award winner at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

All chapters that receive national three-star ratings are eligible to compete for the national Model of Excellence award.

Yelm FFA received a plaque in an onstage ceremony during the convention and expo’s second general session on Thursday. Top chapters were also selected from the middle school, student, chapter and community development divisions.

Yelm FFA was given a week by the Yelm High School administration to develop an event to distribute spirit materials for a “Pink Out” breast cancer awareness football game. Through the chapter’s efforts, 368 Yelm High School students received pink face paint, hair dye or spirit materials and together created a “sea of pink” to raise breast cancer awareness among students, parents and community members.

A s a result of the event, the chapter recruited six new FFA members who were inspired by the cause. This chapter also conducts other activities throughout the year, such as a leadership lock in, the McKenna Elementary Science Fair and a Hop for Hunger.

The Model of Excellence award is sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

National wool and sheep reports Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:16:56 -0400 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

Oct. 21

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis has been at a standstill this week. No confirmed trades were reported. Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was at a standstill this week. There were no confirmed trades reported.

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

Oct. 21

Compared to Oct. 14: Slaughter lambs were mostly steady to $5 lower. Slaughter ewes were mostly steady to $6 lower. Feeder lambs were steady to $8 higher, except lambs over 100 lbs. at Sioux Falls were $6-8 lower.

At San Angelo, Texas, 5,151 head sold. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading slaughter ewes and feeder lambs were not tested. 7,400 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were steady. 8,700 head of formula sales had no trend due to confidentiality. 3,732 lamb carcasses sold with 65 lbs and down no trend due to confidentiality and 65 lbs and up $.52-1.70 lower.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 100-140 lbs. $120-140.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $198-214, few $222; 60-70 lbs. $186-204; 70-80 lbs. $172-182; 80-90 lbs. $146-162; 90-110 lbs. $134-150.

DIRECT TRADING (Lambs with 3-4 percent shrink or equivalent):

7,400 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 123-165 lbs. $133-165 (wtd avg $146.03).


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $45; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $54-70; Utility 1-2 (thin) $46-55; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $40-46; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $18-30.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 60-70 lbs. $145-154; 70-90 lbs. $134-146; 90-95 lbs. $134-139.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: wooled ewe lambs 80 lbs. $148 cwt; hair ewe lambs 94 lbs. $ 126 cwt; mixed age hair ewes 90-150 lbs. $80-120 cwt.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. Down Price not reported

due to confidentiality

45-55 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

55-65 lbs. $345.63

65-75 lbs. $325.26

75-85 lbs. $318.38

85 lbs. and up $307.90

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 38,000 compared with 38,000 last week and 38,000 last year.

Selected Western hay price report Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:13:46 -0400 Hay prices are dollars per ton or dollars per bale when sold to retail outlets. Basis is current delivery FOB barn or stack, or delivered customer as indicated.

Grade guidelines used in this report have the following relationship to Relative Feed Value (RFV), Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients), or Crude Protein (CP) test numbers:


Supreme 185+ <27 55.9+ 22+

Premium 170-185 27-29 54.5-55.9 20-22

Good 150-170 29-32 52.5-54.5 18-20

Fair 130-150 32-35 50.5-52.5 16-18

Utility <130 36+ <50.5 <16


(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Oct. 21

This week FOB Last week Last year

4,100 5,160 5,400

Compared to Oct. 14: All grades of export and domestic Alfalfa steady in a light test. Trade slow with light to moderate demand. Rain showers across the trade area this week is slowing movement. Retail/Feedstore not tested this week. Demand remains good.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square Good/Prem. 1150 $125-140

1150 $125-135

Utility/Fair 1500 $80

Timothy Grass Mid Square Fair/Good 200 $145

Wheat Straw Mid Square Good 100 $40


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

Oct. 21

This week FOB Last week Last year

8,465 3,465 4,472

Compared to Oct. 14: Prices trended generally steady compared to week ago prices. Most demand lays with the retail/stable hay. According to some producers, horse owners are starting to prefer lower sugar, higher protein hay. Recent rainstorms throughout the state have slowed movement.

Tons Price


Orchard Grass Large Square Good 10 $150

Small Square Good/Prem. 25 $220

Meadow Grass Small Square Good/Prem. 50 $210

Mixed Grass Five-Way Small Square Premium 30 $260

Oat Small Square Good 25 $160


Alfalfa Large Square Good/Prem. 950 $300-305

Good 400 $175

Small Square Premium 400 $192

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square Good 250 $240

Orchard Grass Small Square Good 200 $200

Oat Small Square Good 150 $100

Barley Large Square Good 250 $80

Winter Wheat Small Square Fair/Good 50 $80


Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 3250 $165-180

1600 $170

Premium 600 $155

Small Square Supreme 50 $185

Fair/Good 25 $100

Alfalfa/Oat Mix Small Square Good 50 $125

Oat Large Square Fair/Good 100 $85

EASTERN OREGON: No new sales confirmed.

HARNEY COUNTY: No new sales confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Oct. 21

This week FOB Last week Last year

2,200 5,700 1,345

Compared to Oct. 14: Supreme Alfalfa steady in a light test. Other grades of Alfalfa steady. Trade slow to moderate with good demand for higher testing supplies. Rain showers continue to hamper marketing progress. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square Supreme 700 $120-140

Good 200 $125

Utility/Fair 300 $110

1000 $80


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Oct. 21

This week FOB Last week Last year

5,560 6,980 22,158

Compared to Oct. 14: All classes traded steady. Demand light to moderate. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, in California, some modest drought reduction was noted in the north, with the biggest change for the week noted in the Impact Type; much of the drought in central and northern California is now a Long-term Drought (denoted on the map by an “L”), meaning that short-term impacts have been eased or alleviated but long-term impacts (ground water, reservoir supplies, etc.) remained.

Tons Price


Includes the counties of Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta, Lassen, and Plumas.

Alfalfa Supreme 375 $170

350 $190

Testing Rice Straw Good 50 $150


Includes the counties of Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Colusa, Sutter, Yuba, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Solano, Sacramento.

Alfalfa Premium 75 $180

400 $220

Good 75 $100

Fair 100 $120

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 50 $55


Includes the counties of San Joaquin, Calaveras, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Mono, Merced and Mariposa.

Alfalfa Supreme 650 $200-220

945 $235-245

125 $235

Premium 200 $190

Fair/Good 50 $155

Fair 125 $100

150 $145


Includes the counties of Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Inyo.

Alfalfa Premium 365 $225-245

Good/Prem. 150 $150

Wheat Straw Good 75 $200


Includes the counties of Kern, Northeast Los Angeles, and Western San Bernardino.

Alfalfa Premium 250 $180-195

Good/Prem. 50 $160

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 100 $180-200


Includes the counties of Eastern San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial.

Alfalfa Premium 50 $165

Good/Prem. 250 $110-130

Fair 300 $55 Grassy

100 $40

Bermuda Grass Premium 50 $160

Mixed Grass Good 100 $70

West Coast grain price report Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:08:34 -0400 Grains are stated in dollars per bushel or hundredweight (cwt.) except feed grains traded in dollars per ton. National grain report bids are for rail delivery unless truck indicated.


(USDA Market News)


Oct. 21


Cash wheat bids for October delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, Oct. 20, were mixed compared to Oct. 14 noon bids for October delivery.

December wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, Oct. 20, mixed as follows compared to Oct. 14 closes: Chicago wheat futures were one cent higher at $4.17, Kansas City wheat futures were nine cents higher at $4.23 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 0.75 of a cent lower at $5.3125.

