Capital Press | Capital Press Tue, 7 Jul 2015 06:28:16 -0400 en Capital Press | Baseball Unites Rural and Urban Communities Mon, 6 Jul 2015 13:53:03 -0400 SALEM,Ore., (07/06/2015) – Baseball fans gathered Tuesday night, June 30, in the stadium of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes to celebrate Oregon Cattle Night. Cowboy hats and a hay-bale photo booth added a ranching flare to the stadium’s Volcanoes merchandise and ballpark food.

Jerry Howard, the Volcanoes’ senior marketing executive, invited the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) to join this final night of the Volcanoes’ first 5-game series honoring Oregon agriculture.

To prepare to highlight this key Oregon industry, Howard did his homework. Over the course of four months, he visited 54 ranches, farms, associations, and food processors in Oregon. “I’m 74 and I didn’t know there are 225 different varieties of Oregon Ag,” Howard said. “We sat down and chose five areas to do the first year and do a very good job of it.” The last of these nights focused on Oregon cattle and food banks.

Kayli Hanley, OCA’s communications director, jumped at the opportunity for OCA to participate. “What's more American than cowboys and a good old fashion baseball game?” she said.

OCA asked a couple of young cowboys to help start off the evening. Mack traveled all the way from Echo, Oregon to throw the ceremonial first pitch. The eight-year-old said his favorite part of helping start the Volcanoes’ game cowboy-style was “being on the actual baseball field.”

Carter, a cowboy in the first grade, represented OCA, ranchers, and kids across the state, by sprinting around the four plates in the ceremonial first run. He said he liked “running the bases.”

The fun continued after the opening ceremony. OCA and Oregon Cattle Women shared a spot behind home plate to offer raffle tickets, stickers, and fun ranching facts to the fans. OCA’s Administrative Assistant, Brittany Steele said she was excited to reach out to people. “I love baseball and cows, and this is a combination of both!”

Howard, known as “Howie” around the stadium, was excited to see the interaction between urban audiences and the Ag community. “Baseball is sort of a common thread amongst everyone. Urban or rural, old or young, male or female, obviously everyone has heard of it, if not played it. Baseball has the ability to draw everyone together.”

One of the mid-game diversions included a race between three cardboard cows hoofing it behind the outfield fence. The evening rounded out with a sample of Oregon beef provided at the gates by Oregon Cattlewomen.

Hanley was excited for this chance to meet urban Oregonians on common ground to show them the presence of ranchers in their community. “Ranching isn't a thing of the past,” Hanley said. “It is alive and well in today's community and a huge part of Oregon agriculture. There are all kinds of ranchers, young and old, who work hard to raise healthy animals and provide for their families. It is exciting seeing youth like Mack and Carter excited about ranching!”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.

Idaho leadership program seeks more farmers, ranchers Mon, 6 Jul 2015 12:03:23 -0400 Sean Ellis BOISE — Leadership Idaho Agriculture officials are trying to get more farmers and ranchers to attend the leadership development program.

To do that, they are trying to engage more closely with the state’s commodity commissions and agriculture associations, which can encourage members to attend the course, whose aim is to train community and business leaders to be advocates for agriculture.

“It’s the best leadership training organization in the state for agriculture,” Pat Purdy, a member of LIA’s board of trustees, told fellow Idaho Barley Commission board members recently. “We as a commission need to get more engaged with growers in talking to them about this program.”

In addition to training business and community leaders, LIA cultivates producers to be leaders in agriculture. Among its 850 alumni, many hold key leadership positions in the industry.

While the program has always had strong support from agribusiness, the support has not been as strong from farm groups, said Kendra Dustin, LIA’s development director.

The LIA board wants to re-engage with those groups and convince them to buy in to the program, she said. That could mean financial support or by convincing members to attend.

LIA’s goal is to ensure at least 30 percent of each year’s 30-member class are producers.

“It shouldn’t be difficult for us to get growers to attend,” Purdy told fellow IBC members shortly before they voted to give the program $1,600 this year. “It’s just a matter of a commitment of time.”

Other farm groups that have responded in a significant way to the LIA’s recent attempt to re-engage with them include the U.S. Dry Pea & Lentil Council, Idaho Beef Council and Idaho Wheat Commission, Dustin said.

Rep. Clark Kauffman, a Republican farmer from Filer and an LIA graduate, said he was glad to hear the group is trying to get more farmers to attend the course.

He said the course was a real eye-opener for him in terms of getting him to realize how important it is for farmers and ranchers to be involved with public policy making and the regulatory process.

After attending, he went on to become involved with the barley commission, served as president of Idaho Grain Producers Association and was an Idaho representative on the U.S. Grains Council.

“If nobody leaves their farm long enough to do these things, somebody that knows nothing about farming will make the rules,” he said. “I’m really glad (LIA) is looking to do that.”

Rupert farmer Duane Grant, chairman of the Snake River Sugar Co-op, graduated from the LIA course in 1987 and credits the experience “with giving me both the vision and confidence to get involved and, I hope, make a meaningful difference in agriculture in Idaho.”

