Capital Press | Capital Press Mon, 4 May 2015 20:06:19 -0400 en Capital Press | California shell egg prices Mon, 4 May 2015 14:06:44 -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

May 1

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are unchanged on all sizes. The undertone is steady. Retail demand is light to moderate as the end of the month arrived with ad activity scheduled for the next few weeks. Food service movement is moderate to fairly good. Offerings are light to mostly moderate. Supplies are light to moderate. Market activity is moderate. Small benchmark price $1.35.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 221 Extra large 195

Large 188 Medium 155


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 213-225 Extra large 176-188

Large 173-182 Medium 135-144

National slaughter, feeder and stocker cattle reports Mon, 4 May 2015 14:03:11 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

Oklahoma City-Des Moines

May 1

Compared to April 24: Live sales have sold steady in the Texas Panhandle and steady to $1 higher in Kansas. Few dressed sales reported in Nebraska at 2 higher. Boxed beef prices April 24 averaged $248.93, which is $3.38 lower than April 17. The Choice/Select spread is $11.42. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through April 24 totaled about 18,364 head. The previous week’s total head count was 74,218 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis Steers and Heifers 35-80 Percent Choice, 1200-1400 lbs. $160; Dressed Basis Steers and Heifers: $255.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-65 percent Choice, 1100-1400 lbs. $157-160.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls unevenly steady.

USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday afternoon was $233.34 down $.94 from April 17.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

May 1

This week Last week Last year

302,700 212,800 224,200

Compared to April 24: Yearling feeder cattle sold mostly steady to $5 higher with instances $6-8 higher. Direct trade was mostly $4-7 higher, regaining most of last week’s losses. Some of the sharpest gains were noted on heavy feeders weighing over 800 lbs.

Feeder calves started the week steady to $5 lower then by mid-week turning mostly steady to spots $5 higher where calves were available. Discounts continue in many cases on fleshy unweaned bawlers mostly weighing under 500 lbs. that tend to melt in the hot sun.

A higher auction market for yearlings with prices stronger than many expected, after last week’s lower trends seen around the auction circuit. In Bassett, Neb., on April 28 sold near 450 head of 600-650 lb. steers averaging 622 lbs. for a weighted average price of $268.79.

In Torrington, Wyo., on April 28 sold 185 head of 800-850 lb. steers averaging 822 lbs. for a weighted average price of $219.65.

The market shook off the April 24 Cattle on Feed report, which was viewed as mildly to moderately bearish for trade on April 26, as futures were sharply lower. Placements came in 5 percent higher than expected which should push fed cattle supplies for fall larger than expected.

Packers will have plenty of cattle to harvest from now through the 4th of July, during the premier beef demand season. Marketing continues to lag behind year ago levels but seasonal increase in beef supplies will continue. Choice Box-beef prices continued to hover around the $259 mark until April 28, with Wednesday afternoon’s total boxed-beef movement very impressive with heavy movement of 221 loads, one of the few times this year that the total movement has been over 200 loads.

With Mother’s Day, graduations and Memorial Day weekend coming up, sales picked up for retailers. Boxed beef then moved lower with Choice product closing $2.26 lower at $254.64 on April 24 as that would be nearly $25 higher than year ago levels. Auction receipts are starting to get lighter and will continue at a fast pace and buyers realize they need to fill orders now while there are still cattle available.

For the balance of the spring, many producers will be concentrating on getting their corn and soybeans in the ground while most available supplies of calves and yearlings will be turned-out on grass until the summer yearling specials.

Corn planting on April 26 was at 19 percent completed with this week’s forecast for clear skies throughout much of the Corn Belt.

Fed cattle prices gained $2 on live prices in Kansas April 24 trading at $160, with trade in Nebraska from $160-163 and Colorado $3 higher at $163. The week’s auction volume included 52 percent over 600 lbs. and 42 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

180,200 169,600 161,500

WASHINGTON 2,300. 54 pct over 600 lbs. 46 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 550-600 lbs. $249.96; 600-650 lbs. $237.92; 650-700 lbs. $230.66. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 450-500 lbs. $246.73; 500-550 lbs. $236.29; 550-600 lbs. $236.01; 700-750 lbs. $192.51.


This week Last week Last year

66,400 36,000 59,100

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) There were no direct sales reported.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 2,500. 100 pct over 600 lbs. 57 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current FOB Price 650-700 lbs. $235 Washington. Current Delivered Price 850-900 lbs. $188-196 Idaho. Future Delivery Delivered Price 850-900 lbs. $196-205.50 for June-July Idaho. Holsteins: Large 2-3 Current FOB Price 650 lbs. $189 Washington. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivered Price 850-900 lbs. $187-190 Idaho. Future Delivery Delivered 850-900 lbs. $190-198 for June-September Idaho.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 1

This week Last week Last year

2,450 3,350 6,650

Compared to April 24: Feeder cattle weak to $4 lower. Trade remains slow this week as videos and auction sales in California are keeping Northwest buyers busy. Demand remains good. The feeder supply included 43 percent steers and 57 percent heifers. Near 100 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs. Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 3-8 cent slide on yearlings. Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Price: 650-700 lbs. $235 Washington. Current Delivered Price: 850-900 lbs. $188-196 Idaho. Future Delivery Delivered Price 850-900 lbs. $196-205.50 for June-July Idaho.

Holstein Steers Large 2-3: Current FOB Price: 650 lbs. $189 Washington.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current Delivered Price: 850-900 lbs. $187-190 Idaho. Future Delivery Delivered 850-900 lbs. $190-198 for June-September Idaho.

Selected regional cattle auctions Mon, 4 May 2015 13:55:01 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.



(Shasta Livestock Auction)

Cottonwood, Calif.

May 1

Current week Last week

2,513 1,234

Compared to April 24: Butcher cows and bulls steady. Feeder cows strong, up to $133. Feeder market mixed with 550 lbs to 700 lbs strong. Yearling market softer. Off lots and singles $40-75 below top.

Slaughter cows: Breakers $103-112, $113-119 high dress; Boning $95-102; Cutters $81-94.

Bulls 1 and 2: $110-124; $125-137 high dress.

Feeder steers: 400-450 lbs. $180-337.50; 500-550 lbs. $265-310; 550-600 lbs. $230-266; 600-650 lbs. $225-260; 650-700 lbs. $225-251; 700-750 lbs. $200-242; 750-800 lbs. $191-208; 800-900 lbs. $181-203.50.

Feeder heifers: 300-400 lbs. $250-310; 400-450 lbs. $215-245; 450-500 lbs. $215-255; 500-550 lbs. $210-245; 550-600 lbs. $205-237.50; 600-650 lbs. $192-225; 650-700 lbs. $180-204; 700-750 lbs. $180-195; 750-800 lbs. $170-178; 800-900 lbs. $164-173.

Pairs: Full-mouth pairs $2000-3100; Broken-mouth $1725-2500.

Calvy cows: Few running age cows $1800-$2050; Broken-mouth: butcher price to $1725 lbs.


(Treasure Valley Livestock)

May 1

Steers: 300-400 lbs. $255.25; 400-500 lbs. $243.75; 500-600 lbs. $227.75; 600-700 lbs. $204.75; 700-800 lbs. $178.50; 800-900 lbs. $174.25; 900-1000 lbs. $160.25; 1000 lbs. and up $123.50.

Heifers: 200-300 lbs. $252.50; 300-400 lbs. $242.50; 400-500 lbs. $228.50; 500-600 lbs. $212.25; 600-700 lbs. $192.50; 700-800 lbs. $153.25; 800-900 lbs. $132.50; 900-1000 lbs. $144.50; 1000 lbs. and up $109.

Cows (wt.): 700-800 lbs. $82.50; 800-900 lbs. $85.75; 900-1000 lbs. $91.75; 1000-1100 lbs. $96.25; 1100-1200 lbs. $101.25; 1200-1300 lbs. $88.50; 1300-1400 lbs. $97; 1400-1500 lbs. $64; 1500-1600 lbs. $103.75; 1600-1700 lbs. $102.50; 1700-1800 lbs. $94; 1800-1900 lbs. $96.