Chicago December corn futures trended 1.50 cents higher at $3.51 and November soybean futures closed 19.25 cents higher at $9.7550.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during October for ordinary protein trended mixed, from 9 cents lower to 2 cents per bushel higher compared to week ago prices for the same delivery period at $4.52-4.77. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

White club wheat premiums were zero to 30 cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids this week compared to zero to 21 cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids last week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for October delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were $5.2125-5.55 and bids for White Club Wheat were also $5.2125-5.55. Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: November $4.57-4.80, December $4.67-4.85, January $4.95-4.9750 and February $4.9750-4.99. One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: November $5.3125-5.55, December $5.4125-5.55, January and February $5.4825-5.55.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during October trended nine cents per bushel lower than week ago prices for the same delivery period at $4.77-4.82. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

White club wheat premiums for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein soft white wheat this week were zero to 25 cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids this week compared to zero to 15 cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids last week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein for October delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were $6.4125-6.66 and bids for White Club Wheat were $8.0125-8.4125. Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: November $4.57-4.82, December $4.67-4.82, January and February $4.9750-5.0250.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: November $6.4125-6.6625, December $6.4125-6.7125, January and February $6.5325-6.6825.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein U.S. 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for October delivery were nine cents per bushel higher compared to Oct. 13 noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

This week, bids were as follows: October, November and December $5.08-5.18, January $4.98-5.13 and February $5.1550-5.3050.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein U.S. 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during October were 0.75 of a cent to 10.75 cents per bushel lower than Oct. 13 noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. This week, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: October $6.3125-6.4625, November $6.2625-6.4625, December $6.3125-6.4625, January $6.3475-6.5475 and February $6.3475-6.5775.


Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for October delivery were 1.50 cents lower at $4.11-4.26 per bushel. Forward month corn bids were as follows: November $4.14-4.24, December $4.27-4.31, January $4.3075-4.3475, February and March $4.3475-4.3575. Bids for U.S. 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for October delivery were 14.25 cents higher at $10.6050 per bushel. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: November $10.6550, December $10.6975-10.7175, January $10.6675-10.6975 and February $10.5975. Bids for U.S. 2 Heavy White Oats for October delivery trended steady at $3.2650 per bushel.


There were 24 grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, Oct. 20, with six docked compared to 15 on Oct. 13, with five docked. There were no new confirmed export sales from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.


(USDA Market News)


Oct. 20

Prices in dollars per cwt., bulk Inc.= including; Nom.= nominal; Ltd.= limited; Ind.= indicated; NYE=Not fully estimated.


Mode Destination Price per cwt.

BARLEY – U.S. No. 2 (46-lbs. per bushel)

FOB Kern County NA

Rail Los Angeles NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $7.75

Glenn County $7.80

CORN-U.S. No. 2 Yellow

FOB Turlock-Tulare $7.87

Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno $7.30

Rail Single Car Units via BNSF

Chino Valley-Los Angeles $8.52-8.55

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $8.18

Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.18

Glenn County NA

SORGHUM-U.S. No. 2 Yellow

Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley

via BNSF Single $8.36-8.37

Truck Turlock County $8.50

Glenn County $8.50

OATS-U.S. No. 2 White

Truck Petaluma NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Rail Petaluma NA

WHEAT-U.S. No. 2 or better-Hard Red Winter

(Domestic Values for Flour Milling)

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles 11-12 percent Protein

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

FOB Tulare-Kern-Merced NA

WHEAT-U.S. Durum Wheat

Truck Imperial County $11-11.25

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties 10.15-10.20

WHEAT-Any Class for Feed

FOB Tulare NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.85

Kern County NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $8.25

King-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Fresno NA

Merced County NA

Colusa County NA

Kern County NA

Prices paid to California farmers, seven-day reporting period ending Oct. 20:

WHEAT, U.S. No. 1, Hard Amber Durum for Flour Milling

Imperial $11-11.25 Spot Del locally

California shell egg market report Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:02:40 -0400 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

Oct. 14

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are 6 cents higher for Jumbo, 10 cents higher for Extra Large, 13 cents higher for Large and 3 cents higher for Medium and Small. The undertone is higher.

Demand is mostly moderate. Offerings are moderate although held with increased confidence. Supplies are moderate. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price 66 cents.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 118 Extra large 108

Large 103 Medium 86


Prices to retailers, sales to volume buyers, USDA Grade AA and Grade AA, white eggs in cartons, delivered store door.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 90-100 Extra large 93-98

Large 85-94 Medium 66-78

Western fluid milk and cream review Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:00:09 -0400 (USDA Market News)

Madison, Wis.

Oct. 21

In California, farm milk production is up, following typical seasonal patterns. Milk protein and butterfat components are steadily improving. Bottled milk requests from retailers and food service are slightly higher. Orders from most educational institutions are steady.

Demands for some Class 2 dairy products, such as sour cream, are ramping up. However, interest for Class 3 (ice cream) is seasonally declining.

Heavy milk intakes continue clearing into Class 4b processing plants, as many cheese manufacturers are running operations at near to full capacity.

According to the Dairy Market News National Retail Report-Dairy for the week of Oct. 14-20, the national weighted average advertised price for one gallon of milk is $2.55. The weighted average regional price in the Southwest is $2.28.

Pacific Northwest milk production continues along typical seasonal patterns. Farm milk output is near the bottom of the annual cycle.

Although high winds, heavy rains and a couple tornadoes battered the Washington and Oregon coastlines, industry contacts report minimal issues at dairy farms or processing facilities.

Bottling demand is steady and milk is in good balance with current processing needs.

Dairy contacts in the mountain states of Colorado, Utah and Idaho report milk production continues to slowly trail off seasonally. Components are improving.

In Idaho, several new dairy installations and existing farms adding cows have given a boost to cow numbers. Many dairy farmers seem willing to hold onto cows longer with inexpensive feed and low cull cow prices.

Milk pooled on Pacific Northwest Order 124 totaled 608.0 million pounds in September 2016. Class I utilization accounted for about 27.6 percent of producer milk. The uniform price was $15.77, $0.02 below last month and $0.59 below one year ago.

Western condensed skim supplies are readily available for drying, as requests from ice cream makers are seasonally lower. Therefore, heavy condensed skim volumes are clearing into NDM and SMP manufacturing. Cream is more available throughout the West. Most cream supplies are clearing into butter churning.

Demand from ice cream processors is weakening.

However, the interest from sour cream and cream cheese makers is seasonally active. Many sellers and buyers are finalizing cream contracts for the first quarter of 2017. This week, multiples for all classes are lower, ranging from 1.03 to 1.20.

National feeder and stocker cattle report Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:53:32 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair Oregon head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Oct. 21

This week Last week Last year

325,200 317,500 324,400

Compared to Oct. 14: Feeder steers and heifers sold mostly $3 to $4 lower. However, there were some auctions reported slightly higher this week.

Steer and heifer calves sold mostly $3 to $6 lower, with unweaned calves selling up to $10 lower.

It’s been a month since this report has mentioned a higher trend, as the auctions that were called higher this week were sharply lower last week.

Many more spring born calves are making their way to the market place in mid to late October and buyers continue to be very selective in their purchases. Preconditioning, weaning for over 30 days and two rounds of shots are paramount for producers to getting top dollar for their calves at this time of year.

Diversified operations sometimes don’t have the time to get out of the combine cab and get all the work done when weather is optimum for harvesting.

However, that can pay off in the long run if that work had been done a while ago.

Grass has been plentiful in the Plains this summer with very few spots that didn’t receive ample rainfall, leaving cows and calves in the best body condition scores for this time of year in a long time.

Cattle futures had good gains in the market on Oct. 17 and 18, only to get whiplash a little on Oct. 19.

Oct. 20 climbed rather mightily throughout the trading session and Oct. 21 has been an overall good day as feeder futures closed the week where it was on Oct. 10 while live cattle futures closed around $2 higher since then.

Yearlings are still in high demand this week on Tuesday with a package of 735 lb. steers in Kingsville, Mo., sold at $137 and on Wednesday a load of 793 lb. steers sold in Kearney, Neb., at Huss-Platte Valley Livestock at $130.

Also on Oct. 19 in Bassett, Neb., a load of 895 lb. steers found new owners when the gavel fell at $126.75 and on Oct. 20 in Pratt, Kan., a load of 900 lb. steers sold at $126.10.

Optimism abounds for their new owners and they begin the process of marketing them for a profit.

Packers have made their stockholders happy with the large profits in the third quarter and still have a very positive outlook as the fourth quarter starts off with a bang. Large protein slaughter continues as the cattle slaughter still hovers above 600,000 even with some plants doing their scheduled cleanup procedures these past few weeks.

Hog slaughter is breaking records as the largest slaughter on record was estimated this week at 2,514,000; which would be 15,000 head more than the previous record set back in December 2015.