He has since encouraged a son, two nephews and his farm’s agronomics manager to attend.

“I’m a big believer in (LIA),” he said. “A lot of good has come out of that program.”

Calif. field crop acreages shrinking amid drought Mon, 6 Jul 2015 13:29:58 -0400 Tim Hearden Capital Press

SACRAMENTO — A continued lack of water availability is causing field crop acreages in California to dip even lower than expected, government and industry representatives say.

Rice acreage in California is now expected to top out at 385,000, a steep drop from the 431,000 acres of rice harvested last year, according to a USDA field crop report.

The actual acreage may end up being lower, cautions Charley Mathews, a Marysville, Calif., grower and member of the USA Rice Federation’s executive committee.

“The industry number we’ve been using is between 350,000 and 375,000,” Mathews said. “I think they (the USDA) started off kind of high.”

Early this spring, farmers told the National Agricultural Statistics Service they intended to seed rice on 408,000 acres, or 6 percent below the acreage seeded in 2014. However, NASS now expects medium- and short-grain rice acreage in California to decrease by 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively, from 2014, its updated field crop report states.

Nationwide, areas planted to rice in 2015 are estimated at 2.77 million acres, down 6 percent from last year, because of lower price expectations this year, according to NASS.

Water uncertainties amid a fourth straight year of drought have continued to fluster growers, particularly along the Sacramento River in Northern California. With regulators wanting to keep enough water in the river for migrating fish, many growers had to wait for deliveries before they could start planting in late April.

Recently, the federal government’s need to keep cold water in Shasta Lake for fish has further complicated the timing and quantity of remaining deliveries to settlement contractors along the river.

“There’s kind of a worry that it’ll decrease their diversions,” Mathews said.

Rice is one of several field crops in California showing sharp acreage declines this year, according to the report. Among others:

• Corn acreage in the Golden State is estimated at 430,000 acres, down from 520,000 acres a year ago. Corn planted nationwide totals 88.9 million acres, down 2 percent from last year.

• California’s 51,000 acres of cotton are down from the 56,000 acres harvested in the state last year.

• Growers have planted 35,000 acres of sunflower in California this year, down from 44,000 acres last year.

The declines come as growers with limited water have sacrificed some annual plantings to concentrate on perennial crops, such as nut orchards, they have said.

For the area survey, NASS officials visited randomly selected tracts of land and interviewed growers in early June, according to a news release.

Oregon Ranchers Partner with the Union Gospel Mission of Salem to Help Provide a Holiday Meal for the Homeless Community Mon, 6 Jul 2015 13:22:21 -0400 SALEM,Ore., (07/02/2015) – For some, holidays are times of joyous reunions with family and tables laden with home cooked goodies. As the fourth of the July nears, Oregon ranchers got together to extend that feeling of community and belonging to those who may not have the opportunity to experience it this holiday.

The Union Gospel Mission of Salem, (UGM), put together a new event where they hosted a barbecue at Riverfront Park. “Holidays can be tough,” said UGM Food Service Manager Michael Kerrigone. He said the goal of this event was to provide a special holiday luncheon for the guests and residents of the Salem UGM. In order to accomplish that, the mission needed a donation of beef.

Patrick Currins of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, (OCA), helped make that donation happen. “We’ve all had to have help sometime,” Currins said. He had been thinking about how Oregon ranchers could play a part in helping the homeless community when he came across the opportunity to donate through UGM. “I’m hoping that this random thought of ‘you can do this’ will give people confidence to keep going.” Currins said the donation was made possible by a collaborative effort between the Oregon Beef Council, (OBC), OCA, rancher Curtis Martin, and Staffords Packing Company.

Will Wise, Chief Executive Officer of the Oregon Beef Council, said, “We were contacted by some local ranches that wanted to help out and the OBC hopes that this small donation helps those in need.”

Michael DuClos, chef for the UGM as well as a food service Intern, started prepping hamburger patties at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning before the event. He really appreciated the beef donation. “It’s nice to be able to serve something so nice.”

Those who attended the lunch were greeted with friendly faces, picnic style games, and of course, a free half pound burger. Corey Record was thrilled with the burgers being given out. “We don’t get to eat a lot of good food like this. Having beef here is great.”

OCA’s staff, Jerome Rosa, Jim Welsh, Kayli Hanley and Brittany Steele came by to show their support for the event. “It was a humbling experience to help the homeless community on behalf of OCA,” Rosa said.

Kerrigone said the donation of beef made close to 300 half pound patties. He expected all of them to be given out, considering a line had started by 9 a.m., two hours before the event commenced. “Without partners like OCA, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” he said. Oregon ranchers donated a total of 292 pounds of burger to help make the lunch possible. Kerrigone hopes that this will turn into an annual event where people in Salem who are experiencing homelessness can count on a good pre-holiday meal.

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.

Midwest weather concerns bolster grain prices Mon, 6 Jul 2015 12:10:25 -0400 John O’Connell IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Wheat and corn prices ended June with a slight rally due to weather concerns in the Midwest and other parts of the world, industry experts say.

