Capital Press | http://www.capitalpress.com Capital Press Sat, 25 Oct 2014 00:56:50 -0400 en http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Capital Press | http://www.capitalpress.com Mammoth fossil found in irrigation ditch http://www.capitalpress.com/20141024/mammoth-fossil-found-in-irrigation-ditch http://www.capitalpress.com/20141024/mammoth-fossil-found-in-irrigation-ditch#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:25:55 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029900 AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho — Unseasonably wet August weather helped expose fossilized remains of a 70,000-year-old mammoth in an irrigation drainage near American Falls Reservoir, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Idaho Museum of Natural History paleontology staff removed a partial skull, now encased in plaster, and parts of a tusk on the weekend of Oct. 18, according to a press release. Growth rings on the tusk revealed the mammoth was 16 years old.

Museum staff said the finding is exciting because the jaw still contained teeth, which is a rarity among mammoth fossils. The Bureau of Reclamation has asked the public to photograph any possible fossil sightings but did not divulge the precise location where the fossils were found. The bureau pushed for the fossils to be extracted quickly, concerned rising water levels could wash them into the reservoir.

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Hereford triplets beat the odds http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20141024/hereford-triplets-beat-the-odds http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20141024/hereford-triplets-beat-the-odds#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:42:57 -0400 Jan Jackson http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029901 CANBY, Ore — The odds of winning the lottery are better than for a 2½ year-old Polled Hereford named Curly Sue to give birth to a set of healthy triplets, but she did it.

The calves, two heifers and one bull, were born Sept. 20 on Terry and Cindy Adovnik’s small Canby farm.

“I would have put money on it that she would have twins but we never guessed triplets,” Terry Adovnik said. “We tried to artificially inseminate her but it didn’t work so I borrowed my neighbor’s Black Angus bull. I haven’t worked with cattle since I was a senior in FFA at West Linn High School so this has been a fun re-introduction.”

The chances of triple births in beef cattle are 1 in 100,000, according to Charles T. Estill, associate professor of rural veterinary practice at the Oregon State University Veterinary School.

“Since we have about one-half million mother beef cows in Oregon, that means on average, only five sets of triplets are born each year,” he said. “We also find that though the bull will be fertile, 90 percent of the heifers will be sterile.”

Terry Adovnik, who was born in Wilsonville, Ore., moved back home after retiring as a construction manager for a school district in California.

“We have a lot of friends and family here and we breed the beef cows and raise the calves for the beef,” he said. “I used to have brood sows but now I just bring in pigs in the spring.

“Though it isn’t always the case, Curly Sue accepts and feeds all three of her calves and even lets them all eat at the same time,” he said.

More information

Oregon State University Veterinary School: 541-737-2858.

Terry Advonik may be reached by emailing t_c1950@yahoo.com.

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Federal government collecting info for Columbia River Treaty http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20141024/federal-government-collecting-info-for-columbia-river-treaty http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20141024/federal-government-collecting-info-for-columbia-river-treaty#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:43:10 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029902 U.S. officials continue to gather information as they deliberate on continuing the treaty with Canada that governs the Columbia River.

Officials are weighing the issues surrounding the Columbia River Treaty, said Michael Coffey, chief public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division in Portland.

States, tribes and other stakeholders can continue to share their perspectives on the future of the treaty. The U.S. entity — represented by the Corps and the Bonneville Power Administration — is awaiting further direction from the U.S. Department of State, Coffey said.

“We are responding to requests as they relate to the ongoing review of the regional recommendation currently being conducted by the U.S. government,” Coffey said. “We have nothing to share publicly at this time.”

The treaty has no specified expiration date but allows either Canada or the United States to terminate most of the provisions on or after Sept. 16, 2024, by providing at least 10 years’ notice.

Surviving provisions in the case of termination include the ability of Canada to divert a specified amount of water from the Kootenay River to the Columbia in Canada and coordinated operation of Libby Dam near Libby, Mont.

Terms for flood control under the treaty change automatically in 2024, Coffey said. Canada will be required to provide some flood control on the Columbia even if the treaty is terminated, but the United States would be required to provide additional reimbursement to Canada for lost power production and additional operational costs due to requested flood control operations.

If the treaty is terminated, the United States will no longer be obligated to pay Canada its entitlement to half of the power generated in the United States.

In 2013, the U.S. entity recommended modernizing the treaty. Last March, British Columbia recommended seeking improvements within the existing framework.

“The U.S. government has not commented on or attempted to characterize the Canadian recommendation,” Coffey said. “At this time, the U.S. government is engaging internally to deliberate on the issue surrounding the future of the treaty.”

The U.S. recommendation recognizes that the need for irrigation in the Columbia River Basin will increase along with food supply and security needs.

Online

http://www.crt2014-2024review.gov

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Sheep rancher ponders future after wolf attacks http://www.capitalpress.com/20141024/sheep-rancher-ponders-future-after-wolf-attacks http://www.capitalpress.com/20141024/sheep-rancher-ponders-future-after-wolf-attacks#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:15:48 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029904 LIND, Wash. — Eastern Washington rancher Dave Dashiell made headlines over the summer when the Huckleberry wolf pack began attacking his flock of 1,800 sheep near Hunters, Wash. The state has confirmed 32 sheep killed by wolves, but Dashiell says more are still missing.

The sheep were on leased private grazing land near Hunters, Wash. The Dashiells released the flock in late June and pulled it off a month early in September. Once the killing began, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provided four staff members and a range rider to increase the human presence, and killed an adult female wolf Aug. 23. The department put plans to kill four wolves from the pack on hold in September after Dashiell removed his sheep from the area.

Dashiell and the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association maintain that he should have been privy to radio collar location data on the pack so he could have moved the flock out of harm’s way. The department says it’s working on an agreement with the nearby Spokane Tribe of Indians, which collared a wolf in the Huckleberry pack and has authority over the collar data.

Dashiell is also the outgoing president of the Cattle Producers of Washington and represents the group on the state wolf advisory group.

He and his wife, Julie, spoke with the Capital Press Oct. 22. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q. At a recent Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife meeting in Colville, Wash., you estimated you lost 200-300 sheep. Is that still the number?

Dave Dashiell: As far as we know. We’ve only counted them one time, when we loaded them out. We don’t know the breakdown as far as lambs and ewes. But we’re still in that 200-300 range. We went out there with about 1,800 and we counted about 1,500 in the truck.

Q. Do you have an estimated cost in losses — the lost sheep, the stress on the flock?

Julie Dashiell: It’s getting closer to $100,000.

Q. Have wolf supporters made threats?

DD: I don’t know that we had any directly, but we unplugged our phone at home because there was too much foolishness going on. Of course, now I think it’s backed off some. I don’t know if you can call them threats, but they thought we were dumber than a box of rocks.

JD: It was the Craigslist identity theft thing that was troubling to us. One of them promoted a three-day party at our house. Free beer, free food, free parking, free camping on Labor Day weekend. And then they had Googled our ranch and how to get there. Luckily, I had three neighbors who were on the computer 24 hours a day and posting everything they knew was a scam as quick as they could. I requested more police presence driving by our home. It was more just of a precaution.

Q. What kind of shape are you in to get through the winter?

DD: I think we’re in OK shape, but it’s all for the wrong reasons. We had to pull out of there a month early and I had to call in a favor to make (this) work. It’s a good thing I have a good relationship with these guys.

Q. In Colville you mentioned you’re worried about returning to the same grazing allotment next spring?

DD: I don’t know that we’ll be able to go back to the same area because the wolves are right there. I heard that last year, when we didn’t think we were having trouble, (the wolves) were 8 or 9 miles south of where they were this year. I don’t know where they’re going to be next year, and I don’t know where we’re going to be next year.