Hurricane Matthew idled some southeastern hog plants certain days last week and those packers need to try and make headway into their unscheduled backup of around 150,000 originally scheduled for harvest last week.

The Cattle on Feed Report was released Oct. 21 afternoon with Oct. 1 reported at 100 percent, Placements at 98 percent and Marketings at 105 percent with placements being well below estimates and others coming in slightly under the industry analyst estimates.

Auction volume this week included 38 percent weighing over 600 lbs. and 38 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

274,900 236,100 281,200

WASHINGTON 2,200. 46 pct over 600 lbs. 48 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 500-550 lbs. $108.18; 650-700 lbs. $100.62; 700-750 lbs. $101.98. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 500-550 lbs. $97.49; 550-600 lbs. $101.50; 600-650 lbs. $92.42.


This week Last week Last year

49,700 62,500 40,100

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 3,000. No cattle over 600 lbs. No heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 300 lbs. $95 February Del.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 1,400. 59 pct over 600 lbs. 35 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current FOB Price 450-500 lbs. $113-120 Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $110 calves Washington. Medium and Large 1 Current Delivered Price 650-700 lbs. $110-112.50 calves Idaho; 850 lbs. $112 Idaho. Future Delivery Delivered Price 850 lbs. $105.50 for December-January Idaho. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current FOB Price 450-500 lbs. $103-110 Idaho; 500-550 lbs. $100 Washington; 800-850 lbs. $110.50 Idaho. Medium and Large 1 Current Delivered Price 800 lbs. $108 Idaho.


(USDA Market News)

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Oct. 21

Slaughter cattle sold mostly $1 higher. Dressed trade in Nebraska was steady.

Boxed Beef prices as of Oct. 21 averaged $173.29 down $3.66 from Oct. 14. The Choice/Select spread is $13.05. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Oct. 21 totaled about 65,036 head. The previous week’s total head count was 103,659.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: $98. Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers $152-154.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers few $98.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls steady to $3 lower. Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value at the close on Oct. 21 was $155.22 down $.22 from Oct. 14.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Oct. 21

This week Last week Last year

1,450 1,400 5600

Compared to Oct. 14: Feeder cattle steady in a light test. Trade slow with light to moderate demand. The feeder supply included 65 percent steers and 35 percent heifers. Near 59 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs.

Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 5-12 cent slide on calves and a 3-8 cent slide on yearlings. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery. Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Price: 450-500 lbs. $113-120 Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $110 calves Washington. Medium and Large 1: Current Delivered Price: 650-700 lbs. $110-112.50 calves Idaho; 850 lbs. $112 Idaho. Future Delivery Delivered Price: 850 lbs. $105.50 for December-January Idaho.

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Price: 450-500 lbs. $103-110 Idaho; 500-550 lbs. $100 Washington; 800-850 lbs. $110.50 Idaho. Medium and Large 1: Current Delivered Price: 800 lbs. $108 Idaho.

Selected Western livestock auctions Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:39:44 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.



(Shasta Livestock Auction)

Cottonwood, Calif.

Oct. 21

Current week Last week

700 767

Compared to Oct. 14: Slaughter cows and bulls mostly steady. On feeders, heifers outnumber steers 2 to 1. No big pen lots in any one category. Market may be stabilizing. Off lots and singles $20-40 below top.

Slaughter cows: High yielding $55-59; $60-65 high dress; Boning $50-54; Cutters $35-49, $68-91 high dress.

Bulls 1 and 2: $50-70, $71-74 high dress

Feeder steers: 550-600 lbs. $105-119.

Feeder heifers: 500-550 lbs. $90-106; 600-650 lbs. $92-96; 700-750 lbs. $85-92; 800-900 lbs. $84-98.

Calvy cows: No test.

Pairs: Running age and older pairs $1000-1400.



(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Oct. 21

This week Last week Last year

1,700 1,800 1,900

Compared to Oct. 14 at the same market: Stocker and feeder cattle steady to firm. Trade active with moderate to good demand. Slaughter cows and bulls $2-5 lower. Trade slow to moderate with light to moderate demand.

Slaughter cows 66 percent, slaughter bulls 10 percent, and feeders 24 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 53 percent steers and 47 percent heifers. Near 53 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs. Replacement Cows: Pre-tested for pregnancy, and age.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 300-400 lbs. $119; 400-500 lbs. $118; 500-600 lbs. $102.50-107; 600-700 lbs. $95-104.50, Calves; 600-700 lbs. $106, Thin Fleshed; 700-800 lbs. $100.50-103, Calves; 800-900 lbs. $100.50-102.50. Small and Medium 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $102.50. Small and Medium 2-3: 500-600 lbs. $94, Yearlings.

Feeder Bulls: Medium and Large 1-2: 500-600 lbs. $90; 700-800 lbs. $85.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $96-105; 500-600 lbs. $95-96; 600-700 lbs. $90-93, Calves; 700-800 lbs. $89.50-95, Calves; 800-900 lbs. $92.50. Medium and Large 2-3: 400-500 lbs. $93. Small and Medium 1-2: 500-600 lbs. $87; 500-600 lbs. $89, Yearlings. Small and Medium 2-3: 300-400 lbs. $90; 600-700 lbs. $89.

Slaughter Cows: Boning 80-85 percent lean 1400-2000 lbs. $55-60; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1200-1800 lbs. $57-62; Lean Light 90 percent lean 900-1100 lbs. $49-51.

Slaughter Bulls: Yield Grade 1-2 1500-2500 lbs. $64-73.

Bred Cows (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: few Young (3-4 yrs. old) 1124 lbs. $1200 3-6 mos. bred. Mid-Aged (5-8 yrs. old) 1400-1450 lbs. $1025 3-6 mos. bred; Medium and Large 2-3: 1100-1150 lbs. $675 3-6 mos. Bred.



(Treasure Valley Livestock)

Sept. 11

Steers (wt.): 400-500 lbs. $75; 500-600 lbs. $69; 600-700 lbs. $63.50; 700-800 lbs. $62.75; 800 lbs. and up $60.

Steers (hd.): 300-400 lbs. $175; 400-500 lbs. $300; 500-600 lbs. $200.

Heifers (wt.): 600-700 lbs. $68; 700-800 lbs. $69; 800-900 lbs. $57; 900-1000 lbs. $75.50; 1000-1100 lbs. $71.50.

Heifers (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $120; 300-400 lbs. $240; 400-500 lbs. $330.

Bull Calf (wt.): NA.

Bull Calf (hd.): NA.

Cows (wt.): 1200-1300 lbs. $52.50; 1300-1400 lbs. $49.75; 1400-1500 lbs. $53.50; 1500-1600 lbs. $55; 1600-1700 lbs. $56.25; 1700-1800 lbs. $56.20; 1800-1900 lbs. $57.75; 1900-2000 lbs. $62; 2000 lbs. and up $57.

Heiferettes (wt.): NA.

Holstein Bulls (wt.): NA.



(Central Oregon Livestock Auction)

Oct. 17

Total head count: 396.

Baby calves: NA.

Steers: 300-400 lbs. $120-130; 400-500 lbs. $115-120; 500-600 lbs. $105-115; 600-700 lbs. $100-110; 700-800 lbs. $95-105; 800-900 lbs. $92-97.

Bulls: High yield. $75-78.25; Mostly $70-75; Thinner $65-70.

Pairs: NA.

Bred cows: NA.

Heifers: 300-400 lbs. $110-120; 400-500 lbs. $105-115; 500-600 lbs. $98-110; 600-700 lbs. $93-100; 700-800 lbs. $90-95.

Heiferettes: 850-1000 lbs. $85-90.

Cows: Heiferettes NA; Fleshy cows $56; high-yield $68; medium-yield $48; low-yield $50.


(Producers Livestock Market)

Oct. 12

Total receipts: 2,355 head.

Comments: 90 percent of feeder steers were calves under 800 lbs. 75 percent of feeder heifers were calves under 800 lbs. The futures continue to rally and die leaving buyers with no real confidence in the future. Weaned calves were preferred, but no class seems to stand out in the market. Cows over five months pregnant were steady.

Steer calves: 300-400 lbs. $125-135; 400-500 lbs. $110-133; 500-600 lbs. $100-113.