Jim Rooney, Eastern Idaho merchandiser with Lansing Trade Group LLC, said excessive rain has the industry anticipating quality problems and losses in Eastern soft red wheat and critical hard red winter wheat growing areas in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Due to the weather concerns, coupled with a bullish recent USDA report on corn and soybeans driving up commodity prices, Rooney said prices finally rose to near the growers’ cost of production on Monday, before dropping about 30 cents by Wednesday.

“We were able to make some $6 purchases, and growers had been waiting for another chance at that,” Rooney said. “Farmer selling increased here, but we’re pulling back now.”

Rooney said the growing likelihood of El Nino conditions limiting wheat production in Australia has also helped the wheat market.

Kansas State University Extension agricultural economist Art Barnaby said his state experienced a dry April before heavy rains arrived in mid-May — too late to help yields in Southern Kansas but likely benefiting farms to the north.

“What’s really driving (wheat prices) is rain and excess flooding in Missouri and on east,” Barnaby said.

Barnaby said corn prices also rose to $4.30 for new crop corn and $4.13 for old crop by July 1. Barnaby said it was surprising that wheat prices began increasing prior to corn.

He attributes the recent increases to “the normal summer weather scare you can almost count on, and in a couple of weeks it’s gone.”

Two Idaho-based co-ops plan merger Mon, 6 Jul 2015 11:42:28 -0400 RUPERT, Idaho — Valley Wide Cooperative and Valley Co-ops, Inc., have announced plans to merge effective Sept. 1.

Both businesses received overwhelming support for the merger from their boards, according to a press release.

Both companies have divisions in retail, energy and agronomy, with firm roots in Idaho dating back to the 1930s, according to the press release.

Valley Co-op is locally owned and was formed in 1991 through a merger of Idaho Grange Co-op and Wendell Grange Supply. Valley Co-op employs 200 workers, with nine Magic Valley locations.

Valley Wide Cooperative has grown through several mergers during the past 15 years, according to the press release. It employs 350 workers with 34 locations spanning from Western Wyoming to Eastern Oregon.

Portland daily grain report Mon, 6 Jul 2015 10:01:32 -0400 Portland, Ore., Monday, July 6, 2015

USDA Market News

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

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

In early trading July wheat futures trended mixed, from 10.00 lower to 2.25 cents per bushel higher compared to Thursday’s closes, with the greatest decline in Minneapolis and the advance in Kansas City. September wheat futures trended 0.25 of a cent to 6.75 cents per bushel higher in early trading.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for July delivery were not available for ordinary protein.

Bids for guaranteed maximum 10.5 protein were not well tested in early trading but were indicated as mixed compared to Thursday’s noon bids.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for July delivery were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as higher compared to Thursday’s noon bids.

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

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

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains were not available in early trading.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

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

Ordinary protein

Jul NA


Sep NA

Oct NA

Nov NA

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Jul mostly 7.1075, ranging 7.0575-7.1575

Aug NC 7.1575-7.3575

Sep 7.1575-7.4575

Oct 7.1450-7.5450

Nov 7.1450-7.5450

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

Ordinary protein

Jul NA

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Jul mostly 7.1075, ranging 7.0575-7.1575

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


Ordinary protein 6.3650-6.5350

11 pct protein 6.4450-6.6350

11.5 pct protein

Jul 6.4850-6.6850

Aug NC 6.4850-6.6850

Sep 6.5850-6.6850

Oct 6.8425-6.8925

Nov 6.8625-6.8925

12 pct protein 6.4850-6.7350

13 pct protein 6.4850-6.8350

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

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

13 pct protein 6.6075-6.7075

14 pct protein

Jul 7.6075-7.7075

Aug NC 7.6075-7.7075

Sep 7.6075-7.7075

15 pct protein 8.2075-8.3075

16 pct protein 8.8075-8.9075

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Jul 5.0200-5.0300

Aug 5.0200-5.0400

Sep 5.0200-5.0500

Oct 5.1275-5.1775

Nov 5.1275-5.1575

Dec 5.1375-5.1775

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Jul NA

Sep NA

Oct 10.8850-10.9650

Nov 10.9650-11.0150

Dec 11.0425-11.0925

Jan 11.0625-11.0925

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.8475

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Jun 2015

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges NA

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 6.1300

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 6.2500

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 7.4800

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, Ore.

National wool report Mon, 6 Jul 2015 09:49:57 -0400 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

July 2

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was standstill. There were no confirmed trades this week. Most of the shearing is coming to close and the majorities of the big wool runs are slowing down. Many will now start to collect small pools that will trade closer to fall as warehouses restock. China had been very active in buying wool recently as their inventories had been down at a low level. They have filling their pipeline over the last several weeks, but are now back to normal levels and have slowed in the buying process. Currency is the only real struggle point at this time as the U.S. dollar remains high. Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was at a standstill. There were no confirmed trades this week.