Q. In Colville, (state Department of Fish and Wildlife director) Phil Anderson offered to go with you to talk to the timber company about using its grazing allotment again. Would that help?

DD: I haven’t talked to him lately, but we talked to him in the middle of all of this. At that time, he was still wanting us to be there and have a future in the deal, but he’s not calling the shots, either. They’re a timber company and the same people are going to get on them, and they’re going to say, “We don’t need you anymore to have this bad publicity coming our way,” so I don’t know what’s going to happen. I guess we’ll get through the winter and see what happens. If nothing else, the sheep should be worth more in the spring than what they are now. Then to have the department give us all these wolves and say, “Yeah, we created the problem and now we’re going to fix it for you,” well you see how they go about fixing it. They couldn’t wait for me to find someplace else to go and then the pressure was off them. The problem was solved! They didn’t have to make any hard decisions after that.

Q. Is there anything at this point you would have done differently?

DD: If we knew the wolves were there, we wouldn’t have been there, we would have gone the other direction. But you have to be some place. I don’t know if there’s tons we would have done differently, but I sure would have had (the department) do stuff differently.

Q. What could the department do differently?

JD: I would have had a different range rider, I would have had one that was pro-sheep and -us instead of a kid from (wolf sanctuary) Wolf Haven. I would have had an unbiased person.

Q. What nonlethal steps did you take?

DD: I was herding the sheep from day one. If I wasn’t, (Julie was) and sometimes there was both of us. We had the guard dogs out there. We were running around all day on a four-wheeler making a racket, hollering at dogs.

JD: The human presence did not scare the wolves away. Once they got a taste for sheep, it was game on.

DD: The wolves would hear you over there, and they would be over here killing sheep at the same time. Human presence did not slow them down at all.

Q. Would flagging help?

DD: In that country, no. It’s full of timber. It’s straight up and down, it’s rough country. All the ribbons tied on the brush wouldn’t do any good. All that stuff is just very temporary. It’s like bailing out the ocean.

Q. Are your neighbors having any problems?

DD: My cousin’s cows have been harassed. It was cow behavior that was really unusual. They haven’t lost anything that I know of. We had some cows that kind of did the same thing. Something’s been going on.

Q. How long can you go under these circumstances for your operation?

DD: I don’t know if I can go another year or not if we’ve got to do it all over again.

JD: Some of those people that want wolves, would they give up one-third of their income? That’s what we did. I don’t think any of them would jump on that. They want their paycheck, but one-third of ours is gone.

DD: Wolf recovery has a cost. They’re going to have to figure out, are they going to pay it? Or are we just going to disappear off the landscape? You can’t go on like this for very long. The state’s going to have to step up, is what it amounts to. They’re going to have to do what has to be done instead of taking a vote. (The comments made at a recent WDFW meeting in Lynnwood) didn’t surprise me a bit. It’s way easier to want wolves when they have absolutely no effect on you. They think they might have skin in the game, but they don’t. It’s just a warm, fuzzy feeling that there’s a wolf out there howling some place. It gets ugly real fast. I noticed in (the department’s) slideshow they had that dead sheep where the only thing left of her was some wool and bones, they didn’t show any of the fresh killed ones that were torn to pieces, or had a big hole in their side or the ones we necropsied that were just a big, bruised carcass. I know they had pictures because I stood there and watched them take them.

Q. You’re ending your term as president with CPOW. Is there anything that organization can do?

DD: I don’t know anything CPOW or sheep producers can do. You can jump up and down and yell to do something, but in the end the director is the one calling the shots. (Anderson is retiring at the end of the year.) I have no idea what we’re going to get after that. It isn’t going to be easy. It’s not easy when there aren’t any wolves. We’ve already got coyotes, bears, bobcats, eagles, ravens and everything else. They all get their share. You put the apex predator in on top of that. ... Next year how many dead sheep are there going to be before they decide to do anything again? If they decide to do anything.

The Dashiells are filing for state compensation for their lost animals. Dashiell wasn’t certain if he will be compensated for just the confirmed kills or the sheep that are still missing.

“When they see (the request), they’re probably going to hit the ceiling,” he said. “But that’s what wolf recovery costs. They better figure it out.”

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Tomato growers peg crop at record 14 million tons http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20141024/tomato-growers-peg-crop-at-record-14-million-tons http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20141024/tomato-growers-peg-crop-at-record-14-million-tons#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:13:56 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029905 SACRAMENTO — California processing tomato growers, though skeptical this summer, now say they’ll meet contracts for a record 14-million-ton crop after all.

Favorable weather during crop development and having more planted acres than originally expected enabled growers to meet the demand, said Aaron Barcellos, first vice chairman of the California Tomato Growers Association.

“Obviously I think the concern going into it was that so much of this crop was planted late and needed to be harvested late,” said Barcellos, a partner at A-Bar Ag Enterprises in Los Banos, Calif.

“I think the big factor in getting us where we needed to be was the great summer weather and really outstanding fall weather that allowed us to get the crop harvested,” he said.

Some growers reacted with raised eyebrows when the National Agricultural Statistics Service predicted the 14-million-ton crop in May. The crop is nearly 18 percent larger than last year’s and soundly beats the 2012 contracted production of 12.5 million tons.

Unlike last year, when curly top virus caused many growers to have to replant, NASS officials said this year’s crop had little disease or pest pressure. While drought forced many farmers to fallow land and cut back on acreage for many crops, the impact on tomato acreage was limited, the agency noted.

NASS had projected the harvested acre of tomatoes at 288,000 acres — a 12.5 percent increase from 2013 — but more than 290,000 acres were actually planted, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

To make sure they’d have the water needed to produce enough processing tomatoes to meet the demand, some farmers idled acreage they would have planted in other crops, the state Farm Bureau reported.

Barcellos said the drought caused much of the uncertainty among growers as to whether they’d meet the goal.

“There ought to be good demand for processing tomatoes next year as well,” he said, “but we’ll be in the same situation if we have another drought year.”

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Washington’s red raspberry crop breaks record http://www.capitalpress.com/Orchards/20141024/washingtons-red-raspberry-crop-breaks-record http://www.capitalpress.com/Orchards/20141024/washingtons-red-raspberry-crop-breaks-record#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:27:21 -0400 Don Jenkins http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029906 Washington red raspberry farmers reaped a record crop this year, an abundance that one grower says may foreshadow a looming oversupply that eventually will pull down prices.

“In our industry, we have these swings,” said Lynden farmer Jon Mayberry, president of the Washington Red Raspberry Commission. “It won’t take long before we oversupply the market.”

For now, prices are good, and the weather was, too. “Everything was optimal in terms of weather,” the commission’s executive director, Henry Bierlink, said.

The commission reported a 2014 harvest of 72.5 million pounds, breaking the old record of 72.3 million pounds set in 2011.

The commission bases its figures on assessments collected from growers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses a different method to estimate the harvest and usually reports larger volumes of red raspberries.

According to the USDA, the state’s record harvest was 76 million pounds in 2001.

The USDA bases its numbers on twice-yearly surveys of anyone who grows more than $1,000 worth of red raspberries, a department statistician, Brian Kugel, in Olympia said.

The USDA does not make raspberry harvest forecasts and has not yet collected information about the 2014 crop, he said. A preliminary report is expected in January.

Washington produces about 90 percent of U.S. red raspberries. Yields and prices have a history of volatility.