Bull calves (wt.): 200-300 lbs. $321.25; 300-400 lbs. $312.50; 400-500 lbs. $200; 500-600 lbs. $212.25; 600-700 lbs. $190; 700-800 lbs. $192.50; 900-1000 lbs. $97.50; 1000-1100 lbs. $112; 1300-1400 lbs. $100; 1400-1500 lbs. $129.

Bulls (wt.): 1500-1600 lbs. $103.75; 1600-1700 lbs. $134; 2100-2200 lbs. $130.

Pairs (hd.): 1000 lbs. and up $1200.

Bred heifers (hd.): 800 lbs. and up $1470.

Stock cows (hd.): 800 lbs. and up $1480.

Bull calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $515; 200-300 lbs. $620; 300-400 lbs. $555.

Heifer calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $405; 200-300 lbs. $450; 300-400 lbs. $615.

Steer calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $425; 200-300 lbs. $495; 300-400 lbs. $555; 400-500 lbs. $455.



(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 1

This week Last week Last year

1,450 2,020 1,500

Compared to April 24 at the same market: Stocker and feeder cattle weak to $10 lower. Trade active with good demand. Slaughter cows $4-5 lower. Slaughter bulls firm. Trade active with good demand. Slaughter cows 67 percent, Slaughter bulls 5 percent, and feeders 28 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 56 percent steers and 44 percent heifers. Near 50 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $268; 500-600 lbs. $260; 600-700 lbs. $239.50-246.50; 700-800 lbs. $190-200. Medium and Large 2-3: 600-700 lbs. $207; 800-900 lbs. $190. Small and Medium 1-2: 500-600 lbs. $240; 500-600 lbs. $222.50, Full; 600-700 lbs. $230.

Feeder Holstein Steers: Large 2-3: 100-200 lbs. $240; 100-200 lbs. $510, Per Head; 200-300 lbs. $240.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $240-250; 400-500 lbs. $265, Thin Fleshed; 500-600 lbs. $230; 600-700 lbs. $214-215; 700-800 lbs. $187-191; 700-800 lbs. $175, Full. Medium and Large 2-3: 400-500 lbs. $220, Thin Fleshed; 500-600 lbs. $210; 600-700 lbs. $205. Small and Medium 1-2: 600-700 lbs. $200-207.

Slaughter Cows:

Boning 80-85 percent lean 1300-1900 lbs. $101-107; Boning 80-85 percent lean 1200-1700 lbs. $112-118; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1200-1600 lbs. $100-106; Lean Light 90 percent lean 800-1250 lbs. $90-95.

Slaughter Bulls: Yield Grade 1-2 1000-2600 lbs. $135-145.

Bred Cows (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: Mid-Aged 1400 lbs. lbs. 6-9 mos. bred $1950-2100.

National wool and sheep report Mon, 4 May 2015 13:51:02 -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.

May 1

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was moderate to good this week. There were 869,945 lbs. of confirmed trades. Demand was good. A steady U.S. dollar and some increased demand this week have helped to increase the volume of wool that is being traded. Currency was in favor this week which helped to increase the number of trades.

Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was moderate this week. There were 376,445 lbs. of confirmed trades. Fleece States Ewe Wool: 23 micron $1.43; 26 micron $1.28. Yearling wools: 25 micron $1.17. Lamb Wools: 45-50 mm 24 micron $1.07. Territory States Ewe Wool: 18 micron $2.26; 20 micron $1.71; 22 micron $1.40; 23 micron $1.31; 24 micron 1.28; 25 micron $1.21. Yearling wools: 60-65mm 20 micron $1.76; 55-60mm 21 micron $1.47; 55-60mm 23 micron $1.20. New Mexico Ewe Wool: 21 micron $1.56; 22 micron $1.55; 23 micron $1.54. Yearling Wools: 65-70mm $1.81.

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

May 1

Compared to April 24: Slaughter lambs were steady to $20 lower, instances sharply lower. Slaughter ewes were mostly steady to $10 lower. Feeder lambs were $10-15 lower, instances sharply lower. At San Angelo, Texas, 5,112 head sold in a one-day sale. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading no comparison on slaughter ewes and feeder lambs were not tested. 5,700 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs under 170 lbs. were $1-2 higher, no comparison on over 170 lbs. 8,900 head of formula sales under 65 lbs. were not well tested; 65-75 lbs. were $10-13 higher; 75-85 lbs. were $1-2 higher; 89-95 were $7-8 higher and over 95 lbs. were $3-4 higher. 5,960 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs. and down $14.07 higher; 45-65 lbs. $4.66-5.63 lower and 65 lbs. and up $.51-1.25 lower.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 115-165 lbs. $138-150.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $216-226; 60-70 lbs. $200-216; 70-80 lbs. $194-201; 80-90 lbs. $190-203; 90-100 lbs. $190-198.

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

5,700 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 136-167 lbs. $125-148 (wtd avg $137.61); 173-191 lbs. $113.80-134 (wtd avg 126.55).

Idaho: 300 Slaughter Ewes Utility and Good 1-3 $55; Cull and Utility 1-2 $40.


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $60-70; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $78-91; Utility 1-2 (thin) $60-78; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $57-61; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $38-52.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: new crop 45-60 lbs. $194-208; 60-70 lbs. $190-202; 70-80 lbs. $186-196; 80-90 lbs. $180-188; 90-105 lbs. $178-186. old crop 70-80 lbs. $166-175; 80-100 lbs. $150-164.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: hair ewe lambs 60-70 lbs. $230-232 cwt; yearling hair ewes 100 lbs. $184 per head, others 113 lbs. $160 cwt; mixed age hair ewes 95-115 lbs. $120-142 cwt.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. down $516.70

45-55 lbs. $392.44

55-65 lbs. $349.11

65-75 lbs. $321.25

75-85 lbs. $304.88

85 lbs. and up $289.42

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 37,000 compared with 39,000 last week and 39,000 last year.

Selected Western hay prices Mon, 4 May 2015 13:47:40 -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.

May 1

This week FOB Last week Last year

5,500 930 5,910

Compared to April 24: All grades of Alfalfa weak in a light test. Trade slow for domestic and export markets. Light new crop Alfalfa contracts were reported this week. Demand light to moderate. Retail/Feedstore not tested this week. Demand remains good.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Fair/Good 1200 $150

Alfalfa Mid Square Premium 1500 $190

Good/Prem. 300 $180

Fair/Good 1000 $160

Alfalfa Standing Good/Prem. 750 $125

Fair/Good 750 $125


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

May 1

This week FOB Last week Last year

2,077 1,567 664

Compared to April 24: Prices trended generally steady compared to the same quality last week. Trade activity and demand slowed this week. The continued Prices trended generally steady compared to the same quality last week. Trade activity and demand picked up slightly this week. The continued good weather in several areas of Oregon has slowed down demand, as pasture grasses are growing causing end users to be able to turn animals out on pasture rather than purchase and feed additional hay. Export hay business seems to slowly be picking up, however continued issues with few containers available and backup of containers needing to be loaded at the shipping ports continue to slow down the ability to export hay overseas. Most producers have sold all that they plan to sell for this season.

Tons Price

Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Wasco Counties

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 50 $240

51 $300


Timothy Grass Large Square Premium 80 $150


Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 32 $250

Good 1220 $170-190

Small Square Premium 30 $220

Good/Prem. 34 $200

Good 90 $180

Alfalfa/Oat Mix Large Square Premium 75 $150

Triticale Large Square Good/Prem. 86 $140

Good 300 $130

Forage Mix-Three Way Large Square Good 29 $145

HARNEY COUNTY: No new sales confirmed.

