Capital Press | Capital Press Tue, 28 Jun 2016 04:45:15 -0400 en Capital Press | NW ag, forestry, fisheries pack economic punch Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:44:43 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas A new university study finds the natural resources sector in the Northwest fuels more than $176 billion in direct and related sales and accounts for nearly 886,000full and part-time jobs.

The study, commissioned by Northwest Farm Credit Services and performed by extension economists at Oregon State University and the University of Idaho, found agriculture, forestry and fisheries account for 10.6 percent of all jobs in the five-state region and 12.2 percent of all sales in 2015.

“We knew intuitively how vital these industries are to the Northwest and wanted to quantify their contributions to the regional economy,” said Phil DiPofi, NWFCS president and CEO.

“This study affirms the significant impact producers have on the financial strength of our region,” he said.

Agriculture is the front runner in economic impact, claiming about 70 percent of total sales and jobs within the region’s natural resources sector with more than $120.1 million in direct and related sales and 621,518 jobs in 2015.

It also accounted for 8.3 percent of total sales in the region and 7.5 percent of all jobs, the economists found.

Forestry accounts for nearly 24 percent of sales in the natural resources sector and 21 percent of the jobs. Direct and related sales in the industry totaled nearly $42 million and provided 189,000 jobs in 2015.

In the entire regional economy, forestry provides 2.9 percent of all sales and 2.3 percent of all jobs.

The fishing and seafood manufacturing industry is the smallest in the natural resources sector, representing about 8 percent of sales and jobs. With $13.9 million in sales and 75,416 jobs in 2015, it represented only 1 percent of total sales in the region and less than 1 percent of jobs.

Washington and Oregon have the largest natural resources sector in the region and together contain about 65 percent of all economic activity in that sector. Washington had 200,770 direct jobs in the sector with $42.4 million in direct sales in 2015. Oregon had 147,591 direct jobs in the sector with $32.4 million in direct sales.

The two states also have more related economic activity than the other states due to larger spillover benefits, as there are more businesses buying and selling and more people earning wages and income from the production, the economists found.

Idaho had 76,374 direct jobs in the natural resources sector with more than $22.7 million in sales in 2015. Montana had 63,360 direct jobs with more than$8 million in sales in 2015.

With similar employment levels, “total sales in Idaho are 2.8 times as large as sales in Montana, which indicates that the natural resources sector is less labor intensive and includes more high value production in Idaho than Montana,” the economists reported.

Alaska has the fewest sales and jobs in the sector, with about $5.9 million direct in sales and 45,036 direct jobs in 2015.

The study also found that 60 percent of all natural resource sales in the region are exported to other states or other countries, accounting for 15 percent of all exports from the region. Total sales exported ranged from a high of 89 percent of the seafood manufacturing sector to a low of 55 percent of agricultural farm gate production.

Researcher: Environmental analysis crucial as pot laws liberalize Mon, 27 Jun 2016 15:24:41 -0400 Tim Hearden BERKELEY, Calif. — As marijuana laws liberalize across the country, much attention will need to be given to the impact that large-scale production could have on the environment, a pair of university scientists assert.

Existing cannabis grow sites pose a high risk of ecological consequences because they potentially use large amounts of water and are near the habitat for threatened species, researchers Van Butsic and Jacob Brenner observe.

While new laws put in place in California to regulate medicinal pot production are “a pretty good start,” enforcement “is going to be a huge issue” if voters approve an anticipated November ballot measure to legalize recreational use, said Butsic, a University of California Cooperative Extension specialist.

“Really for things to change, it’s going to take some grower buy-in where they see the advantages of operating in a way that’s environmentally sustainable,” Butsic told the Capital Press.

He and Brenner, an environmental studies and science professor at Ithaca College in New York, used fine-grained imagery from Google Earth to identify 4,428 grow sites in 60 watersheds, most of which were on steep slopes far from developed roads.

The study focused on the “emerald triangle” in Northern California’s Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties, which some believe is the top cannabis-producing region in the nation, and results were published this spring in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The scientists observed that most cannabis grow sites are very small and have gone undetected when researchers used automated remote sensing techniques, which are often used to detect larger environmental changes such as deforestation, a UC news release explained.

Many of these sites use lots of water and pose a risk to steelhead trout and Chinook salmon, both of which are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and are vulnerable to the low water flows, soil erosion and chemical contamination that can result from nearby agriculture, the researchers observed.

“We’re still not seeing cannabis produced on prime agricultural land,” Butsic said. “It’s produced on lower-quality agricultural lands or lands that are not agricultural at all.”

New state laws require municipalities to develop land-use ordinances for cannabis production, force growers to obtain permits for water diversions and require a system to be set up to track cannabis from when it is first planted until it reaches consumers.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget this year included a $2 million boost for the state Department of Food and Agriculture’s medical marijuana program, under which it licenses and regulates grow sites.

But the researchers say regulation could be a constant challenge because it will rely on monitoring techniques that are just now emerging as well as voluntary registration from producers.

Liberalization of marijuana laws could eventually prompt growers to move their operations out of the woods and into areas where cannabis would be easier to produce in an environmentally sustainable way, Butsic said.

However, “there’s just a tremendous amount of uncertainty in what will happen on the production side if recreational or national liberalization happens,” he said. “I don’t think anybody really knows.”

Washington leads again in blueberries Mon, 27 Jun 2016 13:49:49 -0400 Dan Wheat EAST WENATCHEE, Wash. — Antonio Sanchez said it was his first day picking blueberries but one wouldn’t have known watching him.

He was natural and fast, just three hours into the job.

Sanchez and a few others were picking at 8 a.m. June 27 in an East Wenatchee field owned by Wenatchee’s River of Life Foursquare Church. The berries are sold at fruit stands and farmers’ markets locally and in Seattle, said Elizabeth Navarrete, the church’s field manager.

In its third season, the field will produce about 6,000 pounds in June and July, she said.

It is just one of many newer blueberry fields in the state.

Washington will lead the nation again this year in blueberries, having surpassed Georgia for that distinction last year.

Washington was forecast at 118 million pounds for 2016 at the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association’s 61st annual Fruit Crop Guesstimate in Grand Rapids, June 22. That’s up from an actual harvest of 110 million pounds in 2015.

Michigan is estimated at 101 million pounds, up from 73 million, and followed by Oregon at 100 million pounds, up from 95 million.

Other 2016 blueberry estimates in millions of pounds: British Columbia, 170; California, 70; Georgia, 67; North Carolina, 45; New Jersey, 45; Florida, 13.5; Mississippi, 6.5; and Indiana, 2.5.

The national blueberry estimate, including British Columbia, is 738.5 million pounds, up from 632 million in 2015.

Alan Schreiber, administrator of the Washington State Blueberry Commission in Pasco, could not be reached for comment. A year ago, he said demand is stunningly high and stored stock was virtually all sold. About 70 percent of Washington’s blueberries are processed into dried and juice concentrate versus being sold fresh.

Consumer awareness of health benefits of blueberries is driving demand, Schreiber said last year. Blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C and are high in antioxidants which protect against cancer, heart disease and other age-related diseases.

Washington has grown in production more than other states because it has less pest pressure, high yields and good growers, Schreiber said.

A third of the growers have come from British Columbia, the largest blueberry region in North America, that is running out of suitable land, he said.

National wool and sheep report Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:33:32 -0400 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

June 24

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis has been slow, there were 128,758 lbs. of confirmed trades reported this week.

Most of the shearing has now been completed and a majority of the warehouses are starting to go to a cleanup mode.

There are still some trades that will be taking place as the season will start to wind down and head into the typical offseason. Wool this year has been sold mostly at a range of 80-85 percent of Australia.

A majority of core samples this year have reflected higher yields across the trading regions, which indicates it was a good overall season for growing wool.

Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was very active this week. There were 373,057 lbs. of confirmed trades reported. All trades reported on a weighted average.

Fleece States Ewe Wool: 70-75 mm 22 micron $1.81; 65-70 mm 24 micron $1.61; 60-65 mm 25 micron $1.42; 65-70 mm 26 micron $1.39. Yearling Wool: 60-65 mm 20 micron $1.98; 60-65 mm 24 micron $1.37; 60-65 mm 25 micron $1.28. Lamb Wool: 50-55 mm 20 micron $1.55; 55-60 mm 23 micron $1.35; 50-55 mm 24 micron $1.15; 65-70 mm 25 micron $1.47; 65-70 mm 26 micron $1.36; 55-60 mm 29 micron $0.88; 55-60 mm 30 micron $0.85.

Territory Ewe Wool: 70-75 mm 21 micron $1.99; 60-65 mm 22 micron $1.65; 65-70 mm 23 micron $1.75; 70-75 mm 24 micron $1.77. Yearling Wool: 60-65 mm 22 micron $1.57.

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

June 24

Compared to June 17: Slaughter lambs were very uneven, mostly steady to $5 higher, except light lambs at New Holland, Pa., $10-15 lower. Slaughter ewes were mostly steady. Feeder lambs were firm to sharply higher.

At San Angelo, Texas, 8,071 head sold. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading slaughter ewes were not tested and feeder lambs were firm to $7 higher. 2,000 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were sharply higher.

7,600 head of formula sales had no trend due to confidentiality. 4,275 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs. and down $4.85 lower; 45-65 lbs. no trend due to confidentiality; 65-85 lbs. $4.38-6.89 higher and 85 lbs. and up no trend due to confidentiality.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 100-135 lbs. $130-144.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $200-226; 60-70 lbs. $162-186, few $188-190; 70-80 lbs. $150-166, few $168-170; 80-90 lbs. $140-156, few $160-162; 90-110 lbs. $140-156, few $158-160.