Prices shot up from 35 cents a pound in 2006 to $1.67 a pound in 2008 after three straight small harvests, according to the USDA.

Since then, harvests have been solid. The average price last year was 84 cents a pound, up from 60 cents a pound in 2012.

Prices are holding up this year and are similar to last year’s, Bierlink and Mayberry said.

“I think everybody has all their berries sold,” he said. “We see there is a very strong potential for increasing the market.”

Mayberry agreed it’s a good year for red raspberry farmers.

“We look at yield, quality and price. They were all positive,” he said.

Mayberry said red raspberry farmers can look forward to another good year in 2015, but that he thinks the market has peaked for this cycle.

High yields and good prices will attract more investments in growing red raspberries, he said. “Prices will go down.”

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Idaho damaged barley still free of toxins http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20141024/idaho-damaged-barley-still-free-of-toxins http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20141024/idaho-damaged-barley-still-free-of-toxins#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:25:27 -0400 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029907 ABERDEEN, Idaho — Recent testing of barley samples from throughout Idaho has confirmed some of this season’s most badly mold- and sprout-damaged grain is still free of toxins that could harm livestock.

Concerned about a report of sick dairy cows, University of Idaho and the Idaho Barley Commission tested the dairy’s feed barley for a host of harmful mycotoxins, along with nine other samples taken from Burley through St. Anthony. University of Idaho Extension cereals pathologist Juliet Marshall explained no mycotoxins were detected, and barley was cleared as the cause of the dairy cow sickness.

Due to heavy rainfall throughout August and early September, much of the state’s malt barley crop was damaged and diverted into feeding channels. Feeders have also had concerns about using damaged barley.

“I feel it’s a good indicator that the barley might be a little gray, but even some of our worst barley didn’t show mycotoxins affecting cattle,” Marshall said.

The testing also raised a question Marshall hopes to research in the future. Idaho spring wheat experienced its worst year for Fusarium headblight infection, likely due to the state’s increasing acreage of corn, a host plant, Marshall said. In a barley sample from St. Anthony, testing revealed Fusarium spores covering the chaff. Nonetheless, there were no traces of the DON toxin, which is caused by headblight, or other signs of infected grain. Marshall’s technician is culturing the spores to determine the strain.

“I don’t understand it, but I’m very happy to report we’ve been able to find no DON, or DON levels are not reaching any critical level on our barley,” Marshall said.

Idaho Barley Commission Administrator Kelly Olson hosted a forum last January devoted to Fusarium in barley, believing the industry must be proactive in addressing the threat. She said malting companies have almost zero tolerance for the DON toxin.

In Montana, Fusarium caused widespread damage to dryland winter wheat for the first time this season, said Mary Burrows, Montana State University Extension plant pathologist. Her state’s growers didn’t find a high level of Fusarium damage in barley.

Ruth Dill-Macky, a University of Minnesota professor of small grains pathology, suspects spores simply haven’t arrived in Idaho at the critical flowering stage for barley. She said Fusarium has reduced barley production in Minnesota by 75 percent from the mid-1990s, when growers raised 875,000 acres.

“The fact that you haven’t had it in barley is probably good luck and may have to do with the timing of when (wheat and barley) mature,” she said.

Marshall also noticed some good news in wheat. In a heavily infected field in the Rexburg area, she said a grower managed to rid his harvested grain of any trace of the don toxin by increasing the fan speed on his harvestor to blow out the lighter, mold-damaged kernels.

Rhett Summers, another Rexburg grower, said he, too, significantly reduced his DON toxin levels from last season by increasing his harvestor’s fan speed. He wasn’t aware of the trick in 2013, the first season he’d ever dealt with headblight.

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Chiquita holders reject plans to merge with Fyffes http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20141024/chiquita-holders-reject-plans-to-merge-with-fyffes http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20141024/chiquita-holders-reject-plans-to-merge-with-fyffes#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:50:58 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029908 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Chiquita shareholders have rejected plans to merge with Irish fruit importer Fyffes that would have made the world’s largest banana supplier.

Chiquita Brands International Inc. said Friday that the shareholders didn’t approve a revised transaction agreement between the two companies during a special shareholders meeting. Chiquita and Fyffes PLC have given notice to terminate their agreement.

The proposed agreement with Fyffes was an all-stock deal, with the companies planning to incorporate in Dublin to take advantage of lower tax rates. Chiquita is now based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

On Monday proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that Chiquita investors support the Fyffes deal because it is the best option for shareholders. ISS had previously said shareholders should vote against the deal because Chiquita might get a better offer elsewhere.

Chiquita President and CEO Edward Lonergan said in a statement that while the company was convinced Fyffes would have been a strong merger partner, the companies “will now go forward as competitors.”

Chiquita said it now expects to enter talks with investment firm Safra Group and juice company Cutrale Group on their competing offer of $14.50 per share in cash, or $681 million. Chiquita received the latest bid from the pair on Wednesday after previously rejecting buyout offers from the two Brazilian companies. The prior offer from Safra and Cutrale was $14 per share. They had bid $13 per share in August.

Shares of Chiquita added 49 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $14.25 in morning trading.

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Huge apple crop pushes bin production http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20141024/huge-apple-crop-pushes-bin-production http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20141024/huge-apple-crop-pushes-bin-production#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:41:46 -0400 Dan Wheat http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029909 YAKIMA, Wash. — Manufacturers of wood and plastic bins and wood pallets for the apple industry say production is up because of the huge apple crop, but they won’t say how much.

“I don’t know I can share that. Generally it’s been an up year for us,” said Mark Duncan, general manager of NEPA Pallet & Container in Snohomish.

The Pacific Northwest apple industry uses more wood than plastic bins to haul apples from orchards and store them in warehouses for shipping throughout the year. Bins vary in size but generally are 4-by-4-feet and 3 feet deep. Apples and pears are hauled and stored in bins, but packed for shipping in smaller, cardboard boxes containing 40 to 44 pounds of fruit.

Eighty percent of Washington apple bins are wood versus 20 percent plastic, mainly because wood is half the cost of plastic and is repairable, Duncan said. Wood bins generally run under $100 apiece and last eight to 10 years but he’s seen some that make 20, Duncan said.

He figures NEPA has 50 to 60 percent of the wood bin business. It makes them at plants in Yakima and Wenatchee and makes wood crates for other industries in Snohomish.

J&J Wood Products in Naches, owned by H.R. Spinner Corporation in Yakima, is the other main manufacturer of wood bins.

Macro Plastics of Fairfield, Calif., with a plant in Union Gap, Wash., is the main producer of plastic bins for apples and other produce and goods.

“We’ve been very busy all year. We were budgeted to work 24-5 (24 hours, five days a week) but we’ve been at 24-7 for a month or so and will be for the rest of the year,” said Pete Morton, Union Gap plant manager. A little spike in production is not just because of the apple crop but non-produce industrial needs, said Peter Piccioli, vice president of sales.

A mile and half to the north in Yakima, KapStone Container Corporation of Northbrook, Ill., operates a 450,000-square-foot plant producing most of the cardboard boxes for the Pacific Northwest. It makes boxes for apples and many things. A plant receptionist said production is up. A corporate spokesman declined an interview.

NEPA’s production of wood apple bins varies widely from 100,000 to 350,000 in any given year, Duncan said. It was on the high end this year. There are lots of variables including size of apple, pear and cherry crops and availability of wood, he said.

“A couple of mills in Oregon that we buy plywood and lumber from had fires earlier this year, but we were able to manage through and fill all our orders,” he said. Sometimes there are shortages but if there was a big shortage of bins among tree fruit companies this year, he would have heard about it, Duncan said.