KLAMATH BASIN: No new sales confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 1

This week FOB Last week Last year

5,900 2,400 5,600

Compared to April 24: All grades of Alfalfa weak in a light test. Trade remains slow to moderate. Demand light to moderate. Some contracting of new crop Alfalfa was reported this with guaranteed no rain damage and a test of 160 RFV or better. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Good/Prem. 1800 $160

Fair/Good 2100 $125

Utility/Fair 2000 $75-90


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 1

This week FOB Last week Last year

9,990 18,115 29,595

Compared to April 24: All classes traded active on good demand. Milk prices remained in the low-teens, which affected the demand from dairies for test hay. Exporters are still playing a big hand in the markets in region 6. According to U.S. Drought Monitor, little if any precipitation fell across the state of California during the past seven days, with the exception of moderate to locally heavy precipitation (0.5-3.0 inches) over north-central portions of the state, including the Sierras. Water, yields and acres are coming up short for this season of haying.


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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Good 75 $185

Orchard Grass Premium 525 $324

REGION 2: Sacramento Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 250 $245-250

150 $240

Good/Prem. 50 $250

Orchard Grass Premium 25 $300

Orchard/Timothy Premium 75 $320

Oat Good 50 $140

Rice Straw Good 250 $100

REGION 3: Northern San Joaquin Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 300 $260

600 $260-282

Good/Prem. 300 $225

Good 150 $200

Orchard Grass Premium 95 $190

Oat Good 75 $165

Rye Grass Straw Good 2000 $140

REGION 4: Central San Joaquin Valley

Tons Price

Alfalfa Premium 70 $180

Good 550 $230

75 $290

Wheat Good $45

REGION 5: Southern California

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 575 $255.20

150 $225

REGION 6: Southeast California

Alfalfa Prem./Sup. 250 $235

Premium 2150 $225-236

Good/Prem. 200 $200

Good 200 $150

Klein Grass Premium 800 $160

Grazing, timber groups lose national forest rule challenge Mon, 4 May 2015 13:44:34 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski Grazing and timber groups have lost their challenge against high-level federal regulations that govern activities across all national forests.

In 2012, the U.S. Forest Service established a new “planning rule” that lays out national forest management principles, replacing a previous policy established 30 years earlier.

The planning rule is used to develop management plans for individual forests, which in turn determine allowable grazing and logging levels.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Forest Resource Council and other industry groups filed a lawsuit claiming the 2012 planning rule doesn’t comply with existing national forest laws.

The new rule prioritizes environmental concerns over grazing and timber production, effectively overriding the will of Congress when it passed three statutes: the National Forest Management Act, the Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act and the Organic Administration Act, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs argue that the 2012 planning rule establishes “ecological sustainability” as the top forest purpose and “ecosystem services” as a new type of forest use without any basis in existing laws.

The Forest Service and several environmental groups that intervened in the case claimed that it was within the federal agency’s authority to create the new policy.

Environmental groups successfully used litigation to stop previous planning rule changes from going into effect in 2000, 2005 and 2008, but now alleged that the timber and grazing plaintiffs lacked legal standing to oppose the 2012 revisions.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has agreed with the environmentalists and thrown out the lawsuit because the plaintiffs failed to show they’d be directly injured by the 2012 planning rule.

The plaintiffs argued they’d suffer economic harm because the rule would eventually reduce logging and grazing on national forests, with overstocked trees also increasing the risk of wildfire.

To support their allegations, the groups pointed to language in the rule that said grazing must be modified in areas where it’s identified as a “stressor.”

The rule also stated that current trends in the national forest timber program will continue, which the plaintiffs interpreted as further logging declines.

However, the judge said the plaintiffs did not demonstrate these alleged harms were an “imminent” effect of the 2012 planning rule, as the new policy doesn’t direct on-the-ground activities.

Jackson said the allegations of reduced logging and grazing are “sheer speculation,” since there are still several “intervening decision points” between the planning rule and site-specific projects.

Selected grain prices Mon, 4 May 2015 13:41:52 -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)


April 30


Cash wheat bids for May delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, April 30, lower, compared to April 23 noon bids for May delivery.

May wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, April 30, lower as follows compared to April 23 closes: Chicago July wheat futures 27.25 cents lower at $4.74, Kansas City May wheat futures 26.25 cents lower at $4.9025 and Minneapolis May wheat futures trended 22 cents lower at $5.2325. Chicago July corn futures trended 10.25 cents lower at $3.6625 while July soybean futures closed $4 cents lower at $9.76.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during May for ordinary protein were 10 to 27.25 cents per bushel lower from $5.80-6.04, mostly $5.91 compared to April 23 noon bids for May delivery of $5.90-6.3125.

There were no white club wheat premiums for this week, compared to White club wheat premiums for ordinary protein last week of $1.10 to $2, mostly $1.70.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for May delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were $7.70-8.0650, mostly $7.9150 and bids for White Club Wheat were $8.20-8.78, mostly $8.5150. Nearby bids for U.S. 1 Soft White wheat ordinary protein started reporting week on April 17 at 6.0450 and dropped lower on April 20 to mostly $5.9425 and held at that leave through April 21. Bids moved fractionally higher to mostly $5.9450 on April 22. April 23, bids moved lower to the weekly low of mostly $5.91.

Several exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: June $5.80-5.96, July $5.74-5.80 and August New Crop $5.7375-5.85. One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: June $8.0350-8.0650, July $7.7975-7.8275 and August New Crop $7.50-7.7975.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during May trended 26 to 28.75 cents per bushel lower from $6.24-6.39, mostly $6.33 per bushel compared to last week ranging from $6.50-6.6775. There were no white club wheat premiums, compared to white club wheat premiums for guaranteed 10.5 percent protein last week of $1.10 to $2, mostly 1.70.

Nearby bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent protein began the reporting week on April 17 at mostly $6.4850, moving lower to mostly 6.3225 on April 20, and to mostly $6.3125 on April 21. On April 22, bids moved higher to mostly 6.4350. April 23, Thursday moved lower again to mostly $6.33. Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent protein were as follows: June 6.33-6.39, July $5.74-5.83 and August New Crop $5.7375-6.05.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein U.S. 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for May delivery were 31.25 to 32.25 cents per bushel lower compared to April 17 for May noon bids. On Thursday, bids were as follows: May $5.8525-5.9925, mostly $5.9225; June $5.99; July $5.79-5.94 and August New Crop $5.8425-5.9925.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein U.S. 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery for May delivery were 22 to instances of 77 cents per bushel lower compared to April 23 noon bids. On April 23, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: May $6.9825-7.6325, mostly $7.3825; June $7.13-7.68; July $6.93-7.38; August New Crop $6.68-6.98 and September $6.78.


Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN shuttle trains for May delivery were $5.50 to 9.50 cents lower from $4.5525-4.5925 per bushel. Forward month corn bids for June $4.5225-4.5425, July $4.5875, August/September $4.7150-4.7350 and October and November $4.6950-4.7350. Bids for U.S. 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN shuttle trains for May delivery were mixed, from 2.25 lower to 7.75 cents higher from $10.51-10.66 per bushel. Forward month soybean bids for June $10.51-10.61, October $10.5025-10.6225, November $10.5225-10.6425 and December $10.5525-10.6725. Bids for U.S. 2 Heavy Wheat Oats for May delivery held steady at $3.8475 per bushel.


There were three grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, April 30, with two docked compared to seven on April 23 with three docked. The Commodity Credit Corporation of the USDA tenders this afternoon to donate 35,800 metric tons of soft white wheat to Yemen and 10,640 metric tons of soft white wheat to Afghanistan, under the PL 480 Title II Program. Delivery is for May 20-30. Results will be available today after 2 p.m. Pacific Time.


