Capital Press | Capital Press Sat, 20 Jan 2018 22:48:06 -0500 en Capital Press | National wool and sheep review Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:29:44 -0500 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)

Jan. 19

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


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

Jan. 19

Compared to Jan. 12: Slaughter lambs mostly steady, instances sharply lower. Slaughter ewes steady to 10.00 higher. Feeder lambs not well tested. At San Angelo, Texas, 3217 head sold. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading slaughter ewes and feeder lambs were not tested. 3400 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were steady to 5.00 higher. 2,229 lamb carcasses sold with all weights no trend due to confidentiality. All sheep sold per hundred weight (CWT) unless otherwise specified.

Slaughter Lambs: Choice and Prime 2-3 90-160 lbs:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 130-175 lbs 110.00-130.00.

Ft. Collins, CO: wooled 125-130 lbs 150.00-185.00.

Billings, MT: wooled 158 lbs 151.00.

Equity Elec: no sales.

Slaughter Lambs: Choice and Prime 1-2:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs 260.00-276.00, few 284.00; 60-70 lbs 248.00-260.00, few 270.00; 70-80 lbs 218.00-232.00, few 242.00-252.00; 80-90 lbs 208.00-214.00; 90-110 lbs 170.00-180.00.

Ft. Collins: 70-75 lbs 210.00-220.00; 83 lbs 205.00.

Billings, MT: 56 lbs 231.00; 60-70 lbs 226.00-235.00.

Direct Trading: (lambs fob with 3-4 percent shrink or equivalent) 3400: Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 144-175 lbs 115.50-155.51 (wtd avg 133.29).

Slaughter Ewes:

San Angelo: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) no test; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 70.00-75; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) 80.00-90.00, few 92.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 72.00-78.00; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) 52.00-60.00; Cull 1 (extremely thin) 50.00-52.00.

Ft. Collins: Good 3-5 (very fleshy) 67.00-77.50; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 75.00-85.50; Utility 1-2 (thin) 50.00-62.50; Cull 1 (extremely thin) no test.

Billings, MT: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) 52.00-58.00; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 62.00-80.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 59.00-69.00; Cull 1 66.00.

S. Dakota: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) 67.00-70.00; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 66.00-70.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 57.00-65.00; Cull 1 no test.

Feeder Lambs: Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 70-90 lbs 208.00-214.00; 92 lbs 204.00.

Virginia: no test.

Ft. Collins: no test.

Billings: 60-70 lbs 226.00-233.00; 70-80 lbs 209.00-222.50; 80-90 lbs 192.00-215.00; 90-100 lbs 183.00-200.00; 100-110 lbs 170.00-184.50; 115-120 lbs 144.00-151.00, few 174.50; 125-130 lbs 140.00-146.00.

Replacement Ewes: Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: hair ewes and lambs 82.00-106.00 per head; mixed age hair ewes 80-130 lbs 90.00-140.00 cwt.

Ft. Collins: no test.

Billings: ewe lambs 76 lbs 227.50 cwt.

S.. Dakota: bred solid mouth 230.00 per head, thin 110.00 per head; exposed 140-210 lbs 60.00-68.00 cwt; hair ewes 130 lbs 90.00 cwt.

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 41,000 compared to 39,000 last week and 33,000 last year.

West Coast grain price report Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:19:00 -0500 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)


Jan. 18

Pacific Northwest Market Summary: Cash wheat bids for January delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, Jan. 18, were lower compared to week ago noon bids for January delivery.

March wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, January 18, lower as follows compared to week ago closes: Chicago wheat futures were eight cents lower at 4.2525, Kansas City wheat futures were 10.75 cents lower at 4.2950 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 18.50 cents lower at 6.1050. Chicago March corn futures trended 2.75 cents higher at 3.5150 and March soybean futures closed 23 cents higher at 9.73.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during January for ordinary protein trended 1.25 to seven cents per bushel lower compared to week ago prices for the same delivery period from 5.20-5.32. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. White club wheat premiums were zero to five cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids this week and last week.

One year ago bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for January delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were 4.56-4.71 and bids for White Club Wheat were 4.74-4.96.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: February, March, April and May 5.20-5.32. One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: February 4.56-4.71, March 4.46-4.71, April and May 4.46-4.60.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during January trended 3.25 cents per bushel lower than week ago prices for the same delivery period from 5.20-5.30. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

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

One year ago bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein for January delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were 4.76 and bids for White Club Wheat were 4.76-5.01.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: February 5.20-5.30, March 5.20-5.3125, April and May 5.20-5.2825.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: February not available, March 4.46-4.76, April and May 4.46-4.65.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for January delivery trended 5.75 cents per bushel lower than week ago bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. This week, bids were as follows: January, February, March 5.7950-5.9450, April and May 5.88-5.98.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during January trended 18.50 cents per bushel lower than week ago bids for the same delivery period.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

This week, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: January 7.2550-7.4550, February and March 7.2550-7.5050, April and May 7.3975-7.5975.

Coarse feeding grains: Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BNSF shuttle trains for January delivery trended 4.75 to 5.75 cents higher than week ago bids for the same delivery period from 4.4650-4.4850. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Forward month corn bids were as follows: February 4.4650-4.4950, March 4.4550-4.4850, April 4.4150-4.4650, May 4.3750-4.3950 and June 4.3475-4.3975. Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BNSF shuttle trains for November delivery trended 13 to 21 cents higher than week ago bids for the same delivery period at 10.58.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: February 10.58-10.63 and March 10.55-10.61. Bids for US 2 Heavy White Oats for November delivery trended steady at 3.0475 per bushel.

Pacific Northwest Export News: There were 16 grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, Jan. 18, with eight docked compared to 14 last week with five docked. There were no new confirmed export sales this week from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.

California Weekly

Grain Report

Jan. 18

Paid by feed manufacturers and other users, delivered plant or receiving station. All prices are offers for prompt shipment unless otherwise stated.

Dollars Per Cwt.

BARLEY US No 2 (46-lbs. per bushel)

FOB Solano County NA

Colusa County NA

Tehama County NA

Rail: Any Origin - via BNSF and U.P.

Los Angeles NA


Oakdale-Turlock NA

Tulare County NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA


Oakdale-Turlock NA


Fresno Counties 8.75

Kern County NA

Colusa County NA

Glenn County NA

CORN US No 2 Yellow

FOB Stockton-Modesto-

Oakdale-Turlock NA

Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno NA

Turlock/Tulare Basis 1.13+H

Rail: Single Car Units via BNSF

Los Angeles-Chino Valley Basis 1.16+H

Stockton NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA


Oakdale-Turlock Basis 1.30+H


Fresno Counties Basis 1.30+H

Glenn County 8.00

Hanford County NA

Kern County NA

SORGHUM US No 2 Yellow (Milo)

Rail Los Angeles-

Chino Valley via BNSF Basis 1.70+H

Truck Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Turlock County NA

Glenn County NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno NA

OATS US No 1 White (40-lbs. per bushel)

Truck Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

US No 2 White (38-lbs. per bushel)

Rail Petaluma NA

Truck Petaluma NA


Oakdale-Turlock NA

Colusa County NA

WHEAT US No 2 or better - Hard Red Winter

(Domestic Values for Flour Milling)

FOB Fresno NA

Merced NA

Truck (California Origin)

Los Angeles 12% Protein NA

Los Angeles 13% Protein NA

Los Angeles 14% Protein NA

Colusa County NA

Rail-Truck (Out of State Origin)

LA Guaranteed 12% Protein NA

LA Guaranteed 13% Protein NA

LA Guaranteed 14% Protein NA

WHEAT US Durum Wheat

FOB Imperial County NA

Truck Imperial County NA

Kern County NA


Fresno Counties NA

WHEAT Any Class for Feed

FOB Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties 9.10

Kern County NA

Merced County NA


Los Angeles-Chino Valley

(11-1/2 to 12-1/2 percent protein) NA

13 percent protei NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA


Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Fresno NA

Merced County NA

Kern County NA

Colusa County NA

California shell egg price report Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:58:35 -0500 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade A and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Jan. 19

Benchmark prices are unchanged. Asking prices for next week are 14 cents higher for Jumbo, 25 cents higher for Extra Large, 28 cents higher for Large and 22 cents higher for Medium and Small. Trade sentiment remains sharply higher. Demand is moderate to good into all channels. Supplies are light to moderate with offerings light. Market activity is active. Small benchmark price is $1.24.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 185 Extra large 163

Large 154 Medium 144


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 172-184 Extra large 149-153

Large 139-147 Medium 125-136

Fluid milk and cream review — West Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:52:34 -0500 FLUID MILK AND CREAM REVIEW – WEST

(USDA Market News)

Jan. 18

California milk output has increased since last week. Some manufacturing plant operators say that they are getting close to the flush production levels.