Plastic bins have slotted sides and grid bottoms. They can be drained easier and keep fruit cooler in storage. They stack easier. They can last longer but are not as repairable as wood bins, Duncan said.

Both plastic and wood are touted as cleaner and causing less fruit bruising.

A year ago, Macro Plastics introduced a new series of hybrid bins of plastic but with wood frames as a more economical alternative to fully plastic bins.

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Stolen life-sized plastic horse recovered http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20141024/stolen-life-sized-plastic-horse-recovered http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20141024/stolen-life-sized-plastic-horse-recovered#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:19:00 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029910 TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A life-sized, molded plastic horse that vanished from atop a south-central Idaho store in Twin Falls earlier this week has been recovered.

Vickers Western Store owner Jim Vickers tells The Times-News that a young man called Thursday morning to say they spotted the horse near Devil’s Corral in Jerome County.

Vickers says he went out and retrieved the horse that needs a few repairs but will soon be back atop the store.

The horse that’s been on the store’s roof in Twin Falls since 1962 vanished Monday night.

Vickers says the horse isn’t worth much money but it has great historic value.

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Portland daily grain report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20141024/portland-daily-grain-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20141024/portland-daily-grain-report#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:18:49 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029911 Portland, Ore., Friday, Oct. 24

USDA Market News

Bids for grains delivered to Portland, Oregon during October by unit trains and barges, in dollars per bushel, except oats, corn and barley, in dollars per cwt. Bids for soft white wheat are for delivery periods as specified. Hard red winter wheat and dark northern spring wheat bids are for full October delivery. Bids for corn are for 30 day delivery.

In early trading December wheat futures trended mixed, from 2.75 cents lower to 1.50 cents per bushel higher than Thursday’s closes, with the decline in Kansas City and the most advance in Minneapolis.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat for October delivery in unit trains or barges were not fully established in early trading but bids were indicated as higher compared to Thursday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. The higher Chicago December wheat futures supported cash bids. Some exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for October delivery were not fully established in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Thursday’s noon bids. Bids were pressured by the lower Kansas City December wheat futures. Some exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 14 percent protein non-guaranteed US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for October delivery were not fully established in early trading but were indicated as higher compared to Thursday’s noon bids. The higher Minneapolis December wheat futures supported cash bids.

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered to Portland and the Yakima Valley were not available.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

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

Oct mostly 6.9450, ranging 6.8200-7.0700

Nov 6.7900-7.1200

Dec 6.7900-7.1700

Jan 6.8475-7.2475

Feb 6.8475-7.2475

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

Oct mostly 9.1950, ranging 9.0700-9.3200

Not fully established and limited.

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

better)

Ordinary protein 7.3550-7.5050

10 pct protein 7.3550-7.5050

11 pct protein 7.4350-7.5850

11.5 pct protein

Oct 7.4750-7.6250

12 pct protein 7.4750-7.6250

13 pct protein 7.4750-7.6250

Not fully established and limited.

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 7.6250-7.8250

14 pct protein

Oct 9.1750-9.2250

15 pct protein 9.9750-10.2250

16 pct protein 10.7750-11.2250

Not fully established and limited.

US 2 Yellow Corn in dollars per CWT

Domestic-single rail cars

Delivered full coast-BN NA

Delivered to Portland NA

Rail and Truck del to Willamette Vly NA

Rail del to Yakima Valley NA

Truck del to Yakima Valley NA

US 2 Heavy White Oats in dollars per CWT 13.2500

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Sep 2014

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 6.7500

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 7.0200

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 7.1500

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 8.3400

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, Ore.

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Lawyer urges judge to invalidate Big Isle GMO law http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20141024/lawyer-urges-judge-to-invalidate-big-isle-gmo-law http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20141024/lawyer-urges-judge-to-invalidate-big-isle-gmo-law#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:11:06 -0400 JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029912 HONOLULU (AP) — A lawyer representing a group seeking to invalidate Hawaii County’s law restricting the use of genetically engineered crops urged a judge Thursday to make the same decision he recently made invalidating Kauai’s law.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled in August that a Kauai County law requiring companies to disclose their use of pesticides and genetically modified crops is invalid because it’s pre-empted by state law.

“We believe that same ruling should follow here,” said Margery Bronster, representing Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association, Hawaii Papaya Industry Association, Big Island Banana Growers Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Pacific Floral Exchange, Biotechnology Industry Organization and various farmers.

The plaintiffs want to invalidate an ordinance that went into effect in December banning new cultivation of any genetically modified crops and testing of GMO crops unless in enclosed spaces such as greenhouses. They argue the county ordinance is pre-empted by federal and state law.

The lawsuit says the ordinance affects their livelihoods — including flower growers seeking genetically-engineered variety of anthurium that would withstand plant pests and cattlemen who want to grow GMO feed to avoid having to send cattle to the mainland for fattening up before slaughter.

The Hawaii County ordinance is more onerous than the Kauai one and adds to the challenges farmers face on the Big Island including blight and viruses, pests, hurricanes and vandals, Bronster said. And lava, Kurren interjected of a Kilauea volcano flow that’s threatening rural communities in the Puna district.

The ordinance is pre-empted by state law and is in conflict with the state constitution that promotes diversified agriculture, including small farmers, flower growers, cattle and big seed companies, Bronster said.

Pre-emption was the same argument Bronster raised when arguing against Kauai’s law.

Thursday’s hearing drew far fewer spectators than the Kauai one in the same courtroom, where many people had to sit on the floor.

The ordinance allows for numerous exemptions, such as for papayas, said County Deputy Corporation Counsel Katherine Garson.

The intention of the ordinance is to “promote non-GMO agriculture, plants and crops,” she said, adding that the Big Island wanted to “promote itself as an eco-friendly place.”

Those who support that law do so in order to keep the Big Island from becoming like other counties, said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff, who represents the Center for Food Safety and some organic farmers.

He argued that counties shouldn’t have to rely on the state to regulate agriculture. He likened the situation to albizia trees that were problematic when a tropical storm hit the Big Island in August.

“If the court is going to say only the state can regulate vegetation that may cause a problem, what happens to the county’s ability to say ‘we have to get rid of these albizia trees before they fall on any power lines,”’ he said.

The bill’s author, County Councilwoman Margaret Wille, said she’s hopeful Kurren will see Hawaii County’s law differently than the Kauai one: “Hopefully this magistrate has had an epiphany and is a little more foresighted.”

It’s not clear when Kurren will issue a ruling. He said his previous decision shouldn’t be seen as a “done deal” for the Big Island.

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Kubota Enters New Market Segment with Introduction of L2501; Appeals to First Time Tractor Owners http://www.capitalpress.com/Advertising/Press_Releases/20141024/kubota-enters-new-market-segment-with-introduction-of-l2501-appeals-to-first-time-tractor-owners http://www.capitalpress.com/Advertising/Press_Releases/20141024/kubota-enters-new-market-segment-with-introduction-of-l2501-appeals-to-first-time-tractor-owners#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:58:36 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029914 TORRANCE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Unveiled at Kubota Tractor Corporation's Dealer Meeting last week in Nashville, Tenn., the all-new L2501 compact tractor blazes a trail to tractor ownership for first-time buyers. With 24.8 horsepower on a larger chassis, cleaner emissions and modern styling, the L2501 compact tractor has the performance and features to get the job done right, at an outstanding price.

The introduction of the new L2501 is one of the many products unveiled across Kubota's turf, agriculture and construction segments – culminating in one of the largest product offerings in the company's 42-year history in the U.S.

