Capital Press | http://www.capitalpress.com Capital Press Mon, 23 May 2016 22:52:05 -0400 en http://EOR-CPwebvarnish.newscyclecloud.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Capital Press | http://www.capitalpress.com Oregon lawmakers hear arguments over Owyhee monument http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20160523/oregon-lawmakers-hear-arguments-over-owyhee-monument http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20160523/oregon-lawmakers-hear-arguments-over-owyhee-monument#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 15:48:50 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529966 SALEM — Advocates and opponents of a proposed 2.5 million-acre national monument in Eastern Oregon tried to enlist the support of state lawmakers during a recent legislative hearing.

The two sides are mounting competing public relations campaigns to influence the possible designation of the Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument, which will ultimately be decided by President Barack Obama.

Critics say the area is bigger than the Yellowstone, Yosemite or Grand Canyon national parks and would cover 40 percent of Malheur County.

Ranchers and other natural resource users in the region have objected to the proposal, fearing the establishment of a national monument will entail new regulations on public land and invite additional environmental lawsuits.

“We see it as a rash and somewhat of a belligerent move to force a monument in this area,” rancher Elias Eiguren told the House Committee on Rural Communities, Land Use and Water on May 23.

While grazing could theoretically continue within the national monument, the details of livestock management within its boundaries would surely be subject to costly litigation, Eiguren said.

Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, questioned why it’s necessary to designate the area as a national monument when it’s already protected under several federal environmental laws as a property of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“This land is so protected that nothing has happened on it for 150 years, that’s how protected it is,” Bentz said. “It’s already been frozen in place. Why add another layer?”

The Oregon Natural Desert Association and other environmental groups that support the monument proposal say they’re not trying to eliminate grazing, but instead want to prevent mining, transmission lines and oil and gas development.

The Owyhee Canyonlands currently aren’t protected from these threats under existing laws, said Brent Fenty, executive director of ONDA.

For about 30 years, the region has been a “wilderness study area,” which offers temporary protections that won’t become permanent unless approved by Congress, Fenty said.

He likened the situation to a marital engagement that hasn’t actually led to a wedding for decades.

“We have not made a commitment to holding this landscape together,” said Fenty.

Environmental groups have pushed for Congress to designate the Owyhee Canyonlands region in southeast Oregon as a “national conservation area,” but the effort hasn’t gained traction, which led to the national monument proposal, he said. National monuments can be established with an executive action by the president.

“You can only bring people to the table if they agree to come to the table,” he said of the Congressional proposal.

Supporters touted a poll they commissioned that showed 70 percent of Oregon residents supported permanent protections for the Owyhee Canyonlands, including 66 percent in Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District where the national monument would be located.

Tourism in the region would be boosted by such permanent protections, said John Sterling, executive director of the Conservation Alliance, which represents outdoor recreation companies.

“Protecting a place literally puts it on a map,” he said.

Monument opponents responded with their own poll results, which showed 73 percent of Oregonians believe that national monument designations should be approved by Congress rather than the president.

More than 60 percent of that poll’s respondents said the Owyhee Canyonlands area already has enough protections.

The surrounding community has only now begun to heal after the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year, so the monument proposal threatens to reignite those tensions, said Brian Wolfe, Malheur County’s sheriff.

Wolfe said he feared for public safety if the monument proposal attracts militants to return to the region. “I fear they will not be reasonable,” he said.

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Proper management of riparian areas benefits all http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20160523/proper-management-of-riparian-areas-benefits-all http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20160523/proper-management-of-riparian-areas-benefits-all#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 14:49:12 -0400 Doug Warnock http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529967 A main concern for managers of rangelands, both public and private, is to protect the streams from damage by animals and humans.

More streams are being fenced off from the rest of the property than ever before. Whether the riparian area is fenced or not, the more important factor is how it is managed.

If livestock are totally excluded from the stream, the manager loses grazing as a tool in management. Grazing, used properly, is very effective in restoring downgraded range areas and stimulating ecosystem resilience.

When grazed properly and monitored, the forage plants and browse in riparian areas can be stimulated to regrow and be vigorous, helping to hold surface soil and provide healthy habitat for fish and wildlife. Plants are stimulated by the periodic removal of a portion of their stems and leaves.

This requires getting the animals in at the proper time and getting them out before plants are overgrazed. To do this successfully requires a higher level of management input, but pays off in terms of better ecosystem health.

The grazing process helps break up capped soil, stimulates the incorporation of plant tissue into the soil resulting in increased organic matter and adding minerals to the soil from dung and urine.

Grazing can also help control growth of woody plants that, over time, tend to shade out desirable grasses and forbs. These grasses and forbs can be effective in holding the soil on stream banks and filtering out soil particles during periods of high water.

Grazing is also an effective way to help in the control of undesirable plants, when they are grazed at an appropriate time in the plant’s life cycle to impede its recovery. So, fenced riparian corridors can be used favorably, if grazing is not eliminated from the manager’s toolbox.

Beth Burritt, livestock behavior specialist with Utah State University, reminds us that understanding and changing animal behavior offers a means to reduce the harmful effects of livestock spending too much time in riparian zones.

On rangelands where streams are not fenced, it is possible to change livestock behavior so that animals learn to spend only enough time there to drink before returning to higher ground away from the riparian zone.

Over time, this can be done with one or more riders. To be successful, the riders must be persistent and consistent. Also, there needs to be positive consequences for the livestock. Getting animals to stay in a different place works best when low-stress handling techniques are used.

It is important to take time to make sure that cows and calves are paired up before moving them and to keep social groups together during the move.

Otherwise, the moves can be much more stressful for both animals and riders. The timing of the moves needs to coincide with the animals’ normal routines in order to have the most success. Having good feed, available salt and water at the new site also helps to foster positive results when changing grazing patterns.

Livestock managers can play a major role in protecting waterways and improving riparian ecosystem health. The results can be healthier soil, enhanced wildlife habitat and greater forage production.

The key element to successful management is knowing what your actions are producing in terms of animal behavior and plant response. This means spending time to plan, to monitor and to adjust in order to keep plants vigorous and productive, while promoting the health of the riparian zone.

Doug Warnock, retired from Washington State University Extension, lives on a ranch in the Touchet River Valley, where he consults and writes on grazing management.

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Proposed tax could raise billions, ‘dampen’ employment, growth http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20160523/proposed-tax-could-raise-billions-dampen-employment-growth http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20160523/proposed-tax-could-raise-billions-dampen-employment-growth#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 14:15:40 -0400 PARIS ACHEN Bureau http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529968 SALEM — A proposed tax on the sales of large businesses would generate more than $6 billion in biennial state revenue starting in 2017-19, but it also would slow income, employment and population growth during the next five years, according to a state analysis of the initiative.

The report projects that the tax, which likely will be on the November general election ballot, would amount to a $600 per capita increase in state taxes each year. The tax would reduce private-sector employment from what otherwise would occur, while it would increase the number of government jobs. The net reduction in employment — private and public — would be about 20,000 statewide by 2022, according to the analysis.

“We don’t have any delusions. We know this won’t be the final word on it,” Legislative Revenue Officer Paul Warner said Monday morning. “We know there will be a lot more work and analysis to do, but hopefully this will be a starting point.”

Known as Initiative Petition 28 (IP 28), the proposed gross receipts tax measure backed by public employee unions and others around the state would increase the corporate tax by 2.5 percent on businesses with annual sales above $25 million.

The initiative would not affect the taxes directly paid by thousands of smaller corporations in the state.

It would, however, be the largest tax increase in state history.

An analysis of IP 28 by Oregon’s Legislative Revenue Office presented Monday morning to the Senate Interim Committee on Finance and Revenue in Salem, showed the measure would stabilize the state’s budget. At the same time, the costs of the tax would likely trickle down to consumers, increasing prices on daily items.

“The impact of IP 28 on consumer prices means that the marginal impact of the tax will be regressive,” the report states.

A household with median income of $51,075 would lose an estimated $613 in income in the form of higher prices and slower economic growth, the report shows. Job growth would slow by 1.6 percent in the private sector, but increase by 5.8 percent in the public sector.

“If it were in place for the 2012-13 fiscal year (the most recent year with complete state-by-state census data), IP 28 would have increased Oregon’s per capita state and local tax burden by roughly $600 to $4,501,” according to the state analysis. “At this level the state could have had the 20th highest per capita tax burden in that year compared to an actual rank of 28th. As a percent of income, IP 28 would have raised taxes from an actual 10.1 percent in 2012-13 to 11.6 percent. This would have moved Oregon to the ninth highest taxes as a percent of income versus an actual ranking of 26th.”

The heaviest impact from the tax would fall on wholesalers and retailers, Warner said.

The union-backed campaign, Our Oregon, submitted 130,000 signatures in support of the measure to the secretary of state’s office May 20 for verification. Only 88,184 are needed to qualify for the November ballot.

In a statement, Our Oregon said the report shows that by stabilizing the state budget, the measure will help hire back thousands of teachers, reduce health care costs and enhance senior services.

“Oregon’s unstable revenue stream has meant that economic crises consistently put vulnerable Oregonians at risk,” the statement says. “By making large corporations pay their fair share, IP 28 will better position the state to weather a future recession without making deep cuts.”

At the same time, Our Oregon spokeswoman Katherine Driessen questioned whether the analysis gives an accurate picture of the tax’s impact.