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

2,000 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 126-169 lbs. $130-170 (wtd avg $159.33).

California: 1,500 Feeder Lambs 95-105 lbs. $182; 110-120 lbs. $172. 1,000 Feeder Lambs 95-105 lbs. shorn $180.


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $47-53; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $58-70; Utility 1-2 (thin) $45-59; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $40-45; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $24-38.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 50-60 lbs. $208-216; 60-70 lbs. $180-191, few $197.75; 70-90 lbs. $172.50-188; 90-110 lbs. $170-178.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: hair ewe lambs 60-95 lbs. $176-192 cwt, few $206 cwt; mixed age hair ewes 90-150 lbs. $940-1280 cwt.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. Down $490.66

45-55 lbs. Price not reported due to confidentiality

55-65 lbs. Price not reported due to confidentiality

65-75 lbs. $304.66

75-85 lbs. $291.19

85 lbs. and up Price not reported due to confidentiality

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 37,000 compared with 37,000 last week and 38,000 last year.

Selected Western hay price reports Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:28:38 -0400 Hay prices are dollars per ton or dollars per bale when sold to retail outlets. Basis is current delivery FOB barn or stack, or delivered customer as indicated.

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


Supreme 185+ <27 55.9+ 22+

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

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

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

Utility <130 36+ <50.5 <16


(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

June 24

This week FOB Last week Last year

17,800 20 38,330

Compared to June 17: All grades of export and domestic Alfalfa steady. Trade moderate this week even though most of the trade area had rain showers this week. Demand good for export quality and small square bale dairy and export Timothy hay. Retail/Feedstore steady in a light test. Demand remains good.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square Supreme 800 $160

Premium 250 $150

500 $150-165

Good/Prem. 250 $130

Fair/Good 1000 $130

500 $130

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 100 $180

60 $250

Good/Prem. 120 $170

Orchard Grass Small Square Good/Prem. 160 $175

Timothy Grass Mid Square Premium 7700 $180-200

Good/Prem. 1700 $150-175

Fair/Good 4000 $145

500 $80

Timothy Grass Small Square Good/Prem. 160 $165


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

June 24

This week FOB Last week Last year

932 1,233 702

Compared to June 17: Prices trended generally steady compared to week ago prices in a very limited test. Some hay producers are starting to cut, market and sell new crop hay.

Some areas of Oregon have experienced some recent rains, delaying cutting and harvest. All prices are in dollars per ton and FOB unless otherwise stated.

Tons Price


Alfalfa Small Square Premium 14 $250

Fair 25 $185

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square Premium 7 $245

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 10 $270

20 $240

Good 30 $220

50 $210

Timothy Grass Small Square Premium 18 $230


Alfalfa Mid Square Supreme 200 $175

Meadow Grass Small Square Premium 400 $240


Alfalfa Large Square Fair 68 $130

Small Square Premium 60 $200

30 $200

EASTERN OREGON: No new sales confirmed.

HARNEY COUNTY: No new sales confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

June 24

This week FOB Last week Last year

6,000 800 7,000

Compared to June 17: All grades of Alfalfa weak. Trade slow to moderate with light to moderate demand. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square Supreme 2000 $125-137

Prem./Sup. 400 $115

Premium 400 $130

Good/Prem. 3000 $130

Good 200 $105


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

June 24

This week FOB Last week Last year

25,533 10,146 34,519

Compared to June 17: All classes traded steady with a firmer undertone for test hay. Demand moderate.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, for the 7-day period ending June 21, hot weather intensified or expanded from Southern California and the Southwest across the Plains and interior Southeast. Price of milk and strength of the dollar are impacting prices.

Tons Price


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

Alfalfa Supreme 1059 $160-180

Prem./Sup. 734 $160-175

Good/Prem. 500 $150

Good 416 $155

2100 $156

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Premium 25 $261

Orchard Grass Premium 25 $290

Wheat Good 150 $100


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

Alfalfa Supreme 50 $210

Good 650 $150

Fair 200 $90

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Premium 75 $180


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

Alfalfa Supreme 50 $210

750 $215-225

Prem./Sup. 500 $190

50 $235

Premium 550 $170-185 $

25 $310

Good/Prem. 100 $160

Good 1041 $150-170

150 $250-268

Fair 100 $125

200 $80

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Premium 25 $210

Oat Good 50 $125

Wheat Good 1904 $70

1904 $85-90

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 1300 $65


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

Alfalfa Good 200 $170

200 $195

Wheat Good 100 $70

100 $95


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

Alfalfa Premium 200 $200

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 50 $170


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

Alfalfa Premium 600 $180

Good/Prem. 500 $150

Good 3000 $155

500 $110

Fair/Good 3000 $140

Bermuda Grass Premium 400 $140

Sudan Good/Prem. 2000 $140

Selected Western grain price report Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:23:18 -0400 Grains are stated in dollars per bushel or hundredweight (cwt.) except feed grains traded in dollars per ton. National grain report bids are for rail delivery unless truck indicated.


(USDA Market News)


June 23


Cash wheat bids for June delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, June 23, lower compared to June 16 noon bids for June delivery.

July wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, June 23, lower as follows compared to June 16 closes: Chicago wheat futures were 18.25 cents lower at $4.5425, Kansas City wheat futures were 23 cents lower at $4.2775 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 7.75 cents lower at $5.2150.

Chicago July corn futures trended 38 cents lower at $3.8725 and July soybean futures closed 10 cents lower at $11.2450.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during June for ordinary protein were not available as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

There were no white club wheat premiums for this week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for June delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were not available and bids for White Club Wheat were also not available.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: July $4.9925-5.33, August New Crop $5.0575-5.32, September $5.0575- 5.37, October $5.2625-5.47.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: July was not available, August New Crop and September $5.85-6.32 and October $5.85-6.39.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during June were not available as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

There were no white club wheat premiums for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein soft white wheat this week compared to zero to 20 cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids last week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for June delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were $6.0650-6.3650 and bids for White Club Wheat were also $6.0650-6.3650.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: July $4.9925-5.25, August New Crop $5.0575-5.25, September $5.1075-5.30, and October $5.2625-5.3125.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: July $6.3650-6.5250, August New Crop $6.37-6.72, and September $6.37-6.82.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein U.S. 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for June delivery were 18 to 28 cents per bushel lower compared to last week’s noon bids for June delivery.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. This week, bids were as follows: June $5.0775, July $4.9775-5.0775, August New Crop $550-5.2050, September $5.1550-5.2050, and October $5.3075-5.3575.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein U.S. 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during June were 7.75 to 12.75 cents per bushel lower than last week’s noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

This week, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: June $6.1150-6.3150, July $6.0650-6.2650, August New Crop $6.11-6.16, September $6.11-6.21 and October $6.3050-6.3550.


Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for June delivery were 33 to 37 cents lower from $4.7625-4.8125 per bushel. Forward month corn bids were as follows: July $4.7625-4.8125, August $4.8650-4.8750, September $4.8350-4.8750, October/November $4.8175-4.8675 and December $4.8375-4.8775. Bids for U.S. 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for June delivery were 10 cents lower from $12.0250-12.0450 per bushel. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: July $12.0450-12.0650, August $12.0450, September $12.0950-12.1150, October/November $12.1150-12.1350 and December $12.07. Bids for U.S. 2 Heavy White Oats for June delivery trended steady at $3.92 per bushel.


There were twelve grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, June 23, with four docked compared to twelve last week with five docked. There were no new confirmed export sales this week from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.


(USDA Market News)


June 23

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


Mode Destination Price per cwt.

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

FOB Kern County $7.75

Rail Los Angeles NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Glenn County NA

Colusa County NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.60

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

CORN - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

FOB Turlock-Tulare $8.65

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $7.86

Kings-Tulare-Fresno NA

Rail Single Car Units via BNSF

Chino Valley-Los Angeles $9.18

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $8.95

Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.95

Glenn County NA

SORGHUM - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley

via BNSF Single $9

Truck Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

OATS - U.S. No. 1 White

Truck Petaluma $11

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $11

Rail Petaluma NA

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

(Domestic Values for Flour Milling)

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles 11-12 percent Protein

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

FOB Tulare NA

Merced NA

WHEAT - U.S. Durum Wheat

Truck Imperial County $10-10.40

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

WHEAT - Any Class for Feed

FOB Tulare NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.55

Kern County $8.50

Truck/Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.10-9.35

King-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Fresno NA

Merced County NA

Colusa County NA

Kern County NA

Prices paid to California farmers, seven-day reporting period ending June 23:

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

Imperial Valley $10-10.40 Spot Del Locally

National feeder and stocker cattle report Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:14:53 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

June 24

160,700 227,100 254,800

Compared to June 3: Yearling feeder cattle sold mostly $5-10 lower. Steer and heifer calves traded mostly $2-5 lower. Areas seeing up to $10 to $15 declines.

Market fundamentals remained negative early in the week, as cattle futures continued to sell off, the previous week’s fed cattle trade was lower and summer made her presence known with temps in the 90s coupled with high humidity, heat indexes are rising well above 100.

Very light feeder cattle receipts seen this week due to the extremely high temps and high humidity, deterred producers from working cattle as to limit any additional stress to livestock.