“Our new L2501 makes the dream of tractor ownership a reality for customers looking for that top-quality, high-performance machine,” said Stephen Barcuch, Kubota product marketing director, agriculture equipment. “With proven design, ample horsepower and operator comfort with a larger chassis, the L2501 is a classic tractor choice at an ideal price point for the first-time owner.”

The L2501 is an all-new addition to Kubota's popular L-Series and features deluxe styling with plenty of extras for a more spacious, ergonomic and comfortable ride. Beyond its affordability, the model sets itself apart from the competition with smooth operation and outstanding maneuverability, designed to deliver a higher level of performance. With all the features needed to tackle a wide range of jobs, combined with the quality reputation of the Kubota brand, the new L2501 stands to become a favorite of first-time tractor owners everywhere.

Reliable Kubota Diesel Engines Under the Hood

Like Kubota's entire Standard L-Series line, the new L2501 is powered by a Kubota diesel engine. Under 25 horsepower, this new model complies with the latest EPA emissions regulations without the need for a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). A gas-strut hood with opener assist provides easier maintenance, and a 10 gallon fuel tank allows for more time on the job, and less time refueling.

The transmission delivers smooth operation with four main-shift speeds in two ranges for high and low, for a total of eight forward and four reverse speeds. The gear drive transmission models come in 2WD or 4WD, and the optional HST transmission offers simple forward and reverse change and 3-range shifting for optimal operating efficiency. Optional cruise control is also available on HST models.

A Range of Implements for Endless Possibilities

No matter the season or weather conditions, the Standard L-Series has a versatile range of implements to handle virtually any job – from the LA525 front loader and the BH77 backhoe, to pallet forks, a bale spear, and rear snow blowers. Also, thanks to the Kubota-Land Pride alliance, customers have access to many other Kubota performance-matched implements such as rear rotary cutters, rear rotary tillers, rear blades and much more.

Maximum Comfort and a Focus on Safety

With a spacious operator deck and adjustable seat suspension, the new L2501 offers exceptional operator comfort. Features include a dash panel with easy-to-read, large gauges for enhanced visibility of vital information. The model's sleek design with slanted one-piece hood provides an exceptional field of vision – ideal for highly productive and precise front loader work. Other operator-friendly features include two headlamps, a cup holder, and a tool box. With safety always a top priority in the design of Kubota equipment, all models come standard with a foldable ROPS and a retractable seatbelt.

About Kubota Tractor Corporation

Kubota Tractor Corporation, Torrance, Calif., is the U.S. marketer and distributor of Kubota-engineered and manufactured machinery and equipment, including a complete line of tractors of up to 170 Gross hp, performance-matched implements, compact and utility-class construction equipment, consumer lawn and garden equipment, hay tools and spreaders, commercial turf products and utility vehicles. For product literature or dealer locations, contact: Kubota Tractor Corporation, 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503, (888) 4-KUBOTA [(888) 458-2682], Ext. 900, or visit www.kubota.com.

Kubota Tractor Corporation reserves the right to change the stated specifications without notice. The above comparison is for descriptive purposes only and does not provide any express or implied warranty of any nature, including any warranty of merchantability or for a particular purpose. For complete operational information, the operator's manual should be consulted.

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Feds to gather ‘nuisance’ mustangs in Nevada http://www.capitalpress.com/State/Nevada/20141024/feds-to-gather-nuisance-mustangs-in-nevada http://www.capitalpress.com/State/Nevada/20141024/feds-to-gather-nuisance-mustangs-in-nevada#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:52:35 -0400 SCOTT SONNER http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029915 RENO, Nev. (AP) — Federal wranglers plan an unusual wild horse roundup near the Nevada-Utah line, where ranchers and rural residents say protected mustangs are knocking down fences and impregnating domesticated mares.

The Bureau of Land Management intends to conduct what it describes as a public safety and nuisance gather of about 120 wild horses beginning next month in eastern Nevada.

The agency typically conducts roundups to reduce herds it says are on overgrazed public lands and in danger of starvation.

In the upcoming roundup, agency officials say they must haul away roaming bands of mustangs wreaking havoc on private property in Butte Valley, and get horses off U.S. Highway 93, where they pose a danger to motorists 120 miles south of Ely.

“Wild stallions have torn down, jumped over or ran through fences on private land owners’ facilities which have resulted in injured domestic horses and domestic mares being bred by wild horses,” the BLM said in an environmental assessment.

The mustangs also have destroyed sprinkler systems, gardens, lawns, trees and haystacks, the agency said.

The agency says the estimated 1,800 wild horse for the 5,780 square miles at issue is six times the maximum number bureau scientists estimate can be sustained by the public rangeland shared with cattle, sheep and other wildlife.

The BLM makes it clear it’s not a typical roundup in the environmental review published in August that envisions cowboys on horseback roping mustangs the old-fashioned way, when necessary, while also using the helicopters, pickup trucks and bait traps, as usual.

Critics say the latest round of gathers at taxpayer expense amounts to welfare for ranchers whose real aim is to rid the range of competition for scares forage.

Anne Novak, executive director of the California-based horse advocacy group Protect Mustangs, acknowledged the roundups are legal under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. But she said the ranchers are “grabbing at straws to remove native wild horses.”

“If people are going to live outside the city and don’t want wild horses and other wild animals eating their grass, then they need to pay for fencing with their own money, not expect another government handout,” Novak said.

Nevada’s Department of Agriculture has captured horses in recent years that pose hazards on U.S. Highway 50 in western Nevada between Carson City and Dayton, and on a state highway near Virginia City. But those animals are considered feral horses that for the most part have been abandoned and left to roam state-owned property where they enjoy no protection under the 1971 federal law.

BLM officials say overpopulation on the range has prompted some horses to wander 40 miles onto private land.

“We are over the appropriate management level and lots of little stud groups are looking for mares to breed,” BLM wild horse specialist Ben Noyes said. “There’s no fence that is going to keep them out.”

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Feds act to protect 2 butterflies; farmers wary http://www.capitalpress.com/Stocks/20141024/feds-act-to-protect-2-butterflies-farmers-wary http://www.capitalpress.com/Stocks/20141024/feds-act-to-protect-2-butterflies-farmers-wary#Comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:37:55 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029916 PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The federal government has added two Upper Midwest butterfly species to its list of threatened and endangered species, pleasing conservationists but worrying farm groups who say it could make it harder for their members to earn a living off the land.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday named the Dakota skipper as threatened and the Poweshiek skipperling as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Both of the inch-long, brown-and-orange butterflies were once found in eight Midwestern and Plains states, but their populations declined due to several reasons, including the loss of native prairie vegetation and agriculture, the agency said.

“We recognize the reason we still have any Dakota skippers or Poweshiek skipperlings on the landscape at all is the conservation ethic of ranchers who have had the foresight to conserve grasslands in the Upper Midwest,” Tom Melius, Midwest regional director for Fish and Wildlife, said in a statement. “Our hope is to continue to work with landowners and partners to conserve these butterflies and the valuable habitat they depend upon.”

Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, praised the listings. In a statement, she said that “protecting the last high-quality prairie habitats for the butterflies will keep these special places safe, along with all the other plants and animals that need them to survive.”

But U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he wonders if the listings will even help the butterflies, and he worries the move will hurt the farming, ranching, energy and transportation industries.

“This is most alarming since no studies have been done to estimate the value the public places on preserving the two butterflies nor any examination of how their decline or extinction would affect our ecosystem,” he said.

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association worries about harm to private property rights, Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson told The Bismarck Tribune.