The Legislative Revenue Office “couldn’t model IP 28, so they, instead, applied a lower rate to all businesses,” Driessen said. “Of course, what IP 28 would really do is apply a 2.5 percent rate on sales above $25 million to fewer than 1,000 corporations. We appreciate the hard work that went into the report, but I think that’s a very important distinction to note.”

Warner acknowledged the techniques his office used to analyze the measure’s impact does not capture micro-level details at the individual industry or company level.

“However, we believe they do capture broad overall effects on the state economy pretty well,” Warner said.

Pat McCormick, a spokesman for a coalition of 500 businesses opposing the measure, disputed Our Oregon’s claim.

“This was specifically about IP 28,” McCormick said. “We have great confidence in the capability of the LRO to accurately present information with the best possible modeling, and they spent years building this model to accurately represent the state’s economic structures.

“The impact on the economy is going to be very difficult on Oregonians, especially those who are unable to bear those costs,” he added. “All of the aspects of the economic impact on those most struggling in our economy and the impact overall on the economy, the loss of jobs and so forth is of significant concern.”

“IP 28 would be a multi-billion dollar blank check for state lawmakers to spend with no plan or accountability for how the billions in new tax revenues would be used,” a statement from the business coalition, Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales said.

Lawmakers in the Senate had been interested in offering an alternative to the tax measure during February’s session, but have encountered resistance from the House.

Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, chairman of the interim committee hearing the analysis Monday, proposed a smaller tax on corporations in February, but his bill never gained traction.

On Monday, he renewed his call to lawmakers to offer an alternative to the tax.

“There will be potent forces at work here to keep it from passing so that $6 billion could be zero, and yet our revenue issues will remain When I look at this and … the regressive nature of it makes me think if we can do this and guarantee revenues without that force, without that fight, why wouldn’t we do that? We can do that. I know members of this committee would like to do that without going to a world war.”

He called on House Speaker Tina Kotek, Gov. Kate Brown and lobbyists to find a way to compromise.

“We can do this and try to avoid this divisive fight in the fall. The last thing the state needs is a bitter campaign.”

Kotek, D-Portland, made it clear at the end of the session that she supports the measure. Brown has not taken a strong position on the measure or offered to negotiate an alternative. On Monday, she indicated her focus is now on making sure revenue from the tax goes to education.

“I greatly appreciate the analysis provided by the Legislative Revenue Office, which helps inform our understanding of the impacts of IP-28,” Brown said in a statement. “As I have said previously, the problem I remain focused on is how to improve our graduation rate and fund essential services while sustaining economic growth and protecting Oregon jobs. I will begin discussions with my legislative colleagues about a way forward that, should the measure pass, would safeguard new revenue for education while sustaining economic growth and protecting Oregon jobs.”

House Republican Leader Mike McLane issued a harsh statement Monday against the measure.

“Come November, Oregonians will see IP 28 exactly for what it is: an ill-conceived, disingenuous measure that would have dramatic consequences for family budgets and the economic future of our state,” McLane said.

Any compromise that comes at this stage could dampen the campaign for the measure, but it would do nothing to keep the measure off the ballot. Once signatures are verified, the measure cannot be withdrawn.

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Idaho funds Treasure Valley aquifer model http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20160523/idaho-funds-treasure-valley-aquifer-model http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20160523/idaho-funds-treasure-valley-aquifer-model#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 11:31:26 -0400 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529971 BOISE — The Idaho Water Resource Board has budgeted $500,000 toward the first year of a five-year effort to study Treasure Valley aquifers and develop an improved model to predict their function.

The project was included in $14.4 million the board allocated May 20 for its Secondary Aquifer Fund.

The Idaho Legislature significantly increased its contribution to the fund for Fiscal Year 2017, which begins July 1, from $5.5 million during the current fiscal year to $12.5 million.

The remainder of the funding will come from carryover dollars and revenue generated by board assets, including Dworshak Dam and Pristine Springs Fish Hatchery.

Al Barker, a Water Resource Board member who serves as the attorney for the Boise Project Board of Control, explained there are several layers of aquifers within Treasure Valley, some of which are interconnected while others are isolated. While some have an adequate supply, others are in decline.

“I’ve always been an advocate for looking beyond the Eastern Snake Plain,” Barker said. “There are many aquifers in the state that are in need of study.”

Sean Vincent, hydrology section manager at the Idaho Department of Water Resources, plans to team with the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Idaho experts in developing the model. Vincent said the USGS was instrumental in helping to develop previous models, including one for the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. Vincent said the board will also create a technical advisory team to provide user input on the project.

Though groundwater models have provided the science to base water calls on the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, Vincent doesn’t anticipate the Treasure Valley model would be used for conjunctive management in the near future. Rather, he explained it should aid in efforts to bolster groundwater levels through recharge, and in making better management decisions for users throughout the system.

Vincent said a Senate concurrent resolution directed the board to address statewide aquifer and sustainability studies and develop a Treasure Valley groundwater model with “all necessary measurement networks.”

As a starting point, Vincent explained the model will use the existing Treasure Valley Hydrologic Project Model, which is static based on an average year. The Bureau of Reclamation “tweaked” the model in 2013 to consider economic data and monthly variability, Vincent said. He said the new model will be transient — factoring seasonal and yearly changes — highly calibrated, and will use satellite data to calculate water losses through evapotranspiration.

In the first year of the project, Vincent said the team will focus on filling in data gaps, such as installing at least a dozen gages to measure water leaving a shallow aquifer from drains that pour into the Snake River and Boise River.

Wesley Hipke, IDWR recharge coordinator, said the board approved an additional $200,000 to study Treasure Valley recharge opportunities and $200,000 to improve modeling in the Wood River Valley, among other line items. He said the majority of the funding — about $10.4 million — was earmarked for the ESPA.

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Protesters demand justice for Idaho rancher killed by deputies http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20160523/protesters-demand-justice-for-idaho-rancher-killed-by-deputies http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20160523/protesters-demand-justice-for-idaho-rancher-killed-by-deputies#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 12:29:45 -0400 Sean Ellis http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529969 BOISE — A rally to demand justice for Jack Yantis, the Adams County rancher who was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies last year, was held in front of the Idaho attorney general’s office May 20.

The attorney general’s office in March was handed the results of a months-long Idaho State Police investigation into the Nov. 1 shooting and is acting as special prosecutor in the case.

Protesters said the investigation has lasted too long and demanded the attorney general make a determination on whether the two Adams County sheriff’s deputies involved in the shooting will be charged.

“It shouldn’t take this long. My goodness, it’s been over six months,” said Melba rancher Steve Colson.

Yantis, a Council area rancher, was shot and killed by the deputies after he arrived at the scene where one of his bulls had been hit and injured by a car. He was asked by the dispatcher to go there.

Jordan Valley resident Michael McLaughlin, who has organized the Facebook page, “Justice for Jack,” said the Yantis family deserves closure and the investigation has taken too long.

“Two hundred days later, the whole family still doesn’t have closure,” he said. “Something’s wrong with that.”

The 12 protesters, a mix of Adams County and Boise area residents, stood in front of the attorney general’s office with signs and stickers demanding justice and resolution.

The attorney general released a statement in response to the rally that encouraged people to be patient until the office thoroughly reviews the results of the state police investigation.

“In order to achieve justice, my office is fulfilling its prosecutorial duty to conduct a thorough, deliberate and careful review of all the evidence that has been gathered in this complex case,” Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden stated in the release.

Wasden said the case is a high priority for his office, “but we only get one chance to achieve justice for everyone involved, including Mr. Yantis. For that reason, I have not imposed any arbitrary time lines that could lead to a rush in judgment.”

In a May 19 letter to Adams County commissioners, Wasden said the state police investigation was thorough, comprehensive and complex and he has instructed his investigators and prosecutors to be equally as thorough.

“It is important for you and for the people of Adams County to understand this process takes considerable time,” Wasden stated.

Colson, a former police officer, said he was stunned to learn that Yantis had been killed after responding to the scene where one of his bulls had been injured.

“The wife deserves to know ... why in the hell her husband was killed for doing what he was supposed to do,” he said. “The whole thing just does not make sense.”

Council resident Rebecca Barrow, who organized the protest rally, said it was held “to let the attorney general know that we haven’t forgotten Jack was killed 200 days ago and we’re asking him to put Jack’s case first. ... The family deserves to know what he’s going to decide.”

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California ag groups give more than $746,000 in scholarships http://www.capitalpress.com/RuralLife/20160523/california-ag-groups-give-more-than-746000-in-scholarships http://www.capitalpress.com/RuralLife/20160523/california-ag-groups-give-more-than-746000-in-scholarships#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 12:18:55 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529970 ANDERSON, Calif. — Two agricultural groups are handing out hundreds of scholarships worth more than $746,000 this spring.

The Sierra Pacific Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by Sierra Pacific Industries owner “Red” Emmerson, has awarded $549,450 to 209 children of SPI employees to attend college and trade schools during the 2016-2017 school year.

“Qualified recipients are eligible for the scholarship for four years and are sometimes granted a fifth year based on their school and their degree program,” Sierra Pacific spokesman Mark Pawlicki said in an email.

Meanwhile, the California Strawberry Commission announced that 261 high school graduates and students attending other institutions of higher learning will receive a combined $197,400 in scholarships for the upcoming year. The recipients are all children of farmworkers in the strawberry industry.