Early in the trading session, cattle futures appear to be quite oversold and the cash weakness and inspiration to cover shorts has buyers picking around the edges. Corn futures remained on a downward decline throughout the trading period.

The 5-Area trading region live cattle prices were mostly $3 to $5 lower at $116 on moderate volume. By mid-week cattle futures began to show strength, resulting in the appearance that the live cattle market had found a comfortable trading level for the time being.

The beef cutout has lost ground all week and packer margins are historically wide for any time of the year.

On June 23 Choice cutout was down $6.37 at $215.46 and Select down $1.27 at $198.34 compared to the June 16. The Choice-Select spread came closer together this week to around the 17 mark.

This was after a couple weeks of seeing a spread in the $21-23 range. On June 10, the spread reached an all-time up of $23.81.

The last time we saw the Choice premium over Select at such levels was in June of 2006.

Packers have been pushing big slaughters while they are profitable with weekly estimates totaling 608,000 head.

Futures markets seem to have already figured in another expected bearish monthly cattle on feed report which will also be released at the end of the week.

One thing that wasn’t accounted for was the potential impact across the globe that could come with Britain voting to exit the European Union. That announcement was made early June 24 and only time will tell what really results from that, but markets showed a swift knee jerk and opened the day extremely lower.

Corn and soybean conditions were relatively unchanged this week in USDA’s weekly crop report with corn conditions being 60 percent good and 15 percent excellent.

Soybeans were 62 percent good to 12 percent excellent and with 96 percent of the soybean crop planting completed.

Winter wheat is 25 percent harvested with winter wheat conditions staying constant from 49 percent good to excellent at 12 percent.

Auction volume was 52 percent over 600 lbs. and 41 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

126,900 124,000 130,100

WASHINGTON 1,500. 75 pct over 600 lbs. 33 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 700-750 lbs. $134.72.


This week Last week Last year

32,400 20,100 65,500

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 1,200. No cattle over 600 lbs. No heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 325 lbs. $125 October Del; 325 lbs. $125 November Del.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 3,100. 68 pct over 600 lbs. 13 pct heifers. Steers: Large 1 Current FOB Price 950-1000 lbs. $117-119 Oregon. Current Delivered Price: 900-950 lbs. $129-134.50 Idaho. Medium and Large 1-2 Future Delivery FOB Price: 500 lbs. $161-162.50 September-December Idaho; 550-600 lbs. $139-149 September-December Washington- Oregon-Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $133.50-144 calves for October-December Oregon-Washington-Idaho; 800-850 lbs. $128 for December Oregon. Large 1: 900 lbs. $130 for September Idaho. Heifers: Large 1-2 Future Delivery FOB Price: 450-500 lbs. $145.50 for September Idaho; 550-600 lbs. $127-135.50 for October-December Washington-Oregon-Idaho.


(USDA Market News)

Oklahoma City, Okla.

June 24

Slaughter cattle sold on a live basis in Texas and Kansas mostly $4-7 lower and dressed sales in Nebraska traded $7-10 lower.

Boxed Beef prices June 24 averaged $205.85 down $4.87 from last Friday. The Choice/Select spread is $16.03. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through June 24 totaled about 55,010 head. The previous week’s total head count was 58,830 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: $116-117 Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers $186-188.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers $116.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls mostly steady to $3 higher. Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value was $173.41 down $32 from June 16.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

June 24

This week Last week Last year

3,050 971 5,750

Compared to June 24: Feeder cattle $7-8 lower. Trade slow to moderate. Demand light to moderate. The feeder supply included 87 percent steers and 13 percent heifers. Near 68 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs. Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 5-12 cent slide on calves and a 3-8 cent slide on yearlings. Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Steers: Large 1: Current FOB Price: 950-1000 lbs. $117-119 Oregon. Current Delivered Price: 900-950 lbs. $129-134.50 Idaho. Medium and Large 1-2: Future Delivery FOB Price: 500 lbs. $161-162.50 September-December Idaho; 550-600 lbs. $139-149 September-December Washington-Oregon-Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $133.50-144 calves for October-December Oregon-Washington-Idaho; 800-850 lbs. $128 for December Oregon. Large 1: 900 lbs. $130 for September Idaho.

Heifers: Large 1-2: Future Delivery FOB Price: 450-500 lbs. $145.50 for September Idaho; 550-600 lbs. $127-135.50 for October-December Washington-Oregon-Idaho.

Selected Western livestock auction reports Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:00:36 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.



(Shasta Livestock Auction)

Cottonwood, Calif.

June 24

Current week Last week

566 1,361

Compared to Last Week: Slaughter market $3 higher headed into 4th of July. Tough day in the global markets, but steers mostly steady and heifers higher with few big bunches. Off lots and singles $25-50 below top.

Slaughter cows: High yielding $69-73; $74-78.50 high dress; Boning $61-68; Cutters $40-60.

Bulls 1 and 2: $70-95.

Feeder steers: 500-550 lbs. $136-150.50; 550-600 lbs. $135-141; 600-650 lbs. $135-141.50; 650-700 lbs. $136; 750-800 lbs. $122-135; 800-900 lbs. $117-121.50; 900-1,000 lbs. $113-119.50.

Feeder heifers: 500-550 lbs. $129-142.50; 550-600 lbs. $130-137.50; 600-650 lbs. $130-138; 800-900 lbs. $116-123.50.

Pairs: No test.

Calvy cows: 1 set of young 5-6 mo bred blacks $1700.



(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

June 24

This week Last week Last year

1,360 1,700 1,750

No trends due to the market not reported the last two weeks. Trade active with good demand. Fed cattle prices fell hard last week. Slaughter cows 41 percent, slaughter bulls 10 percent, 20 percent replacement cows, and feeders 29 percent of the supply.

The feeder supply included 67 percent steers and 33 percent heifers. Near 74 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs. Replacement Cows: Pre-tested for pregnancy, and age.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $166; 500-600 lbs. $149.50; 600-700 lbs. $135; 700-800 lbs. $131-140. Medium and Large 2-3: 500-600 lbs. $125; 600-700 lbs. $135; 700-800 lbs. $119-124.75. Large 1: 900-1000 lbs. $120.

Feeder Holstein Steers: Large 2-3: 500-600 lbs. $110; 600-700 lbs. $100-105; 700-800 lbs. $101.

Feeder Bulls: Medium and Large 1-2: 300-400 lbs. $137.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $141; 600-700 lbs. $126; 700-800 lbs. $119. Medium and Large 2-3: 500-600 lbs. $115-122.50; 600-700 lbs. $129.50; 700-800 lbs. $115-121.75.

Slaughter Cows: Boning 80-85 percent lean 1400-2150 lbs. $70-75; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1200-1700 lbs. $73-78; Lean Light 90 percent lean 900-1200 lbs. $60-64.

Slaughter Bulls: Yield Grade 1-2 1500-2400 lbs. $91-97.

Cow/Calf Pairs (Per Pair): Medium and Large 1-2: Young (3-4 yrs. old) 1000-1400 lbs. $1725-2025 with 150-250 lbs. calves; Broken Mouth 1100 lbs. $1175 with 100-150 lbs. calves.

Bred Heifers (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: 1100-1200 lbs. 3-6 mos. bred $1825-1910.

Bred Cows (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: Young (4-5 yrs. Old) 1300-1550 lbs. $1450-1525 6-9 mos. bred; Mid-Aged (9-10 yrs. old) 1400 lbs. $1100 6-9 mos. bred.



(Treasure Valley Livestock)

June 17

Steers (wt.): 400-500 lbs. $81; 500-600 lbs. $79; 600-700 lbs. $70; 700-800 lbs. $66; 800 lbs and up $70.

Steers (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $250; 300-400 lbs. $305; 400-500 lbs. $460.

Heifers (wt.): 500-600 lbs. $55; 600-700 lbs. $123.50; 700-800 lbs. $59; 800-900 lbs. $74; 900-1000 lbs. $65; 1000-1100 lbs. $68; 1100-1200 lbs. $80; 1200 lbs and up $87.

Heifers (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $120; 300-400 lbs. $260.

Bull Calf (wt.): 400-500 lbs. $65.

Bull Calf (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $45.

Cows (wt.): 900-1000 lbs. $72.50; 1200-1300 lbs. $62; 1300-1400 lbs. $57.50; 1400-1500 lbs. $65; 1500-1600 lbs. $70; 1600-1700 lbs. $73; 1700-1800 lbs. $74; 1800-1900 lbs. $75; 1900-2000 lbs. $79.50.

Holstein Bulls (wt.): 900-1000 lbs. $73.50; 1100-1200 lbs. $75; 1500 lbs and up $89.50.


(Producers Livestock Market)

June 22

Total receipts: 318 head.

Comments: Not enough feeder cattle and yearlings to truly test the market.

Steer calves: 500-600 lbs. $144-153.

Heifer calves: 300-400 lbs. $148-163.

Yearling steers: 600-700 lbs. $134-143; 700-800 lbs. $127-134; 800-900 lbs. $116-127; 900-1000 lbs. $108-117.

Yearling heifers: 600-700 lbs. $123-128; 700-800 lbs. $117-124.

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

Stock cows (young): NA. Stock cows (B.M.): NA.

Pairs, young: 1235-1710.

Butcher cows: $68-77.

Thin shelly cows: $54-66.

Butcher bulls: $78-91.