Heifer calves: 300-400 lbs. $110-118; 400-500 lbs. $94-113; 500-600 lbs. $95-103.

Yearling steers: 600-700 lbs. lbs. $90-107; 700-800 lbs. lbs. $89-105; 800-900 lbs. $87-100; 900-1000 lbs. $80-91.

Yearling heifers: 600-700 lbs. $89-94; 700-800 lbs. $87-92; 800-900 lbs. $85-95; 900-1000 lbs. $76-85.

Light Holstein steers, 600 lbs. and under: NA. Light Holstein steers, 700 lbs. and over: NA.

Stock cows: $750-960.

Pairs, young: NA.

Butcher cows: $49-64.

Thin shelly cows: $42-53.

Butcher bulls: $49-64.

Heiferettes: $75-95.

Oregon mega-dairy manages practices in closed loop Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:38:28 -0400 GEORGE PLAVENEO Media Group BOARDMAN, Ore. — The milking parlor at Columbia River Dairy is a large, warehouse-like building where cows arrive twice a day to be milked by modern machinery.

First, the animals are loaded onto slowly rotating carousels where their udders are sprayed with a disinfectant and attached to automatic pumps. Each spin lasts just a few minutes before the cows are unloaded back where they started. The process is smooth, continuous and efficient.

Outside, Milky Way trucks are waiting 24/7 to deliver milk from the dairy — part of Threemile Canyon Farms — to Tillamook Cheese, which runs a cheese-making plant at the nearby Port of Morrow. With 26,000 milking cows producing 170,000 gallons every day, there is always lots to do.

Threemile Canyon is, by far, the largest dairy operation in Oregon. The herd totals 70,000 total cattle, including calves and heifers. Located on 93,000 acres in rural Morrow County, the farm also grows a variety of conventional and organic crops, such as potatoes, onions, corn and wheat.

Now, another mega-dairy is looking to expand in the county, which is raising questions about water and air pollution in the surrounding communities. Willow Creek Dairy, which has leased land from Threemile Canyon since 2002, wants to strike out on its own and add 30,000 cows on part of the former Boardman Tree Farm.

More than 2,300 comments have poured in on the proposal, mostly in opposition. Environmental advocacy groups argue that Willow Creek would produce as much waste as a mid-size city, and regulations don’t offer enough protection. They also question the wisdom of having two large dairies so close together.

But Marty Myers, general manager for Threemile Canyon, defended their management practices, which he said are forward-thinking and sustainable.

“It isn’t bad just because it’s big,” Myers said. “It’s agriculture of the future.”

In fact, Myers said the size of Threemile Canyon allows them to do things that wouldn’t be practical for a smaller dairy farm.

By growing crops and raising cows all in the same place, the farm is able to recycle its own waste to use as fertilizer in the field. That, in turn, creates more feed for the animals, thus completing the closed-loop system.

“We get big beneficial uses out of that cow manure,” Myers said. “It’s not a negative for us. It’s a positive.”

It all begins with the cows. Threemile Canyon dedicates between 20,000 and 25,000 acres to growing feed crops, such as grain corn and a hybrid wheat known as triticale. Everything is harvested and stored for the animals to eat year-round.

Once the heifers are two years old, they are ready to be milked. Of course, they are also producing waste throughout their lives — roughly 436 million gallons of liquid manure every year. Per Oregon rules for confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, none of that material can be discharged into surface water or groundwater.

At Threemile Canyon, free-stall barns are flushed regularly into a concrete collection basin, and from there pumped into a methane digester at the farm. The digester then heats the waste at 100 degrees and bacteria breaks it down into a gas. The gas is then burned to drive three 2,000-horsepower engines capable of generating 4.8 megawatts of power.

Myers estimates the facility, which was built in 2012, removes 60,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere annually.

From there, about half of the leftover solids are made into animal bedding. The other half is used for organic fertilizer. The liquid is pumped into one of three lagoons, which is treated and run through irrigation pivots to grow more conventional crops and feed.

“Our average time in that lagoon is 10 days,” Myers said. “We’re applying that year round to growing crops. ... We never let it become anaerobic. That reduces air emissions.”

Threemile Canyon is located within the Lower Umatilla Basin Groundwater Management Area, where the level of nitrates in the groundwater already exceeds the federal safe drinking water standard. According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the primary source of nitrogen in groundwater comes from fertilizer, with irrigated agriculture making up 81.6 percent of the problem.

Opponents of mega-dairies are concerned about adding a second operation so close by, comparing it to a “sewer-less city.” Oregon CAFO permits also lack surface water monitoring required under the federal Clean Water Act, they argue.

Myers said the fertilizer that is applied onto the farm’s own crops is mixed at precise rates to ensure nothing leaches into water supplies. Employees regularly test the manure to keep tabs on the nutrient level, and will apply only as much as the crop will use for nutrition.

That’s easier said than done. Phil Richerson, a hydrogeologist for DEQ in Pendleton, said the soil in the area is coarse, making it difficult to keep irrigation from seeping down below the plant’s roots.

Don Butcher, who manages water quality permits for DEQ in Pendleton, said the problem isn’t just limited to CAFOs. More land is being converted to grow vegetable crops. And more food processors are popping up to turn those vegetables into high-value products.

“With all the expansion and change in the Groundwater Management Area, we are concerned,” Butcher said. “We still have an increasing nitrate trend.”

Butcher said DEQ works closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which enforces CAFO permits for the state. Wym Matthews, CAFO program manager for ODA, said they generally conduct routine inspections of facilities once every 10 months.

However, due to the size of Threemile Canyon, Matthews said that farm is inspected once every five or six months. The most recent was in July. Over the past decade, he said the dairy has been issued six water quality advisories — essentially a warning — and two notices of noncompliance, meaning they’ve violated a condition of their permit.

In every case, Matthews said the problem was dealt with quickly. Overall, he said he believes the management practices at Threemile Canyon are thorough.

“If they see an issue, I think they do a very good job to bring it to our attention and repair it,” Matthews said.

In addition to environmental practices, Myers said Threemile Canyon is subject to a three-layer approach to animal welfare.

First, Myers said the farm conducts voluntary animal welfare audits through a company called Validus. Inspectors arrive unannounced, and are free to watch employees and go over protocol, Myers said.

Last year, Myers said Columbia River Dairy was the first in the country to receive a perfect score from Validus. They also consistently scored 95 percent or better on how they treat their heifers, he said.

“Those are pretty impressive scores,” Myers said.

Along with voluntary audits, Myers said the dairy works regularly with its own animal advocate, a veterinarian and professor at Evergreen University. Along with the farm’s own animal welfare committee, they make recommendations on how to improve practices.

“It’s not a static process,” Myers said. “It’s a continual improvement process, and we’re proud of that.”

Greg te Velde, a California dairyman, is the owner of Willow Creek Dairy, which has applied for its own CAFO license under the name Lost Valley Ranch.

Myers has testified in favor of te Velde and his longtime tenant. Myers said he believes they too will be dedicated to best management practices. A similar lagoon and land application system is proposed at Willow Creek, and though a methane digester is not in the immediate plans, it could be phased in later down the road.

“They know how to do things right,” Myers said.

The public comment period for the Willow Creek/Lost Valley CAFO has been extended through Nov. 4.

Rangeland fire associations improve ranchers&#x2019; relationship with BLM Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:10:32 -0400 Sean Ellis BOISE — A once rocky relationship between Bureau of Land Management firefighters and Idaho ranchers has improved markedly since the creation of rangeland fire protection associations in 2013.

Ranchers, who once had a contentious relationship with BLM firefighting officials, have come to respect them, Mountain Home RFPA Chairman Charlie Lyons said Oct. 20 during a Western Governor’s Association meeting in Boise.

Lyons, a rancher, said that after a “very contentious meeting” several years ago between ranchers and BLM officials, “we started thinking about solutions.”

After discussions with county commissioners and others, “Things started clicking,” he said. “It was like a huge window opened up.”

The RFPA idea was pitched to Gov. Butch Otter, who is also a rancher. At Otter’s request, the Idaho Legislature has provided $455,000 since fiscal year 2014 to help the RFPAs purchase personal protective gear, radios and other basic equipment.