“What we know is that many farmworkers come to this country to improve their lives, and their children’s lives also,” commission spokeswoman Carolyn O’Donnell said. “Strawberry growers, shippers and processors recognize that, and they also know how important labor is to the success of strawberry farmers.

“This was a way for them to give back to their workers in terms of supporting their children to go to college,” she said.

The commission was presenting the scholarships to recipients at events in Oxnard, Santa Maria and Watsonville this week. Now in its 23rd year, the program has awarded about $2 million to more than 1,000 children of California strawberry farmworkers, according to a news release.

The Sierra Pacific Foundation was founded in 1979 and to date has donated more than $6 million in scholarships, according to another release.

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Massive Navajo farm faces second week without irrigation http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20160523/massive-navajo-farm-faces-second-week-2-without-irrigation http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20160523/massive-navajo-farm-faces-second-week-2-without-irrigation#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 09:09:36 -0400 FELICIA FONSECA http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529979 The largest farm on the Navajo Nation has been without water for more than a week after a pipeline break, endangering food crops worth millions of dollars and threatening jobs.

Most of the crops on the land managed by the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry near Farmington, New Mexico, were planted just before the concrete pipe failed, cutting off water to 72,000 acres of farmland. Officials have pegged June 11 as the date to have repairs completed, with water flowing through a canal system days later.

In the meantime, they’re holding out hope that the skies will stay cloudy and enough moisture will fall to sustain the plants in the desert.

“Hopefully with the small amount of rain we’ve gotten, that will help,” said LoRenzo Bates, a farmer who represents the region on the Navajo Nation Council. “At the end of the day, there will need to be some serious management decisions by all the growers as to whether or not to go with what’s still there or replant.”

The irrigation canal delivers water to the tribal farm from the San Juan River through Navajo Dam. The water that was in the canal when the 17-foot diameter pipe broke May 13 is being rationed among the crops grown by the tribal company and those who lease land.

A New Mexico State University research station is not taking water on its 250-acre plot nor is it planting anything new. Instead, the station is using the situation to study how plants respond to stress and the vulnerability of irrigation-dependent agriculture in the Southwest, said Kevin Lombard, superintendent of the school’s Agricultural Science Center in Farmington, New Mexico.

“It’s not a good time to be worrying about not having water,” he said. “It’s very stressful, very emotional.”

Contractors and the chief executive of NAPI, Wilton Charley, said they believe the crops that include alfalfa, corn, beans and pumpkins can weather three weeks with little to no water, but anything beyond that becomes risky.

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for operating and maintenance of the irrigation system that was built decades ago by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, federal officials said. The Navajo Nation oversees all on-site activities on the farms. Crews have spent the past week excavating the 20-foot section of pipe and figuring out where a replacement could be manufactured, given its age of 44 years.

The expectation is that it could be fixed by June 11, but it would take a few days to refill the canal before crops could be watered from it, bureau spokeswoman Nedra Darling said. Darling did not have a cost estimate and didn’t immediately know the pipe’s last inspection date.

Hauling water to the farms or laying a pipe across the wash are not viable options because of the size of the farmland, Charley said.

Already, the tribal farm and contractors are making tough decisions to let some crops go dry, forgo additional planting and lay off workers.

John Hamby, whose family owns companies that grow pumpkins and popping corn on 5,100 acres of the tribal farm, cut half of the staff after the water break, leaving 15 workers. The number of people needed at harvest time swells to 600.

The 1,000 truckloads of pumpkins produced per year are destined for fundraising and the popped corn to the wholesale market. Hamby said popping corn is less important right now than the pumpkins, which haven’t sustained much damage but also don’t need a whole lot of water right now.

“If this would have happened in July, this would have been a disaster,” he said.

Mark Anderson, who heads Anderson Hay and Grain Co. Inc., said the company will expedite its first cut of alfalfa by a few days. From there, it goes to a compressing facility in Los Angeles and to domestic and export markets and to dairy farmers in the United States.

“So there’s plenty of jobs impacted and plenty of customers and marketplaces that expect hay,” he said. “If there wasn’t a fix in fairly short order, there could be a fairly big impact.”

Some of the tribal farm’s inventory from last year still is being shipped to the market, Charley said. Alfalfa, pinto beans, potatoes and corn are sold under the Navajo Pride label. He said it’s too early to tell whether this year’s expectations for harvest will be met.

“Once we get a better handle of where we’re at, we’ll approach those discussions then,” he said.

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Hoping to increase demand, commission turns to domestic market for western white wheat http://www.capitalpress.com/Profit/20160523/hoping-to-increase-demand-commission-turns-to-domestic-market-for-western-white-wheat http://www.capitalpress.com/Profit/20160523/hoping-to-increase-demand-commission-turns-to-domestic-market-for-western-white-wheat#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 11:10:40 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529972 SPOKANE — Washington state farmers export most of the western white wheat they produce.

Now, however, members of the Washington Grain Commission hope to market the blend of soft white wheat and club wheat to domestic customers, too.

Working with consultant Art Bettge, the Washington Grain Commission is studying the possibility.

“It’s a niche market overseas, but expanding demand benefits everybody,” said Glen Squires, the commission CEO. “Domestic mills and bakers are making the same types of products. We should expand their knowledge into the different blends.”

Washington produces about 85 percent of the nation’s club wheat, estimated to be about 280,000 acres. The rest is grown in Oregon and Idaho, Squires said.

The domestic potential is best on the West Coast, where transportation costs are lowest, Bettge said.

Most domestic customers were unaware of the market class, Bettge said. Board of trade printouts typically show only soft white wheat or soft wheat, he said.

“They had no clue it even exists,” he said.

But they were sure interested when they heard that they might get 2 percent more flour yield than soft white or soft red wheat and enhanced performance in some products, he said.

Bettge said future demand depends on how willing corporate executives in large milling or baking companies are to embrace change.

Would this improve growers’ profitability?

“Oh, hell yes,” he said.

Club wheat acreage typically increases as the price premium increases. More demand would create more supply and level out that variability, he said.

“The more demand you get, it drives production,” Squires said.

Club wheat is priced the same as soft white on the Portland market, $5.23 to $5.32 per bushel. Club wheat with a maximum 10.5 percent protein is $5.37 to $5.76 per bushel, compared to $5.33 to $5.36 per bushel for soft white wheat with 10.5 percent protein maximum.

Western white wheat is a blend of 10 to 20 percent club wheat with soft white wheat. That blend gives the “biggest kick” for making sponge cakes, Bettge said.

The commission is looking into higher blends of club for some products, up to 40 to 60 percent.

“When you’re making other products baking down to a very low moisture content like you would see in a cookie or a wafer, putting in 40 percent to 60 percent club wheat in with your soft white gives you a big performance boost,” Bettge said. “The more club wheat put in, the better performance you get, especially if you’re using Otto or another stronger gluten-type soft white wheat.”

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It’s official: Bayer makes $62 billion bid for Monsanto http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20160523/its-official-bayer-makes-62-billion-merger-bid-for-monsanto http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20160523/its-official-bayer-makes-62-billion-merger-bid-for-monsanto#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 08:12:03 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529983 BERLIN (AP) — German drug and chemicals company Bayer AG announced Monday that it has made a $62 billion offer to buy U.S.-based crops and seeds specialist Monsanto.

The proposed combination would create a giant seed and farm chemical company with a strong presence in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Bayer said the all-cash offer values shares of Monsanto at $122 each. That compares with a closing price Friday of $101.52 and is 37 percent higher than the closing price of $89.03 on May 9, the day before Bayer made a written proposal to Monsanto.

Bayer had said on Thursday that its executives met recently with their Monsanto counterparts “to privately discuss a negotiated acquisition” of the specialist in genetically modified crop seeds, which is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Monsanto said then that it was reviewing Bayer’s proposal.

Bayer said it plans to finance the acquisition with a combination of debt and equity, the latter to be raised largely by issuing new shares. Bayer’s shares, which tumbled after the initial announcement last week, dropped 3.1 percent in early Frankfurt trading Monday to 86.78 euros ($97.37). Monsanto shares jumped 11.3 percent to $112.98 in pre-market trading.

The German company said that it “is prepared to proceed immediately to due diligence and negotiations and to quickly agree to a transaction.”

“Monsanto is a perfect match to our agricultural business,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said in a video message posted on his company’s website. “We would combine complementary skills with minimal geographic overlap.”

“The acquisition of Monsanto checks all the boxes in terms of strategic fit and value creation potential,” he added. “At the same time, ongoing consolidation activities in the industry make this combination by far the most attractive one.”

Baumann said Bayer expects the transaction to “create significant synergies” and bolster earnings in the first full year after it is completed.

Both companies are familiar brands on farms around the globe. Bayer’s farm business produces seeds as well as compounds to kill weeds, bugs and fungus.

Monsanto has some 20,000 employees and produces seeds for fruits, vegetables and other crops including corn, soybeans and cotton, as well as the popular weed-killer Roundup.

Bayer, headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany, employs some 117,000 people worldwide.

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National wool and sheep report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/national-wool-and-sheep-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/national-wool-and-sheep-report#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 10:19:14 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529973 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.