New Washington State Dairy Ambassadors selected Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:55:31 -0400 TACOMA, Wash. — The 2016-2017 Washington State Dairy Ambassador is Alicia Smaciarz of Raymond, Wash.

She represented Lewis County and was selected from a field of six finalists at the 61st annual Washington State Dairy Ambassador Coronation on June 25 at the Ballroom of the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, according to a press release from the Washington State Dairy Women, who sponsor the ambassador program.

Selected as equal alternate ambassadors were Jana Plagerman from Lynden, representing Whatcom County, and Tiana Peterson, from Graham, representing King and Pierce counties.

As a representative of the Dairy Farmers of Washington, the state dairy ambassador and the alternates will visit schools, attend county fairs, appear at Washington Interscholastic Activities Association events and speak before the Washington state legislature promoting the health and nutrition benefits of dairy products.

A dairy ambassador typically makes 400 public appearances during her year-long tenure. At the end of her reign Smaciarz and her alternate ambassadors will receive scholarships to continue their education.

During 2015-2016, the dairy industry was represented by Washington State Dairy Ambassador Nicole Buell of Marysville and Alternate State Dairy Ambassadors Amanda Howe of Bellingham and Lydia Johnson of Ethel.

They traveled around the state educating students, parents and others on the positive impact and value of Washington’s dairy industry and the importance of dairy products.

The other 2016 finalists were:

• Snohomish County: Becca Bartelheimer.

• Snohomish County: Allyson Carothers.

• Grays Harbor County: Caitlin Meek.

USDA continues to prime trade with Cuba Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:05:10 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas Anticipating action in Congress to restart agricultural trade with Cuba after a long hiatus, USDA is working to put the pieces in place that will lead to greater opportunity for U.S. farmers.

The island nation of 11 million people imported almost $2 billion in agricultural goods in 2014, including $300 million from the U.S. But those numbers were down in 2015, dropping 48 percent to $148.8 million, and a steep decline from the more than $600 million in 2008, USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary Michael Scuse said in conference call with the press on Tuesday.

“We’ve seen a tremendous drop in trade,” he said.

Agriculture has been limited by cash-only trade, unable to use the trade promotion and credit assistance programs that are “hugely successful” in trade with other countries, he said.

“Those are tremendous barriers. If we can eliminate those barriers, I think we’ll see a tremendous increase in our exports to Cuba,” he said.

Agriculture is going to be key in trade between the nations, but Congress has to make legislative changes to allow things to move forward, he said.

The Senate Appropriations Committee took major steps in that direction last week, including voting to lift the bans on export financing and travel to Cuba, Scuse said.

“We’re hopeful the House will agree to the measures put forth in the Senate,” he said, adding that he thinks more members of Congress are seeing the need.

Meanwhile, USDA is moving forward, laying the groundwork that will help restart long-dormant agricultural relationships, he said.

USDA and the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture have signed an memorandum of understanding to increase bilateral cooperation in agriculture, and USDA sent a technical team to Cuba to identify those areas.

USDA is also authorizing 22 commodity research and promotion programs to use funding for information-exchange activities with Cuba and so far has received 11 requests to participate in that program, he said.

The agency is also working with the State Department to establish a presence in the country, which is crucial to effective trade relations, he said.

Many state departments of agriculture in the U.S. have been working on relationships with Cuba since 2002, and numerous state delegations have traveled to the country over the past year to try to build relationships with Cuban government officials, he said.

USDA also recognizes the need for companies and industry representatives to visit the country and build a foundation for trade, he said.

Sitting just 90 miles off the southeast coast of the U.S., Cuba offers plenty of opportunity for U.S. ag products. The U.S. has a huge advantage over competitors — if nothing else, just in transportation costs, he said.

Poultry, soybean oil, soybeans and corn currently represent the majority of U.S. ag exports to Cuba, but there is plenty of opportunity for other products. Rice is one with perhaps the highest potential, given Cuba’s per-capita consumption of the grain. Fruits and vegetables also offer a lot of potential, with demand expected to rise with the influx of U.S. tourists, he said.

The U.S. livestock industry should also see a boon, not only in animal products but livestock genetics as the country seeks to rebuild those sectors. Ag equipment will also be in demand going forward as Cuba’s ag sector grows, he said.

Despite a better wheat outlook this year, issues cloud the horizon Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:46:03 -0400 Eric Mortenson PORTLAND — Wheat yields and protein levels should return to normal in the Pacific Northwest this summer after a couple dry, hot years, the Oregon Wheat Commission chief executive told international buyers.

Speaking at the Latin American and Caribbean Wheat Buyers Conference, hosted by U.S. Wheat Associates, Blake Rowe explained the region’s standards for the soft white wheat it exports to the world.

Rowe said soft white varieties have to attain good yields, mill well, stand up to weather stress and resist diseases and pests.

“A good wheat variety has to have all of them or it doesn’t pass our test for what constitutes a good variety,” he said during a June 23 presentation.

More than 70 buyers and milling and bakery representatives attended the conference in Portland. Attendees came from Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Peru and elsewhere throughout Central and South America, plus Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago.

Pacific Northwest growers primarily export wheat to Asia, but hope to expand sales in Latin America. To that end, Northwest and U.S. wheat officials escorted the international buyers on tours of the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, which provides product testing and development, to an export grain elevator and a seed plant, and to the Columbia Basin wheat farm of Darren Padget, chair of the Oregon Wheat Commission.

The body of the conference, held in downtown Portland, included multiple presentations on topics ranging from transportation and pricing issues to wheat breeding and blending trends.

Rowe, the Oregon Wheat Commission CEO, described the process by which new soft white wheat varieties are introduced in the region. He said the benchmark is the Stevens variety which, although not widely grown now, is well known in the region. It’s grown in test plots alongside new varieties to eliminate field differences, and new varieties are given a score based on grain, milling and baking quality compared to Stevens.

Those scores are used to rank varieties as most desirable, desirable, acceptable or least desirable, Rowe said. The scores are published each year so growers can choose what to plant.

A high percentage of Pacific Northwest growers use certified seed, Rowe said. Growers aim to produce wheat that will be acceptable to the most sensitive markets. “For us, those are Japan, Korea and Taiwan,” Rowe said. “They have the toughest standards to meet.”

Rowe said regional grain elevators test wheat on arrival from growers and separate it by protein levels. Generally, Pacific Rim customers want low protein levels in the soft white wheat they mill for crackers, cookies, noodles and other products.

Ryan Statz, a merchant with Columbia Grain Inc. in Portland, told the buyers how wheat and other crops move through the company’s export facility. The company has about 60 elevators throughout the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and into Montana, and has a combined storage capacity of 1.3 million metric tons.

In addition to wheat, Columbia Grain exports corn, soybeans, peas, canola and other crops, Statz said.

“We service some of the most quality driven buyers on the planet,” he said.

Most products bound for the export market arrive in Portland by rail, Statz said, but two-thirds of the soft white wheat arrives by barge. The up-river elevator and barge system on the Columbia and Snake rivers is cheaper and more reliable than rail, he said.

“Following up-river loading, we can estimate almost to the hour when it will be in Portland,” Statz said.

Statz said the Columbia and Snake system will be shut down from Dec. 12 to March 20 for 14 weeks of lock repairs and upgrades. There will be no barge traffic during that time, meaning supplies will be hampered and prices likely will be higher, he acknowledged. But he said the repairs are “absolutely necessary” and represent a “short term loss and a long term gain.”

Overall, Statz said many in the business expect a much larger wheat crop this year with a good range of protein levels due to nearly ideal planting and growing conditions. Experts forecast lower prices, which could help U.S. exports compete. But he said Australia, Canada and Russia also appear to have good crops this year.

Other speakers included Glen Weaver, a research fellow with Ardent Mills. The company formed in 2013 as a joint venture of Cargill, ConAgra Foods and CHS Inc.

Weaver walked the audience through a food security “reality check” of the next 34 years, with the world population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050.

Water, land, chemical use, food safety and a distrust of big science and big ag are all geopolitical issues, he said.

“You’re in a very complex business,” Weaver reminded the international buyers.

Trust and transparency are crucial to agricultural businesses, he said. Consumers are being led by activists, he said, and there’s “certainly a lot of chatter going on out there that every company has to be considerate of.”

“If you want to have a positive impact on how people view you, why not help out the organic sector,” Weaver said. If 10 to 15 percent of the population chooses to buy organic products, “it’s too big to ignore,” he said.

Weaver predicted industry will have to “belly up” more to help fund crop research, and government support for such work will decline. That will require an evolving public-private relationship. While the current focus of most crop breeding work is productivity, there will be more emphasis on functional and health traits, he said.

Biotech wheat is likely, he said. “Every 10 years I hear it’s 10 years out,” he said. “As technology evolves, you’re gong to see that technology make some changes, definitely in the grain industry.

“You have to ask yourself, what is the plan you have to strive for over the next decade or so,” Weaver said. “What’s next? What’s coming around the corner?”

Oregon refuge takeover is over, but aftershocks remain Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:15:17 -0400 ANDREW SELSKY BURNS, Oregon (AP) — Winter and spring have passed since an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge ended, but its aftershocks are still shaking this high desert region of Oregon, with activists setting up “Camp Freedom” where an occupier was killed and organizing a recall election this week against a top county official.

The headquarters of the 188,000-acre Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which was occupied for 41 days, is still closed. Down the road, at The Narrows cafe, saloon, shop and gas station, things have settled. Co-owner Linda Gainer said the business she got from journalists, agents, occupiers, protesters against the occupation, and from protesters protesting the protesters, more than made up for any slower days now. The last militants surrendered Feb. 11.