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50

Western hay price report Mon, 6 Jul 2015 09:37:16 -0400 Hay prices are dollars per ton or dollars per bale when sold to retail outlets. Basis is current delivery FOB barn or stack, or delivered customer as indicated.

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


Supreme 185+ <27 55.9+ 22+

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

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

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

Utility <130 36+ <50.5 <16


(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

July 2

This week FOB Last week Last year

12,275 38,330 23,301

Compared to June 26: New crop Premium/Supreme Alfalfa steady. Trade slow this holiday shortened week. Timothy export hay $10-20 lower. Demand light to moderate. Retail/Feedstore steady. Demand remains good.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 200 $220

Premium 400 $190

Good/Prem. 200 $185

1000 $210

Good 1400 $170

Fair/Good 1600 $185

2725 $130-180

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 100 $260

Fair/Good 2000 $210-215

Orchard Grass Large Square Premium 100 $250

Timothy Grass Large Square Premium 300 $205

750 $190-200

Good/Prem. 1500 $185


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

July 2

This week FOB Last week Last year

912 702 14,750

Compared to June 26: Prices trended generally steady compared to the same quality last week. Trade activity increased a little this week, however many producers were still busy in the field with the new crop. Most producers have not yet begun selling new crop hay.

Tons Price

Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Wasco Counties

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 63 $230-250

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 57 $250

Good 50 $210

Fair/Good 8 $190

Timothy Grass Small Square Premium 10 $250

Mixed Grass Small Square Premium 50 $230


Alfalfa Large Square Fair/Good 180 $170

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Large Square Good 150 $190


Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 139 $250

Fair/Good 8 $200

Fair 34 $170

Small Square Supreme 100 $240

Premium 63 $220-225

HARNEY COUNTY: No new sales confirmed.

KLAMATH BASIN: No new sales confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

July 2

This week FOB Last week Last year

5,000 7,000 13,105

Compared to June 26: Good Alfalfa steady in a light test this holiday shortened week. Trade slow this week as high testing hay is hard to find due to high temperatures in the trade area. Demand light to moderate very light demand on low quality supplies. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Good 3000 $180

2000 $240


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

July 3

This week FOB Last week Last year

18,891 34,519 28,327

Compared to June 26: All classes traded active on good demand. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Record heat and dryness over the region this week as well as over the last month has quickly deteriorated conditions in many areas after a wet May. The water shortage and late rains are making this year hard to get test hay in quantities like years past. The fourth of July weekend is here this week meaning the summer is almost half way over. Prices reported FOB at the stack or barn unless otherwise noted.

REGION 1: Northern Intermountain

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 225 $210-225

50 $200

Premium 100 $280

Good/Prem. 106 $325

Good 950 $170

150 $300

Fair/Good 1500 $185

Wheat Good 100 $160

REGION 2: Sacramento Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Good 200 $260

25 $265

Orchard Grass Premium 125 $260

REGION 3: Northern San Joaquin Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 600 $260

500 $285

Premium 300 $245

40 $220

700 $245

200 $373

Good/Prem. 800 $Del

Good 400 $220

75 $220

400 $363

Fair/Good 4500 $160-170

Wheat Straw Good 1500 $90

REGION 4: Central San Joaquin Valley

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

Alfalfa Premium 165 $245-255

Good/Prem. 180 $242

Good 600 $220-230

125 $225

Fair/Good 800 $175

Oat Good 225 $120

REGION 5: Southern California

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

Alfalfa Premium 250 $280

Good/Prem. 75 $245

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 25 $270

REGION 6: Southeast California

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Good/Prem. 1000 $190

Good 700 $170-180

225 $205-220

Fair 800 $115

Bermuda Grass Premium 50 $215

Teff Good 125 $220

Western grain price report Mon, 6 Jul 2015 09:31:09 -0400 Grains are stated in dollars per bushel or hundredweight (cwt.) except feed grains traded in dollars per ton. National grain report bids are for rail delivery unless truck indicated.


(USDA Market News)


July 2


Cash wheat bids for June delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, July 2, higher compared to June 26 noon bids for July delivery.

July wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, July 2, higher as follows compared to June 26 closes: Chicago wheat futures were 52.50 cents higher at $5.9050, Kansas City wheat futures were 48.25 cents higher at $5.9175 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 36.75 cents higher at $6.24. Chicago July corn futures trended 46.75 cents higher at $4.2850 while July soybean futures closed 45 cents higher at $10.4525.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during June for ordinary protein were not available today or last week as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. There were no white club wheat premiums for this week or last week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for July delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were $6.4175-7.0550, mostly $6.8875 and bids for White Club Wheat were $6.9175-7.9050, mostly $7.3875.

Nearby bids for U.S. 1 Soft White wheat ordinary protein were not available this week, as most exporters were not issuing bids for July delivery. Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: August New Crop and September $6.45-6.8550, October and November $6.45-6.8925.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: August New Crop $6.80-750, September $6.8550-7.0550, October and November $6.9825-7.0825.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during July were $7.0550-7.45, mostly $7.3050, 58.50 to 71 cents per bushel higher compared to $6.47-6.74 last week. There were no white club wheat premiums for guaranteed 10.5 percent protein this week or last week.