NATIONAL WOOL REVIEW

(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

May 20

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was slow this week. There were 104,500 lbs. of confirmed trades. Wool continues being traded at prices falling between the 80-85 percent of Australia range. Prices have been remaining steady, though currency reflects changes. Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was at a standstill this week. There were no confirmed trades.

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50

NATIONAL SHEEP SUMMARY

(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

May 20

Compared to last week slaughter lambs were mostly steady to $15 lower, except at Ft. Collins, Colo., steady to $10 higher. Slaughter ewes were uneven, $5-10 lower at San Angelo, Texas, and Sioux Falls, S.D., and steady to $5 higher at New Holland, Pa., and Ft. Collins. Feeder lambs were mostly $5-10 lower. At San Angelo, Texas, 6,681 head sold. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction.

In direct trading slaughter ewes were not tested and feeder lambs were steady. 3,100 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were $2-4 higher. 9,900 head of formula sales had no trend due to confidentiality.

4,624 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs. and down $15.80 lower; 45-65 lbs. no trend due to confidentiality; 65-75 lbs. $.87 higher; 75-85 lbs. $.07 higher and 85 lbs. and up no trend due to confidentiality.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 100-155 lbs. $126-136, few $141-148.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $200-222; 60-70 lbs. $170-190, few $190-216; 70-80 lbs. $160-178, few $180-188; 80-90 lbs. $151-168; 90-110 lbs. $150-168.

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

3,100 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 126-197 lbs. $130-157 (wtd avg $139.03).

Calfironai: 900 Feeder Lambs 120-130 lbs. $150.

SLAUGHTER EWES:

San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $55-66; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $68-80; Utility 1-2 (thin) $60-72; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $54-62; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $40-50.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 50-60 lbs. $202-206; 65-70 lbs. $183-184; 70-80 lbs. $178-186; 80-90 lbs. $174-180; 90-110 lbs. $169-179.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: baby tooth wooled 128 per head, others 120-140 lbs. $102-110 cwt; hair ewe lambs 60-80 lbs. $180-194 cwt; mixed age hair ewes 100-150 lbs. $102-130 cwt.

NATIONAL WEEKLY LAMB CARCASS Choice and Prime 1-4:

Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. Down $499.70

45-55 lbs. Price not reported due to confidentiality

55-65 lbs. $326.87

65-75 lbs. $285.47

75-85 lbs. $275.79

85 lbs. and up Price not reported due to confidentiality

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 40,000 compared with 39,000 last week and 40,000 last year.

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Western hay price report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/western-hay-price-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/western-hay-price-report#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 10:14:56 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529974 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:

Grade RFV ADF TDN CP

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

WASHINGTON-OREGON HAY

(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 20

This week FOB Last week Last year

19,100 6,490 12,520

Compared to May 13: All grades of export and domestic Alfalfa steady. Trade active this week for new crop non-rained-on export Alfalfa. Demand good for export quality, light for dairy hay. Dairy hay trade slow. Rain showers over the trade area has damaged new crop supplies. Retail/Feedstore not tested this week. Demand remains good.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square Supreme 150 $127

Premium 3000 $150-160

Good/Prem. 2750 $145-155

Good 9100 $110-140

900 $127

2700 $80

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 500 $160

OREGON AREA HAY

(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

May 20

This week FOB Last week Last year

238 1,138 1,862

Compared to May 13: Prices trended generally steady compared to week-ago prices in a very limited test. Many producers have decided to hold on to their hay for now, in hopes for higher prices or to feed to their own animals.

Many hay producers are sold out for the year. New crop hay is growing and will be harvested in the upcoming months.

Tons Price

CROOK, DESCHUTES, JEFFERSON, WASCO COUNTIES

Orchard Grass Large Square Good/Prem. 29 $200

Small Square Premium 4 $250

Grass Mix Five-Way Small Square Premium 10 $275

LAKE COUNTY

Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 105 $225

Small Square Premium 30 $200

30 $200

Alfalfa/Oat Mix Large Square Premium 30 $150

EASTERN OREGON: No new sales confirmed.

HARNEY COUNTY: No new sales confirmed.

KLAMATH BASIN: No new sales confirmed.

IDAHO HAY

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 20

This week FOB Last week Last year

3,000 4,200 4,700

Compared to May 13: All grades of Alfalfa steady in a light test. New crop sales reported this week are having high moisture problems as rain showers dominate the trade area.

Trade slow with light to moderate demand. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square Supreme 3000 $125

CALIFORNIA HAY

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 20

This week FOB Last week Last year

16,050 9,680 15,722

Compared to May 13: All classes traded steady with a softer undertone. Demand moderate to light.

With the conclusion of the snow season, statewide reservoir storage is above average in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming while near-normal levels are present in Oregon and Utah. Conversely, below-normal storage levels remain in Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Tons Price

REGION 1: NORTHERN INTERMOUNTAIN

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

Alfalfa Supreme 200 $190

200 $210

Premium 50 $140

Good 375 90

Fair/Good 50 $110

Orchard Grass Premium 50 $240

Timothy Grass Premium 50 $200

REGION 2: SACRAMENTO VALLEY

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

Alfalfa Premium 100 $180

Good/Prem. 50 $120

400 $120

25 $120

Good 950 $90-110

100 $70

Fair/Good 450 $70

Orchard Grass Premium 75 $160

Oat Good 425 $74

1250 $80

125 $60

75 $125

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 200 $170

Rice Straw Good 175 $87

REGION 3: NORTHERN SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

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

Alfalfa Supreme 1000 $190-200

500 $210

Prem./Sup. 500 $180

Good/Prem. 400 $160

750 $177-180

Good 1000 $120

Fair 25 $125

Wheat Good 900 $50-70

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 150 $125

REGION 4: CENTRAL SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

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

No new sales confirmed.

REGION 5: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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

Alfalfa Supreme 170 $250

Premium 75 $210

200 $230

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 75 $210

REGION 6: SOUTHEAST CALIFORNIA

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

Alfalfa Premium 225 $160-170

Good/Prem. 2500 $155-160

980 $150-155

50 $155

Good 800 $125

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West Coast grain price report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/west-coast-grain-price-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/west-coast-grain-price-report#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 10:04:58 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529975 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.

PORTLAND GRAIN

(USDA Market News)

Portland

May 19

PACIFIC NORTHWEST MARKET SUMMARY

Cash wheat bids for May delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday May 19, mixed compared to May 12 noon bids for May delivery.

July wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, May 12, mixed as follows compared to last week’s closes: Chicago wheat futures were .75 of a cent higher at $4.6875, Kansas City wheat futures were 1.75 cents lower at $4.48 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 1.50 cents lower at $5.2850.

Chicago July corn futures trended one cent higher at $3.90 and July soybean futures closed .50 of a cent lower at $10.7150.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during May for ordinary protein were $5.2375-5.47, 2.50 cents to 4.25 cents per bushel lower compared to May 12 noon bids for the same delivery period.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. White club wheat premiums for this week and last week were zero cents over bids for soft white wheat.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for May 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: June $5.2875-5.47, July $5.2375-5.45 and August New Crop $5.30-5.43. One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: June and July were not available, August New Crop and September $5.85-6.1850.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during May were $5.3375-5.52, 9.25 to 12.50 cents per bushel lower compared to week ago prices for the same delivery period.

White club wheat premiums for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein soft white wheat were zero to 40 cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids this week and last week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for May delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were $6.45-6.7425 and bids for White Club Wheat were also not available. Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: June $5.3875-5.52, July $5.2875-5.45, August New Crop and September $5.2950-5.43. One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: June $6.2025-6.5025, July $6.19-6.2325, August New Crop $6.0850-6.2350, and September $6.22- 6.2350.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein U.S. 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for May delivery were 1.75 to 9.75 cents per bushel lower compared to May 12 noon bids for May delivery. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. This week, bids were as follows: May $5.23-5.30, June $5.23-5.33, July $5.26-5.33, August New Crop $5.19-5.39 and September $5.39-5.44.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein U.S. 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during May were mixed, from 1.50 cents lower to 3.50 cents per bushel higher 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: May $6.0850-6.3350, June $6.1850- 6.3350, July $6.1850-6.2850, August New Crop and September $6.1575-6.3075.

COARSE FEEDING GRAINS

Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for May delivery were steady to one cent higher from $4.64-4.70 per bushel. Forward month corn bids were as follows: June $4.65-4.72, July $4.64-4.75, August/September $4.5850-4.7550, October/November $4.8225-4.8725 and December $4.8525-4.8725. Bids for U.S. 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for May delivery were .50 of a cent to 5.50 cents lower from $11.2150-11.2650 per bushel. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: June $11.2650, July $11.3150-11.3350, September $11.3950-11.4150 and October/November $11.3950-11.4350. Bids for U.S. 2 Heavy White Oats for May delivery trended steady at $3.92 per bushel.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST EXPORT NEWS

There were seven grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, May 19, with two docked compared to six last week with two docked. There were no new confirmed export sales this week from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.

CALIFORNIA GRAINS

(USDA Market News)

Portland

May 19

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

GRAIN DELIVERED

Mode Destination Price per cwt.