“I met some awesome people. And you know, everybody that came through, they were all polite,” she said, describing how even militia members and anti-occupation protesters exchanged greetings.

At her place, 26 miles south of Burns, Gainer feels isolated from the divisions that broke open during the takeover and still linger. Burns is the main town in Harney County, which at more than 10,000 square miles is the largest in Oregon. With only 7,100 residents, it is also one of the least populated.

Those divisions are evident in the signs about Tuesday’s special recall election against County Judge Steve Grasty, who for the past 18 years has been the county’s top administrative official. Grasty blocked occupation leader Ammon Bundy from holding a public meeting in a county building, an act cited as justification for the recall effort. Grasty says it was absurd for Bundy, who said he wanted to turn the federal refuge over to local residents, to ask to use county property.

“He had already taken over, with firearms, a whole compound of buildings. And (the request) didn’t make sense to me, nor did it fit public policy about public safety,” Grasty, his shirt adorned with a “No Recall” button, said in an interview in the county courthouse.

Grasty sees this election as a referendum on the county’s handling of the crisis.

“I’ll be disappointed if I’m recalled,” Grasty said. “If I’m successful, I think it’s an affirmation that the county government did the right things during the course of the occupation.”

A local supporter of Bundy said a Harney County resident had tried to rent the building so locals could hear both sides on the takeover. The supporter, who did not want to be named for fear that doing so could impact the supporter’s business, said Grasty’s refusal violated rights to free speech and freedom of assembly.

However, the vast majority of signs in Burns and on ranch fence posts are for Grasty, who, even if the referendum fails, retires in December.

“I certainly hope the recall is defeated hugely,” said Donna Clark, who lives with her husband on 5 acres outside Burns, on ranchland they operated with other families before retiring. She said the recall effort is “sour grapes” for the minority of locals who supported the refuge takeover, which was carried out by outsiders.

More than two dozen occupiers were arrested. Several have pleaded guilty in federal court in Portland to conspiracy in exchange for the dismissal of a charge of firearms possession in a federal facility. Most of the remaining defendants, including Bundy, are scheduled to go to trial Sept. 7.

There was one fatality during the takeover. LaVoy Finicum, an Arizona rancher, was shot by Oregon State Police at a roadblock on a snowy road on a mountain pass, far from the refuge as he and others headed for a meeting in an adjacent county. Aerial FBI video footage shows Finicum exit his pickup with his hands up, and then being shot as he reaches for what authorities said was a weapon.

Today, the snow is gone. Grass carpets the forest floor underneath towering ponderosas. At the spot where Finicum died is a makeshift memorial consisting of a stone slab with his LV cattle brand, American flags, a disc that says “land of the free because of the brave,” flowers and other items. Wooden crosses are affixed to nearby trees.

William C. Fisher said he drove to the site three weeks ago from Boise, Idaho, after he heard that sheriff’s deputies were ticketing people for erecting crosses. He began camping out to protect the site. He said one deputy removed crosses, even though roadside crosses for car-crash victims are permitted.

“I am here because there is an American hero that had been murdered over there, and I feel it is my duty that his memorial needs to stand,” Fisher said. “This is a peaceful assembly. This is a peaceful protest. We have that right to assemble and protest and have freedom of speech.”

A few others have joined Fisher. In the woods behind a roadside banner saying “Camp Freedom” a half-dozen tents have been erected. People dressed in camouflage military uniforms or street clothes sit around a campfire. Tarps provide shade. A decorated tomahawk hangs from a tree.

Someone is always on duty to protect the memorial, said John Hildinger, of Corpus Christi, Texas, wearing an American-flag bandanna on his head.

Larry Jay, a 72-year-old from Burns who describes himself as a Choctaw adopted into the Crow tribe, says the tomahawk and other ceremonial items provide spiritual protection.

“We are the honor guard,” Jay said, his bicep tattooed with Finicum’s brand. “We don’t use labels like patriots or militia.”

Later, a split emerged in the camp, with Jay and Fisher planning to get a permit for a permanent memorial, with others opposed. Fisher plans to pack up the memorial on Monday and deliver it to Finicum’s widow until the permit is issued.

Jay, meanwhile, said he is voting against the judge.

“We tried to get a spot where we could meet and talk, with the ranchers and the ones coming up from ... all over,” he said. “Steve Grasty put a stop to that.”

Washington Beef Commission hopes to impress consumers, ranchers Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:15:57 -0400 Don Jenkins The Washington Beef Commission’s new marketing plan stresses convincing urban millennials that the virtues of beef and the cattle industry outweigh anything bad they’ve heard about either.

Meanwhile, a state lawmaker is meeting with cattlemen to hear what they think about the virtues of the beef commission.

The commission, a state agency, recently adopted a one-year, $1 million budget, a 6 percent cut over the budget that expires at the end of June.

The reduction continues a trend toward fewer cattle transactions and declining commission revenues.

Cattle sellers pay a mandatory $1.50 per-head fee, with $1 going to the state commission and 50 cents to the national Beef Board.

Several major cattle groups in Washington this year supported raising the beef checkoff to $2.50, with the additional dollar going to the state commission.

Support from cattlemen was far from unanimous, however. Some ranchers wondered how giving the beef commission $2 million instead of $1 million would help their industry.

Legislators dropped the proposal.

“I couldn’t vote for it because there was so much push back,” Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, said last week. “It was pretty clear, the idea was not well vetted.”

Dent, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, has been meeting with producers to explain the beef commission’s approach to promotion and to gauge support for increasing the beef checkoff.

Dent said he believes a “majority of people are good with the beef commission.” But he said he hesitates to say whether a majority back raising the checkoff fee. “I’m really trying to listen to people,” he said.

To balance its budget, the commission eliminated one position, shrinking the staff to two full-time and two part-time workers.

Long gone are expensive television ads. Newspaper advertising, radio spots and in-store coupons are largely things of the past, too.

Instead, the commission will continue its shift toward social media and small events, such as cooking demonstrations and ranch tours.

The beef commission, for example, plans to host a Christmas party for consumer bloggers.

“It’s just a kitschy way to build relations with bloggers,” commission Executive Director Patti Brumbach said. “We’re trying to think outside the box.”

The beef commission had a high-profile connection with Washington State University’s annual football game in Seattle, but the Cougars discontinued the event after 2014. Brumbach said the commission would have been hard-pressed to afford continuing its sponsorship anyway.

“We’re not looking for the big PR stunt,” she said.

The social media campaign will include Facebook ads and YouTube videos targeted to millennials born between 1980 and 2000 with children.

Social media will be combined with personal contact. The commission, for example, will hand out beef jerky and nutritional information at soccer games — attended by soccer moms. “A theme throughout our marketing is, How do we get to moms and dads?” Brumbach said.

She said the commission’s top goal is to build “trust” in beef’s taste, nutrition and value, and in the industry’s humane treatment of animals.

For the first time since 2013, the beef commission will survey Seattle-Tacoma area consumers to check their attitudes toward beef and the cattle industry.

The beef commission has set goals to nudge consumers into having a more favorable view of the cattle industry, and to serve more beef to their families.

Dent said the focus on social media makes sense.

“I think Patti is right on in a lot of ways,” he said.

Leader to be sentenced in Ohio egg farm forced labor case Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:06:26 -0400 TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The leader of a scheme to smuggle teens into the U.S. and keep them as virtual slaves at an Ohio egg farm is scheduled to be sentenced Monday.

A federal judge delayed sentencing Aroldo Castillo-Serrano in April after learning that he hadn’t given up properties taken from the victims’ families.

Castillo-Serrano is a Guatemalan who is in the U.S. illegally. Prosecutors say he made victims’ family members sign over deeds to their property in Guatemala to pay for transporting the boys, with assurances they would be enrolled in school.

Castillo-Serrano agreed to plead guilty last year to forced labor conspiracy, forced labor, witness tampering and encouraging illegal entry into the country.

Public court records don’t yet indicate whether the property issue has been resolved. A message was left Friday for his attorney.

Fire crews make inroads against deadly California wildfire Mon, 27 Jun 2016 08:25:26 -0400 SCOTT SMITHand CHRISTINE ARMARIO LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (AP) — Fire crews are making inroads against a raging wildfire in central California that has claimed two lives and destroyed 200 homes.

Officials said about 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, which tore through many homes belonging to retirees on fixed incomes.

“Most people here, this is all they had,” said Daniel O’Brien, 53, who lost two rental mobile homes. “You have these moments where you just want to breakdown crying and fall apart.”

Federal fire officials said Sunday evening that containment on the 68-square-mile blaze increased from 10 percent to 40 percent.

The death toll stood at two, but officials warned that it might rise. Cadaver dogs were being brought in Sunday to search for remains.

On Saturday, firefighters found what appeared to be a set of human remains further up the street from O’Brien’s two rental homes. The remains were so badly burned forensic investigators will have to determine whether they belong to a person or animal, Kern County Sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt said.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight the fire and to clean up in the aftermath. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also authorized the use of funds for firefighting efforts, fire officials said.

The fire tore through small communities of houses and mobile homes that surround the lake — actually a reservoir — and the Kern River, a popular spot for fishing and whitewater rafting. The communities are nestled in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada, a mountain range that runs hundreds of miles north and south through eastern California. Seventy-five homes were damaged.