This week, sales into Class 1 are steady with schools’ milk needs being fulfilled. According to some market participants, a fire at one nonfat dry milk plant diverted milk intakes to Class 4 manufacturing plants in the area.

Current higher hay prices coupled with lower milk sale prices are putting more pressure on some dairies as they battle to make a profit. In Arizona, farm milk output is trending higher as the weather conditions are increasing cows’ well-being.

A shut down at one local plant resulted in more milk intakes by other plants. Most dairy plants are running at full capacity and cannot afford any down time due to excess milk that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. No milk is currently being shipped out of state for processing.

Class I intakes are steady this week. Milk pooled on the Arizona Order 131 totaled 423.2 million pounds in December 2017. Class I utilization accounted for about 25.6 percent of producer milk. The uniform price was $15.44, down $0.58 from last month and $1.36 below one year ago.

New Mexico milk production is up this week. Total Class I intakes remain higher. However, Class II and III sales declined partly due to repair/maintenance workloads in some processing plants. In addition, with the closure of some plants for the holiday, holdovers are higher.

Pacific Northwest milk production is steady. Milk intakes are returning to normal following the annual juggling of holiday milk. The bottling pipeline has mostly refilled following the winter holidays and manufacturers are finding milk intakes generally in good balance with processing needs.

Milk pooled on Pacific Northwest Order 124 totaled 610.2 million pounds in December 2017. Class I utilization accounted for about 25.9 percent of producer milk. The uniform price was $15.21, down $0.48 from last month and $1.16 below one year ago.

In the mountain states of Colorado, Idaho and Utah there is a lot of milk and very little to stanch the flow of milk.

Although temperatures have been fluctuating between cold and mild, dairymen are generally finding conditions to be favorable for milk production.

Industry contacts say loads of milk are moving around within the region. Most loads are finding homes within the milk shed without stressing processing capacity too much.

In the West, condensed skim is mainly being dried. Inventories are easily accessible to processors. Western cream supplies are steady to large. Some contacts report that their stocks are manageable while other are overwhelmed with theirs. Butter churning is strong as more cream moves to the churns. Cream multiples for all Classes vary greatly from state to state in the West.

According to the DMN National Retail Report-Dairy for the week of Jan. 12-18, the national weighted average advertised price for one gallon of milk is $2.67, down $0.34 from last week, and $0.39 lower from a year ago. The weighted average regional price in the Southwest is $2.66, with a price range of $1.89-$3.99. The weighted average regional price in the Northwest is $1.99, with no price range.

National feeder and stocker cattle report Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:30:55 -0500 NATIONAL FEEDER AND STOCKER CATTLE

(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Jan. 19

This week Last week Last year

278,500 HD 530,300 HD 392,000 HD

Compared to Jan. 12: Steers and heifers trends were all over the board. Early week sales (if auctions were open due to severe cold temperatures and treacherous roads) of feeder steers and heifers were reported steady to 8.00 lower; mid-week sales were reported 2.00 to 8.00 higher after futures rallied and Live Cattle Futures had near limit higher moves on Wednesday.

Steer and heifer calves followed the same trendline for the week; steady to 6.00 lower early week and steady to 8.00 higher mid-week.

Bidders and buyers flipped their buyers cards readily in those mid- to late-week auctions as they tried to keep up with the uptick in futures. With the CME closed Monday, Tuesday rolled around and the frenzy was on again.

After the Feeders closed last Thursday at 143.82; it has been up from there again. The roller coaster is hopefully hitting another high and can sustain the momentum in weeks ahead.

In the North Plains, heavier fleshed backgrounded cattle are plentiful; however, grass cattle and high quality replacement heifers are in high demand currently with not enough to go around for the buyers.

Last week’s large supply of cattle on offer across much of the country had the bears running for the woods thinking that feedyards were full and the longs would dictate the market.

Anecdotes of North Plains feedyards shipping cattle to the South Plains to complete kills for this week were abuzz around the industry with feedyards willing to wait and see if prices get better later in the week.

Freezing cold temperatures the past few weeks have been a concern for the wheat crop in all areas. Producers do not like to see that low of temperatures around and they are keeping watch on their fields to see how much winterkill they will incur.

Dressed steer slaughter weights were reported at 900 for the week ending Jan. 6, 5 pounds below last year and 10 pounds below the previous 5-year average.

This week’s big news centered around the largest cattle feeder in the world divesting some assets and selling their U.S. feedyards to an investment firm for approximately $200 million. According to reports the current management team and agreements to supply a packer with cattle will continue.


volume this week included 64 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.

National Slaughter

Cattle Summary

Jan. 19

Slaughter cattle trade was mostly inactive in all major feeding regions, with exception of Nebraska selling dressed trades 3.00 higher.

Boxed Beef prices as of Friday afternoon averaged 202.51 down 2.43 from last Friday. The Choice/Select spread is 4.70. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Friday afternoon totaled 18,440 head. Last week’s total head count was 67,031.

Midwest Direct Markets:

Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: NT

Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers: 195.00

South Plains Direct Markets:

Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: NT

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to 2.00 lower with exception of the Colorado trading 2.00-3.00 higher. Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value Friday was 170.10 down 0.30 from last Friday.

Northwest Weighted

Direct Feeder Cattle

This week Last week Last year

2,566 1,519 2,200

Compared to Jan. 12: Feeder steers lightly tested with last week few sales steady to 6.00 higher. Feeder heifers 1.00-3.00 higher. Some cattle at the lower end of the price range were contracted early in the trading period. Cattle futures have traded on the plus side every day since last Friday. The feeder supply included 100 percent over 600 lbs and 62 percent heifers. Unless otherwise stated prices are FOB weighting points with 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent and a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 4-12 cent slide on yearlings from base weights. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Feeder Steers Medium and Large 1

70 Head; Avg Wt 725 lbs; Avg Price 154.00; Current Del

468 Head; 800-825 lbs; Avg Price 145.00; Current Del

190 Head; 850-885 lbs; Avg Price 143.00; Current Del

120 Head; 900 lbs; Avg Price 141.00; Current Del

Feeder Steers Medium and Large 1-2

131 Head; 750-780 lbs; Avg Price 146.00; Current Del

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1

369 Head; 615-625 lbs; Avg Price 153.04; Current Del

215 Head; 675-685 lbs; Avg Price 144.00; Current Del

860 Head; 700 lbs; Avg Price; 144.71; Current Del

143 Head; 750-775 lbs; Avg Price; 139.14; Current Del

Western hay price report Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:21:36 -0500 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)

Jan. 26

This week FOB Last week Last year

1290 Tons 2625 Tons 5400 Tons

Compared to Jan. 19: Alfalfa steady in a light test. Trade slow this week with light to moderate demand. Retail/Feedstore steady. Feeder hay remains in firm hands.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square

Premium Organic 300 310.00

Fair/Good/Org 160 280.00

Tarped 800 136.88

Orchard Grass Small Square

Prem/Retail/Stable 30 215.00


(USDA Market News)

Jan. 19

Compared to Jan. 12: Prices trended generally steady in a limited test. Retail/Stable type hay remains the most demanded hay. Feeder alfalfa (rain damage) sales have decreased compared to last report. Organic sales have increased compared to the past few reports. Many hay producers have sold out for the growing year.

This week FOB Last week Last year

2718 Tons 1124 Tons 6031 Tons

Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Wasco Counties

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square

Premium 200 150.00

Good/Premium 120 140.00

Fair/Good 60 120.00

Small Square

Premium 27 225.00

Retail/Stable 56 220.00

Orchard Grass Small Square

Prem/Retail/Stable 36 242.08

Meadow Grass Small Square

Prem/Retail/Stable 25 210.00

Klamath Basin:

Alfalfa Large Square

Supr/Organic 50 300.00

Premium 25 230.00

Organic 900 271.11

Good/Organic 200 265.00

Small Square

Premium/Grassy 125 220.00

Good/Premium 50 175.00

Fair/Good/Rain Dam 30 140.00

Wheat Large Square

Good/Prem/Org 220 170.00

Lake County:

Alfalfa Large Square

Supreme 242 203.26

Prem/Org/Rain Dam 200 225.00

Small Square

Supreme/Org 30 250.00

Prem/Retail/Stable 30 185.00

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square

Premium 62 185.00

Retail/Stable 30 185.00

Eastern Oregon: No New Sales Confirmed.