While being trained by BLM officials to meet federal firefighting requirements, a camaraderie developed, Lyons said, and ranchers became willing to rely on their leadership.

“The training ... is where we learned to respect the BLM,” he said. “It was a huge shift.”

There are now eight RFPAs in Southern Idaho and their 300-plus members are qualified to help BLM and the Idaho Department of Lands fight wildfires.

The RFPAs, which consist mostly of ranchers and are voluntary, purchase their insurance and use most of their own firefighting equipment.

BLM officials have come to view the ranchers as valuable assets in fighting wildfires, said Steve Acarregui, the fire operations manager for BLM’s Boise district.

They provide primary protection for 1.4 million privately owned acres and 6.3 million federal- and state-owned acres.

The associations have helped BLM and the state battle 103 blazes since 2013.

“They have added incredible capacity to the (wildland firefighting ability) in the state of Idaho,” said Julia Sullens, the IDL’s liaison to the RFPAs.

The ranching community has a “can-do” attitude, Acarregui said, and when the idea of forming RFPAs was being discussed, BLM officials recognized they could create a valuable force multiplier if they could harness that energy.

Besides providing a quick, initial response to many fires, the ranchers have also been used to do other things such as rehab work and create fuel breaks.

“It’s grown way bigger than we first envisioned,” Acarregui said.

He said the BLM would like to increase the capabilities of the current RFPAs as well as create new ones where possible.

If someone wants to start a new one, “I’ll be right there to help you get it off the ground,” he said.

An effort to change BLM policy to allow the agency to directly transfer surplus firefighting equipment to RFPAs is underway, Acarregui said.

“We do have a lot of congressional support on that and I hope to see some legislation soon,” he said.

The BLM this year changed its policy manual to allow RFPA members to assist the agency through the duration of a fire instead of just assisting in initial response.

Weak La Nina may help ease drought Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:38:47 -0400 Don Jenkins Federal climatologists predict that dry conditions will generally recede over the winter in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and parts of Northern California, providing an early and upbeat outlook on next year’s water supply.

The Climate Prediction Center forecast a 70 percent chance of a weak La Nina, a cooling of the ocean around the equator.

La Nina generally tilts the odds in favor of wetter and cooler winters in the northern U.S., according to the center.

It’s not a sure bet, though. La Nina’s influence will vary by region. The odds it stays through the winter are 55 percent.

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond said he expects the La Nina to be too feeble to dictate the weather.

Higher ocean temperatures in the northeast Pacific Ocean and a trend toward warmer winters also may influence the weather, he said.

Still, even a normal winter would seem cold after the past several years, Bond said.

“There’s no indication that we’ll have a snowpack like the disaster we had two years ago,” he said. “There’s no reason to be pessimistic about next summer’s water supply.”

Idaho State Climatologist Russell Qualls also said La Nina’s influence may be blunted by unusually high inland temperatures. Still, most of the state is expected to have above-average precipitation, and snow may accumulate at high elevations, he said.

“The signals are a bit confusing in terms of the water supply outlook,” he said. “From what it looks like, the drought at least is likely not going to be getting any worse.”

The center issued the forecast for November, December and January.

It also projected that drought conditions likely will be erased by the end of January in Oregon and parts Northern California. About one-third of Oregon is in drought, while 81 percent of California remains in drought.

A year ago, 100 percent of Washington was classified as being in a drought. Now only 8 percent of the state is even “abnormally dry.”

In Idaho, 19 percent of the state is abnormally dry and 1 percent is in drought.

Bond, the Washington climatologist, said that even without a strong La Nina or El Nino, the state could have an eventful winter. He said current climatic conditions resemble the months before massive flooding in February 1996. “I’d be surprised if we didn’t have some major flooding,” he said.

The seasonal outlook rates the chances that an area will have above-average or below-average precipitation and temperatures.

Here’s a state-by-state look at the seasonal outlook:

• Washington: The odds favor above-average precipitation in most of the state, though the chances are no better than even in the South Cascades, south Puget Sound, and southwestern and south-central Washington. The chances are even that temperatures will be above or below normal for most of the state. The odds favor above-average temperatures in southeastern Washington.

• Idaho: Southwest Idaho has equal chances for above- or below-average precipitation. The odds favor a wet winter elsewhere. The north end of the panhandle has equal chances of above- or below-normal temperatures. In the rest of the state, the odds favor a warm winter.

• Oregon: Equal chances of above- or below-average precipitation. Odds favor above-average temperatures.

• California: Chances for above- or below-average precipitation are equal in most of the state. Precipitation could change the status of parts of Northern California that are now in moderate drought. Odds favor a dry winter in the southern tip. The odds favor above-average temperatures throughout California. The drought could worsen in Southern California, according to the climate center.

Idaho grower&#x2019;s canola experiment eliminates nematodes Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:56:00 -0400 John O’Connell AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho — A farmer who planted fall canola nearly four months earlier than normal says his experiment resulted in perfect nematode control and a considerable water savings.

In May 2015, Kamren Koompin planted about 300 acres of fall canola, which is customarily planted after grain harvest in August or September.

Koompin said his plan was inspired by a presentation University of Idaho plant breeding and genetics professor Jack Brown made to growers in Grace, Idaho, two years ago. Brown promised growers the extra time for root development would significantly improve the odds of canola surviving the winter. Furthermore, he advised them to harvest up to three “green” canola cuttings during the initial season as a high-moisture dairy forage, similar to corn or hay silage.

“Canolage is fabulous feed, very high in protein,” Brown said. “Livestock like to eat it.”

Koompin’s farm raised canola in the mid-1990s but stopped planting the oilseed crop for several years because of low yields and problems in subsequent potato crops with white mold, which canola hosts. Koompin said new products have enabled him to keep white mold in check, and new canola hybrids have exceeded his yield expectations.

For his recent experiment, Koompin planted Amanda — a fall canola developed by Brown — and a variety developed to resist glyphosate herbicide. Koompin baled about 1.5 tons per acre of canola during the first year. The dairy he hoped to partner with already had plenty of silage, but he’s confident he could have easily taken three “canolage” cuttings, had a buyer been available.

“It was more an experiment to see if it could be done, and it can be,” Koompin said.

With more than double the usual root development by winter, Koompin had no problems with winter kill, which wiped out some of his canola crops in the 1990s.

The early-planted fall canola was ready for harvest about two weeks early, reducing the need for irrigation on an already water-efficient crop. The average yield on the early planted canola was about 3,600 pounds per acre.

He was pleasantly surprised when he sampled a 40-acre field planted early in fall canola for nematodes. That field and an adjacent 140-acre field had both been treated with Telone fumigant due to high nematode pressure. The larger field, which he planted in consecutive spring wheat crops, required further fumigation this fall, costing Koompin $200 to $250 per acre.

However, the 40-acre field coming out of early planted fall canola had no nematodes.

Koompin sells his canola seed for 13 cents per pound to a Canadian oilseed crushing plant. He figures the fumigation benefit is worth an extra nickel per pound, making canola competitive with spring wheat.

Furthermore, he boosted his organic matter when he incorporated the foliage into his soil after harvesting seed.

“If the (canolage) would have worked out, then it would have been a no-brainer,” Koompin said.

Brown explained that some canola varieties emit a strong dose of the natural nematicide glucosinolate. He said irrigated and dry-land growers in Idaho’s Magic Valley and parts of Oregon and Washington have also had success with the method during the past couple of years.

UI nematologist Saad Hafez advises growers to make certain their canola varieties have action against nematodes and to disk in the green material after harvest to boost the effectiveness.

League seeks funding to reduce Odessa irrigation water costs Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:24:45 -0400 Matw Weaver The Columbia Basin Development League is seeking federal funding in an effort to reduce the cost of bringing Columbia River water to Eastern Washington farmers to irrigate their fields.

The league is asking for $20 million from the federal government to complete construction of the East Low Canal as part of the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Project, said Mike Schwisow, director of government relations for the league.

The organization’s annual meeting will be 1-8 p.m. Nov. 3 at Big Bend Community College ATEC Building in Moses Lake, Wash.

Schwisow will speak at the event about financing the project.

The goal is to replace declining well water in the Odessa Subarea with water from the Columbia River as part of the federal Columbia Basin Project.