Nearby bids for U.S. 1 Soft White wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein began the reporting week on June 26 at mostly $6.5725, then rose to mostly $6.7850 on June 29 and to mostly $7.3875 on June 30 before moving lower on July 1 to mostly $7.1350. July 2 bids ended the reporting week higher at mostly $7.3050. Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent protein were as follows: August New Crop and September $7.1050-7.45, October and November $7.1425-7.5425.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein U.S. 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for July delivery were 31.50 to 43.50 cents per bushel higher compared to last Thursday’s noon bids for July delivery. The higher Kansas City July wheat futures supported bids during the week. On Thursday, bids were as follows: July $6.4675-6.6675, mostly $6.5575; August New Crop $6.4675-6.6675; September $6.5675-6.6675; October $6.8125-6.8625 and November $6.8325-6.8625.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein U.S. 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during July were 31.50 to 34.50 cents per bushel higher compared to June 26 noon bids for July delivery. On July 2, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: July $7.46-7.64, mostly $7.55; August New Crop and September $7.54-7.64.


Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for July delivery were 44 to 47 cents higher from $5.0850-5.1550 per bushel. Forward month corn bids for August and September $5.0850-5.1550, October $5.2025-5.225, November and December were $5.2225-5.2325. Bids for U.S. 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for June delivery were not available. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: October $11.0525-11.2525, November $11.1525-11.2825, December $11.2075-11.3075 and January $11.2275-11.3075. Bids for U.S. 2 Heavy Wheat Oats for June delivery held steady at $3.8475 per bushel.


(USDA Market News)


July 2

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


Mode Destination Price per cwt.

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

Rail Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Tulare County NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Madera County NA

Kern County NA

Glenn County NA

Colusa County NA

Solano County NA

CORN - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

FOB Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.30

FOB Turlock-Tulare NA

Rail Single Car Units via BNSF

Chino Valley-Los Angeles $10.24

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

SORGHUM - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley

via BNSF Single $12.17

Truck Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

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

WHEAT - U.S. Durum Wheat

Truck Imperial County NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

WHEAT - Any Class for Feed

FOB Tulare NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

King-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Merced County NA

Colusa County NA

Kern County NA

Prices paid to California farmers, seven-day reporting period ending June 26:

YELLOW CORN, U.S. No. 2 or better

Glenn $9.05 OC Del Locally

California shell egg price report Mon, 6 Jul 2015 09:26:20 -0400 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

July 2

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are 2 cents higher for Jumbo, Extra Large and Large with the balance of prices unchanged. The undertone continues steady. Retail demand remains light to moderate with loose egg sales fairly good. Offerings and supplies are light to mostly moderate. Market activity is slow. Small benchmark price $2.34.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 297 Extra large 285

Large 276 Medium 254


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 289-301 Extra large 266-278

Large 261-270 Medium 234-243

National slaughter, feeder and stocker cattle report Mon, 6 Jul 2015 09:22:49 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

Oklahoma City-Des Moines

June 26

Compared to last week: Live sales are $2 higher. Few dressed sales in Nebraska are steady to $3 higher.

Boxed beef prices July 2 at noon averaged $249.35, which is $1.29 lower than June 26. The Choice/Select spread is $1.85. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through July 2 at noon totaled about 48,000 head. The previous week’s total head count was 86,538 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-80 Percent Choice, 1200-1400 lbs. .$151-153 Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers: $240.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-65 percent Choice, 1100-1400 lbs. $150.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): With most places closed in observance of the July Fourth Holiday, only Oklahoma reported on Cows. Slaughter cows and bulls mostly steady $1 higher. USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Thursday at noon was $229.35 down $.38 from last Friday.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

July 2

This week Last week Last year

127,900 254,800 NA

Compared to June 26: There was some early fireworks show on this holiday shortened week with a volatile ride in the cattle futures and major moves in the grain trade. Several auctions held special yearling sales this week, on June 29 yearling feeders were mostly steady to $3 lower at two of the major auctions at the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City with 6,660 head and Joplin Regional Stockyards offering 5,395 on a yearling special.

On June 30 feeder contracts traded limit to near limit lower and auctions responded with caution flags waving with several auctions $5-10 lower.

Cattle futures posted a strong rally on Wednesday after “gloom and doom” on June 30 with Live Cattle contracts limit higher and Feeder Cattle contracts getting back most their limit losses from the day before as order buyers received a green light to do business.

Fed cattle prices on Wednesday were $2 higher trading at $150 on live sales in the South with live sales in Nebraska ranging from $150-153.50, $1-4 higher and dressed sales in the North traded steady to $3 higher at $240. Order buyers started doing business on very good demand at the Green City Livestock Auction in Green City, Mo., offering near 4,500 head of yearlings with over 300 head of 600-650 lb. steers averaging 623 lbs. sold with a weighted average price of $283.75 and over 300 head of their bigger brothers averaging 817 lbs. sold with a weighted average price of $225.29.