Harney County: No New Sales Confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

Jan. 19

This week FOB Last week Last year

1430 Tons 3025 Tons 3850 Tons

Compared to Jan. 12: Alfalfa steady in a light test. Trade slow this week. Muddy conditions continue. Retail/Feedstore not tested. Prices are dollars per ton and FOB the farm or ranch unless otherwise stated.

Alfalfa Mid Square

Prem/Sup.Tarped 650 130.00

Good/Prem/Tarped 750 130.00

Orchard Grass Mid Square

Fair/Good/Export 30 180.00


(USDA Market News)

Jan. 19

Compared to Jan. 12: All classes traded steady with moderate demand. Retail hay is in high demand due to lack of hay in barns this year. Winter forage crops, such as wheat, barley and other cereal grains and forage mixes continued to be planted and seed shipments received. Irrigation was still necessary to maintain growth of those plantings that have germinated. Alfalfa was growing well.

This week FOB Last week Last year

1320 Tons 4935 Tons 1525 Tons


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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 75 230.00

Fair 170 160.00


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

Alfalfa Prem/Retail/Stable 25 280.00


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

Alfalfa Prem/Del/Ret/Stab 150 300.00

Fair 25 170.00

Region 4: Central San Joaquin Valley

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

No New Sales Confirmed.


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

Alfalfa Prem/Ret/Stab 350 280.00


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

Alfalfa Prem/Ret/Stab 250 232.50

Good/Premium 100 207.50

Retail/Stable 75 200.00

Good Contracted 1 135.00

Bermuda Grass

Prem/Ret/Stab 100 220.00

Letter: And along came the sparred owl Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:58:05 -0500 This stuff on Spotted Owls and Barred Owls is sure causing confusion in my recollection about bird species.

In 1962, while studying for my master’s degree at the University of New Mexico, I took a class in ornithology from the renown biologist Dr. James S. Finley. In our study on bird speciation we discovered that birds, when isolated for many generations, may evolve characteristics that upon observation appear to be unique. When the isolating factor has been removed, think glaciers during the ice age, the birds may again come in contact with each other. If they do, and they breed freely producing viable offspring they are of the same species. If they do not breed, they are a distinct species and are recognized as such. What is not mentioned in this article is the Barred Owl and the Spotted Owl do breed and they do produce viable offspring called Sparred Owls.

We learned that variation in species is an important part of biodiversity and is important for the species to be able to adapt to evolutionary pressures. Hybridization in birds was not universally regarded in the field of ornithology. As near as I can figure these definitions still are accepted knowledge.

At the time Dr. Finley stated there were four species we might want to watch because they were starting to move. The Yellow-shafted Flicker, found east of the Rocky Mountains, was moving westward into the territory of the Red-shafted Flicker, found west of the Rocky Mountains. When this happened it was found that they did breed and they did produce viable offspring. Scientists now recognize these birds should be identified as a single species called Northern Flicker.

He stated the other birds we should watch were the Barred Owl, found east of the Rocky Mountains and the Spotted Owl, found west of the Rocky Mountains. It took the Barred Owl a little longer to get to the west coast because they took a route through Canada before arriving on the west coast. When they did arrive they were pretty aggressive, part of that diversity thing. And they did breed freely producing viable offspring called Sparred Owl.

Now we see the government spending millions of dollars to keep those darn birds apart and where they have not been successful they are starting to refer to the Sparred Owls as hybrids. Next thing you know will be calling the matches between the Irish and the English hybrids.

Carlisle Harrison

Hermiston, Ore.

EPA official: government must plan for climate change Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:39:22 -0500 MICHAEL BIESECKER WASHINGTON (AP) — A top manager who supervises the Environmental Protection Agency program responsible for cleaning up the nation’s most contaminated properties and waterways told Congress on Thursday that the government needs to plan for the ongoing threat posed to Superfund sites from climate change.

The testimony by EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Barry Breen before a House oversight subcommittee conflicts with the agency’s policy positions under President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax. Breen’s boss, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, is an ardent fossil fuel promoter who questions the validity of mainstream climate science.

During a hearing Thursday, Rep. Jerry McNerney, a California Democrat, asked Breen whether extreme weather events like hurricanes and wildfires could damage the highly toxic sites and cause contamination to spread.

“We have to respond to climate change, that’s just part of our mission set,” replied Breen, a career official who leads EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “So we need to design remedies that account for that. We don’t get to pick where Superfund sites are. We deal with the waste where it is.”

There are more than 1,300 Superfund sites in the U.S.

Under the Obama administration, EPA issued a robust plan for prioritizing cleanup and protection of toxic sites located in flood zones and areas vulnerable to sea level rise. However, a Superfund Task Force appointed by Pruitt last year issued a 34-page list of recommendations that makes no mention of climate change, flooding risks from stronger storms or rising seas.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox did not respond to questions Thursday about whether Pruitt agreed with Breen’s testimony or precisely what the agency is currently doing to address to risks posed to Superfund sites by climate change.

The Associated Press first reported in September that more than a dozen Superfund sites in the Houston area were flooded by heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey. Spills of potentially hazardous waste were reported at two of those sites, including a release of cancer-causing dioxin into the San Jacinto River.

A subsequent AP review of EPA records and census data revealed that more than 2 million Americans live within a mile of 327 Superfund sites located in flood-prone areas or those at risk from rising sea levels.

The Government Accountability Office told Congress earlier this month it was assigning investigators to study the risks to human health and the environment posed to Superfund sites by natural disasters.

EPA’s 2014 Climate Adaptation Plan noted that prolonged flooding at low-lying Superfund sites could cause extensive erosion, carrying away contaminants as waters recede.

Pruitt says he has made faster Superfund site cleanups a high priority for the agency. Pruitt’s task force on the issue is led by Albert “Kell” Kelly, a former Oklahoma banker with no experience as an environmental regulator.

Kelly had been expected to testify at Thursday’s hearing, but was replaced by Breen due to what EPA told the House committee was a scheduling conflict.

AP reported in August that Pruitt hired Kelly as a senior adviser at EPA after federal financial regulators cited Kelly for unspecified violations while serving as the top executive at a community bank in Oklahoma. Kelly previously served as chairman of Tulsa-based SpiritBank, which provided a $6.8 million financing when Pruitt and his business partners purchased Oklahoma City’s minor league baseball team in 2003.

Asked by Democrats for details about why Kelly was barred by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from working for any U.S. financial institution, Breen said Thursday that Kelly had elected to settle the case against him and “is fully willing to discuss this matter.”

An email and voicemail to Kelly seeking comment on Thursday received no response. Wilcox also did not respond to a request seeking details about why the FDIC barred Kelly from the banking industry.

US government proposes new rules for hog slaughter Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:27:36 -0500 DAVID PITT DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government wants to change the rules on how most hogs slaughtered for meat in the U.S. are processed.

Some of the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposals released Friday are similar to those enacted in 2014 for poultry processors.

One rule allows pork processors to voluntarily enact a new inspection system placing plant employees in charge of removing animals unfit for slaughter, and allows companies to set their own processing line speeds.

The USDA says the proposed rules would streamline production without compromising food safety.

Critics say similar poultry industry changes gave companies too much control over food safety.

Another proposed rule would require processing plants to implement new procedures for preventing bacterial contamination of meat.

The USDA is taking comments and has no date set for implementation.

Washington Legislature passes Hirst bill Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:00:44 -0500 Don Jenkins The back-to-back votes ended a yearlong standoff created by the state Supreme Court’s Hirst ruling. Some Democrats said new wells will trample tribal treaty rights. Some Republicans complained lawmakers were turning over millions of dollars to unelected watershed-restoration panels.

Still, Senate Bill 6091 received bipartisan support in both chambers and passed by comfortable margins, 35-14 in the Senate and 66-30 in the House.