(USDA Market News)


April 30

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)

Rail Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Tulare County NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa $9.85

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.85

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Madera County NA

Kern County NA

Glenn County NA

Colusa County NA

Solano County NA

CORN - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

FOB Turlock/Tulare $8.75

Rail Single Car Units via BNSF

Chino Valley-Los Angeles $9.22

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.06

Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

SORGHUM - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley

via BNSF Single $11.02

Truck Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

OATS - U.S. No. 1 White

Truck Los Angeles-Chino Valley $15.60

OATS - U.S. No. 2 White

Truck Petaluma $13.25-13.75

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $13.25-13.75

Rail Petaluma NA

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

(Domestic Values for Flour Milling)

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein $12.14

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein $12.34

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein $12.54

Truck/Rail Los Angeles 11-12 percent Protein

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein $10.67

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

WHEAT - U.S. Durum Wheat

Truck Imperial County NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

WHEAT - Any Class for Feed

FOB Tulare NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley $12.60

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $NA

King-Tulare-Fresno Counties $NA

Merced County NA

Colusa County NA

Kern County NA

Prices paid to California farmers, seven-day reporting period ending April 30

No confirmed sales.

CDFA sets hearing on 4b milk pricing Mon, 4 May 2015 13:20:32 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas The California Department of Food and Agriculture has set a June 3 hearing on its own motion to consider proposed amendments to the pricing formulation for Class 4 b milk, used to manufacture cheese.

The hearing will address the value of whey in the 4b formula.

That value has been a bone of contention with producers for the past few years, as the gap between that value in California’s pricing and pricing in federal milk marketing orders began to widen.

The issue led to numerous petitions to CDFA for hearings to consider an adjustment to the value and is now behind a producer effort to establish a federal milk marketing order for the state.

“While the industry must continue to work towards long-term structural reforms to address these issues, I am concerned that the current conditions impacting the production of milk and the marketing of dairy products may warrant short-term adjustments to the current pricing levels, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross stated in a press release.

The meeting is set for 8 a.m. at CDFA auditorium, 1220 N. Street, Sacramento.

Alternative proposals to the whey value in the current pricing formula can be submitted to the agency by 4 p.m. May 20.

For information, contact Hyrum Eastmen of Candace Gates at (906) 900-5014.

Yakima water forecast lowered again Mon, 4 May 2015 12:34:42 -0400 Dan Wheat YAKIMA, Wash. — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has lowered its estimate of summer water supply for junior water right holders in the Yakima Basin to 47 percent of normal.

Two weeks ago it was lowered to 54 percent. The bureau has been steadily lowering its estimate for the past couple of months based on a very light winter snowpack in the Cascade Mountains and a relatively warm and dry spring. Senior water right holders are to get 100 percent.

“Water supply conditions did not improve in April and the Yakima Basin reservoirs have been used to help meet demands since April 15,” said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project river operations supervisor for the Bureau.

It’s the second earliest date on record the bureau has begun using the reservoirs, he said.

The 47 percent forecast is based on snowpack, river flows, precipitation, reservoir storage and estimates of future precipitation.

“Snowpack is at an all-time low and natural stream flows are near what we’d normally expect in June or early July,” Garner said.

The Roza Irrigation District, a junior water right district serving a good portion of the Lower Yakima Valley, meets May 5 and may consider shutting off water for the rest of May to save water for later in the season. On April 27, the district voted to lease water from Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District, a neighboring senior water right district. SVID also meets May 5 to consider that request.

Wolf&#x2019;s arrival in Malheur County concerns ranchers Mon, 4 May 2015 11:50:15 -0400 Sean Ellis ADRIAN, Ore. — The arrival of a lone wolf in Malheur County has ranchers in the state’s top cattle producing county concerned.

“It’s plum serious,” said Malheur County Cattlemen’s Association President Chris Christensen. “There’s nothing positive from a cattleman’s standpoint in the fact that a wolf showed up.”

The wolf, which separated from a Northeast Oregon pack in February, entered the county April 10 and has been living mostly in sagebrush county south of Vale and west of Adrian.

The adult male wolf, which has a tracking collar and is known as OR22, has been seen by several farmers during brief forays into farm country.

“He’s started moving around a little bit more and has gone a few new places but he’s still in that same general area,” said Philip Milburn, a district wildlife biologist in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Ontario office.

Milburn said two cow carcasses were found in the area last week, which might be part of the reason he’s staying in that region.

ODFW officials removed the cow carcasses, which are believed to have died before the wolf found them, Milburn said.

“There’s no evidence the wolf was involved (in the cows’ deaths),” he said. “There’s still no evidence he’s killed anything since he’s been here.”

Christensen said ranchers should ensure their dead animals are disposed of quickly and properly.

“They don’t want to give him any easy meals,” he said. “That’s probably why it’s staying around.”

This is the first time a wolf has stayed in the county for more than a brief period, ODFW officials said, but there have been multiple wolf sightings in the county and confirmed wolf tracks have been found in several places, including at the Oregon State University research station a few miles outside of Ontario.

OSU livestock extension agent Sergio Arispe said OR22’s arrival has caused some concern among the county’s 150 beef cattle producers, especially since the industry realizes it’s probably only a matter of time before wolves establish a permanent presence in the area.

At today’s cattle prices, a producer can lose a lot of money from a single wolf kill, he said.

“It’s not a matter of if they’re going to be here, but when,” Arispe said. “There is some big concern from cattle producers who are trying to make a living.”

Milburn said the Northwest part of the county, in particular, contains what could potentially be some good wolf habitat.

“(There is) a fairly high potential of wolves settling in that area eventually,” he said.

Christensen said Malheur County ranchers need to start learning from their colleagues in Northeast Oregon on how to operate with wolves present in the area.

“We’re not up to speed on wolves like the guys up north are and we need to be aware of what’s going on,” he said. “Malheur County is the No. 1 cattle producing county in the state. It’s certainly an issue to have a wolf show up.”

Portland daily grain report Mon, 4 May 2015 09:22:54 -0400 Portland, Ore., Monday, May 04, 2015

USDA Market News

All Bids in dollars per bushel. Bids are limited and not fully established in early trading.

Bids for grains delivered to Portland, Oregon in dollars per bushel.

In early trading May wheat futures trended mixed, from 0.25 lower to 0.75 cents per bushel higher than Friday’s closes. July wheat futures trended 1.50 to 2.75 cents lower in early trading.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for May delivery were mixed for ordinary protein. Bids for guaranteed maximum 10.5 protein were not well tested, but were indicated as mixed compared to Friday’s noon bids for May delivery in a limited test.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for May delivery were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Friday’s noon bids. Some exporters are no issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 14 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for May delivery were indicated as steady to lower in early trading. Several exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains trended mixed compared to Friday’s noon bids.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains trended higher compared to Friday’s noon bids.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White Wheat - delivered by Unit Trains and Barges

Ordinary protein

May mostly 5.9250, ranging 5.8500-6.0250

Jun 5.8500-5.9250

Jul 5.7250-5.8500

Aug NC 5.7100-5.8500

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

May mostly 6.3550, ranging 6.2250-6.4500

Jun 6.3500-6.4500

Jul 5.7500-5.8150

Aug NC 5.8100-6.0500

US 1 White Club Wheat - delivered by Unit Trains and Barges

Ordinary protein

May mostly 5.9250, ranging 5.8500-6.0250

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

May mostly 6.3550, ranging 6.2250-7.5500

US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat - (Exporter bids-falling numbers of 300 or


Ordinary protein 5.7600-5.8700

11 pct protein 5.8400-5.9500

11.5 pct protein

May 5.8800-5.9900

Jun 5.9875

Jul 5.8875-5.9375

Aug NC 5.8350-5.9850

12 pct protein 5.8800-5.9900

13 pct protein 5.8800-6.0800

US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat (with a minimum of 300 falling numbers, a maximum

of 0.5 part per million vomitoxin, and a maximum of one percent total damage)

13 pct protein 5.9525-6.4025

14 pct protein

May 6.9525-7.4025

Jun 7.0675-7.5175

Jul 6.7175-7.2175

Aug NC 6.5275-6.9275

Sep 6.4275-6.7275

15 pct protein 7.5525-8.0025

16 pct protein 8.1525-8.6025

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

May 4.5600-4.5700

Jun 4.5400-4.5600

Jul 4.5200-4.5600

Aug/Sep 4.5450

Oct 4.6675-4.6875

Nov 4.6475-4.6875

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

May 10.5075-10.6575

Jun 10.5075-10.6375

Oct 10.4725-10.5925

Nov 10.4925-10.6125

Dec 10.5200-10.6400

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.8475

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Apr 2015

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 6.2300

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 6.2500

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 6.3700

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 8.1700

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Idaho was No. 3 milk producing state in 2014 Mon, 4 May 2015 09:17:11 -0400 BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho was the third highest milk producing state last year, behind California and Wisconsin.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Idaho cows produced about 13.9 billion pounds of milk in 2014.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that’s an increase from 13.4 billion pounds in 2013 and helped Idaho take the No. 3 spot back from New York.