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

FOB Solano County NA

Rail Los Angeles NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.85-8.90

Kern County NA

Colusa County NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Madera County NA

Glenn County NA

Colusa County NA

Solano County NA

CORN - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

FOB Turlock-Tulare $8.73

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $7.80

Kings-Tulare-Fresno NA

Rail Single Car Units via BNSF

Chino Valley-Los Angeles $9.18-9.20

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.04

Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $9.04

Glenn County NA

SORGHUM - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley

via BNSF Single $9.11

Truck Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.25

OATS - U.S. No. 1 White

Truck Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

OATS - U.S. No. 2 White

Truck Petaluma NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Rail Petaluma NA

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

(Domestic Values for Flour Milling)

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles 11-12 percent Protein

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

FOB Tulare NA

WHEAT - U.S. Durum Wheat

Truck Imperial County $11

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

WHEAT - Any Class for Feed

FOB Tulare NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.90

Merced County $8.25

Truck/Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa $9.25

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $8.75

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 May 12:

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

Imperial Valley $11 Spot Del locally

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California shell egg price report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/california-shell-egg-price-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/california-shell-egg-price-report#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 09:59:45 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529976 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.

DAILY CALIFORNIA SHELL EGGS

(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

May 19

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are 11 cents lower for Jumbo, Extra Large and Large and unchanged for Medium and Small. The undertone is lower. Retail demand continues light to moderate at best with food service sales usually moderate. Distributive buying interest is light and price sensitive as warehouse operators battle to maintain customers. Offerings are heavy while supplies range light to heavy. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price 66 cents.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 136 Extra large 123

Large 115 Medium 86

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 88-99 Extra large 49-60

Large 46-55 Medium 24-33

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National feeder and stocker cattle report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/national-feeder-and-stocker-cattle-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/national-feeder-and-stocker-cattle-report#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 09:50:33 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529977 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.

NATIONAL FEEDER AND STOCKER CATTLE

(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

May 19

This week Last week Last year

234,700 249,200 204,700

Compared to May 12: Steer and heifer calves early in the week sold steady to $5 higher, with instances up to $15 higher on sales that didn’t get to take advantage the uptick in the market.

For the week, yearling steers and heifers traded mostly steady to $3 higher. Several auctions across the North and South Plains have had steers weighing over 900 lbs. in their runs the past few weeks due to the excellent weather from winter through spring.

Some of the highest prices seen this spring were perhaps this week as two loads of light 9 weight fancy steers in Valentine, Neb., sold on May 18 at $149-149.35.

Several strings of steers at Hub City Livestock in Aberdeen, S.D., and Mitchell Livestock in South Dakota had a wtd avg on 1000-1150 lbs. north of $130 and at Huss-Platte Valley Auction in Kearney, Neb., on May 17 sold four loads of 1012 lbs steers at $138.50.

Replacement heifers are still in demand as a short load of 787 lb. Red Angus heifers sold in West Plains, Mo., on May 16 at $165.

Fed cattle trade this week saw a $2 drop to sell at mostly $132 in the South Plains on moderate volume after the previous week’s largest 5-Area cash trading week since early August 2012 and last week’s estimated cattle harvest of 601,000 was the largest since w/e June 28, 2014.

Analysts are watching the steer dressed weight drop like a rock as the latest available weight is reported at 862 lbs.; 42 lbs. less than the first of the year and the largest drop in the same corresponding time frame since 2007.

CME Feeder Cattle contracts settled the week around $1.50 higher than last May 19, while the Live Cattle contracts closed the week nearly $3 lower on the June contract and very uneven on the deferred contracts. Cattle on Feed Report was released May 19 with May 1 at 101 percent; Placements at 107 percent and Marketings at 101 percent with placements being above estimates and others coming in around estimates. Auction volume this week included 61 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 41 percent heifers.

AUCTIONS

This week Last week Last year

188,700 159,000 168,000

WASHINGTON 1,300. 70 pct over 600 lbs. 38 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 500-550 lbs. $174.08; half load 795 lbs. $139; pkg 860 lbs. $134.50. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 800-850 lbs. $133.58.

DIRECT

This week Last week Last year

44,800 50,100 29,900

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

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 5,200. 89 pct over 600 lbs. 11 pct heifers. Steers: Large 1 Current Delivered Price 850-900 lbs. $144-145 Washington-Idaho. Medium and Large 1-2 Future Delivery FOB Price 500 lbs. $177 for October-November Idaho; 550-600 lbs. $160-165.50 for October-November Oregon-Idaho; 550-600 lbs. $175 value added Idaho for October-November; 600-700 lbs. $142-156.50 calves for October-April Oregon-Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $166 value added for October-November Idaho; 850 lbs. $135 for July Oregon. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivered Price 800-900 lbs. $130-142 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price 450-500 lbs. $154 for October-November Idaho-Oregon; 550-600 lbs. $153 for December-January Idaho-Oregon.

NATIONAL SLAUGHTER CATTLE

(USDA Market News)

Oklahoma City, Okla.

May 19

Slaughter cattle sold steady to $2 lower in Texas and Kansas. Dressed basis sales were $4-5 lower in Nebraska. It is late May and the June LC Futures is roughly a $10 discount on the futures board to the cash. Packers looking to take advantage and bought cattle lower. Beef prices seemed to find a top and showed some signs of weakening late in the week. Boxed Beef prices May 19 averaged $217.19 from May 12. The Choice/Select spread is $17.54. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through May 19 totaled about 71,475 head. The previous week’s total head count was 163,376 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: few $131. Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers $205-206.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers $130-132.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls steady to $2 higher. Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value May 19 was $173.73 up $1.45 from May 12.

NORTHWEST DIRECT CATTLE

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 19

This week Last week Last year

5,200 3,600 2,500

Compared to May 12: Feeder cattle firm to $9 higher. Trade moderate. Demand moderate to good. The feeder supply included 89 percent steers and 11 percent heifers. Near 62 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 Delivered Price: 850-900 lbs. $144-145 Washington-Idaho. Medium and Large 1-2: Future Delivery FOB Price: 500 lbs. $177 for October-November Idaho; 550-600 lbs. $160-165.50 for October-November Oregon-Idaho; 550-600 lbs. $175 value added Idaho for October-November; 600-700 lbs. $142-156.50 calves for October-April Oregon-Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $166 value added for October-November Idaho; 850 lbs. $135 for July Oregon.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current Delivered Price: 800-900 lbs. $130-142 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price: 450-500 lbs. $154 for October-November Idaho-Oregon; 550-600 lbs. $153 for December-January Idaho-Oregon.

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Selected Western livestock auctions http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/selected-western-livestock-auctions http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20160523/selected-western-livestock-auctions#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 09:43:26 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529978 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.

California

SHASTA

(Shasta Livestock Auction)

Cottonwood, Calif.

May 20

Current week Last week

2,703 802

Compared to May 13: Slaughter cows $2-3 lower. Top bulls $8-10 lower. Stockers and feeders $2-10 higher with lots of good bunches of cattle. Off lots and singles $30-60 below top offerings.

Slaughter cows: High yielding $68-73; $73-79 high dress; Boning $60-67; Cutters $40-60.

Bulls 1 and 2: $60-89; $90-96 high dress.

Feeder steers: 300-400 lbs. $180-205; 400-450 lbs. $187-188; 450-500 lbs. $170-188; 500-550 lbs. $160-183; 550-600 lbs. $150-171; 600-650 lbs. $145-162.50; 650-700 lbs. $140-157.50; 700-750 lbs. $130-152; 750-800 lbs. $125-137; 800-900 lbs. $125-136; 900-1,00 lbs. $115-125.

Feeder heifers: 300-400 lbs. $155-185; 400-450 lbs. $142-151; 450-500 lbs. $137-158; 500-550 lbs. $140-165; 550-600 lbs. $140-174; 600-650 lbs. $125-144.50; 650-700 lbs. $125-142.50; 700-750 lbs. $120-140; 750-800 lbs. $117-126.50; 800-900 lbs. $114-127.

Pairs: Various types and ages. $1,375-1,825.

Calvy cows: Few $1,300-1,575.

Washington

TOPPENISH

(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 19

This week Last week Last year

1,300 1,500 1,300

Compared to May 12 at the same market: Stocker and feeder cattle steady to $5 higher. Trade active with moderate demand. Slaughter cows and bulls steady to $2 higher. Trade active with good demand.

Slaughter cows 55 percent, Slaughter bulls 10 percent, and feeders 35 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 62 percent steers and 38 percent heifers. Near 70 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 300-400 lbs. $177; 400-500 lbs. $182; 500-600 lbs. $170-178; 600-700 lbs. $155-160; 600-700 lbs. $170, Thin Fleshed; 700-800 lbs. $139-142; 800-900 lbs. $134.50; 800-900 lbs. $128, Full. Large 1: 900-1000 lbs. $136; 1400-1500 lbs. $116.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $146; 500-600 lbs. $137-140; 600-700 lbs. $130-135.50; 700-800 lbs. $126; 800-900 lbs. $125-134.60. Medium and Large 2-3: 700-800 lbs. $110. Large 2-3: 1200-1300 lbs. $ 89; 1300-1400 lbs. $91.50.

Slaughter Cows: Boning 80-85 percent lean 1400-2000 lbs. $72-76; Boning 80-85 percent lean 1300-1700 lbs. $76-82.50; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1100-1700 lbs. $72-77; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1200-1500 lbs. $80-84; Lean Light 90 percent lean 1000-1300 lbs. $60-64.

Slaughter Bulls: Yield Grade 1-2 1500-2600 lbs. $88-95.

Feeder Cows: Large 2-3: 1000-1100 lbs. $86, Young.