“This bill provides a path forward for the people who just want to build on their few acres,” said Moses Lake Sen. Judy Warnick, the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Committee.

The court’s decision was based on the assumption that each new well draws water from streams and harms fish. The ruling left individual landowners in the position of having to prove otherwise.

Tribes and environmental groups hailed the decision. The Washington Farm Bureau and other groups said the ruling amounted to a war on rural communities. Republicans kept pressure on Democrats to ease restrictions by withholding votes for a $4 billion capital budget.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement saying he will sign the Hirst bill. But he added that Republicans had been irresponsible for holding up the capital budget and warned of future debates over water.

“Despite this positive step, pressures on stream flows and salmon will continue to mount in the face of climate change and growing demand for water,” he said.

The Hirst decision stemmed from a lawsuit brought by environmentalists over how Whatcom County was carrying out the Growth Management Act. It cast a doubt, however, over whether new wells would be allowed throughout the state.

Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, said the bill passed Thursday undermined treaties signed by tribes and the U.S. government in the 1850s. He accused the Legislature of usurping the “supreme law of the land.”

“The right to water is guaranteed between one sovereign nation and another sovereign nation,” he said.

Even before Hirst, water was not uniformly available in the state’s 62 watersheds, and the bill passed Thursday won’t change that. Skagit County legislators complained bitterly that some of their constituents still won’t be able to use new wells.

In some watersheds, committees led by the Department of Ecology will meet to develop plans to offset any effect new wells would have on streams. The committees eventually could lead to more restrictive policies.

The committees were expanded in late negotiations to include representatives from farm and environmental groups, as well as irrigation districts and the construction industry. Tribes, cities and counties will also be represented.

The $300 million to mitigate new wells will be spent over 15 years.

The bill includes a new $500 fee on wells and in some places will limit withdrawals to an annual average of 950 gallons a day.

The bill authorizes Ecology to require meters on new wells in parts of Clallam and Kittitas counties. The bill describes the meters as “pilot projects.” Some Republicans said they would fight any proposal to put meters on other rural wells.

The bill also begins to respond to the Supreme Court’s Foster decision. The ruling stopped environmental enhancement projects meant to mitigate for new water withdrawals. The bill authorizes a handful of projects and appoints a task force to study balancing new water uses with protecting fish.

Washington H-2A guestworker use keeps growing Fri, 19 Jan 2018 10:41:13 -0500 Dan Wheat WENATCHEE, Wash. — The H-2A-visa foreign guestworker program accounted for 20 percent of the peak seasonal farm workforce in Washington last year and is still growing, the director of the WAFLA farm labor association says.

A total of 18,535 H-2A visas were approved for the state in 2017, up 35 percent from 13,689 the year before, Dan Fazio, WAFLA director said at the association’s annual H-2A Workforce Summit on Jan. 17.

Of that amount, WAFLA hired 7,134, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was direct hiring for employers, like a labor contractor. WAFLA also helped less directly with approximately 5,000 more for employers.

“The program is great except for the cost and the cost is mandating you have productive workers,” Fazio told about 200 growers. Costs vary, but typically run about $1,300 per worker per year for hiring and transportation, excluding wages, he has said in the past.

The main driver of the cost is wages, with the Adverse Effect Wage Rate established by the U.S. Department of Labor, he said. That’s the minimum wage for H-2A workers and has gone up an average of 4.5 percent a year for the past four years while most U.S. wages have gone up just 2 percent, he said.

Often H-2A workers are paid piece rate for harvest and make more than the AEWR, which is $14.12 this year in Washington and Oregon.

If 20,000 H-2A workers come to the state in 2018 and earn $30,000 apiece, that’s $600 million, Fazio said.

Employers save $1,854 in payroll taxes on an H-2A worker staying six months — assuming 3 percent unemployment insurance, 45 hours per week and $15 per hour — which helps offset costs, he said.

Roxana Macias, compliance director of CSI Visa Processing, hired by WAFLA to recruit workers in Mexico, said workers are eager to sign up because the best workers earn $25 a day in Mexico but can earn that in two hours in the U.S.

“We’re concentrating on worker quality, getting productive workers,” Fazio said, adding it would help if the program allowed workers to return home for one week every three months. Workers miss their homes and their productivity tends to decline the longer they stay, he said. The program limits workers to 10 months.

USDA website chronicles stem rust battle Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:47:59 -0500 Matw Weaver A new USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website chronicles the battle to protect cereal grains from stem rust in the northern U.S.

Stem rust attacks wheat and barley and was once the most feared disease of cereal crops worldwide, according to the website. Because common barberry hosts stem rust during part of its reproductive cycle, the plant was targeted for extensive eradication efforts.

Tim Murray, a plant pathologist at Washington State University Extension, created the webpage with USDA geographer Lisa Kennaway. Murray and Kennaway collected historical information from the federal government’s common barberry eradication program between 1918 and 1981.

Orange dots on a map on the website indicate where barberry plants were eradicated. The website includes information about each location — the date of the original survey, approximate coordinates and the number of barberry plants.

The database could help locate remaining barberry plants in case of an outbreak, Murray said.

Landowner information is not included on the website. All other information is available at any county recorder’s office, Murray said.

Murray hopes to eventually include the original information card on the website.

“Each form also had a map that was hand-drawn of the property and where the barberries were found,” he said. “When we’ve gone out looking at those properties, that’s been very useful to us. Sometimes the property hasn’t changed at all, and sometimes it’s changed quite dramatically. At least we have an idea where the barberries may have been.”

Farmers may be interested in the data if stem rust has ever been a concern, or if they are curious about whether barberry was ever on their property, Murray said.

Murray estimated the cost of gathering data and putting the website together at $150,000. It was funded by grants from APHIS.

The website used records from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Other states also had barberry eradication programs, but the records aren’t available or were lost.

A strain of stem rust originally from Uganda, known as Ug99, raised concerns in 2008 about its potential to spread to the U.S.. The disease is not as large a concern as it was, Murray said. The race hasn’t spread outside Africa, and U.S. wheat breeders have developed resistant varieties.

Cereal disease experts have indicated some races in the Pacific Northwest were complex and had virulence patterns similar to Ug99, Murray said.

The constant evolution of stem rust is a concern, Murray said. But Pacific Northwest conditions are not optimal for stem rust development. Some barberry plants remain, but not in large numbers. He says it’s a relatively low risk for the region.


Cattlemen not worried about growing meat alternatives Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:08:10 -0500 BARBARA SODERLINOmaha World-Herald OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraskans know where their meat comes from: the farms, ranches, feedlots and packing plants that make the state the nation’s top beef producer and a growing supplier of pork and poultry.

But what happens to the Beef State’s massive livestock industry if Americans switch to “meat” made from plant protein — or from muscle tissue grown not on farms but in big industrial tanks?

It might sound far-fetched, but the plant products have launched and the factory-grown meat may be about to, with claims they are better for the environment than meat from livestock, and taste just as good.

Will they take off? No way, a steak-lover might say. But proponents point to the dairy aisle: Dairy milk sales are falling as shoppers pick up soy, almond, pea protein and other “milk” in mainstream supermarkets.

A future where lab-grown and plant-based “meat” is also mainstream may not be that far off, the Omaha World-Herald reported . Expect to hear a lot about alternative meats in 2018: The industry is at a turning point thanks to investment from big names like Bill Gates, and big food companies like Tyson and Cargill.

“Technology will begin to disrupt the traditional food chain in 2018 as enterprising manufacturers aim to replace farms and factories with laboratories,” market research company Mintel said in its recent annual food and drink trends report.

Plant-based versions of familiar foods such as burgers and chicken strips are already available at some Midwestern supermarkets and restaurants. Food scientists process plant proteins to imitate real meat in ways that the smashed-bean veggie burgers of the ‘90s never did.

Not on the market yet, but possibly launching later this year, is a product sometimes called lab-grown meat or “clean meat.” It starts with real livestock cells and grows in a factory in a tank some call a fermenter or a bioreactor, where cells are fed nutrients and proliferate. The product looks sort of like ground meat — the technology isn’t there yet to get cells to build a muscle structure that resembles a steak or chicken breast.

Leaders in Nebraska’s beef industry are aware of the challengers but say their product is better.