“The biggest need is some additional public investment, because the cost that landowners are being asked to bear now is probably out of proportion,” Schwisow said.

The East Columbia Basin Irrigation District caps the estimated annual cost to landowners at $253 per acre for 30 years. Schwisow hopes to reduce the cost to $200 per acre “to be fair.”

The project is already delivering water to several thousand acres, he said.

The league’s broader goal is to complete the federal Columbia Basin Project,which now serves about 671,000 acres of the 1,029,000 acres authorized by Congress in the 1930s.

This year’s conference centers on infrastructure, operations and maintenance.

“We need to focus on the investment in existing infrastructure as well as the focus on completing the Odessa groundwater replacement program,” Schwisow said.

Agenda items include:

• A water supply-and-demand report for the Columbia River Basin.

• A panel discussion by managers of the local irrigation districts.

• Infrastructure needs from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Regional Director Lorri Lee.

• A panel about the next steps for the Odessa project.

• A report from lobbyist Ian Lyle.

• Tom Tebb, director of the state Department of Ecology’s Office of the Columbia River.

The keynote speaker is Gary Chandler, vice president for government affairs for the Association of Washington Business.


Firefighters achieve 60 percent containment of wildfire in Southern Utah Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:56:19 -0400 ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — Fire officials in southern Utah are reporting 60 percent containment of a wildfire that has been burning for more than a week in the Shurtz Canyon area near Kanarraville Mountain.

The Spectrum reports the Hicks Creek Fire has charred more than 2 square miles of federal Bureau of Land Management and private land since Oct. 16.

High winds fanned the fire during the weekend, pushing it to about 1,421 acres by Sunday.

Fire officials believe the fire began as debris burning on private property nearly three weeks ago.

It was previously being monitored by a private landowner before being declared a wildfire by the state fire marshal.

No criminal charges have been filed against the property owner.

Burger King owner beats expectations, but sees U.S. &#x2018;softness&#x2019; Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:53:56 -0400 OAKVILLE, Ontario (AP) — Restaurant Brands International reported a rise in third-quarter sales at its Burger King and Tim Horton stores, but the growth was much lower than a year ago. The company also reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings Monday.

Burger King sales rose 1.7 percent at established stores around the world. In the same period a year ago, the hamburger chain reported a 6.2 percent increase in sales. Restaurant Brands said Burger King sales were hurt by “softness” at its U.S. and Canada locations. The weakness was partly due to cheaper groceries, which are keeping Americans at home and cooking rather than going out to eat, said Chief Financial Officer Joshua Kobza. Last week, rival McDonald’s Corp. said falling prices at the supermarket may be changing their customers’ behavior too.

At doughnut chain Tim Horton, sales rose 2 percent at established stores around the world, compared to 5.3 percent growth a year ago. Chief Executive Daniel Schwartz said sales were helped by new menu items, such as grilled bagels and a Greek-inspired wrap for lunch.

Overall, Restaurant Brands reported net income of $153.8 million, or 36 cents per share, in the three months ending Sept. 30. It reported adjusted earnings of 43 cents per share, beating the 41 cents per share analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

The Oakville, Ontario-based company posted revenue of $1.08 billion in the period, below the $1.39 billion analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Shares of Restaurant Brands fell 2 percent to $45.90 in premarket trading Monday.

The number of female farmers continues to grow Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:48:45 -0400 LILLIA CALLUM-PENSOThe Greenville News TAYLORS, S.C. (AP) — There is something special about catching the sun rising above the tips of trees. This is the view that greets Kasie Jo Layman every morning when she goes to work at Sandy Flat Berry Patch, where Layman oversees specialty products for the 400-acre farm.

Even on a recent busy Monday morning, Layman was able to sneak away, driving the farm’s beat up pickup truck up the side of the tangled but sprawling hillside to a point just above the trees.

“Isn’t it nice?” she says, smiling at the landscape before her. “In the wintertime, when the leaves shed you can see all the mountains all around.

“There’s freedom up here.”

Layman, 29, didn’t set out to be a farmer. Growing up in southern Illinois, the daughter of a carpenter and a stay-at-home mom, she thought she’d do something more practical. But now, two years into the farming life, she can’t imagine doing anything else. She is among a growing crop of women choosing the same path.

As the demand for local food grows, so does the need for local farmers. And agriculture, long the bastion of men, is attracting more women. Female farmers now make up about 30 percent of the farmer operators in the U.S., a number that has nearly tripled in the past three decades, according to the U.S. Census. And while the numbers of male and female farmers dipped a bit in the most recent census, in the Upstate, there has been growing interest among women.

As academic program director for the Sustainable Agriculture program at Greenville Tech, Rebecca McKinney has seen a shift firsthand. About 80 percent of the inquiries McKinney fields are from women, and this year’s premier class is about two thirds women.

“I tell everybody it’s because we get it,” says Rebecca McKinney, whose work is also part of Greenville Tech’s Culinary Institute of the Carolinas. “We understand why you should be putting healthy food in your body, why you should be glad to be out in the sun with your hands in the soil.”

In an ever-growing industry (the state’s agribusiness industry has a $41.7 billion impact according to a 2013 report), the growth of women at all levels of the agricultural spectrum has the chance to significantly impact the food system, particularly in the area of sustainable farming. Women-operated farms tend to be smaller, and run with a focus on environmental and personal health, McKinney says, meaning more attention to environmental preservation and to things like organics and traditional heirloom varieties.

“I think this is the salvation of food systems in general,” McKinney says. “This is happening with women and men both in our area that I see, the people coming into farming now are very likely to have children and grandchildren with them and to involve them in the processes and what I see is they’re basically raising the next generation or two or three of farmers.”

Here are some facts you might not have known about Cherokee Bell tomatoes. One, they will dye your hands yellow after just five minutes of picking them; two, they are delicate things, bruising easily, and require a soft touch; and three, there is definitely a right way to pick them.

“You have to feel the way it hangs off the vine and then move it slowly in the opposite direction.

After studying computer science and engineering in college, Layman said it became clear that office life would not suit her.

She moved to Alaska in search of adventure, something different, and there, in the bleakest of climate zones, got interested in farming.

Fast forward to 2014 when she visited her older sister in Greenville. The area seemed perfect for farming, so Layman decided to stay and pursue her dream. She met Ruth Ann Lynn one day while working part-time at a local gym.

“She said how about working part-time at a farm too,” Layman says smiling. “Yeah right! It’s 70 hours during strawberry season!”

Now, two years later, Layman lives in a basement apartment at the farm and oversees most of the specialty wholesale accounts. These include roadside markets, specialty stores like Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery and restaurants.

On that recent Monday morning, Layman was out the door by 7 a.m. and had several boxes full of heirloom tomatoes by 8:30 a.m.

“It’s crazy what happiness amounts to in life,” Layman says, taking a moment to pause. “I know there’s a lot of factors — relationships, religion. But your job takes up your entire life, so you have to be happy with that, you know?”

That is how Laura Collins looks at her shift into the agricultural realm as well. Her interest blossomed from everyday tasks like canning and gardening, and then slowly grew into more.

Today, the 30-year-old Collins lives and works at Bio-Way Farm, in Ware Shoals, and two years in she doesn’t regret her choice.

This past spring, Collins completed Clemson’s New and Beginning Farmer program, and she registered for an LLC to start a specialty herbs business. With Herbalicious, Collins hopes to supply what she sees as a niche market for culinary and medicinal herbs.

“Maybe it’s a desire for independence,” Collins says. “I have a lot of female friends that that’s all they’ve dreamt about is having a family and a husband, whereas there is a newer age of people that doesn’t really care much for that, and so maybe they’re more like me, seeing farming as a viable option, seeing farming as something they can do because there is more equality and just different goals and different lifestyle choices.”

In many cases, these emerging farmers are giving up a chance to make more money in other jobs.

“I want to be my own boss, maybe,” says Kimberly Ferlauto, 36.

Ferlauto has a masters from Georgetown and over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector, but, she said, she got burnt out.

Ferlauto is among the first students to go through the sustainable agriculture program at Greenville Tech, which launched this past August. Currently, she also is working at Moon Hare Gardens, a small farm in Greer, where she oversees the farms heirloom crops and is also testing the waters of her own business venture.