Idaho.

CALDWELL

(Treasure Valley Livestock)

April 29

Steers (wt.): 400-500 lbs. $65; 500-600 lbs. $115; 600-700 lbs. $94; 700-800 lbs. $94; 800 lbs. And up $77.75.

Steers (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $160; 300-400 lbs. $270; 400-500 lbs. $300.

Heifers (wt.): 400-500 lbs. $35; 500-600 lbs. $64.50; 600-700 lbs. $60; 700-800 lbs. $66.75.

Heifers (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $150; 300-400 lbs. $235.

Bull Calf (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $130.

Cows (wt.): 900-1000 lbs. $58.25; 1100-1200 lbs. $65; 1200-1300 lbs. $50; 1300-1400 lbs. $73; 1400-1500 lbs. $79; 1500-1600 lbs. $74.50; 1600-1700 lbs. $77.50; 1700-1800 lbs. $77.25; 1800-1900 lbs. $77.

Heiferettes (wt.): 1000-1100 lbs. $90; 1200-1300 lbs. $94.50; 1300-1400 lbs. $85; 1400-1500 lbs. $90.

MADRAS

(Central Oregon Livestock Auction)

May 16

Total head count: 305.

Baby calves: NA.

Steers: 300-400 lbs. $160-180; 400-500 lbs. $160-170; 500-600 lbs. $155-165; 600-700 lbs. $145-155; 700-800 lbs. $135-145; 800-900 lbs. $130-135.

Bulls: High yield $92-96; mostly $90-93; thinner $85-90.

Pairs: NA.

Bred cows: NA.

Heifers: 300-400 lbs. $150-165; 400-500 lbs. $150-165; 500-600 lbs. $140-150; 600-700 lbs. $130-140; 700-800 lbs. $120-130.

Heiferettes: 850-1000 lbs. $110-120.

Cows: Heiferettes $90; Fleshy cows $78; high-yield $80; medium-yield $75; low-yield $65.

Oregon

VALE

(Producers Livestock Market)

May 18

Total receipts: 619 head.

Comments: A few fall calves to test the market, medium demand for what was offered.

Steer calves: 400-500 lbs. $137-166; 500-600 lbs. $153-176.

Heifer calves: 300-400 lbs. $142-153; 400-500 lbs. $137-149; 500-600 lbs. $132-149.

Yearling steers: 600-700 lbs. $136-157; 700-800 lbs. $131-144; 800-900 lbs. $112-129; 900-1000 lbs. $108-119.

Yearling heifers: 600-700 lbs. $131-144.

Light Holstein steers, 600 lbs. and under: $91-109.

Light Holstein steers, 700 lbs. and over: $92-109.50.

Stock cows (young): NA.

Stock cows (B.M.): NA.

Pairs, young: $1575-1860.

Butcher cows: $68-81.

Thin shelly cows: $51-63.

Butcher bulls: $73-89.

Heiferettes: $86-102

Washington

EVERSON

(Everson Livestock Auction)

May 14

Total receipts: 276.

Steers (wt.): lbs. 300-400 lbs. $98; 400-500 lbs. $60-164; 500-600 lbs. $81-161; 600-700 lbs. $86-155; 700-800 lbs. $78-164; 800-900 lbs. $70-164; 900-1000 lbs. $79-161; 1000-1100 lbs. $75-153; 1100-1300 lbs. $81-142; 1300-1500 lbs. $80;

Bulls (hd.): 300-400 lbs. $160-300; 400-500 lbs. $350.

Bulls (wt.): lbs. 300-400 $116; 400-500 lbs. $86-164; 500-600 lbs. $111-165; 600-700 lbs. $109-133; 700-800 lbs. $90-129; 800-900 lbs. $93; 1000-1100 lbs. $78; 1300-1500 lbs. $94; 1500-2000 lbs. $81.

Slaughter cows (wt.): $30-60.50.

Heifers (wt.): lbs. 300-400 lbs. $65-122; 400-500 lbs. $70-166; 500-600 lbs. $80-164; 600-700 lbs. $78-141; 700-800 lbs. $77-139; 800-900 lbs. $75-141; 900-1000 lbs. $79-126.

Heifers (hd.): 300 lbs. $80-270; 300-400 lbs. $90-210; 400-500 lbs. $410; 500-600 lbs. $460; 1100-1300 lbs. $900.

Pairs (hd.): $850-1450.

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Idaho man won&#x2019;t fight charges that he stole from elk ranch http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20160523/idaho-man-wont-fight-charges-that-he-stole-from-elk-ranch http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20160523/idaho-man-wont-fight-charges-that-he-stole-from-elk-ranch#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 09:05:29 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529980 TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A former employee of a Twin Falls elk ranch has agreed to a plea deal on charges that he stole from ranch owners.

The Times-News reports that 31-year-old Brandon Eldredge was charged with stealing elk semen from the Early Morning Elk Ranch in 2011 and selling it to another ranch for $3,000.

Eldredge entered an Alford plea to felony grand theft on Tuesday, meaning he did not admit to committing the crime but conceded that he would likely be found guilty if the case went to trial.

According to the plea agreement, Eldredge will receive a suspended sentence of two to five years in prison and be placed under supervised probation for two years.

He has also agreed to pay back the Early Morning Elk Ranch.

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Conservation groups want to stop Utah lands push http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20160523/conservation-groups-want-to-stop-utah-lands-push http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20160523/conservation-groups-want-to-stop-utah-lands-push#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 09:03:09 -0400 MICHELLE L. PRICE http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529981 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Leaders of Utah’s nearly $6 billion outdoor recreation industry plan to launch a campaign that criticizes a push by state officials to take control of vast swaths of public land from the federal government.

Outdoor industry officials and conservationists are putting up billboards in Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada that they say will show how the lands push threatens Utah’s recreation industry. The group plans to hold a press conference outside Utah’s Capitol on Monday morning to launch the effort.

State GOP lawmakers have been urging Utah’s attorney general to sue the federal government with the hope of gaining control of about 30 million acres. The lawsuit is expected to cost up to $14 million, but critics say Utah has no legal claim to the land, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies.

Proponents of the lawsuit argue that the state’s claim lies in the Utah Enabling Act, which led to Utah’s statehood. Supporters, mainly Republicans, contend that the state would be a better manager and that local control would allow Utah to make money from taxes and development rights on those acres.

Attorney General Sean Reyes has not said if he’ll pursue the case, but lawmakers have already stashed $4.5 million for the lawsuit.

The group launching the billboards includes Brad Petersen, the first person to serve as the director of Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. Gov. Gary Herbert created the office in 2013 after a trade group threatened to pull its lucrative biannual expo from the state, citing concerns that Utah wasn’t committed to protecting public lands.

Petersen held the job for two years before resigning in November to work in the private sector.

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King cotton loses its crown in Arkansas http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20160523/king-cotton-loses-its-crown-in-arkansas http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20160523/king-cotton-loses-its-crown-in-arkansas#Comments Mon, 23 May 2016 08:28:25 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529982 LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Cotton gins are disappearing as Arkansas farmers abandon cotton for more profitable crops.

The number of gins in the state has fallen from 86 to 26 in the past 15 years, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Sunday. Nine gins closed in Arkansas in 2014 alone, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The upkeep is expensive, said Terry Holland, a farmer who has grown cotton for about 30 years, and many gin owners found it wasn’t worth it to modernize the needed infrastructure and implements.

This year, an estimated 9.56 million acres of cotton was to be planted in the U.S. — 11 percent more than last year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But Arkansas’ acreage has slipped significantly: About 1 million acres of cotton were planted in Arkansas in 2000, but has fallen to a projected 330,000 acres for 2016, the USDA said.

“The state’s cotton industry has never seen an extended period of acreage reduction quite like we’ve seen since 2000,” said Scott Stiles, extension economist for the University of Arkansas System’s Agriculture Division.

Holland says he can recall a time when there were 15 to 16 cotton gins in eastern Clay County.

“Now there’s one,” Holland said.

Farmers now plant crops that can boost their bottom lines, such as soybeans, in the fields that once grew cotton.

“We saw the prices go up in other commodities,” said Nathan Reed, a row-crop farmer in the Arkansas Delta. “Not so in cotton.”

Cotton is expensive to grow, Reed said. The equipment and infrastructure is specialized, and that can require a lot of money upfront. A cotton picker will cost a farmer around $700,000, he said. Unlike combines that can be used for various types of crops, cotton pickers are only used for cotton production.

“It takes a whole different set of machinery to grow cotton,” Reed said. “A lot of farmers sold their old pickers and didn’t make the investment in a new one.”

Reed said it takes about 2,000 acres of cotton to make the investment profitable.

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New challenges emerge for cattle ranchers after 2012 drought http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20160521/new-challenges-emerge-for-cattle-ranchers-after-2012-drought http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20160521/new-challenges-emerge-for-cattle-ranchers-after-2012-drought#Comments Thu, 19 May 2016 09:21:56 -0400 NIKKI WORKGreeley Tribune http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529999 GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — At Marshall Ernst’s ranch in Windsor, the curly white faces and red hair of Hereford cows stand out against the green and brown patches of pasture.