“We’ll see what the marketplace says, but we feel good about the growth of beef and the consumer’s confidence in our product,” said Pete McClymont, Nebraska Cattlemen executive vice president.

The new products are launching at a time of rising meat consumption, including beef. Americans are expected to consume a record amount of meat this year — 222 pounds of red meat and poultry per person, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts. McClymont said cattle producers are wondering why companies such as Tyson and Cargill are investing in what producers see as meat competitors.

The Nebraska Beef Council, which uses money raised from cattle sales to promote beef, won’t be advocating for “lab-grown beef.”

“Our focus truly is letting the consumer know what a nutrient-dense food beef really is,” said Ann Marie Bosshamer, executive director of the Nebraska Beef Council.

As confident as beef producers are in their own product, advocates for these new alternatives contend the products will upend the U.S. livestock industry. They hope so, at least, arguing that livestock production is hard on the environment and unsustainable as the world’s population grows.

“This is a new type of meat that can really change the world,” said Nick Halla, chief strategy officer for Impossible Foods.

The company makes the Impossible Burger, a patty sold in restaurants that looks and cooks much like a beef hamburger. Impossible credits its “heme” soy protein ingredient for its meaty taste and red color.

The company opened a new manufacturing plant in Oakland, California, last fall, making more than 1 million pounds of its burger mixture a month. (U.S. packers produce more than 2 billion pounds of beef a month.)

Its main competitor is Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger, sold in supermarkets in raw patties destined for the backyard grill.

Beyond Meat investor Tyson Foods — a major employer in Nebraska, with plants in Omaha, Lexington, Dakota City and Madison — said plant protein burgers fit in with the company’s portfolio of protein-centric products and will help Tyson meet growing global demand for protein.

“This investment is about ‘and,’ not ‘or,’” spokeswoman Caroline Ahn said when asked whether Tyson foresees any drop in livestock-based protein sales.

On the lab-grown meat side, companies including Hampton Creek and Memphis Meats are racing to commercialize their versions, said Paul Shapiro, a former vice president at the Humane Society of the United States and the author of a new book, “Clean Meat,” that chronicles these businesses and their investors.

Hampton Creek says its product will be sold in restaurants later this year. Memphis Meats says it will be a few years. Cost is a barrier.

“These are not alternatives to meat, they are actual animal meats, simply grown with fewer resources than we use to produce animal meats today,” Shapiro said.

Its backers liken it to “clean energy.”

They say the beef industry damages the environment with greenhouse gases produced by the livestock and in transportation, and hurts water quality with runoff from farms growing grain for livestock feed.

For its part, the beef industry touts its gains in efficiency as cutting beef’s environmental footprint. Processors are under public pressure to conserve resources.

Steers and heifers headed to the slaughterhouse are a lot meatier than they used to be. In 2016 the U.S. produced 26 billion pounds of beef, nearly the same amount it did 40 years ago. It did so while raising and slaughtering 28 percent fewer cattle.

“What sustainability is is what producers are doing right now,” said Sarah Place, an animal biologist who leads research in sustainable beef production for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Shapiro, the former Humane Society executive, says traditional producers should be worried about the factory-grown product, even though it’s yet to hit the market. He contends it will be so disruptive it will send the livestock industry the way of the horse-drawn carriage, whale oil lamps and ice blocks cut from lakes.

“There’s a reason Cargill is investing in this — it recognizes that the future of protein production doesn’t have to come out of live animals,” Shapiro said. The Minnesota-based agribusiness, with meat processing plants in Nebraska, is an investor in Memphis Meats.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether consumers will want to eat meat from a tank. And Cargill says it is still investing plenty in its livestock-based protein business, noting $850 million spent in the past two years on acquisitions, plant expansions and renovations and new facilities.

“We believe consumers will continue to crave meat, and our goal is to bring it to the table in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” said Sonya Roberts, president of growth ventures for Cargill Protein. “Cultured protein products will provide greater choice and help meet the needs of those consumers who seek options.”

Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick said he’s not sure what path lab-grown meat will take, or if it will displace current sales of meat from livestock.

It could turn people who shun meat into meat eaters. It could also help satisfy the growing global demand for meat.

He said he’s in conversations with large meatpackers worldwide about working together: The meatpacker could license his technology, make the meat in its facility, and sell it using existing manufacturing and distribution channels.

He’s been surprised at the interest from meat processors.

“They approach the world through this question of ‘How do we sell more animal protein more efficiently, in a safer way, in a more sustainable way?’,” he said. “They know it’s a challenge. They’re aware of the resource constraints around land and water.”

The plant-based protein makers also envision their products being sold far and wide, not appealing just to people who don’t eat meat today.

“We’re not going to have the big impact until we really hit the masses,” Impossible’s Halla said. That means plant-based meat in McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Subway, he said.

Consumers are increasingly interested in protein in all forms, and it’s showing up on labels in foods around the grocery store, even the cereal aisle.

Meat no longer has the only claim on protein in a shopper’s mind, said Danette Amstein, principal at Midan Marketing, a Chicago company whose clients include meat companies. “We have to share it with a long list of items, including fake meat,” which is what she calls plant-based patties.

Her advice to the meat industry is to keep an eye on the trend. The new competitors have the potential to erode market share.

“Don’t ignore it, but consider how they can find more ways to talk about the nutritional value of meat,” or launch new protein-centric products, she advised.

Plant-based meat substitutes are one of the top challenges for agriculture in 2018, said Chuck Jolley, who is president of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame, and president of Jolley & Associates, another food industry marketing company.

“If Tyson decides that they want to make a big deal out of it, they have an awful lot of clout at the supermarket,” he said.

How fast could plant-based and lab-grown meats build market share?

It depends on how consumers perceive the new alternatives, including how they feel about the manufacturing process and whether they see a health benefit, analysts said.

It also depends on taste and cost. Some will switch because of the perceived environmental benefits, but most people won’t switch from traditional meat if the alternative is expensive or doesn’t taste good.

Advocates for lab-grown meat point to the milk aisle to illustrate how quickly new products can put a squeeze on conventional ones.

Cow’s milk has been losing shelf space and sales to competitors like soy milk, almond milk and newer pea-protein milks.

Sales of dairy milk will continue to fall, market research company Mintel said. Mintel forecasts dairy milk sales to fall 11 percent between 2015 and 2020, to $15.9 billion. Meanwhile, U.S. sales of non-dairy milk will grow by about 50 percent, to $3 billion.

Dairy farmers try to defend their territory in the milk aisle. They, with members of Congress, have launched a campaign against the use of the word “milk” on non-dairy beverages. The meat industry could put up that kind of fight over “clean meat” and “plant-based meat.”

Ironically, total U.S. milk production has been growing. Americans are passing on milk but eating more yogurt, butter and cheese. Similarly, if consumers replace burgers with plant matter, they still may order up real-beef steaks.

If the new products do take a bite out of meat sales, Nebraska could be vulnerable, its economy relying on a livestock industry that employs tens of thousands of people in a labor force of 1 million.

Still, don’t sell your herd just yet. A pair of recent reports, from ag lenders CoBank and Rabobank, concludes that the new meat alternatives aren’t going to make a significant dent in demand for meat, at least not anytime soon.

Yes, meat alternatives are growing quickly, CoBank economist Trevor Amen wrote in a November report, and are something to watch. But they’ll remain “dwarfed” by sales of traditional meat. The alternatives may benefit from total global protein demand growth, but won’t bite into the existing market for livestock and poultry protein, he said.

Rabobank said “alternative protein products are not about to get close to the demand for traditional meat products,” although it said growth of these products will be faster in Europe and in some coastal, urban areas of the U.S., and will represent a material share of growth there.

Meat processors can respond by promoting the health benefits of eating animal protein, and improving animal welfare and the sustainability of their supply chains and operations, some analysts say.

If the new products cut into beef sales, they could also open up new opportunities for Nebraska agriculture. Some plant-based proteins come from crops like peas, some of which are grown here. Tetrick at Hampton Creek said it makes sense to put manufacturing facilities in the Midwest, taking advantage of livestock processors’ supply chains and technical capabilities. Beyond Meat already has a plant in Columbia, Missouri.

Whatever “meat” consumers eat, it seems the Midwest will have a role.