California is the top producer with more than 42 billion pounds of milk, and Wisconsin comes in second with more than 27 billion pounds.

Idaho had 575,000 head of milk cows in 2014 that each produced an average of 24,000 pounds of milk.

Court hearing continues in Elko County forest road fight Mon, 4 May 2015 09:15:20 -0400 SCOTT SONNER RENO, Nev. (AP) — Elko County’s lawyers head back to federal court Monday with century-old newspaper clippings and mining claim maps from the 1890s that they say prove they’re in charge of a road on a national forest near the Idaho border.

The county, U.S. government and environmentalists have been arguing for two decades over the South Canyon Road and protection of a threatened fish in the river next to it.

The government first sued the county and leaders of a group called the “Shovel Brigade” in 1999, accusing them of violating the Endangered Species Act with the unauthorized reconstruction of the washed out road along the Jarbidge River.

Legal arguments center on an 1866 law that established so-called RS 2477 roads by granting states and counties the right of way to build highways on federal lands. Congress repealed such rights of way in 1976, but grandfathered in roads established on lands before national forests were formed or the land was placed into federal reserve.

Elko County maintains their road enjoys such status because miners and ranchers regularly traveled the route before the area first was reserved in 1905, then designated a national forest by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1909.

The government denies such a right of way exists. But under political pressure, the Forest Service signed a settlement agreement in 2003 with assurances it no longer would challenge the county’s claim.

The Wilderness Society and Great Old Broads for Wilderness sued to block the deal, saying U.S. officials lacked the authority to cede control of the road and shirked their responsibility to protect the bull trout. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and tossed the agreement out in 2005, before the agency signed a similar deal in 2011 and conservationists sued again.

The latest evidentiary hearing began last Monday and continues this week before U.S. District Judge Miranda Du.

Environmentalists say the county must prove a highway formally was established under Nevada law before the forest designation.

“Not a single map shows a trail or road there before 1909,” said Michael Freeman, a lawyer for The Wilderness Society. Dennis Scully, who surveyed the land for the U.S. General Land Office 1896, described the canyon as “some of the roughest country in the United States.”

Conflicting accounts introduced as evidence include a Western Shoshone legend of an evil man-eating devil that supposedly kept Indians from venturing into Jarbidge Canyon, and a livestock census estimating 500,000 sheep were grazing in the area by 1908.

County officials cite mining claims filed as early as 1894, a cabin built in 1903 and the 1910 U.S. Census with the town of Jarbidge, population 650.

Professional land surveyor William Price testified on behalf of the county for nearly eight hours last week, pointing to maps of mining claims and reading Elko Free Press accounts of the canyon’s development, including a 1907 report about a state senator who was fined $400 and sentenced to a day in jail for illegally fencing public land nearby.

Price said more than a half-dozen claims were “placer claims,” meaning they searched stream bottoms for gold, not mountain outcrops. He said miners with claims both north and south of the river canyon couldn’t have moved between them without traveling the same route that exists today between 10,000-foot mountain peaks.

“On foot, there was only one practical way to go,” he said.

Competition draws forestry students from eight high schools Mon, 4 May 2015 09:10:26 -0400 BEND, Ore. (AP) — As competitive high school forestry declines statewide, instructor Rex Cowther brought students from eight schools together Saturday to immerse themselves in the industry.

The Bulletin reports the Scio High School forestry teacher said the Central Oregon Community College competition includes components like mock job interviews and calculating the volume in a stand of trees to prepare students for an industry that has become increasingly sophisticated.

Cowther said the physical component is also important. Students wore spiked boots to scale trees, threw axes, crosscut logs, and raced to set choker cables, among a variety of other competitions.

McDonald&#x2019;s to simplify structure, focus on customers Mon, 4 May 2015 08:30:07 -0400 CANDICE CHOIAP Food Industry Writer NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook says he’s stripping away layers of bureaucracy and increasing accountability so the company can move more nimbly to keep up with changing tastes.

During a 23-minute video message posted online Monday, Easterbrook said the company’s structure is “cumbersome” and said it can no longer afford its “legacy attitudes.”

“The reality is our recent performance has been poor. The numbers don’t lie,” said Easterbrook, who took charge of the world’s biggest hamburger chain on March 1.

To foster quicker movement, McDonald’s is restructuring its units into four groups based on the maturity of its presence in the market: the flagship U.S. market, established international markets such as Australia and the United Kingdom, high-growth markets such as China and Russia, and the rest of the world.

Previously, the business was segmented by geography.

McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, also said 90 percent of its more than 36,200 restaurants around the world will be franchised over the next four years. That’s up from 81 percent, and will mean the company will rely more heavily on franchising fees and move away from the daily work of running restaurants.

The organizational changes will contribute to $300 million in cost-cutting targeted by McDonald’s, most of which will be realized by 2017. The company said it’s too early to say how slashed costs will affect jobs.

Larry Light, who served as chief marketing officer of McDonald’s between 2002 and 2005 and now runs a brand consulting firm, said Easterbrook offered little in the way of what matters to customers.

“Being more efficient, having less bureaucracy will buy you time, but will not buy you enduring success,” he said.

When McDonald’s was trying to turn around its business in 2002, Light said it focused on addressing the quality of the food, which had degraded over time. For instance, he said the company had stopped toasting Big Mac buns to speed up service.

That helped the company reconnect with its existing fans.

“Now McDonald’s is more concerned about the customers that go to Chipotle,” Light said.

Mark Kalinowski, a Janney Capital Markets analyst, said the video contained “quite a bit of broad commentary, and some specifics,” but not as much of the latter he had hoped for. He noted that “much of these developments appear previously anticipated.”

McDonald’s stock fell 1 percent to $96.65.

Easterbrook also said during the video that the company will focus on listening to customers and that there will be “less sweeping talk of millennials” as though they’re a homogenous group. The company is also working on improving perceptions about the quality of its food with items like a trio of new sirloin burgers. In New York City, Easterbrook said McDonald’s is partnering with Postmates to offer delivery starting Monday.

The “turnaround blueprint” comes as McDonald’s fights intensifying competition from a variety of players and shifting tastes. Sales in Asia took a big hit after a controversy over a major supplier this past summer, and business in Europe has been weak. Its profit dropped 15 percent last year.

In its flagship U.S. market, executives said the menu got too complicated and gummed up operations. Customer visits at established locations declined for two straight years.

Already, McDonald’s has tried a number of moves to inject some life back into its brand.

Back in December, it said it would start trimming its menu to simplify operations and make room for new offerings. More recently, it began testing an all-day breakfast menu in San Diego, revamped its grilled chicken recipe and said it would curb the use of antibiotics.

The company also said last month that it would double its planned restaurant closures this year to roughly 700. It hasn’t yet revealed its updated plans on overall restaurant count growth. At the end of last year, McDonald’s Corp. had more than 36,200 locations around the world.