For nearly 40 years, Marshall and his wife, Barbara, have run their herd of Herefords, an operation built around breeding and advancing genetics. Ernst loves Herefords. They’re sturdy, adaptable and good mother cows, but the best thing about them is they’ve been dependable through difficult years. Ernst expects his family will need to rely on the herd again soon as the cattle industry goes through some changes, the Greeley Tribune reported.

In 2001, the Ernsts moved to Windsor. From then until 2012, it was dry, and the commercial calf industry took a big hit and the national cattle herd numbers dwindled. The Ernsts were able to weather the storm because of how well Herefords can get through the hard times.

After the drought came the perfect storm of low herd numbers and high beef demand, Ernst said. In 2015, cattle prices hit an all-time high. The beef industry started to rebuild.

May is National Beef Month, and states are celebrating the commodity and its place in the agriculture economy. In states like Colorado, a strong beef industry means a strong agricultural sector. Terry Fankhauser, the executive vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, said ag is Colorado’s second-largest industry and beef is the largest commodity within the sector, with revenue from beef making up 60 percent of the industry. The total number of cattle in the state is at about 2.7 million head, he said.

A large portion of those cattle live in Weld County. According to the 2015 Colorado Agricultural Statistics report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Weld is home to nearly half a million cattle and calves. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, that puts Weld at No. 1 in the state and third in the country for all cattle production.

Greeley is the birthplace of the modern feedlot system. In 1906, the Monfort family moved to an 80-acre plot north of Greeley. Warren Monfort bought 18 head of cattle in 1930 and turned them into a cattle feeding business. He and his son, Kenneth, thought it would be a smarter business model to bring packing plants to where cattle were fed, rather than shipping cattle to the plants, so the Monfort beef packing plant opened in 1960 in north Greeley. The company expanded, built additional feedlots, added a lamb-packing plant and went through several mergers and sales. That plant eventually became JBS USA.

Since the drought, ranchers have been in what’s called a restocking phase, Fankhauser said. Every year, 5 percent more calves are being born.

In the past 20 years, calf prices have run the gamut from the highest they’ve ever been to the lowest, Fankhauser said. The cattle industry used to run in 10-year cycles of highs and lows. It doesn’t do that anymore, and now, there are additional obstacles in the way of the significant growth the industry is ready to do.

One of those issues is how to grow alongside metropolitan areas. Fankhauser said it’s important to realize cities are growing — and that’s not going to stop. He hopes developers will build upward in Colorado instead of outward. But vertical growth can only do so much when it comes to water and air resources. It’s time for farmers and ranchers to look at what they can do to help keep growth agreeable on both sides, he said.

“I think there is opportunity even through that growth,” he said. “If we can manage that growth in nearly a harmonious fashion with the ongoing continuation of ag and really understanding, I think a relationship can be made that can be quite productive.”

More people living in Colorado means more local consumers, he said.

But consumer challenges when it comes to the beef industry aren’t just local — they’re global. Fankhauser said U.S. consumers have a great demand for beef, but there’s a ceiling for how much they will consume. The greatest opportunities for producers lie in foreign markets and in opening trade paths, such as those available in agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“International trade is paramount to the U.S. because that’s where our customer base is going to lie,” he said. “As you see more of a well-to-do society establishing itself (in developing nations), they want better quality food, and what they really want in protein is U.S. products. The optimistic side of our industry is tremendous in these countries.”

For Ernst, some of the biggest challenges facing beef in Colorado aren’t overseas. These issues come from competing industries. Expanded dairy production in Colorado, especially in areas like Weld County, causes competition for resources. That puts pressure on the beef industry, Ernst said.

“It’s driven costs up,” he said. “It hurts in the pocketbook, there’s no two ways about it.”

With beef prices starting to slide back down, these increases in outputs are hard to swing. Sometimes, though, the extra spending can be beneficial in the long run, like in the case of genetic research, he said. If you can find ways to make your cattle better and make more money later, that expense may be worth it.

For Ernst, genetics are what gets him by. His Herefords are sold to other Hereford breeders, but also crossbred well, especially with Angus cattle. The babies then are called Black Baldies, an in-demand breed.

“What you spend on is key to success. Sometimes, we get to be a little bit penny wise and dollar foolish,” Ernst said. “More expensive genetics could help cattlemen. Spend money wisely, but you get what you pay for.”

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Carl Schifferer honored as grand marshal of Marion County Lamb and Wool Show http://www.capitalpress.com/RuralLife/20160520/carl-schifferer-honored-as-grand-marshal-of-marion-county-lamb-and-wool-show http://www.capitalpress.com/RuralLife/20160520/carl-schifferer-honored-as-grand-marshal-of-marion-county-lamb-and-wool-show#Comments Fri, 20 May 2016 14:42:39 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529984 A life-long resident of the Turner and Cloverdale areas in Oregon’s Willamette Valley will be the grand marshal of this year’s Marion County Lamb and Wool Show.

Carl Schifferer, 90, will be the grand marshal of the show, which will be 8 a.m.-3 p.m. June 4 at Turner Elementary School, 7800 School St., Turner, Ore.

He is the third member of his family to be grand marshal. His wife, Gerda, and brother, Robert, were previously honored.

He was born on the Schifferer Century Farm and farmed with his father, John W. Schifferer, his brother Robert and son Jim.

He served on the Cloverdale School Board, Cascade FFA advisory committee and the Oregon Processed Prune and Plum Growers Commission in the 1970s and was an active member of the Oregon Cherry Growers and the NORPAC cooperative.

Carl Schifferer attended the first Marion County Lamb and Wool Show in 1937 as an 11-year-old. He attended Cloverdale and Summit schools and graduated from Turner High School in 1943.

He and his wife, Gerda, have been married 62 years and have three children, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

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Report: Pacific Rim trade deal good for ag, mostly http://www.capitalpress.com/stories-of-the-week/20160520/report-pacific-rim-trade-deal-good-for-ag-mostly http://www.capitalpress.com/stories-of-the-week/20160520/report-pacific-rim-trade-deal-good-for-ag-mostly#Comments Fri, 20 May 2016 14:26:22 -0400 Don Jenkins http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529985 Agriculture more than any other major sector of the U.S. economy would benefit by the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, but some farmers would miss out on the gains, according to a report by the U.S. International Trade Commission.

U.S. dairymen and cattlemen would be among the biggest winners, according to the report. Fruits, vegetable and nut growers also would gain from tariff reductions.

Wheat, rice and soybean farmers, however, could see their overall exports decline, as TPP increases foreign competition and U.S. agriculture puts more resources into raising meat for new overseas customers, the report states.

Wheat and soybean trade groups discounted the report’s findings and reaffirmed their strong support for TPP.

The National Association of Wheat Growers called the report “out of touch.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall urged Congress to pass the trade agreement.

“Approving this deal would give U.S. agriculture greater access to some of the fastest-growing markets in the world at a time when we need market expansion like never before,” Duvall said in a written statement.

The trade commission’s 780-page study constitutes the federal government’s official economic analysis of TPP.

If implemented in 2017, TPP would create an additional 128,000 U.S. jobs and raise national income by $57.3 billion by 2032, according to the commission.

The commission noted the gains in employment and income would be less than 1 percent compared to not implementing TPP.

Agriculture would fare better than the services sector or the manufacturing, natural resources and energy sector, according to the report.

The commission estimated TPP would increase U.S. farm output by $10 billion, primarily because Japan and Vietnam would open their markets by phasing out tariffs and lifting limits on imports. The $10 billion increase would be roughly equal to the value of Washington state’s annual farm production.

U.S. producers could expect to see significant gains in sales of beef and processed foods to Japan, dairy products to Canada and Japan, and fruits, vegetables and nuts to Vietnam, the report noted.

The potato industry would almost triple french fry sales to Vietnam within five years, according to the report. Growers could also expect increased sales of french fries and dehydrated potatoes to Japan.

Pacific Northwest growers would be the most logical source of those potatoes, said Matt Harris, government relations director of the Washington State Potato Commission.

TPP’s elimination of tariffs on nuts should help U.S. almond growers in the highly competitive export market, according to the report.

Lowers tariffs should boost apple sales to Vietnam and Malaysia. Japan also will phase out tariffs, but TPP does not resolve the phytosanitary issues that have kept U.S. apples out.

According to the commission, increased beef and dairy exports would be felt throughout the U.S. farm economy.

Ranchers and dairymen could be expected to increase their herds, driving up the demand for animal feed and the competition for land, squeezing producers with less to gain by trade liberalization, according to the report.

The trade commission singled out wheat and soybeans as crops that could be adversely affected.

The report also said that while U.S. wheat farmers could expect to gain business in Vietnam, they may lose Japanese customers to cheaper Canadian wheat. The overall result would be flat production.

The wheat growers association issued a statement, challenging the report’s conclusion.

The association said the U.S. sells more wheat to Japan now than competitors and TPP won’t give Canadians a new advantage. The trade commission’s analysis, the association said, was “out of touch with the reality of Japan’s preferences for U.S. wheat.”

“The assumptions made in the ITC report are disappointing and misleading,” wheat association President Gordon Stoner said in a written statement.

Most importantly, TPP can be the vehicle for increasing trade with countries that are not now part of the agreement, such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, according to the wheat association.

“Congress should act quickly to enable farmers to take full advantage of the potential economic opportunities at stake under TPP,” Stoner said,

The American Soybean Association said TPP will benefit its members by increasing domestic demand and prices for soybean meal to feed livestock.