Farther west, in Kearney, Neb., at the Huss Platte Valley Livestock Auction sold over 250 head of 850-900 lbs. steers averaging 875 lbs. sold with a weighted average price of $221.46 and over 550 head of steers averaging 921 lbs. sold with a weighted average price of $216.30.

Feeder calves traded very uneven on a light test. The spark that got the fireworks started was USDA’s Grain Stocks Report on Tuesday with all grains trading sharply higher with September corn trading 30 cents higher, August soybeans 55 cents higher and wheat ranging from 28-32 cents higher.

Corn stocks came in under average estimates of 4.555 bb fell to 4.465 bb with estimated corn acres at 88.9 million acres, about 2 percent lower than last year’s planted acres. This would be the lowest planted corn acres since 2010 and the thought that a “big crop could get smaller” shook the confidence of the bear.

Corn stocks are not in a tight situation but the market is becoming somewhat nervous due to the wet weather problems across the Midwest. This summer has seen some of the highest rainfall totals on record in key growing states, potentially drowning out production. One of the key numbers in the grain report was soybean stocks for June 1, at 625 million bushels, which was 45 million bushels lower than average trade estimates. Soybean acres were estimated at 85.139 million acres which was 32,000 acres lower than the average trade guess.

Auction volume included 60 percent weighing over 600 lbs. and 36 percent heifers. All of us here at the Federal/State Market News Service wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July. .


This week Last week Last year

67,000 130,100 NA

WASHINGTON 1,600. 82 pct over 600 lbs. 50 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 few 445 lbs. $265; 500-550 lbs. $256.35; 550-600 lbs. $244.82; few 600 lbs. $231; 650-700 lbs. $220.88; 700-750 lbs. $200.90; 750-800 lbs. $199.09; 800-850 lbs. $189.85; 850-900 lbs. $188.22; pkg 910 lbs. $185.50. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 500-550 lbs. $235.59; 550-600 lbs. $229.10; 600-650 lbs. $205.83; 650-700 lbs. $192.62; 700-750 lbs. $187.07; 750-800 lbs. $187.87; 800-850 lbs. $183.62.

This week Last week Last year

28,600 65,500 NA

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 10,100. 3 pct over 600 lbs. 3 pct heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 275 lbs. $305 Sep Del; 300 lbs. $290 Sep/Oct Del; 275 lbs. $325 Nov Del; 300 lbs. $301-305 Nov Del; 325 lbs. $284-289 Nov Del; 325 lbs. $289 Oct Del. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 950 lbs. $191.25 Current Del.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 900. 100 pct over 600 lbs. 46 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivery Delivered Price 900 lbs. $210-211 ID. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivery Delivered Price 850 lbs. $206 ID; 950 lbs. $193 ID.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

July 2

This week Last week Last year

850 5,750 3,250

Compared to June 26: Feeder cattle steady to $2 higher in a very light test this holiday shortened week. Trade slow this week. Demand good as slaughter cattle prices showed price gains at the end of the week. The feeder supply included 54 percent steers and 46 percent heifers. Near 100 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs. Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 3-8 cent slide on yearlings. Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current Delivery Delivered Price: 900 lbs. $210-211 ID.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current Delivery Delivered Price: 850 lbs. $206 ID; 950 lbs. $193 ID.

Toppenish Livestock Auction results Mon, 6 Jul 2015 09:12:05 -0400 Washington


(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

July 1

This week Last week Last year

1,300 NA 1,000

Compared to June 26 at the same market: No trends as this was a Special Carlot Feeder Cattle Sale and Barbecue. Trade active with good demand. Feeders 100 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 50 percent steers and 50 percent heifers. Near 82 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $265; 500-600 lbs. $242-259.75; 600-700 lbs. $214-231; 600-700 lbs. $238-243, Thin Fleshed; 700-800 lbs. $193-204; 700-800 lbs. $188.50, Full; 700-800 lbs. $207.50-209.75, Thin Fleshed; 800-900 lbs. $184.75-192.75; 800-900 lbs. $180, Full; 900-1000 lbs. $185.50. Large 1-2: 1000-1100 lbs. $170.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $249-250; 500-600 lbs. $225.50-240; 500-600 lbs. $213, Full; 600-700 lbs. $196-210; 600-700 lbs. $187-190.50, Full; 600-700 lbs. $225, Thin Fleshed; 600-700 lbs. $192, Yearlings; 700-800 lbs. $184-190; 700-800 lbs. $179.50-182, Full; 700-800 lbs. $209.50, Thin Fleshed; 800-900 lbs. $183-185.50. Small and Medium 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $220-230.

Crews, helicopters tackle wildfires in Oregon Mon, 6 Jul 2015 09:02:23 -0400 DAYVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Slightly cooler than expected temperatures and higher humidity have helped firefighters get a better handle on a massive fire burning in central Oregon about 11 miles south of Dayville, fire officials said Sunday.

One cabin has burned and other structures on scattered ranches are threatened, fire incident spokesman Brian Ballou said.