Verne Gingerich wins Nut Grower of the Year Fri, 19 Jan 2018 07:50:29 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski Having worked as both a grower and processor, Verne Gingerich has a fully integrated view of Northwest hazelnut production.

The industry’s relatively small size allows for effective communication, which has allowed it to thrive, Gingerich said upon accepting the 2017 Nut Grower of the Year award during the Nut Growers Society’s Jan. 18 annual meeting in Corvallis, Ore.

“We’re in a good industry and I hope we keep it that way,” said Gingerich, who farms near Canby, Ore.

Gingerich credited his father, Richard, with the foresight to begin cultivating hazelnuts, which have bestowed many blessings on the family.

Aside from growing hazelnuts, Gingerich also worked for the Northwest Hazelnut Co. and eventually became a partner in the processing company in the 1990s.

Though he’s since sold his interest to the George Packing Co., Gingerich continues to run a receiving station for hazelnuts.

While operating the processing company, Gingerich had a keen sense of where the markets were heading and how the industry should position itself, said Lisa Pascoe, office manager for Northwest Hazelnut Co., who presented him with the award.

As a farmer, Gingerich is always eager to share his knowledge with others, Pascoe said. “He is always a huge asset for those he helps.”

In the past, Gingerich served five years on the Nut Growers Society’s board, including a stint as president in 1990, in addition to his involvement with the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board.

Gingerich also sits on a committee that advises the Oregon Department of Agriculture about shipping point inspections and is involved with local firefighting agencies.

Court due to enforce manure reporting rule Jan. 22 Fri, 19 Jan 2018 07:44:41 -0500 Don Jenkins A federal court is expected to finalize an order Monday that will require untold thousands of farms to report that their animals are continuously releasing at least 100 pounds of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide per day, even though there is no generally accepted way to calculate emissions from decaying manure.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which argued against the mandate, has instructed producers to email the National Response Center, rather than deluge the Coast Guard-staffed center with phone calls. Within a month, producers will have to follow up and file a form with EPA regional offices.

“It’s not going to be fun for producers. It’s not complicated, but it’s different,” Washington State Dairy Federation policy director Jay Gordon said. “You check the box and then do something more productive.”

The mandate stems from a lawsuit filed by environmental groups against the EPA. The groups objected that the EPA exempted agriculture from the Superfund law, which requires factories and vessels to report chemical leaks and spills.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last year rejected claims by the EPA that decomposing manure was unlikely to ever warrant an emergency response. The court delayed enforcing its order until at least Jan. 22 to give the EPA time to develop a reporting form tailored to farms.

The EPA has not yet finished the form, according to an agency spokesman. Nevertheless, the EPA anticipates the court will implement the order Monday.

EPA has detailed how to comply with the mandate on a website:

EPA has taken steps to make reporting easier. Farms won’t have to report every day that their livestock emitted gas. Instead, producers will be able to register their animals as continuously releasing gas.

“The EPA is doing its darnedest to be helpful,” Gordon said.

It’s unclear how many producers meet the reporting threshold. The EPA estimates 44,900, but that number was derived eight years ago and has not been updated. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association calculated more than 68,000 beef producers will have to report. The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association estimates 141,000 poultry farms will need to report.

The EPA says there are too many geographic, climate and operational factors to estimate emissions by number of animals. Calculation sheets developed by different universities yield different estimates for similar operations.

The EPA says farmers won’t be expected to pinpoint emissions, just report a broad range. Farmers won’t be required to monitor or reduce emissions.

The U.S. Egg and Poultry Association has developed its own reporting form. The form includes a boilerplate estimate of emissions.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also plans to offer its members a streamlined reporting form when the court makes the mandate final, said Scott Yager, the association’s chief environmental counsel.

The association estimates cattle operations with as few as 200 head could meet the reporting threshold based on research conducted on grain-fed cattle in feedlots.

The reporting requirement also applies to cattle in grass pastures. There is no worksheet to calculate emissions from those type of operations, Yager said.

He advised all producers to look into whether they need to report.

“You should complete a worksheet and get it notarized and keep it in your file,” Yager said.

The cattlemen’s association hopes federal lawmakers will intervene and lift the mandate, either with legislation or by not allowing EPA to spend any money to enforce the rule, he said.

“It’s not something EPA can fix,” Yager said. “Congress needs to act.”

New business lines needed to subsidize Portland container shipping Fri, 19 Jan 2018 07:39:16 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski The Port of Portland’s container facility must diversify since it’s unlikely to become self-sustaining by focusing solely on handling containers, according to a consultant’s report.

To break even financially, the port’s Terminal 6 would need to move nearly 200,000 containers a year — more than the facility ever handled even during its heyday, the report said.

By bringing in additional business lines that would subsidize container operations, the facility could reach break even by moving fewer than 150,000 containers a year.

“It’s got to be a part of a bigger entity and supported by the other activities the port is involved in,” said Nolan Gimpel, project manager for the Advisian consulting company, which prepared the report.

Agricultural exporters once relied on the container terminal to get straw and other farm goods shipped to Asia, but ocean carriers stopped calling on the facility in 2015 and 2016 due to labor productivity problems.

The Port of Portland has since mended its relationship with the longshoremen’s union, which it hopes will improve productivity, but other challenges remain formidable.

Terminal 6 regularly handled more than 150,000 containers during the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the shipping industry has changed dramatically in recent years, Advisian’s report said.

Newly-built container ships are mostly too large to serve the inland port, while ocean carriers have consolidated and are reluctant to travel the added distance to Terminal 6, Gimpel said during a recent meeting of Port of Portland’s commission.

Three major “alliances” of ocean carrier companies now control about 87 percent of the trans-Pacific Ocean container market, he said.

The port should try to partner with one of the smaller independent companies that control the remaining 13 percent, since they’re able to fill a niche and make decisions more quickly, Gimpel said.

“To get to sustainability is going to take a while, and it’s not an easy task,” he said.

Other minor ports, such as San Diego and Philadelphia, have been able to sustain a profitable container business, but their situation isn’t neatly analogous to Portland’s, he said.

“What do they have that we don’t have? In all of those cases, those ports are much, much closer to a huge population base,” Gimpel said.

The Port of Portland expects to know within about three years whether Terminal 6 can remain competitive or whether the market passed it by, said Keith Leavitt, the port’s chief commercial officer.

There are opportunities to create new business at the container terminal, such as facilitating trade between North and South America, which typically relies on smaller ships than trans-Pacific trade, Leavitt said.

“We should be able to compete for those,” he said. “Those vessels are a good fit for the Columbia river.”

Handling “break bulk” cargo, such as imported steel slabs from Russia that aren’t containerized, is another potential business line, Leavitt said. Vessels that carry such slabs don’t require as deep a draft as larger container vessels.

The facility will soon be serviced by ocean vessels from Swire, which will handle trucks and break bulk cargo, and it’s already opened a transmodal truck-to-rail facility that ships export products to Puget Sound ports.

Adding new business ventures to the 420-acre Terminal 6 won’t require major capital investment, Leavitt said. “We’re in good shape from an infrastructure standpoint.”

Study: Farmer input critical in creating water plans Thu, 18 Jan 2018 09:30:05 -0500 Tim Hearden DAVIS, Calif. — As newly assembled local agencies prepare to implement California’s new groundwater law, now is the time for farmers and their advocacy organizations to get involved.

So advises a researcher who co-authored a report stating that officials should work harder to gauge the impact on agriculture as they prepare plans required by the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

University of Vermont Food Systems Program assistant professor Meredith Niles and doctoral student Courtney Hammond Wagner held focus groups with 20 farmers in Yolo County, Calif., whose groundwater basin had been given a high or medium priority.

Among their findings was that growers reported feeling “written out of the process” and suggested there was no “one-size-fits-all solution to groundwater management” in the state, so a focus on local context and needs was important.

Niles, who earned her doctorate at the University of California-Davis, said little input has been received from growers even though they’ll be among the most severely impacted by any new restrictions.

Additional research is needed to gather input from farmers in diverse geographic areas, she said.

“Beyond greater geographic scope, it’s important to also capture a better understanding both of what farmers are currently doing to implement sustainability for groundwater, what they want to do in the future, and their policy preferences for implementing SGMA,” Niles said in an email.

The researchers followed up on the focus groups by conducting a survey of more than 130 farmers in Yolo County last summer and are now analyzing that data, she said.