Scorching heat and tinder-dry conditions across the West have contributed to massive wildfires in the past week that have destroyed properties and forced residents to seek shelter.

Since it began Thursday, the fire has swept through 36,810 acres of parched brush and timber. It moved so quickly that some residents barely had time to escape — and two didn’t.

An elderly couple apparently was overcome by smoke as they tried to flee, county Sheriff Donny Youngblood said. Their bodies were found Friday, but their names haven’t been released.

Torin Swinland, 46, and his 81-year-old mother fled to a nearby park after smelling smoke and seeing flames racing down the hillside toward their community.

They returned to find four garages filled with valuables incinerated. Their home escaped any major damage, though embers were still burning near the property when they got back. The two used water from a hot tub to douse the cinders.

While upset by his own losses, Swinland said he felt worse for those left with nothing.

“They don’t have near what I have left,” he said.

BLM to sterilize mustangs for first time to slow growth Mon, 27 Jun 2016 08:23:36 -0400 SCOTT SONNER RENO, Nev. (AP) — A federal agency is on a path to sterilize wild horses on U.S. rangeland to slow the growth of herds — a new approach condemned by mustang advocates across the West.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management also continues to resist calls from ranchers and western Republicans to euthanize or sell for slaughter the animals overflowing holding pens so as to clear the way for more roundups.

Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director Steve Ellis delivered those messages at an emotional congressional hearing this week. He offered a glimpse of the challenges facing the agency that has been struggling for decades with what it describes as a $1 billion problem.

Highlights of the hearing included Nevada’s state veterinarian calling for the round-up and surgical sterilization of virtually every mustang in overpopulated herds, a protester who briefly interrupted with shouts denouncing “welfare ranchers” turning public lands into “feedlots,” and an Arkansas congressman whose puppy is about to get neutered.

Rep. Tom McClintock, chairman of the House Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands, took aim at those who object to euthanizing mustangs “and yet seem perfectly willing to watch them succumb to excruciating death by starvation, dehydration and disease.”

“That is the future we condemn these animals to if we don’t intervene now,” the California Republican said.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming, emphasized the 1971 law protecting mustangs allows for their destruction if they go unadopted. But since 2012, Congress has required horse purchasers to sign documents promising not to resell them for slaughter, and the Bureau of Land Management opposes lifting those restrictions.

Ellis said the estimated 67,000 wild horses and burros on federal land in 10 states is 2.5 times more than the range can support. However, there’s no more room in government corals and leased pastures, where 47,000 horses cost taxpayers about $50,000 per head over the course of their lifetime.

“Quite frankly, we can’t afford to feed any more unadopted horses,” Ellis said. “I understand your frustration. We are frustrated too.”

Ellis said the agency’s “roadmap to the future” includes use of temporary contraceptive vaccines as well as sterilization.

“We feel that before we can implement a spay-neuter program on the range, we’ve got to do the research to make sure we can do it efficiently and safely,” he said. “It is going to take a little time to do that.”

Rep. Rod Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, said it’s time to have “that real tough conversation about something more permanent.”

Other Republicans turned on the lone horse advocate called to testify — Ginger Kathrens, founder of The Cloud Foundation based in Colorado Springs, Colorado and member of the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse advisory committee.

But Kathrens said most Americans want to see mustangs “roam freely on their native home ranges as intended.”

“Castration, sterilization and long-term confinement of horses in holding facilities ... is unnecessary, cruel, unhealthy and fiscally irresponsible,” she said.

Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Arkansas, noted, however, that “thousands of domesticated animals are spayed and neutered every day.”

“I’ve got a new puppy and he’s got his day coming soon,” he said.

That prompted an outburst from Edita Birnkrant, campaigns director for Friends of Animals.

“They are wild animals. They are not cats and dogs,” she shouted as McClintock banged the gavel and called for Capitol Police. “The solution is getting welfare ranchers off of our public lands, which have been turned into feedlots.”

J.J. Goicoechea, the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s veterinarian and longtime rancher, urged the gathering of “as close to 100 percent of horses as we can” in overpopulated herds for surgical sterilization before returning some to the range.

“Those of us who truly make a living caring for animals ... have a moral obligation to manage populations in balance with natural resources,” he said.

Beekeeper takes on challenges of apiary Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:21:22 -0400 JULIA HOLLISTER STONYFORD, Calif. — Joy Pendell’s business keeps her buzzing.

“I am a second-generation beekeeper and have been keeping bees for as long as I can remember,” she said. “My grandparents kept bees as a hobby and my dad started our family bee business (Pendell Apiaries) in 1990, a year after I was born. I learned everything I know from my parents and from experience.”

She is a member of the California State Beekeeping Association, which has about 400 members, she said.

Pendell said there is no typical day. It depends on which projects she has on the calendar. These include extracting honey, dividing hives and re-queening hives. Certain tasks for the queen breeding part of the operation have to be done on a weekly schedule.

“Most beekeepers who are starting out buy bees in packages from other beekeepers to start their bee hives,” she said. “Our business relies on dividing hives (splitting the strong ones into two hives) to reach the number we want. A hive of medium strength would be around 50,000 bees.” There are occupational hazards of working with bees. She said she has been stung “thousands” of times. But adds, “It’s no big deal. You get used to it.”

Pendell sells honey from the hives, but the primary business is breeding and selling Italian queen bees to other beekeepers. Customers use the queens to replace those that are failing in their hives.

They raise Italian queens because of their gentleness, their fast brood build-up and their good honey production, according to the company’s website.

A long list of problems and challenges face California beekeepers.

Colony collapse disorder remains high on the list, Pendell said. The problem has not gone away and there is no apparent end in sight.

She said most people would argue between Varroa mites and pesticides being the biggest problems, but they both directly contribute to CCD.

And there are conflicting schools of thought regarding the threats posed by Africanized bees.

“They are a problem in warmer climates — Southern California, Arizona and Texas — but they do not survive in most parts of the U.S.,” she said. “There are methods to manage the problem — recognizing it right away and either replacing the queen quickly or killing the hive if it has gotten too out of hand.”

Other challenges include viruses, the lack of forage and the drought, which is now in its fifth year.

Pendell said she would like to see more women taking up beekeeping.

“There are women beekeepers and there could be more,” she said.

She also sees beekeeping as a family-friendly business.

“I am in the process of taking over my parents’ operation and run all the day-to-day stuff. In most cases beekeeping is a family endeavor and kids tend to be involved too.”

Dion Ashurst, president of the CSBA, had praise for Pendell’s work.

“She has contributed so much to our association since she began a year ago,” he said. “Joy created the website and maintains the technical side in addition to beekeeping. She is a great young lady.”

Joy Pendell

Hometown: Stonyford, Calif.

Age: 26

Occupation: Beekeeper

Company: Pendell Apiaries

Education: Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Whitworth University, Spokane.

Quote: “I’m here to grow and improve the family farm, find solutions to the problems facing honeybees and promote the CSBA (California State Beekeeping Association), our state beekeeping organization.”

Researchers look to make bioenergy more attractive Wed, 22 Jun 2016 17:15:28 -0400 LUKE RAMSETHPost Register IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Most have heard of Idaho National Laboratory’s nuclear research prowess, or its growing cybersecurity expertise.

But the lab’s biomass energy research program has largely flown under the radar, much like the renewable energy source itself, reported the Post Register. A warehouse on INL’s Idaho Falls campus is home to all kinds of machinery used for grinding, chopping, compressing and measuring biomass fuels, from corn stover to woody waste.

The goal of the Biomass User Facility is to figure out how the country’s most abundant waste products — from farms, forests or even cities — can efficiently be converted into energy. Power plants that run on these types of fuels already dot much of Idaho and the U.S., and contribute roughly two percent to the country’s overall electricity generation. But Michael Clark, INL’s biomass facility manager, sees potential for far more.

“One of the reasons biomass is so attractive is that it comes back every year — it is truly a renewable form of energy,” he said on a recent tour of the facility.

Yet biomass has been overshadowed by other renewables such as wind and solar, which are often heavily subsidized. In California, a state rich with agricultural waste, biomass plants are starting to fold. Idaho experts say they are hopeful about the future of biomass generation here, however no big new projects have come online in several years and the state’s biggest utility, Idaho Power, does not have any new projects in the pipeline.

There is plenty of fuel, especially in an agricultural state such as Idaho, Clark said. He used the example of a corn plant, where the cob makes up roughly 5 percent and the rest often gets plowed back into the soil. Much of that plant’s “residue” can go to a biomass energy facility, he said.

In one recent project, INL researchers studied how effective western juniper trees would be as a biofuel. The trees are plentiful in southwest Idaho, and officials hope to remove many of them to restore sage grouse habitat. Another project is looking at the possibility of turning certain types of municipal trash into energy.

One of the largest hurdles for biomass energy is cost, Clark said. Collecting the waste, processing it into pellets or other condensed fuel forms, and then burning it can be a long, expensive process. Making the process more efficient is a focus for INL researchers, he said.

“The whole point is to make money off the existing biomass cycle,” Clark said.

In 2014, biomass made up 4.3 percent of Idaho’s electricity production, according to Idaho’s Office of Energy Resources. Idaho Power buys electricity from 10 biomass projects, spokesman Brad Bowlin said. In northern Idaho, Avista Utilities also relies on some biomass projects.

Idaho Power’s portfolio includes five “dairy digester” projects, which use manure as a fuel source. The utility also has three projects that rely on gas from landfills to spin a turbine. Another project burns wood waste, and another collects gases from a wastewater facility to generate electricity.