“When our partners in the pork, poultry, beef and dairy industries do well, we do well,” said Delaware farmer Richard Wilkins, soybean association president.

The trade commission agreed that soybean prices would rise, but that would hurt exports, particularly to China, which is not a TPP partner.

U.S. rice farmers could expect increased sales to Japan, but that would be more than offset by losing market share in the U.S. and Mexico to Vietnamese growers, according to the trade commission.

USA Rice Federation responded to the report by reaffirming that it wasn’t ready to endorse TPP, a stance shared by the California Rice Commission, a spokesman said.

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Lower prices mean cuts for grain commission budget http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20160520/lower-prices-mean-cuts-for-grain-commission-budget http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20160520/lower-prices-mean-cuts-for-grain-commission-budget#Comments Fri, 20 May 2016 11:29:50 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529986 SPOKANE — Low wheat prices have prompted the Washington Grain Commission to reduce its annual budget by more than half a million dollars.

Commissioners on May 19 approved a $5.28 million budget for the fiscal year that starts in July. That’s down roughly 10.1 percent from the current year’s $5.87 million budget.

“The commission is trying to maintain quite a bit of the budget, but realizing there needed to be trimming and cutting to accommodate the fact that income is down,” said Glen Squires, the commission’s CEO. “Last year’s production was substantially low.”

The cuts come even though this year’s wheat crop is expected to fare better than last year’s, when it was 111.5 million bushels.

This year, USDA estimates the state’s wheat crop will total 126.6 million bushels. Squires said it will likely be even higher, since crop conditions seem to be better and spring wheat yield estimates are still to be determined.

The average winter wheat yield last year was 56 bushels per acre, and this year is predicted to be 64 bushels per acre, he said.

“Even though our production is up, that price or income is going to be down next year as well,” Squires said.

As of Friday, soft white wheat, the main variety of wheat grown in Washington, was bringing $5.28 a bushel at Portland.

The commission expects to receive $3.9 million in assessments during the upcoming year, and will draw $1.3 million from reserves, Squires said.

That still leaves more than $5 million in reserves. Of that, $5 million is in restricted reserves in case of a total crop failure.

The commission assesses three-fourths of 1 percent of the net receipts at the first point of sale for wheat and 1 percent of the net receipts at the first point of sale for barley.

Virtually all budget categories saw cuts save for education, which remained about the same, Squires said. The research budget had been growing “substantially” in recent years, but was reduced from $2.1 million this year to $1.6 million in the upcoming year.

“The feedback we’ve gotten from farmers and landlords was that the marketing is really important,” he said. “That’s not saying that research isn’t important, but as they analyzed a lot of the projects, (we) realized we had to reduce somewhere.”

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The McGregor Company awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors http://www.capitalpress.com/RuralLife/20160520/the-mcgregor-company-awards-scholarships-to-graduating-high-school-seniors http://www.capitalpress.com/RuralLife/20160520/the-mcgregor-company-awards-scholarships-to-graduating-high-school-seniors#Comments Fri, 20 May 2016 11:20:29 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529987 The McGregor Company will award scholarships to 10 local high school seniors this spring.

The long-time regional family farm supply business has now provided 109 scholarships over a 14-year period to talented young future agricultural leaders in 53 rural communities of the Inland Northwest, according to a company news release.

2016 graduating high school seniors who will each receive a $1,000 scholarship are:

• Marisa Lustig, Cottonwood, Idaho.

• Anthony Wiley, Prosser, Wash.

• Madison Fisher, Wilder, Idaho.

• Kenton Lyman, Colfax, Wash.

• Miles Maxcer, Moscow, Idaho.

• Hallie Galbreath, Ritzville, Wash.

• Kayla Beechinor, Walla Walla, Wash.

• Alexis Andrews, Ellensburg, Wash.

• Chandra Maki, Colfax, Wash.

• Sydney Johnson, Ellensburg, Wash.

Along with detailed applications, candidates submitted essays proposing methods that would dramatically improve agriculture literacy. The ideas will be shared with industry partners to create educational opportunities to better understand agriculture’s history and current economic, social and environmental significance.

Knowledge of food and fiber production, processing and domestic and international marketing will continue to be the focus of the company’s ag literacy improvement efforts.

The McGregor Company offers crop production advice, products, seed and application equipment to farm families in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

“We believe in encouraging young people to become future agricultural leaders — on the farm, in field research, in agricultural education and communication and in the farm service world,” said Alex McGregor, president of The McGregor Company. “Talented, dedicated young people are vital to the future success of the finest enterprise we know — Inland Northwest agriculture.”

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Idaho Farm Bureau honors ag-friendly lawmakers http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20160520/idaho-farm-bureau-honors-ag-friendly-lawmakers http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20160520/idaho-farm-bureau-honors-ag-friendly-lawmakers#Comments Fri, 20 May 2016 10:21:59 -0400 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529988 BOISE — Forty percent of Idaho’s lawmakers voted in line with the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s positions on key issues often enough during the past two legislative sessions to be recognized by the organization as Friends of Agriculture.

Since the conclusion of the 2016 session, Farm Bureau has presented awards to 37 state representatives and five senators at different times. The organization published the full list of recipients — who had to vote with Farm Bureau at least 91 percent of the time on 15 specified state bills germane to agriculture — in the May edition of its quarterly magazine.

“It’s more than we’ve given out in the past,” Farm Bureau spokesman John Thompson said of the biennial awards.

Thompson said some of the key issues Farm Bureau tracked for the awards included adding a tax exemption on potato scoopers, support for the transfer of federal land to state control, preventing the use of eminent domain for linking recreational paths, penalties for intentionally poisoning crops or spreading infectious diseases and legislation that established felony penalties for animal cruelty while maintaining exemptions for production agriculture.

Eight lawmakers earned perfect scores: Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood; Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett; Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens; Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Wilder; Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay; Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian; Rep. Pete Nielson, R-Mountain Home; and Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard.

Other lawmakers who qualified for the award included: Sen. Clifford Bayer, R-Meridian; Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian; Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens; Rep. Robert Anderst, R-Nampa; Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs; Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls; Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, R-Oakley; Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale; Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell; Rep. Don Cheatham, R-Post Falls; Rep. Gary Collins, R-Nampa; Rep. Thomas Dayley, R-Boise; Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly; Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls; Rep. James Holtzclaw, R-Meridian; Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls; Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth; Rep. Thomas Loetscher, R-Iona; Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene; Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton; Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, Rep. Jason Monks, R-Meridian; Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star; Rep. Ronald Nate, R-Rexburg; Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian; Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg; Rep. Eric Redman, R-Athol; Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls; Rep. Caroline Troy, R-Genesee; Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls; Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Meridian; Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree; Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry; and Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa.

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Cost of raising Arrowrock Dam outweighs water supply, flood control benefits, study finds http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20160520/cost-of-raising-arrowrock-dam-outweighs-water-supply-flood-control-benefits-study-finds http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20160520/cost-of-raising-arrowrock-dam-outweighs-water-supply-flood-control-benefits-study-finds#Comments Fri, 20 May 2016 09:40:29 -0400 Sean Ellis http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160529989 BOISE — The benefits of raising Arrowrock Dam — decreased flood risk and increased water supply on the Boise River system — do not equal the costs, Idaho Water Resource Board members were told by federal officials May 18.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study that determined raising the dam is the best option for solving water supply and flood risk problems on the Boise River system is now on hold.

For Congress to approve the project, which would cost about $1.2 billion, the benefits must at least match the total cost, said Lt. Col Timothy Vail, commander of the Corps Walla Walla District.

But the study determined the benefits would equal only 70 percent of the cost.

“The alternatives we identified are ultimately too expensive,” Vail said. “The project is currently in hiatus at this milestone.”

It’s up to the board, which paid half the cost of the study, to decide whether to terminate it or ask Corps headquarters to reformulate and continue it.

In a separate presentation May 18, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials asked the board to help fund a proposed feasibility study that would look at increasing the height of Anderson Ranch Dam by 6 feet. That would add 28,954 acre-feet of storage space in that reservoir, which is also on the Boise system.

Arrowrock and Anderson Ranch supply most of the irrigation water for farmers in the valley.

The Arrowrock study found that raising the dam by 30-70 feet would greatly decrease flood risks in the Treasure Valley and provide about 100,000 acre-feet of additional reservoir storage space.

The Corps’ study found that adding 100,000 acre-feet of water supply on the Boise River system was worth about $11.6 million annually. That number represents what it would cost the state to get that water from another source.

But IWRB members told Corps officials that total greatly underestimates what it would cost the state to obtain that much additional water on the Boise system.

People have tried to identify additional water supplies in the Boise system for years without success, said IWRB member Albert Barker. The benefit to the local economy of having an additional 100,000 acre-feet of water would be tremendous and much more than $11.6 million, he said.

“It seems like you are significantly under-valuing the benefit you would get from that (much) water,” he said. “If we could take that into account, that might change the overall cost-benefit ratio of this project.”

Vail said the Corps ideally needs an answer on whether the board wants to reformulate the study by July.

The cost of an Anderson Ranch study would also be about $3 million, and federal regulations require that non-federal partners must split the cost.

Officials representing the Corps, Bureau and IWRB will meet in the next few weeks to discuss their options and the idea of coordinating the two studies.

“I think we need further discussion on the whole issue before we do anything,” said IWRB member Chuck Cuddy.

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