Not having grown up in agriculture, the program at Greenville Tech is helping Ferlauto form connections within the local farming community, and she hopes it will help create a fulfilling and a lucrative business.

“Part of what I’m going to figure out in the program is where the gaps are in the current farming community,” Ferlauto says. “What is there not enough supply of? Where could I plug in and be not just be doing more of what everybody else is?”

You can make a living at farming, McKinney says, but too often people can’t separate their hobby from the business they want to create. That’s why Greenville Tech’s program is as focused on marketing and brand development as it is on soil health and machinery.

Greenville Tech created the Sustainable Agriculture program in 2014 as a way to connect the dots of a growing local-focused culinary movement and the growing need for farmers. The program, which is housed under the umbrella of the Culinary Institute of the Carolinas allows students of all levels the chance to learn how to grow a farming business. Students can work directly with culinary students, with both learning how to work together to mutual benefit.

The program’s focus on sustainability is intentional. The practice is more environmentally friendly because it eschews traditional chemical herbicides and pesticides for methods like cover cropping and crop rotation.

And with more chefs interested in local food, there is more of a market for sustainably raised products. The average organic farmer can make money, McKinney assured. A good average might be about $20,000 a year per acre farmed, excluding cost of labor, or even $35,000 in a good year, McKinney said.

“It takes creativity sometimes to find the market that will support you, but as interest in local food grows and grows in Greenville, I think we have so many options for where farmers can sell products,” McKinney says. “And I think we’ll have so many more options for the types of products that we can produce that have a market.”

That’s where sustainable farming has come into play a big role particularly for new and beginning farmers, both male and female. Since it requires less land and less equipment, the startup costs are much lower. For Ferlauto, sustainable fit both her desire for healthy living and better food, and her budget.

“Commodity farming is for the big guys,” Ferlauto said. “That’s hard to do, but it’s also just not appealing to me. Maybe it’s the nurturer in us women that makes us want to be more on the sustainable track, because for me it’s about nurturing the land as well as the vegetables and the people you’re feeding.”

Challenging traditions

Margie Levine likes to tell the story about the time she went to buy farm equipment only to be told to get her husband. The 62-year-old owner and operator of Crescent Farm chuckles as she recounts the quest for a tractor part. It wasn’t the first time she was overlooked because she was a woman, and it likely won’t be the last.

“I wish it wasn’t like that, and I don’t know why, but when I tell people I’m a farmer they’re like ‘Oh, what does that mean, you have a little garden out back?’ “ Levine said with a smile. “Uh, no.”

At the age of 60, and many decades homesteading and working on other farms, Levine became a farm owner when she purchased the former Parson Produce in 2014. She launched Crescent Farm the same year and has grown quite the reputation among local restaurants as having some of the best, most interesting certified organic products around.

On a recent Wednesday, Levine was making deliveries to some of her clients: Stella’s Southern Bistro, American Grocery Restaurant, Kitchen Sync, GB&D, Dive ‘n’ Boar and Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery. The former teacher has always had a hand in the agricultural realm. She has owned cows and chickens, raised pigs and made her own maple syrup, but this is the first time she has been in charge of everything, and it’s meant that Levine sees things from a new vantage point.

Her days are long, but satisfying, she says.

“It gives you hope,” Levine says. “It’s like every day you start again, like yesterday I tried that and it didn’t work, so well, today I’m going to try it this way instead. I have hope that I’m going to get up tomorrow morning and be able to see these sweet potatoes that I planted six months ago. I think that kind of keeps you rolling.”

Back at Sandy Flat Berry Patch, Layman is immersed in picking tomatoes. Today’s crop of Cherokee Purples, a tasty heirloom variety, is slated for Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery, and so Layman is extra careful with her technique. She moves swiftly but gently, carefully inspecting each tomato before placing it (never tossing) into a box.

She’ll cover about 18 rows of 450 feet before she’s done. As she moves along each, Layman smiles.

“There’s so much freedom with farming right now,” she said. “You can do what you want. You’re in control of most of it. God’s in control of all of it, but then you have this certain amount of control. You get to choose what you’re eating, you get to choose what other people are eating.”

Oregon water regulators seek $3 million Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:06:41 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski SALEM — Oregon’s water regulators are seeking more than $3 million to better handle problems with groundwater depletion and water rights enforcement.

In its 2017-2019 budget proposal, the Oregon Water Resources Department wants state lawmakers to pay for 11 new positions while increasing the pay and duties of several existing positions.

The agency will ask for three funding “packages” to be included in Gov. Kate Brown’s recommended budget for the next biennium.

Concerns about water have grown in recent years due to drought as well as increased public scrutiny.

Last year, groundwater depletion concerns in Southeast Oregon’s Harney Basin prompted OWRD to suspend drilling of most new agricultural wells.

In August, the Oregonian newspaper also ran a package of articles, “Draining Oregon,” claiming the agency had allowed over-pumping by farmers.

“In some locations throughout the state, groundwater aquifers are no longer capable of sustaining additional development,” OWRD acknowledges in its “budget narrative” for the three funding proposals.

• Groundwater studies: Scientists from OWRD require about five to six years to finish a groundwater study within a single basin, such as the current Harney Basin study.

Without more staff, though, the agency can only conduct one basin study at a time.

To allow OWRD to undertake two studies at once, the agency has proposed hiring five new employees — a hydrologist, two hydrographers and two hydrogeologists — at a cost of more than $1.8 million.

• Water rights enforcement: Drought and new water demands have also saddled regional watermasters, who enforce water rights, with greater workloads at a time financial support from county governments has dwindled.

Aside from causing “delays in regulation” and “excessive overtime,” the workload has reduced watermasters’ visibility in the field, which is needed to deter illegal water usage, according to OWRD.

To alleviate this burden, the agency proposes hiring five new regional assistant watermasters and a new hydrologic technician to help with water monitoring.

The $1 million funding package would also raise the status of five existing hydrologic technicians so they could take on additional duties while receiving higher pay.

• Well inspection: Groundwater supplies are at risk from “misconstructed, poorly maintained and improperly abandoned” wells, according to OWRD’s budget narrative.

To ensure wells are properly built and kept up, OWRD relies on well inspectors. Though it’s authorized to employ six well inspectors, the agency only has enough income for four.

OWRD wants to hire two new well inspectors and upgrade the status of all six positions, which would entail more responsibilities and higher pay, with about $337,000 from the general fund.

Under this proposal, the agency would also generate revenues by imposing new and larger fees.

Landowners are allowed to drill their own wells, but they require more intense oversight and assistance from OWRD well inspectors than do licensed well drillers.

To help offset these costs, the agency proposes increasing the landowner permit application fee from $25 to $500, raising about $20,000 a year.

Professional drillers would also pay a new fee of $100 for wells that require variances from construction standards, generating another $25,000 a year.

Western governors&#x2019; initiative seeks to improve forest, rangeland management Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:23:37 -0400 Sean Ellis BOISE — Sharing successful experiences that improve the management of Western forests and rangeland was discussed Oct. 20-21 in Boise.

The “National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative” brought together states, land managers, industry, local leaders and federal officials to share best practices and explore policy options that could improve forest and rangeland management.

Western Governors’ Association officials hope the results of the initiative will position the organization to recommend congressional efforts to improve forest and rangeland management.

It was launched Aug. 15 by WGA Chairman and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. The two-day Boise workshop is the second of five that will be held in different Western states.

By focusing on steps that can be taken to increase forest and rangeland health, “we are also taking steps to increase their resilience to wildfire and other threats like insects and disease and invasive species,” said WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury.

“We hope that these conversations will yield a number of recommendations on best management practices and tools that can help Western governors, the federal government and local communities to strengthen their forests and rangeland habitats, revitalize forest health and help break the current vicious cycle of catastrophic Western wildfires,” he said.

Every Western state has had successes and failures when it comes to managing rangeland and forests, said Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.

“It’s important we share those experiences … with everybody else,” he said.

Otter said all the ideas will be thrown into a pot “and we’ll render those down into actionable items.”

Those ideas and experiences will come from states, the federal government, the environmental community, local officials and industry, he said.