“We think this will have implications for those who make their living on the land,” she said.

The South Dakota Farmers Union and Farm Bureau both will be monitoring the upcoming designation of critical habitat for the butterflies, according to the Argus Leader newspaper.

“The devil is in the details with a recovery plan and a habitat area,” Farm Bureau Executive Director Wayne Smith said.

The Dakota skipper is found in western Minnesota, northeastern South Dakota and the eastern half of North Dakota. Small numbers of Poweshiek skipperlings survive Michigan and Wisconsin. It’s been several years since the butterfly has been seen in Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas.

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Oregon GMO task force drafts report http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20141023/oregon-gmo-task-force-drafts-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20141023/oregon-gmo-task-force-drafts-report#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:10:41 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029918 An Oregon task force on genetically engineered crops agrees that more regulatory clarity is needed for biotechnology but diverges on the specifics of any governance scheme.

Earlier this year, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber convened a task force to frame the debate over genetic engineering and issue a report to guide lawmakers during the 2015 legislative session.

After six months of discussions, the task force has now released a draft version of its report to the public.

While task force members believe there should be a “path to coexistence” among biotech, conventional and organic growers, they were divided as to whether preventing cross-pollination among such crops should be mandated by the government or conducted on a voluntary basis.

During an Oct. 23 task force meeting, members negotiated revisions to the draft.

Marty Myers, general manager of Threemile Canyon Farms, said he would like the report to emphasize the possibility of farmer-to-farmer cooperation.

“Farmers are quite good at this and have shown examples of being able to coexist in the past,” he said.

However, there have clearly been conflicts over cross-pollination, as evidenced by farmer participation in lawsuits over biotech sugar beets and alfalfa, said Ivan Maluski, director of Friends of Family Farms, which is critical of biotech regulations.

“I don’t think we would be here if it had been smooth sailing all the way on coexistence,” he said.

The topic of liability for cross-pollination also highlighted the members’ contrasting perspectives.

Suggestions that organic and conventional farmers could buy insurance to cover the risk of cross-pollination by GE crops were deemed unfair by members who said biotech companies should not be absolved from responsibility while the burden falls entirely on growers.

Some members thought biotech seed developers should be liable for harms caused by cross-pollination but others argued this approach is unfair because companies would be held “liable for actions beyond their control,” the report said.

The problem of liability is also technical, said Greg Loberg, manager of the West Coast Beet Seed Co.

The report should reflect that there is no way to ensure that seed is absolutely free of biotech genes — there has to be a testing threshold, rather than just “zero,” he said.

“In order to have compensation or enforcement, you have to have a test,” Loberg said. “What test?”

The draft report also said government policy should “clarify the interaction between state and federal law” for GMOs and define the role of state agencies in regulating biotechnology.

However, the task force did not reach consensus on what level of regulatory oversight is sufficient.

Some members were confident in conclusions by federal agencies that deregulated biotech crops are equivalent to conventional ones, while others didn’t think these studies were of adequate duration and worry about long term impacts to human health and the environment.

The State of Oregon’s current authority to regulate biotech crops and its ability to expand that oversight was another subject of dispute.

At this point, the Oregon Department of Agriculture only sets “control areas” designating where GMOs can or cannot be grown if the crops are still regulated by USDA. Once they’re deregulated, the ODA believes it no longer has authority over those crops.

“There were varied and strong perspectives among members on whether ODA should or could take on a larger role at present or if its authorities were changed,” the report said.

Oregon Consensus, a mediation program that’s assisting the task force, will adjust the draft language to incorporate changes discussed during the recent meeting.

“We want to find a solution everybody can live with,” said Peter Harkema, project manager for the program.

The task force plans to ask the public to comment on its report at a meeting in Salem, Ore., in mid-November, though a firm date has yet to be set.

A draft version of the report is available online at www.oregon.gov/gov/gnro/.

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Sweetener users study: Mexico trade case costly http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20141023/sweetener-users-study-mexico-trade-case-costly http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20141023/sweetener-users-study-mexico-trade-case-costly#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:53:06 -0400 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029927 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Trade cases U.S. producers have filed against Mexican sugar imports will likely cost consumers $2.4 billion in higher prices this marketing year, according to a new white paper by the Sweetener Users Association.

The sugar growers filed their case six months ago, alleging the illegal dumping of heavily subsidized Mexican sugar depressed domestic prices. Due primarily to market uncertainty stemming from the case, U.S. refined sugar prices have risen from 26.5 cents per pound in March to 37.5 cents per pound in September, according to agricultural economist Tom Earley, a consultant who authored the paper.

Earley estimates higher prices resulting from the trade case have already cost consumers an extra $837 million during the past six months. His future price outlook assumes the continuation of current sugar prices, compared with March prices.

In response to the sugar growers’ allegations, the U.S. International Trade Commission made a preliminary ruling in May that unfair Mexican trade practices have likely hurt U.S. producers. The U.S. Department of Commerce also made a preliminary ruling that subsidies have given Mexican sugar an unfair advantage, leading to the Sept. 2 imposition of temporary tariffs averaging 15 percent on imports from Mexico. The department is scheduled to rule as to if illegal dumping occurred on Monday, which could result in additional temporary tariffs.

Tariff revenue is being held in an account pending a final Commerce ruling, scheduled for Jan. 7. That deadline, however, will likely be extended to March 8.

Phillip Hayes, a spokesman with the grower organization American Sugar Alliance, described the white paper as “elementary” and based on “cherry-picked spot prices.”

“Prices are many cents cheaper than they were in 2012. If you carry that forward, they’ve saved money,” Hayes said.

Hayes also emphasized that most of the sugar now on the market was contracted long ago at cheaper prices.

“(Their analysis) is based on the faulty assumption that if sugar prices fall, they pass along the savings to grocery shoppers,” Hayes said, pointing out that candy bar prices in 2013 were 300 percent higher than in the 1980s, though the cost of sugar was about the same.

John Herrmann, an attorney representing the sweetener users, said it’s possible the U.S. and Mexican governments will settle on the issue prior to final rulings. If that occurs, Herrmann said his client will insist that the ITC investigation continue and that terms of the agreement remain on hold pending that outcome. If ITC were to find no injury in its final ruling, any settlement would be moot. Furthermore, Herrmann said his client would advocate for a provision in an agreement guaranteeing a continued stable and dependable supply of Mexican sugar into the U.S.

Earley wrote in the white paper, “Even if the U.S. and Mexico work out some agreement to restrict Mexico’s sugar exports to the U.S. in the coming months, the implicit shorting of the market and uncertainty about how our supply deficit will be met is expected to keep U.S. sugar prices higher than they would have been otherwise.”

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Hunt underway for source of Washington gypsy moths http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20141023/hunt-underway-for-source-of-washington-gypsy-moths http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20141023/hunt-underway-for-source-of-washington-gypsy-moths#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:37:31 -0400 Don Jenkins http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029919 YACOLT, Wash. — Washington Department of Agriculture searchers are working on a riddle: How did European gypsy moths get to rural southwest Washington?

The answer could help WSDA build a case for spraying pesticides and pinpoint where to apply them.

“If we don’t have the story, we typically treat a larger area,” said WSDA pest biologist John Townsend, the agency’s head gypsy moth hunter.

WSDA trapped 16 gypsy moths last summer near Yacolt, about 20 miles northeast of Vancouver in Clark County. The department also caught eight in Seattle, including five within a block on Capitol Hill.