“Additional surveys, interviews and focus groups with farmers and farm producer organizations (are) important to make sure farmers have a voice at the table,” Niles said. “After all, they are the largest anthropogenic use of water in the state.”

The survey was done as cities, counties and water districts faced a deadline last summer to set up local groundwater sustainability agencies in the state’s 127 high- and medium-priority basins. By the end of the summer, 99 percent of the basins were covered by a local GSA, a groundwater adjudication or some other sustainability plan, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.

Basins identified as critically overdrafted must have sustainability plans in place by Jan. 31, 2020, while other high- and medium-priority basins have until Jan. 31, 2022. The basins must achieve sustainability by 2042.

Niles and Wagner conducted their study after a 2016 report by UC-Berkeley water law expert Michael Kiparsky asserted that much of the success of SGMA would revolve around the “social acceptance” of policies by users. Social acceptance involves users’ “perceptions of fairness, efficacy and other value-based dimensions that can raise tensions and lack clear, unambiguous solutions,” Niles and Wagner wrote.

Social acceptance is likely to become more important as the emphasis shifts to writing sustainability plans, which will have to include measurable objectives and detailed steps for controlling groundwater use, they wrote.

In the focus groups, growers cited a variety of “drivers” for their area’s impacted groundwater basin, including an increase in permanent crops, urbanization and new agricultural development in previously uncultivated areas.

Many farmers said they hope “common sense prevails” in the sustainability plans, but some said they felt “outnumbered” in the decision-making process as most representatives were from cities or irrigation districts that did not have a lot of farmer representation, Niles and Wagner wrote.

While the growers had different perspectives on the law, some key themes emerged, including an understanding of the role of agriculture in sustainable water management, the two wrote.

Integrating themselves into the planning process will be “critical” for growers, Niles said.

“Now is probably the most important time for farmers to be involved, as the GSA is really the ones that are going to be establishing the plans for achieving groundwater sustainability,” she said. “These plans will be the plan of action for the future.”

While most local areas have achieved their goal of establishing the GSA, the “much harder work” will be to come up with the plans themselves, Niles said.

“Depending on the region, some of these plans could have significant impacts on water users and farmers, and will need to balance the interests of the public, environment and other water users,” she said.

“I think it still waits to be seen how SGMA implementation will play out as these particularly challenging issues are worked through,” she said. “This is why it’s important for farmers to be involved to play a role in shaping these policy processes.”

Deal reached in rural Washington state water dispute Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:45:44 -0500 PHUONG LE SEATTLE (AP) — Top state lawmakers have reached a deal on a rural water dispute that has held up approval of more than $4 billion in new school and other construction projects for months, officials said Thursday.

Rep. Larry Springer, a Kirkland Democrat, said that top Republican and Democratic leaders reached a negotiated agreement earlier this week on both the water dispute and the two-year capital budget.

House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, a Snohomish Republican, told TVW’s Inside Olympia that a deal was reached late Wednesday after a meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat.

The state Senate is scheduled to vote on the water bill and the capital budget Thursday night.

New money for local water and sewer projects, school construction, mental health facilities and other construction across the state have been on hold since lawmakers adjourned last year without approving the capital budget.

Republicans had insisted first on getting legislation to fix the so-called Hirst court decision. That 2016 state Supreme Court ruling effectively restricted new household wells in certain rural areas if they affect water kept in streams for fish or other senior water rights.

The negotiated deal would allow landowners in rural areas to tap household wells — more commonly known as permit-exempt wells — while newly formed local committees come up with longer-term mitigation plans for individual watersheds, said Springer, a key negotiator on the water issue.

The proposal also includes $300 million over the next 15 years for projects that improve stream flows and restore watersheds, Springer said. Examples include reconnecting floodplains, buying water or other improvements that offset potential water used by wells.

The deal would also allow counties to rely on the Department of Ecology’s water rules as they had before the Hirst decision. In its 6-3 ruling, the state’s high court said counties must make its own independent assessment of water availability before issuing building permits in certain areas. Many counties said they didn’t have the resources or expertise to do the kinds of studies that would have been required under the ruling.

Sen. Judy Warnick, a Moses Lake Republican, said last week when the Senate agriculture, water and natural resources committee passed Senate Bill 6091 — which attempts to fix Hirst — that the issue is simply about helping people who want a well for their home.

The Senate plans to take up an amended version of that bill, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, a Sequim Democrat.

Property owners have provided emotional testimony in Olympia, recounting how they spent thousands of dollars to prepare lots to build homes or to dig wells but weren’t able to get building permits.

Building, real estate and property rights groups and other critics said the court ruling resulted in staggering economic impacts in rural communities, from declining home values to stalled building.

Environmental groups and several tribes across the state maintained that the Hirst decision correctly required local governments to plan ahead so new water withdrawals don’t take way from water in streams or from those with senior water rights, including tribes, municipalities and farmers.

Under the proposal, Springer said that landowners who already began drilling wells would be grandfathered in.

And until new mitigation plans are put in place for specific watersheds, landowners who want to access a domestic well would pay a $500 fee to use a permit-exempt well. The amount of water they could withdraw would vary depending on the watershed basin.

People with wells in some areas would be allowed to take 950 gallons a day, while others would be allowed 3,000 gallons a day.

Tax law gives unexpected break to farmers who sell to co-ops Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:40:28 -0500 STEVE KARNOWSKI MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Key senators and farm groups are trying to fix a provision in the federal tax overhaul that gave an unexpected tax break to farmers who sell their crops to cooperatives rather than regular companies.

Lawmakers say they didn’t intend to give a competitive advantage to co-ops. But it’s not clear they can rework the legislation given the partisan divide on Capitol Hill. That means many companies — from local grain companies to agribusiness giants such as Cargill and ADM — could wind up paying more for crops than co-ops.

The provision from GOP Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and John Hoeven of North Dakota surfaced in the final days of the debate over the tax bill, which President Donald Trump signed last month. Thune and Hoeven wanted to replace a deduction that benefited co-ops in the old law, which was being dropped, and they wanted to make sure farmers didn’t wind up with a tax increase.

But the final language went further than maintaining the status quo.

“I think at the end of the day what it boiled down to is the staff didn’t know what they were doing. ... They rushed this thing through,” said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.

Agricultural co-ops are typically owned by farmers, and they provide their members with help with marketing crops, purchasing supplies and various other services. They range from small and local co-ops to big, nationwide ones such as Land O’ Lakes and Sunkist Growers.

The new provision lets farmers deduct 20 percent of their gross sales to co-ops, but only 20 percent of their net income if they sell to other companies. The difference is big enough that farmers who sell to co-ops could entirely eliminate their tax bills.

“If it stands the way it is, you’re going to see a dramatic change in who farmers sell their product to,” said Paul Neiffer, a partner with CliftonLarsonAllen, a national accounting firm with clients on both sides.

Farmers who do sell to regular companies may be able to command higher prices to help make up for the lower tax break.

Kristine Tidgren, assistant director of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University, calculated that a farmer with $300,000 in income from grain sales to a regular company and $180,000 in expenses would have $86,400 in taxable income for the year. If that same producer sells to a co-op, she said, the farmer would have just $48,000 in taxable income.

“It’s a huge difference. ... We’ve tried to tell everyone to hold on and see what happens before you make any major changes to your business,” she said.

Hoeven’s chief of staff, Ryan Bernstein, said the senators didn’t intend to give a competitive advantage to co-ops and their farmer-patrons. They’ve been working with the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and other parties to find a quick solution, he said.

Greg Ibach, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said the tax code shouldn’t “pick winners and losers” and the agency expects a correction.

The new tax break has at least one defender, the North Dakota Farmers Union. The group’s president, Mark Watne, said efforts to change it “may not be in the best interest of farmers or the viability of cooperatives.”

Spokespeople for Thune and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said they’re supporting efforts to fix the provision.

Randy Gordon, president of the National Grain and Feed Association, which represents co-ops as well as regular companies, said there’s been progress in the past week. He said in a newsletter Wednesday that all sides have held several meetings and conference calls to explore alternatives.

Minnesota-based Land O’Lakes, the country’s third-largest agricultural co-op, and Illinois-based ADM both said they look forward to a fix.

But it won’t be simple. Bernstein said Hoeven and Thune are looking at attaching it to must-pass legislation, likely a big spending bill expected to come up late next month. That assumes that everyone agrees on a solution by then.