“This is a big deal,” he told Capital Press later.

Idaho Farm Bureau Federation CEO Rick Keller, one of about 80 people who attended the Boise workshop, said he liked the idea of bringing all the stakeholders together “to talk about common issues and solutions.”

“We hear a lot of the things that don’t work; it’s nice to hear some of the things that are working,” he said.

Jim Lyons, deputy assistant secretary of land and minerals management for the U.S. Department of the Interior, commended WGA for the initiative.

“These are important issues, regionally and nationally, and these discussions will help frame solutions to these concerns as we move forward,” he said.

Western forests and rangeland are facing significant challenges from fire, drought, invasive species, insects and disease, and development, Lyons said.

“These challenges cry out for new vision, new strategies and leadership that can sustain these landscapes, their communities and the legacy of the Western way of life,” he said.

Otter said he hopes the initiative results in the federal government placing more weight on input from states and local managers.

“It seems like they don’t place value on the people that are on the ground,” he said. “I would like to see them put equal value and weight on every input and not just from the folks in Washington, D.C.”

USDA moves ahead with new GIPSA rules Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:13:23 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas USDA’s advancement of its rules regarding competitive injury and undue preference under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act has met with renewed opposition from some livestock groups and renewed enthusiasm from others.

The Farmer Fair Practices Rules are a product of flawed 2010 rulemaking that was finalized in 2011 and repeatedly defunded in congressional appropriations bills, said Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s vice president of governmental affairs.

The rules have not yet seen the light of day, but NCBA suspects not much will change in USDA’s newest attempt to address “fairness” with a subjective definition that will open the door to litigation and limit producers’ marketing options, he said.

The rules would not require a showing of injury (to overall market competition) to claim a violation under GIPSA.

That means if a producer thinks his price is unfair, he can report it and sue the packer, the feedlot and even other producers, Woodall said.

For instance, if a producer thinks it is unfair for another producer to receive a premium based on genetics and that he should have the same opportunity even though he didn’t invest in genetics, he can sue that producer claiming he was complicit in the arrangement, he said.

It’s going to threaten marketing arrangements and value-added programs and push the industry back toward more commodity cattle, he said.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said the agency is considering excluding certain provisions from the earlier rules, including marketing arrangements, but that’s no guarantee, Woodall said.

National Pork Producers Council is also concerned with the resurrected rules, saying they will create legal uncertainty in the industry.

The concern is that producers will no longer need to prove that a meatpacker’s action injured or diminished competition in a “marketplace.” They will only need to show that a practice was “unfair” to them or that an “undue” or “unreasonable” preference or advantage was given to another producer or producers, NPPC stated in a press release.

The organization points out the Senate rejected a “no competitive injury” provision in the 2008 Farm Bill and eight federal appeals courts have held that an action must have harmed marketplace competition to be a violation of GIPSA.

R-CALF USA and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association are in full support of USDA moving forward with the rules, saying producers would no longer have to show harm or competitive injury to the entire industry to file a complaint.

“The rules will facilitate competition by defining the legal framework within which our markets can begin to function properly,” said Bill Bullard, R-CALF’s CEO.

“With clear delineations between which market practices are allowed and which are not, producers can self-monitor and self-enforce industry competition without having to wait on the government to act on their behalf,” he said.

In a statement commending USDA, USCA President Kenny Graner said, “These common sense clarifications protect U.S. ranchers and feeders from anti-competitive buying practices and help to advance true price discovery in a competitive marketplace.”

Livestock groups weigh in on grazing restriction Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:53:29 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas The Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association disagree with what they say is an arbitrary stubble-height requirement in federal rangeland management plans to conserve sage grouse habitat.

The 7-inch height required by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service is based on flawed methodology, isn’t possible in some areas and is not related to nesting success, the groups contend.

In addition, the requirement puts intense pressure on grazing rotation and long-term range health, they stated in a report delivered to the federal agencies.

The concern is in removing grazing and the ability to reduce fuel loads, which reduces the primary threat to sage grouse — wildfire, said Ethan Land, PLC executive director and NCBA executive director of federal lands.

“Across the board, we’re seeing implementation that’s disproportionately affecting ranchers despite the fact that we are a critical force for conservation benefit for the greater sage grouse,” he said.

Recent studies show the agencies “just flat got it wrong” and the methodology that was used is simply not an accurate way to quantify the correlation between grass height in the early season and the survival of sage grouse nests, he said.

“When you take the science and apply it properly, what you see is no correlation between those two things,” he said.

The flaw is rooted in the timing of grass height measurements based on the fate of the nest. Measurements are taken either at nest predation or nest success, which can be a difference of as much as 39 days.

Predation often happens closer to the time eggs are laid in early spring when grasses are still growing, whereas grass height measurements for successful nests are usually conducted in late spring when eggs have hatched and grass is taller, Lane said.

“Grass and forb height and diversity do matter … but to say that grass height alone can predict whether or not a nest will be successful is not consistent with recent science,” the groups say in the report. “Enforcing an annual stubble height requirement is at best, suspect.”

The issue has been a topic of discussion since the resource management plans came out a year ago, accompanying the Department of the Interior’s decision that an ESA listing for the greater sage grouse wasn’t warranted, Lane said.

“We felt it was time to weigh in in a substantive way and make sure the land management agencies understood just how off-track these plans have gone and some suggestions for how to get them back to a place where they’re really addressing those primary threats — wildfire, invasive species and development on the landscape, all of which are best controlled with grazing,” he said.

PLC and NCBA think restrictive management plans are driven by the agencies’ desire to satisfy litigious environmental groups or wanting to show they’re taking enough regulatory action and because grazing is the easiest thing to regulate, he said.

Tree fruit trade groups&#x2019; merger effort slows Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:38:47 -0400 Dan Wheat ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Efforts have slowed to combine two trade organizations that handle foreign market issues for the Washington tree fruit industry.

The Northwest Horticultural Council and Northwest Fruit Exporters, both in Yakima, have been considering closer operations for two years.

“I’d hoped to report we are well on our way, but we hit a roadblock over the summer,” Chris Schlect, president of NHC, reported at a Washington Apple Commission meeting in Ellensburg, Oct. 20.

The plan is for NFE to come “under the umbrella” of NHC, but keep its own revenue stream, Schlect said.

NHC is ready to make it happen but Mike Saunders, chairman of the NFE board, has concerns, Schlect said, adding he had hoped to have the effort finished before he retires at the end of March.

Later, Schlect said the intent is better coordination of NFE and NHC and having a clearer voice at the federal level. He said having NFE remain a separate legal entity with its own board contracting with NHC for management would maintain NFE’s trade certificate allowing shippers to share export information.

Contacted later, Mike Saunders, co-owner of Apple King in Yakima, said he personally sees no advantage to joining, that NFE and NHC already coordinate well and that federal agencies know, or can figure out, which one to contact.

NFE has attorneys checking to make sure it can keep its trade certificate if it is managed by NHC, which is involved in lobbying, Saunders said.

The U.S. Justice Department is concerned about organizations setting prices on product for domestic consumption, but NFE doesn’t do that, Schlect said.

The trade certificate allows two or more shippers to give NFE information on timing and volumes of shipment of cherries to Japan so that NFE can coordinate efficient Japanese inspections for the benefit of all, Schlect said. The shippers don’t necessarily know what each other is doing, he said.

Another reason for separation is that NHC and NFE are funded differently, Saunders said. NHC is funded by donations from groups including the Apple Commission, while NFE receives grower assessments, he said.

“Basically, we’ve been asked to look into this and we are,” Saunders said. “We need to make sure our board and whole membership are up to speed on this.”

NHC was incorporated in 1947 to assist in handling problems common in the Northwest tree fruit industry. It focuses on national and international policy issues impacting growers and shippers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

NFE was established as a nonprofit corporation in 1985 to manage export market preparation procedures for fresh sweet cherries bound for Japan. In 1992, its role was expanded to include the export of apples to Mexico, China and Japan.

In March 2014, at the initiative of the Apple Commission, apple market access regarding China, Japan, Vietnam, India, Australia, South Africa, Egypt and Israel were switched from NFE to NHC.

NFE continued handling apple market access to Mexico and protocols or work plans for export of apples to foreign countries.