Easterbrook, who previously headed up the U.K. business, has described himself as an “internal activist” and says he wants to turn McDonald’s into a “modern, progressive burger company.”

The turnaround plan comes ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting on May 21.


Follow Candice Choi at

Vilsack to announce national conservation work Mon, 4 May 2015 08:18:27 -0400 BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is traveling to Colorado to announce funding for conservation projects in all 50 states.

Vilsack is scheduled to release details about the projects at 2 p.m. Monday at the Colorado Department of Agriculture in Broomfield.

The Department of Agriculture says the projects concern water quality, soil health, wildlife habitat and agricultural viability. They will be funded by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which requires recipients to also contribute their own money and sweat equity on projects.

Eighth case of bird flu detected in Wisconsin Mon, 4 May 2015 08:16:26 -0400 MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An eighth case of bird flu virus has been detected in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said Sunday the latest case is in a commercial turkey flock in Barron County. About 16,000 breeding turkeys and nearly 42,000 hatching eggs are affected. It is the fourth reported case in Barron County.

The property was immediately quarantined. Remaining birds will be euthanized and will not enter the flood supply.

Bird flu was first detected in Wisconsin at a commercial chicken flock in Jefferson County on April 13. The number of affected birds has risen to more than 1.5 million in Wisconsin.

A ban on poultry movement to shows, exhibitions and swap meets in Barron, Chippewa, Jefferson and Juneau counties remains in effect through the end of May.

Goat-sharing program grows in Alaska Wed, 29 Apr 2015 08:22:25 -0400 KELLY SULLIVANPeninsula Clarion KENAI, Alaska (AP) — At feeding time Monday morning on Karluk Acres, a gang of Nigerian Dwarf and Nubian goats darted over gravel to claim scattered corn and grains.

The farm, which Julie Wendt co-owns with Paul Vass, has one of the few goat-shares on the Kenai Peninsula. Currently, the herd has seven milking females and is only large enough to supply the demand from friends and their families, Wendt said.

Herd-shares facilitate the purchase of local, raw dairy products, Wendt said. People buy half of a goat or a quarter of a goat depending on the size, and can take a portion of the milk the animal produces, she said. Selling unpasteurized milk is prohibited, but herd-share participants are paying for the goat, and as owners can have the milk for personal use.

It ends up costing roughly $5 per gallon because the buyer helps with work around the farm as well, Wendt said. If there is extra it usually goes to other animals on the farm, she said.

“It’s a shame to feed it to the pigs,” Wendt said.

Wendt says unpasteurized goat’s milk has numerous health benefits, especially for children, which is why she tries to sell shares to families with children. It is more homogenized than cow’s milk and is easier to digest, she said.

Suzy Crosby, a speaker at the 2015 Kenai Peninsula Ag Forum, owns Cottonwood Creek Farm, one of several larger herd-share operations in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. She and her husband Mike Pendergrast began their herd-share in 2002, with only two milking goats.

“We had more milk even then, than we knew what to do with,” Crosby said.

Crosby is aware of aware of nearly one dozen active herd-shares raising various dairy animals throughout Alaska. Cottonwood Creek Farm has Chinook Wind Registered Alpine goats, whose supply is spoken for year-round during the peak in the summer and slow winter seasons, she said.

There is enough movement of shareholders that new applicants are usually accepted, Crosby said. Many shareholders stick with the program for years, while for others it may be a shorter duration, such as raising a baby until weaning age. This spring her very first shareholder finally left the program after 13 years, she said.

“It seems as if when one person leaves two more step in,” Crosby said. “It becomes very self-sustaining.”

The legality of selling a share in an animal versus selling their milk is a matter of using terminology approved by the state of Alaska, Crosby said. It becomes “a boarding arrangement,” and the buyer is paying a monthly fee to house their portion of the animal, she said.

Herd-share owners can come pick up their milk shares when the milk is available, on their assigned day of the week, Crosby said.

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund tracks regulations by state on raw milk sales. Alaska is one of seven states where herd-shares are legal. Ten states allow for the retail sale of raw milk, on-farm sales are legal in 15 states, four states do not have any regulations on raw milk, and only 11 states ban raw milk sales.

“Raw milk is considered by many to be one of nature’s most perfect foods, and yet it is one of the most banned substances by the government,” Crosby said.

There is a pervasive attitude that unpasteurized product is dangerous, Crosby said. However, raw milk itself rarely makes people ill; the conditions in which the product is stored and handled are more likely to blame for problems, she said. During her presentation at the Ag Forum, Crosby outlined the two essential components to properly handling raw milk.

“Clean and cold,” Crosby said, are the two priorities to follow. Chilling the milk quickly and storing it at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and maintaining a clean milking environment, equipment and animals is essential, she said.

The interest in raw milk is picking up statewide, along with the rest of the nation coinciding with the grassroots movement toward consuming more local foods, Crosby said.

“People want to know where their food came from and what it took to get it there,” Crosby said.

Raw milk contains no hormones or pesticides if farmed using natural methods, and offers health benefits such as clearing up skin issues, and minimizing allergies and digestive problems, Crosby said, both of which she has witnessed first-hand through her shareholders.

“Everyone should have the choice of what food to eat,” Crosby said. “It should had never been restricted.”

Logging education day stresses technology Fri, 1 May 2015 18:35:11 -0400 Tim Hearden VIOLA, Calif. — The excitement among a gaggle of fifth-graders was palpable as logger Loren German guided his hot saw toward a tall pine tree and ran the circular blade through it at the bottom.

“Timber!” yelled the students from West Cottonwood School in Cottonwood, Calif., as the tree fell.

German, a tree feller for Creekside Logging Co. in Redding, Calif., had just told the youngsters how a full array of hand and foot controls make the machine easier to operate, including controls that keep the cab level as he’s climbing a hill.

“There isn’t one thing out here that you’ll see today that isn’t run by computers,” he told the students. “So learn computers. My machine, believe it or not, has two computers.”

Advancements in technology in the timber industry was a key theme at the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference’s annual education day in the woods, to which some 600 Northern California elementary through high school students came on April 29 and 30.

Youngsters each year are given a tour of an active logging site to engage them about what really goes on in the industry, with some 15 stations teaching them about such aspects as water quality control, fire prevention and forest replanting. This year, presenters stressed the industry’s technological advancements as a way to entice tech-savvy youngsters seeking careers in computers, event spokesman Mike Quinn said.

“It’s all hand-eye coordination, just like with a video game,” field trip organizer Larry Strawn said of operating machinery.

Advancements have been made in the working environment, too. Jessica MacDonald, a student in the heavy equipment program at Shasta College in Redding, sat on the edge of a fire bulldozer as she told youngsters that the program is female-friendly.

Nearby, Shasta College instructor John Livingston held a 1950s-era hand saw as he told middle-schoolers about changes in equipment over the past few decades. He said researchers may soon develop the ability to use lasers to cut logs.

“Technology is huge,” Livingston said, noting that the fire dozer uses a $120,000 satellite system. “Everything’s going to technology because we don’t have the labor. We’ve got to have the technology for one person to do the jobs of two or three people.”

Jesse Kavanagh, a seventh-grader at Evergreen Elementary School in Cottonwood, found the idea of working in logging appealing.

“It looks like a good place, out in the forest, and you get paid pretty good,” he said. “Sounds fun.”

S. Carolina women leap into cricket flour business Wed, 29 Apr 2015 08:44:11 -0400 HANNA RASKINThe Post and Courier of Charleston CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Even with an increasing number of commercial kitchens available for Lowcountry food entrepreneurs to rent, finding the right facility can be a challenge, especially when you’re proposing to haul a bunch of bugs into the Department of Health-approved space.

“The thing you want to keep out, we want to bring in,” says Gabby Barons of Jiminy Co., a new local company in the exploratory stages of making cricket flour. “It’s insane.”