All together, WSDA trapped 27 of the leaf-eating moths, which are established in 19 eastern states and can cause extensive damage to fruit trees. In Oregon, four gypsy moths were trapped near Grants Pass.

Both states have eradication programs to keep the pest out of the Northwest. Gypsy moth eggs typically travel west clinging to household goods, like patio furniture.

The numbers caught near Yacolt and on Capitol Hill were high enough for Townsend and his crew to begin combing sparsely populated woods and densely populated city blocks.

So far, the WSDA searchers have found only a spent egg mass near Yacolt. They have not discovered the original source of gypsy moths in either place.

“Quite often, we’re able to put the whole story together,” Townsend said. “In both Yacolt and Seattle, we have no idea, but we could figure it out.”

WSDA will search through the end of November. In the past, finding a live egg mass has virtually assured ground or aerial spraying, sometimes both. Before applying pesticides, WSDA must compile a report on the environmental consequences and solicit public comments. Eradication treatments in Seattle in previous years have drawn protests.

WSDA will decide later in the fall whether to spray in Yacolt or Seattle or both based on the evidence collected by Townsend.

The department also will seek advice from agriculture officials in other states, particularly in the West.

“If we have an established population in Washington, that puts other neighboring states at greater risk,” WSDA’s pest program manager, Jim Marra, said.

Even if no live eggs are found, “we’re going to consider the Yacolt site very carefully,” he said. “Anytime you find multiple stages of reproduction, that’s a concern.”

To say looking for an egg mass is like searching for a needle in a haystack understates the task.

Unlike haystacks, gypsy moths move. The next generation may be waiting to hatch hundreds of feet from where a member of the preceding generation was trapped.

Unlike a needle, the eggs don’t gleam in the light. Gypsy moths lay several hundred eggs in a quarter-sized brownish-orange mass that blends in with fall colors.

The egg mass can be attached to trees or property. They are found at ground and neck-craning levels and in between.

The spent egg mass found near Yacolt on Oct. 14 was a brownish smudge on a fir tree, but at eye level for WSDA agriculture technician Terry Fisher.

She earned lunch from Townsend by spotting where gypsy moths hatched last spring and finding a clue where eggs will hatch next spring.

Townsend, Fisher and two other WSDA agriculture technicians, Don Kitchen and Ryan Moore, returned to Yacolt on Oct. 22 and searched neighboring trees in unrelenting rain.

The dark day made spotting dull-colored egg masses even harder than usual. Hopes were raised briefly. But the suspected egg mass was actually frass, a pile of insect excrement.

The hunt was fruitless. “I’m surprised we haven’t found anything right around here,” Townsend said.

The next day the Olympia-based searchers were on Capitol Hill, an even more challenging setting, Townsend said.

There are more places to search and more people to ask permission from before searching private property. Egg masses have been found on objects such as fences, birdhouse, tires and rocks.

“That’s why we check everything,” Townsend said.

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Adverse weather hampers Calif. olive oil production http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20141023/adverse-weather-hampers-calif-olive-oil-production http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20141023/adverse-weather-hampers-calif-olive-oil-production#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:02:09 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029920 DAIRYVILLE, Calif. — Despite some weather issues, olive oil producers in California hope to at least match last year’s mark of 3.5 million gallons, an industry expert says.

As the harvest of oil olives started about two weeks earlier than normal, growers anticipate “excellent” quality, said Patty Darragh, executive director of the California Olive Oil Council.

“Pretty much every year we’ve been having a dramatic increase,” Darragh said. “This year we might stay about the same or (have) a little bit more.”

Last year’s production was a big jump from the roughly 2.5 million gallons turned out in 2012. But olives are an alternate-bearing fruit, and freezes, a wet spring and wind pressure may have hampered growth, Darragh said.

However, the drought that’s stymied production of many crops in California hasn’t affected oil olives as much, she said.

“Luckily, olives are a pretty drought-resistant crop,” she said. “It’s not as much of a serious concern for us as other weather patterns we experienced this year.”

The Gerber, Calif.-based Pacific Farms and Orchards, which produces Pacific Sun Olive Oil, anticipates a fairly light crop on the oil varieties because of poor chilling hours in the winter and warm weather during the bloom, general manager Brendon Flynn said.

“It’s low compared to last year, but I think that was expected with the drought and everything,” said Ivan Rodriguez, who was selling Pacific Sun oil at an orchard festival here on Oct. 18.

Grower Larry Maben, who sells to the California Olive Ranch, said yield was down from his trees near Orland, Calif.

“Most of the guys tell me the crop is a little down but the oil quality and quantity of oil seems good,” Maben said.

The harvest of olives for oil is proceeding as the picking of table olives is wrapping up in some areas. Growers were expected to turn out about 50,000 tons, a 45 percent decrease from last year’s haul of 91,000 tons, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Growers were hit with a pair of winter freezes, wind during bloom and a lack of water to allow the crop to fully produce, and many olive trees have been taken out of production, Adin Hester of the Olive Growers Council of California has said.

Growers had enjoyed decent crops in the last two years after suffering through poor crops in four of the previous six seasons. California produces nearly all of the nation’s commercial table olives, although acreage has been shrinking as growers move to more profitable crops.

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Stemilt picks a new apple http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20141023/stemilt-picks-a-new-apple http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20141023/stemilt-picks-a-new-apple#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:35:11 -0400 Dan Wheat http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029921 WENATCHEE, Wash. — Stemilt Growers Inc. has gained development rights to a new apple it believes people will love more than Honeycrisp and will give Stemilt an early season advantage.

The apple, so far known only by its breeding name MN55, has been bred by the University of Minnesota and ripens a month earlier than Honeycrisp which is one of its parents.

“That’s huge. We will have fruit at retail the first of August which is a big thing for the apple category,” said Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director.

“There are no early apples of any quality right now that are that early. SweeTango is the third week of August and this will be three weeks earlier,” Pepperl said.

Depending on the season, MN55 may be harvested and in markets as early as July 18 while Gala isn’t in full swing until mid-August, he said.

MN55 will be competing against remaining inventory of Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Cripps Pink from the prior season and Southern Hemisphere apples and “will change the apple deal for that month,” Pepperl said.

“This apple is not good. It’s fantastic. It has a flavor of its own that’s closest to Honeycrisp. It’s very juicy and holds its crunch and fracture which is important, how it breaks in your mouth,” he said.

MN55 is a cross of Honeycrisp and an unreleased University of Arkansas cultivar, MonArk. The cross was made in 1997 by University of Minnesota researcher David Bedford who saved Honeycrisp from discard in 1979. The university released Honeycrisp and SweeTango.

The university has licensed Stemilt to manage MN55 in the U.S. with the exception of Minnesota where all growers will be allowed to grow it. The university will retain rights to manage it in other countries.

Stemilt and the university will chose a commercial name and Stemilt and its growers will grow the apple, Pepperl said.

Stemilt already has some test plots, has propagated trees for planting next spring and plans to sell a limited volume of fruit in 2017, he said. Production will increase after that. The apple stores well and could easily expand into winter marketing, he said.

Stemilt has two managed varieties, SweeTango and Pinata. Most large Washington tree fruit companies have several managed apple varieties. It gives them distinction and they can maintain higher pricing by controlling volume.

But companies have become pickier in choosing new varieties because launching one is a big investment. It can be $1 million, Mark Zirkle, president of Zirkle Fruit, Yakima, has said in the past.

“There is a proliferation of new genetics, so a new apple has to be something really special. There isn’t room for an average apple anymore,” Pepperl said.

Asked if he views it as a niche variety or big volume, Pepperl said, “The sky is the limit. Time will tell. This apple has a really bright future. People are not going to like it. They will love it. It’s going to be a winner with consumers. Our challenge is to do things right.”