Even a must-pass bill likely would require 60 votes to pass the Senate, which would require some support from Democrats.

“All it’s going to take is a couple Democrats in the Senate to derail the whole thing. ... I’m willing to help, but it looks like a long shot to me,” Peterson said.

Scholarships available for Clackamas students Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:39:16 -0500 The Clackamas, Ore., Soil and Water Conservation District is offering local students two $3,000 scholarships for the 2018-19 school year.

To be eligible, a student must:

• Be a graduate of a Clackamas County high school or a current resident of Clackamas County.

• Be at the sophomore level or above working toward an associate, bachelor or graduate degree,

• Be a full-time college student (12 hours or more per quarter or semester equivalent) studying agriculture, natural resource sciences, or a related field such as horticulture.

• Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.

Previous recipients may reapply for the scholarship annually.

The scholarship may be used toward an associate, bachelor or graduate degree. Applicants must have completed their freshman year and will be considered a sophomore or higher in fall 2018 to be eligible for the award.

Clackamas County is ranked fourth in agricultural sales in Oregon. It is also known for its abundance of natural resources, including popular recreation areas and the drinking water source for the Portland metropolitan area. For this reason, the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District is committed to supporting local students who care about natural resources and wish to promote conservation, impacting future natural resource decisions, according to a district press release.

The goal is to assist college students majoring in the fields of agriculture (including horticulture), natural resource science, or a related discipline. With the cost of education skyrocketing, the district board feels strongly about providing financial resources to help support future conservation professionals.

Over the last six years the district has offered nearly $30,000 in scholarships. Previous applicants used their scholarship to pursue studies in engineering, veterinary medicine and agriculture. Our recipients attended local community colleges as well as four-year colleges and universities.

Download an application at

Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. April 6.

West Coast Cannabis Groups Band Together To Protect Interests Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:20:05 -0500 Kristian Foden-VencilOPB Cannabis trade associations in Oregon, Washington and California are banding together to “protect West Coast cannabis interests.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded what was known as the Cole Memo. It was an Obama-era legal memo that allowed states to legalize cannabis with minimal interference from federal authorities.

Amy Margolis with the Oregon Cannabis Association said they were planning to join forces with other West Coast associations before the memo was rescinded. “But this certainly accelerated our timeline and made this announcement even more important.”

“With all of the West Coast states having legalized adult-use cannabis, our organizations strongly believe that we must move towards a collaborative process to ensure that we maximize our political power, offer our members the most comprehensive benefits possible and stand together against existential federal threats,” said Margolis.

The three associations will share strategies for legalizing marijuana at the federal level. Margolis said they have three main goals: “One, to share strategy and information. Two, to share resources when it’s appropriate. And three, to put forward a united front to the federal government.”

The group says it plans to coordinate lobbying efforts. So instead of 40 Oregonians visiting Washington, D.C., a trip might involve 100 advocates from up and down the West Coast.

“With more than 1,000 combined business members, who collectively employ thousands and generate millions and millions in tax revenue, represented by this new relationship, we will be the largest and most powerful voice for the West Coast,” said Lindsay Robinson from the California Cannabis Industry Association.

Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer called the initiative an exciting, important and historic development.

“Responsible leaders in the industry working together is exactly how we will change destructive and nonsensical federal policies and set things right,” he said.

Sessions says marijuana is a dangerous drug and dealing it is a serious crime.

Yakima approves emergency proclamation ahead of landslide Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:16:40 -0500 YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A city in central Washington state issued an emergency proclamation in response to a mass of rock and soil crawling down a ridge that officials say could turn into a landslide.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the Yakima City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution for city officials to request state or federal assistance should the city require help in responding to the effects of about 4 million cubic yards of material inching down Rattlesnake Ridge.

Emergency management officials say the proclamation would aid agencies in coordinating and tracking funds for emergency response efforts.

Officials say the mass is moving less than 2 feet each week, but it could slide from the ridge at any time.

Even without El Nino last year, Earth keeps on warming Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:14:06 -0500 BY SETH BORENSTEINAP Science Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth last year wasn’t quite as hot as 2016’s record-shattering mark, but it ranked second or third, depending on who was counting.

Either way, scientists say it showed a clear signal of man-made global warming because it was the hottest year they’ve seen without an El Nino boosting temperatures naturally.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Kingdom’s meteorological office on Thursday announced that 2017 was the third hottest year on record. At the same time, NASA and researchers from a nonprofit in Berkeley, California, called it the second.

The agencies slightly differ because of how much they count an overheating Arctic, where there are gaps in the data.

The global average temperature in 2017 was 58.51 degrees, which is 1.51 degrees above the 20th century average and just behind 2016 and 2015, NOAA said. Other agencies’ figures were close but not quite the same.

Earlier, European forecasters called 2017 the second hottest year, while the Japanese Meteorological Agency called it the third hottest. Two other scientific groups that use satellite, not ground, measurements split on 2017 being second or third hottest. With four teams calling it the second hottest year and four teams calling it third, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization termed 2017 a tie for second with 2015.

“This is human-caused climate change in action,” said Nobel Prize winning chemist Mario Molina of the University of California San Diego, who wasn’t part of any of the measuring teams. “Climate is not weather, (which) can go up and down from year to year. What counts is the longer-term change, which is clearly upwards.”

Which year is first, second or third doesn’t really matter much, said Princeton University climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi. What really matters is the clear warming trend, he said.

NOAA’s five hottest years have been from 2010 on.

During an El Nino year — when a warming of the central Pacific changes weather worldwide — the globe’s annual temperature can spike, naturally, by a tenth or two of a degree, scientists said. There was a strong El Nino during 2015 and 2016.

But 2017 finished with a La Nina, the cousin of El Nino that lowers temperatures. Had there been no man-made warming, 2017 would have been average or slightly cooler than normal, said National Center for Atmospheric Research climate scientist Ben Sanderson.

On the other hand, NASA calculated if the temperature contributions of El Nino and El Nina were removed from the global data through the years, 2017 would go down as the hottest year on record, NASA chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said.

Carbon pollution is like putting the Earth on an escalator of rising temperatures, with natural variation such as El Nino or the cooling effect of volcanoes like hopping up or down a step or two on that escalator, scientists said. Not every year will be warmer than the last because of natural variations, but the trend over years will be rising temperatures, they said.

The observed warming has been predicted within a few tenths of a degree in computer simulations going back to the 1970s and 1980s, several scientists said.

It has been 33 years since the last month that the globe was cooler than normal, according to NOAA.

Northern Illinois University climate scientist Victor Gensini has never lived through a month or year that wasn’t hotter than normal.

“I look at pictures of the great winters of the late ‘70s from my parents and wonder if I’ll ever experience anything like that in my lifetime,” said Gebsini, who’s 31.

Longtime Idaho representative won&#x2019;t seek re-election Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:53:43 -0500

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Longtime Idaho Rep. Dell Raybould says he will not seek re-election this year.

The Post Register reports the 84-year-old Republican on Wednesday announced he wants retire after 18 years representing a district in southeastern Idaho.

Raybould says he and his wife want to travel and “decided it’s been long enough.”

The farmer and businessman is the chairman of the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee. He has also served on the Revenue and Taxation Committee and the Resources and Conservation Committee.

Considered a legislative expert on water issues, Raybould says his work on the topic is among his top contributions to state policy.

Raybould has endorsed his granddaughter Britt Raybould to take his seat. Republican Elaine King has also announced candidacy for the seat.

Letter: Regulate climate change hot air Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:37:41 -0500 Two articles in the Jan. 5 Capital Press refer to climate change. Does anyone really believe that a normally occurring cyclical event can be changed?

Scientists researching arctic ice samples discovered occurrences of climate change in past times (a revealing article on climate change research by scientists was published by the New American magazine on Sept. 14).

Just who benefits from promoting the notion of compliance with regulations? How can we, the people, be the cause of climate change because of our factories, the use of fossil fuels, etc.? According to research, climate change occurred in prehistoric times when vehicles and cars did not exist. Has common sense disappeared from humanity?

In reading the article on regulating emissions of cattle and other animals, maybe we should call for the regulation of the hot air emitting from promoters of these regulations — don’t you think?

Mrs. M. Novak

Yamhill, Ore.