The blaze had burned nearly 26,000 acres, or about 40 square miles, on the west side of the South Fork John Day River. It was about 10 percent contained.

Crews are setting new fire lines and improving ones already in place as they battle the Corner Creek Fire, Ballou said. “It’s getting more favorable as the temperature drops and humidity inches up,” he said Sunday afternoon.

A forest closure has been issued for a part of the Ochoco National Forest. Several roads, trails and campgrounds are also closed.

To the west, helicopter and air tankers were slowing the growth of a fire that broke out Saturday and spread rapidly through forested hills above Big Cliff Dam along Highway 22.

The cause of that 70-acre fire west of Detroit Lake is under investigation.

Russ Lane, the incident commander, said Sunday’s goal is to knock down the fire by air and get a containment line around it on the ground. About 100 people are working the fire, with help from five helicopters.

The Oregon Department of Forestry said Sunday that there are no road or recreational closures caused by the fire. But the agency cautioned the public to be careful when traveling in the area. It says fire-related traffic is heavy in the vicinity of the Big Cliff Dam.

Las Vegas completing last straw to draw Lake Mead water Mon, 6 Jul 2015 08:57:21 -0400 KEN RITTER LAS VEGAS (AP) — It took $817 million, two starts, more than six years and one worker’s life to drill a so-called “Third Straw” to make sure glittery casinos and sprawling suburbs of Las Vegas can keep getting drinking water from near the bottom of drought-stricken Lake Mead.

The pipeline, however, won’t drain the largest Colorado River reservoir any faster. It’s designed to ensure that Las Vegas can still get water if the lake surface drops below two existing supply intakes.

“You turn on the tap, you don’t think about it,” said Noah Hoefs, a pipeline project manager for the Las Vegas-based Southern Nevada Water Authority. “These are the things being done in order to live the lifestyle we want in the places we want to live.”

It’s the latest example of ways the parched West is scrambling to deal with 15 years of unprecedented drought.

California is encouraging homeowners to rip out thirsty lawns and asking farmers to turn off spigots. And in New Mexico, a $550 million pipeline project would supply drinking water to several communities that run the risk of having wells go dry within a decade.

Las Vegas started in 1999 to conserve, reuse and replenish supplies. When Lake Mead water levels plummeted in 2002, regional water officials began drawing up plans for the pipeline.

“Unlike California and our other partners on the river, we are almost entirely reliant on Lake Mead,” said John Entsminger, water authority general manager. “We couldn’t afford to wait.”

Sin City gets about 90 percent of its drinking water from the lake behind Hoover Dam, itself an engineering marvel that cost the lives of about 100 workers during five years of construction before it was completed in 1936.

The need for the new pipeline can be seen in the wide white mineral band marking rock canyon walls where lake water has receded and the sun-bleached docks at abandoned marinas, left high and dry.

The water level has dropped almost the equivalent of a 20-story building since Lake Mead last topped the dam’s spillways in 1983.

The pipeline resembles a subway tunnel 55 stories below Lake Mead’s Saddle Island, reinforced with more than 2,400 6-foot jigsaw sections of concrete. A $25 million drilling rig the length of two football fields ground nearly 3 miles through solid rock to reach the intake structure a minute before noon last Dec. 10.

Jim Nickerson, project manager for Vegas Tunnel Constructors, a subsidiary of Italy-based Impregilo, peered during a recent tour into the circular intake, which is designed somewhat like a big bathtub drain. The 100-foot structure was lowered in March 2012 into what once was a Colorado River canyon and cemented into place with the equivalent of 1,200 truckloads of concrete.

Its dome roof was capped by a 1,900-pound stainless steel ball.

Above that was about 300 feet of water. The lake is about 37 percent of capacity, but still contains trillions of gallons of water — mostly snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

When the intake is flooded, water pressure in the tunnel will approximate water pressure in the lake. Nickerson said the ball plug will become buoyant enough for a crane on a barge to lift it.

“End of the year, we’re done,” he said.

Pumping will mark completion of a perilous project.

The tunnel flooded in July 2010, when a drilling machine hit a geologic fault, and flooded again five months later. Project engineers abandoned and capped the first tunnel and started a new one in a different direction.

In June 2012, tunnel worker Thomas Albert Turner died. He was a married, 44-year-old father of two from Henderson whose brother also worked on the pipeline.

Pulling the plug won’t hasten creation of the “bathtub ring” around the lake. Blame drought for that — and exponential growth in a desert area that averages just over 4 inches of rain per year.

Las Vegas had about 126,000 residents when it began drawing water from Lake Mead in 1971. It now has 2 million residents and 40 million tourists a year.

The top of the new intake structure is at 860 feet. That’s 40 feet below so-called “dead pool” at which Hoover Dam electricity turbines would be idled and no water would flow downstream.

Water managers let the Lake Mead level fall to a new record low late Tuesday, at 1,074.98 feet. They say the lake level will rise by the end of the year to about 1,081 feet. That’s 6 feet above the trigger point that would require a percentage cut in water supplies to Arizona and Nevada.