Barons, 25, and her sisters, Alexandra, 30, and Victoria, 21, have finally located a kitchen in which they can roast and grind insects. They’re now maneuvering various bureaucratic obstacles but hope to have a product ready for sampling by fall.

“It’s such a sustainable way to get your nutrients,” Barons says.

Environmentalists have long hailed edible insects as the solution to chronic food shortages projected to worsen with global population growth, land degradation and a growing worldwide demand for meat. Advocates estimate 2 billion people already eat caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers and other insects on a regular and intentional basis, but years of marketing hasn’t fully eroded the “ick” factor endemic to the world’s wealthiest countries, including the U.S.

To deal with potential customers’ reflexive disgust, the Barons sisters decided to use the old parental trick of disguising the offensive food. So instead of plopping a single cricket atop a cupcake, they pulverized thousands of them, stirring one part cricket into four parts flour.

“At first we didn’t know what the consistency would be,” Barons says, adding that the flour lends a faintly nutty flavor to sesame chips, cookies and cakes.

About half a dozen companies already are trying to capitalize on the anticipated insect-eating trend, including Exo, a Brooklyn producer of cricket flour-based energy bars. Much like Jiminy Co., Exo was launched by green-minded recent college grads.

Exo has been fairly well-received by followers of the Paleo diet, which stresses the consumption of high-protein meat. Jiminy Co. is starting to make inroads with the same community in South Carolina. Barons says existing insect entrepreneurs have been very helpful with the start-up process.

“They’re more than happy to get Charleston turned on to edible insects,” she says.

Without much guidance at the outset, the Baronses first tried rearing crickets in a guest bedroom. “Then they started chirping, and we were like, we need a legitimate farm.”

Now the crickets come from an Upstate breeder, but Barons says the sisters are prepared to further adjust their business plan if necessary.

“It depends on everyone’s perspective when we take it to the streets,” she says. “We’ll see what happens. If the flour doesn’t sell, we’re going to make it into treats.”

Education a passion for N. California logger Fri, 1 May 2015 17:21:03 -0400 Tim Hearden VIOLA, Calif. — As a group of seventh-graders looked at a fire bulldozer during a field trip at a logging site, Larry Strawn asked them how many played video games.

Most of the youngsters raised their hands.

“Tell your parents you’re practicing for your career,” said Strawn, owner of Blue Ridge Forest Management in Redding, Calif.

In reality, Strawn tries to limit the hours his grandkids spend on video games. But educating future generations about the timber industry has always been a top priority, and computers and video technology are a wave of the future.

Operating machines is “all hand-eye coordination, just like with a video game,” the 70-year-old Strawn told the youngsters from Evergreen School in Cottonwood, Calif.

Strawn was instrumental in starting education days in the woods in the early ’90s, working with a long-time employee, Delbert Gannon, who later became his business partner.

It was a time of change and contraction for the timber industry, as the federal listing of the northern spotted owl and other environmental regulations were causing upheaval. Loggers began to realize it was important to tell the public what really goes on at logging sites, they have said.

“The first class was eight,” Strawn said. “We did that for a number of years with Sierra Pacific (Industries) and Blue Ridge and it grew to about 200.”

Enter the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference, with which Strawn has been involved for more than 20 years. The annual Anderson, Calif., gathering in February began to include an auction dinner to raise funds for educational activities, including the springtime field trips to an active logging site.

“It was hard to get kids to come up here because schools are so strapped for funds that they couldn’t come up,” Strawn said. “Now we fund the buses.”

This year, more than 600 elementary through high school students attended the lessons and demonstrations at a logging site in a meadow near Viola, about 40 miles east of Redding, on April 29 and 30.

Each year, the students visit about 15 stations learning about various aspects of logging, including maintaining water quality near sites, how various equipment is used and how forests are replanted after timber sales.

“There’s career opportunities out here,” said Gannon, owner of Creekside Logging Co. in Redding.

Often, the annual field days have specific themes. For instance, students two years ago visited a salvage logging operation in an area burned by the 2012 Ponderosa Fire, a nearly 30,000-acre blaze that swept through miles of brush and timber and forced evacuations of three mountain communities.

The burn areas provided a backdrop to inform students about wildfires and the efforts to restore forests in their aftermath. Students saw a demonstration of felling what was left of some trees, watched as charred bark was scraped from logs that were later loaded onto a truck, and heard firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection discuss the behavior of wildfires.

This year, presenters — which included crew members from Blue Ridge, Sierra Pacific and Creekside as well as representatives from Shasta College in Redding and Cal Fire — stressed the growing role that computers and technology are playing in the industry.

“It’s just great to interact with grade school kids and get them seeing what they can do in the forestry industry,” said John Livingston, a heavy equipment instructor at Shasta College, who’s been presenting at the field day for the past three years.

The field trip is one of several education-related events hosted by the logging conference, which also brings as many as 800 fourth-graders to its large-equipment expo at the Shasta District Fairgrounds each year.

College students hold logging sports competitions during the logging conference while FFA members test their knowledge of forestry. Sierra Pacific also sends teams to festivals and fairs to teach kids about the many uses of wood, and last fall the timber giant hosted a tour for adults at its Anderson mill.

But one of the biggest events of the year is the field trip to the woods.

“This is Sierra Cascade’s highest priority — education for young kids,” Strawn said.

A Redding resident, Strawn spent lots of time in the woods as a boy helping his father, who was also a logger.

“I didn’t think there was much of a future in it,” he said. “I took a job driving a low-bed truck. I made three times the money I had made logging and was miserable.”

In 1969, a friend had “an old junk Cat and I bought a junk loader and we were partners for a year,” Strawn said. The friend moved to Idaho and Strawn stayed in Redding.

Gannon, 43, worked for Strawn for 20 years before his mentor started pondering retirement and helped him start Creekside. Work for Blue Ridge is slowly being phased out, Strawn said.

The two still believe there’s a future in logging, they said.

“It’s a good industry to get into right now, just like farming,” Strawn said. “Delbert and I felt that with kids’ education in school, logging just had a bad name. We wanted to get the word out that we’re here to stay. It’s a natural resource.

“We’re trying to get high school students to make a career out of it,” he said.

Larry Strawn

Age: 70

Occupation: Logger

Residence: Redding, Calif.

Family: Wife, Trish; children Sandi, Sheri and Mike Strawn; eight grandchildren; one great-grandson

Iowa governor declares state of emergency in response to bird flu Fri, 1 May 2015 19:08:20 -0400 DAVID PITT DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state of emergency was declared Friday by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad with nearly 17 million chickens and turkeys dead, dying or scheduled to be euthanized due to a widening bird flu outbreak.

The proclamation, in effect until May 31 unless terminated earlier, activates disaster response and recovery procedures for the state’s homeland security and emergency management personnel. It also authorizes use of state resources, supplies, equipment and materials to track and monitor bird flu, establish restrictions around affected farms and assist in the rapid detection of cases.

It also allows state agencies to help in the disposal of poultry carcasses, an increasing problem in a state where about 27 percent of its 60 million egg-laying chickens will be wiped out.

Iowa is the nation’s leading egg producer, providing one of every five eggs consumed in the country. The state is ninth in turkey production and has lost well over 110,000 turkeys. The state now has 21 cases of the H5N2 virus in 10 counties.

“This is a magnitude much greater than anything we’ve dealt with in recent modern times,” Branstad said.

Overall, the outbreak has led to Midwest chicken and turkey producers losing more than 21 million birds. Minnesota, which has lost some 4 million birds in 19 counties this spring, declared a state of emergency earlier this week.

Four additional farms were added Friday to the Iowa list of those with probable disease outbreak, including a second turkey farm in Sac County and turkey farms in Pocahontas and Cherokee counties.

Madison County, located southwest of Des Moines, is the only county affected that isn’t in northwest Iowa. An egg-laying chicken farm with 1 million birds had a positive preliminary test.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said it’s important to step up the state’s response now.

“Unfortunately despite the best efforts of everyone to slow the spread of the disease, outbreaks are continuing to appear,” he said.