Idaho Power hasn’t added a new biomass project for several years, Bowlin said. Part of the problem, he said, is the projects’ higher costs compared to solar farms or natural gas plants.

Ken Miller, energy program director for the Snake River Alliance, said Idaho is intuitively a good place for biomass energy development. It has plentiful agricultural and logging waste that can be turned into electrons instead of being buried at the landfill. Biomass could also be a cleaner-burning alternative to coal, he said.

“There should be a lot of potential,” he said.

Yet there are significant concerns about biomass from an environmental perspective: Burning trees and plants still releases pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, though far less than coal.

Biomass energy can in theory be carbon dioxide neutral — considering trees and plants absorb the greenhouse gas as they grow, then release it when they burn — but that tradeoff might not always work out so cleanly, experts say. So there is some disagreement about whether biomass energy can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Finding enough fuel to operate a biomass plant for multiple years has been another challenge for some prospective Idaho biomass developers in recent years, said John Chatburn, administrator of Idaho’s Office of Energy Resources.

“(Developers) couldn’t get the assurances from the Forest Service that they could be guaranteed a 10-year supply of biomass, which is what they said they needed to get financing,” Chatburn said. “They couldn’t get those assurances, and with that and other issues, none of biomass plants not associated with lumber mills came to fruition.”

Still, Chatburn said there likely a future for biomass energy production in Idaho. He is encouraged by the research occurring at INL and several universities.

“In the state of Idaho, whether it’s our office or the Legislature or any of the agencies, in general people are supportive of biomass,” Chatburn said. “I think once some of the research that’s being done is completed, and it proves out the systems, that you’ll see a lot more of it.”

New UC citrus-funded lab to tackle huanglongbing Fri, 24 Jun 2016 16:56:35 -0400 Tim Hearden The citrus industry and University of California-Riverside are teaming to build a top-notch laboratory that will enable researchers to tackle the deadly tree disease huanglongbing.

The grower-funded California Citrus Research Foundation has raised $8 million to construct a biosecurity-level 3 building near the university, which has more than 100 years’ experience in citrus research.

The facility will enable Georgios Vidalakis, director of UCR’s Citrus Clonal Protection Program, and others to do work with plant pathogens that previously couldn’t be done in Southern California.

The nearest high-level pathogen lab is at UC-Davis, and materials often must be sent as far away as Texas or Florida to be tested, Vidalakis said.

“We are involved in research of the disease but in collaboration with researchers who are 3,000 or 4,000 miles away,” Vidalakis said. “It makes it very difficult .. It doesn’t make sense for a land-grant institution like UC-Riverside, especially with our expertise in citrus, not to have a facility like that.”

The level-3 lab will enable scientists to house the live bacterium and develop resistance and tolerance in plants, he said. Researchers can study interactions between the pathogen, vector and plant — “the three corners of the triangle that cause the disease,” he said.

Scientists are making “a big effort” at genome editing of citrus trees in an attempt to make them not as attractive to Asian citrus psyllids — the carrier of huanglongbing — or “deal with the disease a little better,” Vidalakis said.

“It’s not a question of why we need it,” he said of the lab. “The question is why we don’t have it already. It cannot be more important. We need it immediately.”

Huanglongbing — which has devastated the citrus industries in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas — has been found in 21 citrus trees in California. Huanglongbing isn’t harmful to humans or animals but causes discoloration of fruit and leaves and eventually kills the tree.

Nearly one-third of California’s land mass is now under quarantine for the psyllid, requiring shipped fruit to be free of leaves and debris. The state’s Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program has been talking to growers about adopting a regional quarantine structure under which fruit moving between regions would have to undergo a wet wash.

The new lab will accept projects from researchers from around the world, said Alyssa Houtby, public affairs director for the more than 2,000-member California Citrus Mutual.

“The priority is finding solutions to huanglongbing,” Houtby said. “It’s very significant. Until now, there was not a facility in California that was solely dedicated to HLB research.”

Construction is set to begin in October, and researchers are already preparing to seek permits for planned experiments. Vidalakis said he expects the lab to be functioning by next summer.

“If I see … the first results coming out in the next three years, I’ll be happy,” he said.

Big apple states expecting larger crops Fri, 24 Jun 2016 16:50:01 -0400 Dan Wheat WENATCHEE, Wash. — Apple growers in Washington, New York and Michigan are beginning to consider the size of this fall’s crops.

Michigan growers at the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association 61st annual Fruit Crop Guesstimate in Grand Rapids on June 22, forecast a 26.3 million, 42-pound box crop. That’s up from 24.5 million boxes in 2015.

A national and state-by-state estimate of the 2016 apple crop is expected at the Premier Apple Cooperative meeting in Syracuse, N.Y., June 28. That will be followed by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association forecast of the Washington crop in early August and the U.S. Apple Association 2016 Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference in Chicago, Aug. 25 and 26.

“I’m pretty excited about the coming season. The 2015 crop will be virtually gone which is helpful. It appears currency values won’t be quite as difficult as the past season for exports and we’re coming off a relatively good year in pricing of Michigan, Washington and New York apples,” said Don Armock, president of Riveridge Produce, Sparta, Mich., one of Michigan’s largest apple producers.

Even apples for processing into juice, sauce and baked ingredients have been getting good prices the last six months, he said, adding that it’s always better to start a new fall season from strong than weak pricing.

The Michigan estimate includes fresh and processor apples. Washington’s industry refers to just its fresh crop that it expects to be 125 million to 135 million, 40-pound boxes this fall, said Bruce Grim, manager of the Washington Apple Growers Marketing Association in Wenatchee. That’s up from the 115.5-million-box 2015 crop and is about 155 million boxes when processor apples are added.

“We had excellent springtime weather. No frost and excellent post-bloom weather,” Grim said.

Bloom was quick, chemical thinners had good opportunity to thin the crop, cell division was good and fruit should size well, he said.

“Fruit size is the wild card. I think it will be better than last year,” he said.

Each size apples are larger adds 10 percent crop volume. That’s a lot more apples on Washington’s crop than it is on the smaller ones in New York and Michigan, he noted.

Barring excessive heat, hail or other bad weather, the crop should be good quality, Grim said, agreeing with Armock that with the 2015 crop selling out the new crop should enjoy good prices throughout the coming season.

Armock said he thinks the Michigan crop will end up closer to 30 million boxes because it should size up well from heavy king bloom. He said while the southwest portion of the state is down 30 percent due to poor pollination weather it only makes up 10 percent of the crop. The unknown, he said, is how much the west-central region will produce where growers are continuing high-density, replacement plantings for yields of 75 to 80 bins per acre, up from 40 to 50.

“We’re trying to keep up with the times with greater varietal mix and our bins per acre needs to increase,” Armock said.

The guesstimate is for 4.8 million boxes of Red Delicious followed by 4.7 million boxes of Gala and then dropping back to 2.4 million Ida Red, 1.9 million Golden Delicious, 1.7 million Jonathan, 1.6 million McIntosh and 1.4 million Honeycrisp followed by others.

New plantings are largely Honeycrisp, Gala and Fuji while Ida Red, Rome, Jonathan and Empire are going down fast, Armock said. Red Delicious is fading but still strong and Goldens are staying even, he said.

Movement is toward fresh away from processor varieties for better returns but replanting is limited by rootstock, scion wood and capital availability, he said.

Michigan harvest starts at the end of August with Paula Red and Gingergold. Michigan Gala and Honeycrisp will start in early September a month behind Washington.

CHS Primeland has open house for its $18.5 million fertilizer facility Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:27:09 -0400 Matw Weaver CLARKSTON, Wash. — CHS Primeland held a grand opening ceremony June 23 for its new $18.5 million agronomy hub plant at the Port of Wilma in Clarkston, Wash.

About 250 people toured the facility and heard about its capabilities, as company leaders said it would serve growers for decades to come.

“Our goal is really to be here, maybe for 100 years, but we’re definitely set up to be here for 60 years,” said Ken Blakeman, general manager of CHS Primeland. “We’re really trying to build this facility for tomorrow’s producer.”

“I encourage you as a producer to use this facility as much as you can — wear it out if you can,” said Tim Eichner, chairman of the CHS Primeland board of directors and a Kendrick, Idaho, farmer. “Ultimately, it comes down to producers being able to benefit from this. We did it so that producers had options for supply and pricing.”

“When we make an investment, it is for production agriculture,” said Lynden Johnson, executive vice president of country operations for CHS in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. “It is to add value to them in their operations, to make them world-class in their production to compete globally.”

In picking the location, the company wanted to use river, truck and rail access to provide farmers with a cost-effective option, Blakeman said.

“The facility is actually set up so it can almost be unmanned,” he said. “There will be a day when you as a producer will be able to show up here, with no one here. This facility has the capability for you to come here, load your product and never have touched anything, except for your little card. ... You’d actually be able to show up, open the gates, open the doors, punch in your load, load your truck and not have a single person (here).”

The distribution plant and manufacturing facility has a capacity of 24,000 tons of dry fertilizer storage and 2.5 million gallons of liquid storage.

Blakeman said the facility will serve a 100-mile radius. The company expects to grow from 100,000 tons of total product moving through the facility to 150,000 tons over the next five years, he said.

Fertilizer manufacturers want to build inventory and ship in a timely fashion. Without the hub, the company didn’t have the storage capacity when fertilizer prices were good or farmers needed it, CHS Primeland seed and agronomy division manager Ken Mingo said.