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Princess in cockfighting case gets probation http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20141023/princess-in-cockfighting-case-gets-probation http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20141023/princess-in-cockfighting-case-gets-probation#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:08:27 -0400 STEVEN DUBOIS http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029922 PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Romanian princess was sentenced Wednesday to probation after apologizing for her role in an Oregon cockfighting enterprise that she said brought shame to her and her family.

“I’m very sorry about my involvement in this business,” Irina Walker told a federal judge before she was given three years’ probation. “It was not my intention to go against the law.”

She and her husband John Walker both pleaded guilty in July to operating an illegal gambling business. John Walker, a former sheriff’s deputy, was also sentenced to probation by U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman.

As part of the plea deal, the Walkers agreed to sell real estate and pay $200,000 to the government.

Irina Walker, 61, is the third daughter of former Romanian King Michael I, who was forced to abdicate by communists in 1947.

The judge agreed to let the Walkers travel internationally during their probation after their attorneys said the 93-year-old former king has health problems and Irina wants to visit while he’s still alive.

The Walkers were arrested in 2013 after authorities said they staged at least 10 cockfighting derbies in a barn at their ranch in Irrigon, 175 miles east of Portland.

The Walkers charged spectators each $20 to watch roosters with knives attached to their legs fight to the death. Crowds generally exceeded 100 people, and the couple also made money from the sale of alcohol.

Authorities said the people who brought roosters paid $1,000 to enter the fights, and the prizes ranged from $10,000 to $18,000. The person whose roosters won the most matches took home the money, except for 10 percent kept by referees.

More than a dozen other people were indicted in the case. Charges against a woman who made food were later dropped, and two suspects remain fugitives — Ruben Saltos Godina, known as Chino; and Antonio Dominguez Robles, known as Tono.

Everyone else pleaded guilty either in Oregon or Washington state.

Irina Walker moved to the U.S. from Switzerland in the early 1980s with her former husband John Kreuger, according to her daughter Angelica Kreuger, who said her mother raised two children while living for many years in Coos County in southwest Oregon.

The princess later divorced her husband and married Walker, a family friend and neighbor. The couple moved to sparsely populated Irrigon and lived in a triple-wide manufactured home.

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Caterpillar beats Street 3Q forecasts http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20141023/caterpillar-beats-street-3q-forecasts http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20141023/caterpillar-beats-street-3q-forecasts#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:05:16 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029923 PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) on Thursday reported third-quarter profit of $1.02 billion.

On a per-share basis, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said it had net income of $1.63. Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs, came to $1.72 per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.33 per share.

The construction equipment company posted revenue of $13.55 billion in the period, also surpassing Street forecasts. Analysts expected $13.37 billion, according to Zacks.

Caterpillar expects full-year earnings to be $6.50 per share, with revenue expected to be $55 billion.

Caterpillar shares have risen 4 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased slightly more than 4 percent. The stock has increased 6 percent in the last 12 months.

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Brazilian companies raise Chiquita offer to $681M http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20141023/brazilian-companies-raise-chiquita-offer-to-681m http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20141023/brazilian-companies-raise-chiquita-offer-to-681m#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:03:58 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029924 NEW YORK (AP) — Brazilian companies Cutrale and Safra said they are again raising their bid for banana producer Chiquita, to $681 million — a day before Chiquita shareholders are expected to vote on a combination with Irish fruit importer Fyffes.

Chiquita Brands International Inc. said Thursday that it will review the latest offer. It has repeatedly rejected offers from investment firm Safra Group and juice company Cutrale Group, preferring to merge with Fyffes in an all-stock deal.

ChiquitaFyffes would be the world’s largest banana supplier, and the companies plan to incorporate in Dublin to take advantage of lower tax rates. Chiquita is now based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The latest bid from Safra and Cutrale is for $14.50 per Chiquita share, up from an offer of $14 per share earlier this month. They had bid $13 per share in August.

Chiquita shareholders are expected to vote on the Chiquita-Fyffes combination Friday.

On Monday proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that Chiquita investors support the Fyffes deal because it is the best option for shareholders. ISS had previously said shareholders should vote against the deal because Chiquita might get a better offer elsewhere.

Chiquita shares rose 97 cents, or 7.6 percent, to $13.71 in late morning trading. The stock has ranged from $9.24 to $14.43 in the past 12 months.

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Record rain in Portland triggers sewer overflow http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20141023/record-rain-in-portland-triggers-sewer-overflow http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20141023/record-rain-in-portland-triggers-sewer-overflow#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:02:04 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029925 PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A strong fall storm has drenched Portland in record rain and triggered a sewer overflow into the Willamette River.

The National Weather Service reports that Oct. 22 rainfall at Portland International Airport hit 1.8 inches by Wednesday evening, eclipsing the old mark for the day of 1.31 inches, set in 1951.

Just across the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington, meteorologist Paul Tolleson says 1.61 inches fell by Wednesday evening, besting the old mark of 1.06 inches in 1963.

Tolleson says wind gusts on the north Oregon coast included 66 mph at Cape Meares and 59 mph at Garibaldi as well as 50 mph at Cape Disappointment in southwest Washington.

Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services warned the public to avoid contact with the Willamette River for at least the next 48 hours.

Agency spokesman Linc Mann said Wednesday’s sewage overflow is the third such event in 2014. The warning covers an area from south of the Sellwood Bridge to the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers.

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Union Pacific 3Q profit chugs ahead 19 percent http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20141023/union-pacific-3q-profit-chugs-ahead-19-percent http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20141023/union-pacific-3q-profit-chugs-ahead-19-percent#Comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:00:18 -0400 JOSH FUNKAP Business Writer http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014141029926 OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific Corp. delivered a 19 percent increase in its third-quarter profit as the railroad hauled 7 percent more freight and increased rates.

“We are optimistic about the remainder of the year,” CEO Jack Koraleski said. “Assuming the economy and weather cooperate, we are well positioned to finish up the year with record results.”

The Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad said Thursday that it earned $1.37 billion, or $1.53 per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30. That’s up from $1.15 billion, or $1.24 per share, a year ago.

Union Pacific’s revenue climbed 11 percent to $6.18 billion from $5.57 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Union Pacific to report earnings per share of $1.51 on revenue of $6.10 billion.

Union Pacific reported the most growth in shipments of intermodal shipping containers, industrial products and agricultural goods.

Coal was the only sector that didn’t grow in the quarter but after the decrease in coal demand in recent years, reporting flat coal volumes and a 2 percent increase in revenue was positive.

Edward Jones analyst Logan Purk said Union Pacific again delivered impressive results while controlling costs well.

“Union Pacific has shown they can do much more with the type of growth they’re seeing,” Purk said.

Investors have been talking about the possibility of railroad mergers because Canadian Pacific and CSX railroads disclosed they held preliminary talks about combining before abandoning the idea.

But Koraleski said he doesn’t think merging any of the big railroads makes sense because it wouldn’t necessarily improve service and could run into regulatory problems.

“I am not convinced that merging is the way you solve service issues in this industry,” Koraleski said. “Particularly right now, I don’t think mergers make sense.”

Union Pacific shares rose $4.19, or 3.9 percent, to $111.05 in morning trading. Its shares have risen 27 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen slightly more than 4 percent. The stock has increased 38 percent in the last 12 months.

Union Pacific operates 32,400 miles of track in 23 states from the Midwest to the West and Gulf coasts.

Online

Union Pacific Corp.: www.up.com

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