State officials have developed expanded biosecurity guidelines that ask poultry farmers to treat all commercial chicken and turkey farms as potential positive sites and implement strict controls on traffic, personnel and feed.

Northey directed farms to disinfect all vehicles and consider any person on site “something that needs disinfected so as not to spread the virus within the site.”

Authorities have asked producers not to give chickens or turkeys kept in largely enclosed barns feed that is stored outside. Spilled feed should be cleaned up to avoid attracting wild birds, which researchers have suggested first dropped the virus on the farms during migration.

He said as biosecurity is increased and weather turns warmer, officials hope the virus will die off.

Idaho lawmakers target &#x2018;Waters of U.S.&#x2019; rule Fri, 1 May 2015 18:59:18 -0400 John O’Connell WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill May 1 containing Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson’s language blocking implementation of a proposed rule he fears would expand the federal government’s Clean Water Act authority.

The rule would change the law’s jurisdiction from “navigable waters” to “waters of the United States.” Simpson’s spokeswoman, Nikki Wallace, explained states currently have authority over waters that aren’t navigable, and many in agriculture fear the change could subject canals, seasonal ponds and even groundwater to greater federal scrutiny.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the rule is needed to clarify the law in the wake of U.S. Supreme Court rulings and doesn’t seek to expand the influence of EPA or the Army Corps of Engineers. EPA insists the language retains, and even expands, specific exemptions for agriculture from regulation.

Opponents note that the rule seems to broaden regulations to seasonal streams, and exemptions provide inadequate certainty.

“We’re not buying that,” said Lindsay Nothern, a spokesman for Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, who worries the change could potentially block irrigators from even altering back country canals. “It’s still up to a bureaucrat to determine, ‘We’ll grant you an exemption, or maybe we won’t.’”

Simpson chairs the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and added the language to block funding for implementing the proposed rule when he drafted the energy and water appropriations bill.

When the House debated the appropriations bill, members defeated an amendment offered by Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., to strip out Simpson’s Clean Water Act language. Beyer’s spokesman said the rule provides needed clarity regarding EPA’s jurisdiction and the amendment’s defeat is a blow to clean water.

Simpson said on the House floor, “Clarity does not trump the need to stay within the limits of the law. The proposed rule would expand federal jurisdiction far beyond what was ever intended by the Clean Water Act.”

Crapo has co-sponsored a standalone bill to block the proposed rule, S 1140. Nothern said the bill has strong bipartisan support, potentially enough to override a presidential veto.

“This legislation protects property owners and puts the government back in its place when it comes to water law,” Crapo said in a press release.

In the House, Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has introduced HR 594 as a standalone bill, requiring the federal agencies to withdraw the interpretive rule and work with state and local officials on a new proposal.

Idaho Dairymen’s Association Executive Director Bob Naerebout believes both the Senate bill and Simpson’s appropriations bill language have a good chance of success. His organization has submitted public comments against the proposed rule and assigned its lobbyist to focus on the topic in Washington, D.C.

“This is a far overreach by EPA that has huge potential impacts on agriculture, businesses and rural communities,” Naerebout said.

National Potato Council Executive Vice President and CEO John Keeling also fears the proposed rule would “expand EPA jurisdiction to include the farming and conservation practices utilized by farmers.”

Frost worries fade to surplus apple worries Fri, 1 May 2015 18:48:49 -0400 Dan Wheat WENATCHEE, Wash. — It looks like apple growers in Washington, New York and Michigan will make it through spring frost season without much, if any, damage.

Three years ago, spring freezes devastated the crops in New York and Michigan, leaving Washington in the enviable position of producing a huge crop with little competition. It made for a stellar sales season for Washington and a poor one for New York and Michigan, the largest U.S. apple producers after Washington.

Three years later, as the potential for spring freezes and frosts dissipates the greater concern is the size of carryover from Washington’s huge 2014 apple crop and the earliness of its 2015 crop.

With an early spring, Washington’s harvest of Gala apples may start in the end of July instead of early August. Other varieties may well follow earlier than normal.

“It would compete with our entry and could negate our ability to move some of our early varieties,” said Don Armock, president of Riveridge Produce in Sparta, Mich., one of that state’s largest apple growers.

Too big a carryover of 2014 Washington apples into the new season is also a concern because it will keep prices down, Armock said.

“There probably would be two levels of pricing (old crop and new crop),” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple and Cherry Growers Association in Rochester, N.Y.

“Marketers would have to determine which level to push. Retailers have been getting a good bargain all year and will want to continue that. It will be difficult to increase the price on new crop when there’s plenty of old crop left to go, unless the industry decides not to push old crop,” Allen said.

“U.S. retailers come August will be hard put to buy old Red Delicious at any price if new Gala are available,” said Keith Matthews, CEO and general manager of First Fruits Marketing of Washington in Yakima.

How much fruit is diverted from packing on size and grade and how much can be exported overseas will be the main factors determining the size of carryover, he said.

“There is a price that middle class consumers in Third World countries can afford and want to afford our apples. We’re probably at those prices,” Matthews said.

Washington had shipped 98 million boxes of 2014 apples by April 27 with 46 million left to go, Matthews said. That’s about 15 million boxes more left to go than normal for this time of year, he said.

Shipments have been running around 3 million boxes per week but will slow down when cherries and other fresh fruit and produce enter the market in June.

The early spring may bring Washington’s cherry crop early, but there’s a lot of time and weather to go before apple harvest that could mitigate any earliness for apples, Matthews said.

There hasn’t been spring frost damage but damage from last November’s freeze hasn’t been fully assessed, he said.

New York apple trees are about a week behind in blossom development because of a cold winter and may not reach full bloom in the western part of the state until May 18 or 20, Allen said.

“But I don’t get hung up on bloom dates. We tend to catch up. We have plenty of moisture. The trees haven’t had any winter damage and are full of energy,” he said.

The weather is warming and should stay warm, he said.

New York and Michigan each typically harvest about 30 million boxes of fresh and processing apples. Both are expanding acreage.

Armock said the fruit ridge area of Michigan, where most of the apples grow in the western central part of the state, appears to be headed for a normal May 10 to 12 full bloom. The weather is warming and is forecast to stay warm, he said.

“I would say without frost in play, we have the potential to have a good crop. Not a huge crop, but a good crop,” he said.

Researchers: Vineyards may face increased pest pressure Fri, 1 May 2015 18:22:32 -0400 Eric Mortenson Researchers expect this to be a bad year for bugs in Oregon’s vineyards.

Oregon State University’s Wine Research Institute issued a warning saying wine grape growers can expect increased pressure from brown marmorated stinkbugs in particular and spotted wing drosophila to a lesser degree.

A warmer-than-average growing season last year and a mild winter set the stage for high populations of both, according to OSU.

The pair are two of agriculture’s most damaging pests; both feed on tree fruit and berries, including cherries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

For wine grape growers, the highest risk areas for stinkbug damage are the Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, and McMinnville American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. Southern Oregon and Columbia Gorge AVAs are at somewhat reduced risk.

Brown marmorated stinkbugs eat plant tissue and the grape berries, potentially contaminating the grapes and hurting wine quality. They apparently move into vineyards late in the season after other crops have been picked. An OSU news release said they engage in “hill topping” behavior, meaning they overwinter at higher elevations. Many vineyards are planted on rolling slopes, putting them in favored stinkbug habitat. Wineries have found them in buildings and dead bugs have been found in fermenting wine, according to OSU.

Vaughn Walton, a professor and horticultural entomologist at OSU, is researching the use of tiny parasites to control the stinkbugs.

Spotted Wing Drosophila prefer other crops, particularly berries. It saws a hole in berries and lays an egg inside, which hatches and feeds on the host from the inside, causing it to collapse in a gooey mess.

The tiny flies may be drawn to grapes damaged by rain, birds or fungus, according to the Wine Research Institute.