“This facility gives us the opportunity to buy when the market is right and have the product on hand when a producer needs it,” he said.

Mingo said the facility is set up for future expansion, with plans to nearly double liquid fertilizer storage and double the loading capacity for dry fertilizer.


Meat, poultry industry fuels economic activity Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:10:05 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas Larger than the U.S. trucking and fast-food industries and nearly as large as the federal government — minus the Defense Department — the domestic meat and poultry industry generates more that $1 trillion annually in total economic output and accounts for 5.6 percent of the gross domestic product.

That economic impact is validation of the significance of the industry, according to the North American Meat institute, which commissioned an economic analysis of the industry by John Dunham & Associates.

The analysis found the industry directly employs nearly 1.9 million people, paying an average annual salary of $47,332. The economic impact of those jobs and wages adds up to more than $348 billion per year.

But the economic impact is much broader than direct employment in processing and packing, importing, sales, packaging and distribution. It also includes the economic impact of suppliers to the industry and the total multiplier effect on the economy of spending by employees of the industry and its suppliers.

That total effect amounts to 5.4 million jobs, $257 billion in wages and the $1.02 trillion in economic output.

“The industry is very proud of what it does — with or without this analysis — they provide high-quality food. The analysis just ratifies how important they are,” said Barry Carpenter, Meat Institute president and CEO.

The impact on employment is something the industry certainly has an interest in, but it is also of interest to federal and state officials, he said.

“It’s good information for lawmakers,” he said.

The analysis shows what the industry contributes to the country. It’s a substantial part of the economy, but the tax information also shows the industry is a substantial contributor of funding to government, he said.

That tax analysis shows direct taxes paid by firms and their employees contribute more than $108.4 billion in federal revenues to federal, state and local governments and $3.26 billion in state taxes from the consumption of meat and poultry.

Those taxes contribute to such things as national defense, schools, health care, roads, veteran benefits and even the government regulation of the meat and poultry industry, Carpenter said.

The analysis shows the industry provides millions of good jobs in every state and every sector of the U.S. economy and contributes to the public finances of communities across the country, he said.

The top states in both direct and multiplier economic impact are led by California, followed by Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arkansas.

The analysis is the latest in a series to keep tabs on the health of the industry and provides information to explain to people how important the industry is to the U.S., Carpenter said.

The evaluation enables the industry in showing consumers, lawmakers, public officials and other industries where the meat and poultry industry fits in, he said.

“It’s just prudent for us to have a good grasp of the importance of our industry,” he said.


For the report, visit:

Boise Project Board of Control irrigators will have good water year Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:59:37 -0400 Sean Ellis BOISE — Farmers who get their irrigation water from the Boise Project Board of Control will have a plentiful supply this year.

The project uses 1,500 miles of canals and drains to supply water to four irrigation districts in Southwestern Idaho and one in Eastern Oregon. Together, those five districts provide water for 167,000 irrigated acres.

The project has set its annual allotment for water users at 2.6 acre-feet. That’s how much water irrigators will receive from the system’s reservoirs.

The BPBC has already provided 1.06 acre-feet of water to irrigators through natural flow from the Boise River. That means project patrons will receive 3.66 acre-feet this year.

“That is a pretty good water year,” said BPBC Manager Tim Page.

He said snowpack was good this winter and snowmelt occurred at an ideal pace.

River in-flow levels going into the system’s reservoirs exceeded 5,000 cubic feet per second two days last year, Page said. This year, flows were above that level almost the entire spring and they exceeded 7,000 cfs some days.

The project starts the year providing irrigators with all of their water from the Boise River. Once the amount of water leaving the reservoirs exceeds the amount going in, the project starts using water stored in its reservoirs.

That happened on June 15 this year. The allotment is then set based on how much water is left in the reservoirs.

Last year, BPBC patrons received a total of 2.95 acre-feet of water during the entire year.

“It’s been a couple of years since we had this kind of water year,” Lauren Boelhke, secretary-treasurer of the Boise-Kuna Irrigation District, said. “It is a really good water year.”

Diane Paulsen, secretary-treasurer of the Wilder Irrigation District, said it’s been three years since the district’s patrons had this much water.

“When you have an ample water supply, you don’t need to hunt for excess water to purchase,” she said. “It’s going to be a good water year.”

The board also supplies water to the Big Bend Irrigation District, a small district that provides water to 1,800 acres near Adrian in Eastern Oregon.

Ben Witty, a farmer who gets his water from Big Bend, said soils in that area are lighter than in other areas in the region and water goes down faster and the soil dries out quicker there. That means he and other farmers who furrow irrigate usually need to purchase extra water from somewhere else, even in good years.

“It’s a good year, but a good year is adequate at best for this area,” he said.

Portland daily grain report Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:35:25 -0400 Portland, Ore., Friday, Jun 24, 2016

USDA Market News

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

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

In early trading July futures trended three to 5.75 cents per bushel lower compared to Thursday’s closes.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for June delivery for ordinary protein were not available in early trading as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Bids for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein were not available in early

trading, as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for June delivery were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Thursday’s noon bids. Some exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 14 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for June delivery were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Thursday’s noon bids. Some exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during June trended lower compared to Thursday’s noon bids.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during June trended lower in early trading compared to Thursday’s noon bids.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

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

Ordinary protein

Jun NA

Jul 4.9550-5.1700

Aug NC 5.0175-5.1700

Sep 5.0175-5.2200

Oct 5.2150-5.3100

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Jun NA

Jul 4.9550-5.2500

Aug NC 5.0175-5.2500

Sep 5.0675-5.3000

Oct 5.2150-5.2650

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

Ordinary protein

Jun NA

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Jun NA

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


Ordinary protein 4.7200

11 pct protein 4.9200

11.5 pct protein

Jun 5.0200

Jul 4.9200-5.0200

Aug NC 4.9975-5.1475

Sep 5.0975-5.1475

Oct 5.2500-5.3000

12 pct protein 5.0700

13 pct protein 5.1700

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

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

13 pct protein 5.7650-6.0850

14 pct protein

Jun 6.0850-6.2850

Jul 6.0350-6.2350

Aug NC 6.0700-6.1200

Sep 6.0700-6.1700

Oct 6.2725-6.4225

15 pct protein 6.2450-6.3650

16 pct protein 6.4050-6.4450

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Jun 4.7225-4.7325

Jul 4.7325-4.7725

Aug 4.8225-4.8325

Sep 4.7925-4.8425

Oct/Nov 4.7700-4.8300

Dec 4.7900-4.8300

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Jun 11.8575-11.9275

Jul 11.8975-11.9275

Aug 11.9075

Sep 11.9075-11.9275

Oct/Nov 11.9075-11.9475

Dec 11.8800-11.9000

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.9200

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge May 2016

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 5.3400

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 5.1800

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 5.3400

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 6.2700

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

FBI: Utah militia leader planned to bomb BLM cabin Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:20:01 -0400 MICHELLE L. PRICEand LINDSAY WHITEHURST SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah militia group leader with ties to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has been arrested and charged with attempting to blow up a rural, federally owned cabin in Arizona, federal authorities said Thursday.

An FBI agent said in charging documents that William Keebler, 57, was planning to retaliate against the federal government that he felt was harassing people and imposing overreaching grazing restrictions on ranchers.

Keebler is a the leader of citizen militia group called the Patriots Defense Force in Stockton, Utah, about 40 miles west of Salt Lake City, according to the charging documents.

Authorities say undercover FBI employees followed Keebler as he planned to set off an explosive outside a U.S. Bureau of Land Management cabin in the northern Arizona area of Mt. Trumbull.

Keebler traveled to the Arizona cabin Tuesday night with militia members and undercover FBI employees. An inactive explosive was placed against the door and Keebler was handed a remote detonation device and pushed it several times, according to the FBI.

The FBI arrested Keebler in Utah on Wednesday morning. He faces one count of attempting to damage federal property with an explosive. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch.

Keebler wore camouflage clothes and had his hands shackled in front of him during a brief hearing to inform him of the charges Thursday. His lawyer declined to comment.

His friend Pete Olson said outside the courtroom he’d been to meetings of Keebler’s militia, but never heard any talk of violence.

“This militia group is kind of like grown up Boy Scouts,” he said. Keebler is something of a survivalist with his own farm who often carries a gun, but Olson said he’s never known him to be around explosives.

“That’s not the Bill I like and I know, but I know that people get pushed beyond their limits sometimes,” he said.

According to the FBI, Keebler was at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch during a 2014 armed standoff with federal officials who were rounding up Bundy’s cattle over unpaid grazing fees.

He was also an associate of Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who served as a spokesman for Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, and other ranchers involved in an armed standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge earlier this year.

The FBI says Finicum accompanied Keebler last October when scouting out the BLM facility in Arizona. Finicum was shot and killed by authorities during a Jan. 26 traffic stop that led to Bundy’s arrest.

After Finicum’s death, Keebler and members of his militia group discussed repercussions against a government they said was harassing people and imposing overreaching restrictions on ranchers, according to the FBI.

The militia group scouted out a BLM office in downtown Salt Lake City but abandoned the idea because it was near a shopping mall and homeless population, making it highly visible. Instead, they settled on the BLM cabin in Mt. Trumbull.

It’s unclear what the cabin is used for.

A BLM spokeswoman and Rydalch with the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to describe the facility or whether employees were working there.