Officials are currently giving Lake Mead a nearly 50-50 chance of ending 2016 below the 1,075-foot trigger point — unless the drought is broken.

N. Idaho wildfire destroys structures, prompts evacuations Mon, 6 Jul 2015 08:57:19 -0400 BAYVIEW, Idaho (AP) — At least six homes along with other structures have been destroyed in a wildfire near Bayview in northern Idaho that grew to more than 3 square miles Monday and forced about 200 residents to evacuate.

The blaze that started Sunday afternoon was being fought by about 100 firefighters on the ground, four aircraft and a U.S. Navy boat dousing expensive homes near shore on the south end of Lake Pend Oreille.

Fire spokesman Jim Lyon says the fire is burning through timber in steep terrain. No injuries have been reported.

He says firefighters worked overnight to put in a fire line on the west side that they hope to defend on Monday.

State officials are managing the fire but a federal team is expected to take over on Monday.

Introducing the skinny, &#x2018;sophisticated&#x2019; Oreo Mon, 6 Jul 2015 08:30:37 -0400 CANDICE CHOIAP Food Industry Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Oreos are getting a skinny new look, and its maker says the new cookie is a “sophisticated” snack for grown-ups that isn’t meant to be twisted or dunked.

Mondelez International Inc. says it will add “Oreo Thins” to its permanent lineup in the U.S. starting next week. The cookies look like regular Oreos and have a similar cookie-to-filling ratio, except that they’re slimmer. That means four of the cookies contain 140 calories, compared with 160 calories for three regular Oreos.

And since they’re for adults, Oreo says they weren’t designed to be twisted open or dunked. That’s even though about half of customers pull apart regular Oreos before eating them, according to the company.

“If people want to do that, it’s clearly up to them,” said Janda Lukin, senior director of Oreo for North America at parent company Mondelez International.

In explaining what exactly made them more grown-up, she said that if regular Oreos are like pancakes, then Oreo Thins would be like crepes.

Despite having fewer calories per serving, Mondelez says the new cookies aren’t meant to be a diet snack. Still, the “Thins” name could be a stealth way to appeal to people who want to watch their weight, without the stigma of being seen as a diet food.

Although the original Oreos started in the U.S. in 1912, Americans won’t be the first to taste the Thins. The slimmer cookies were rolled out last year in China to address the company’s tumbling cookie sales in the country.

Lukin said the slimmer cookies helped win back “lapsed users” in China, or younger women who wanted something that wasn’t quite as rich. In the first eight months, she said Oreo Thins generated $40 million in sales.

During a conference call in April, Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld had noted the success of the Thins in China and said the company would make them available “around the world.”

The Thins could help the company’s North American cookie business, which declined in the first three months of this year. Mondelez said the Thins will be available starting July 13, and that they’ll cost the same as regular Oreos.

Lukin noted that it took months for the company to perfect manufacturing for the Thins. Early on, she said 60 percent of the cookies were breaking, but that the rate eventually came down to 3 percent.

Dairy farmers can enroll in federal price program Mon, 6 Jul 2015 08:08:04 -0400 WASHINGTON (AP) — Dairy farmers in the Dakotas can now enroll in a federal price protection program for coverage in 2016.

The Margin Protection Program is a voluntary insurance program that enables dairy farmers to protect themselves from low prices. The enrollment period runs through Sept. 30.

The program protects farmers when the difference between milk prices and feed costs fall below an amount selected by the farmer. Minimum coverage costs farmers a $100 flat fee.

U.S. Agriculture Department deputy secretary Krysta Harde says half dairy producers nationwide signed up for coverage during the previous enrollment period.

Participating farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay the $100 administrative fee each year. Producers also have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

Researchers find solution for devastating wheat midge Mon, 6 Jul 2015 08:06:27 -0400 KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Scientists have developed a wheat variety that they say is resistant to wheat midge, which has caused millions of dollars in damage to Montana crops in the last 10 years.

The wheat midge is an orange insect the size of a mosquito that feeds on wheat kernels.

It has invaded 18 counties across the state, laying siege to the billion-dollar wheat industry.

The midge-resistant wheat variety developed by scientists at the Northwestern Agricultural Research Center in Creston is named “Egan” after Egan Slough, the epicenter of the original outbreak.

The resistance gene created in the laboratory near Kalispell is highly effective, resulting in almost complete mortality of the wheat midge and its larvae, according to scientists.

Spring wheat growers across Montana will be able to purchase the blend of wheat in 2016, the Flathead Beacon reports.

“The research here will save and help producers across the state,” Charles Boyer, the vice president, dean and director of the Montana State University College of Agriculture, said.

The breakthrough in midge resistance illustrates the continuing legacy of the Creston facility, which is one of seven agricultural research centers across Montana devoted to helping the state’s farmers and ranchers.

“These agricultural research centers were established to discover new knowledge and better products,” MSU President Waded Cruzado said. “These centers are at the forefront of innovation and solving the problems of agriculture.”

Established in 1947, the Creston research center operates on 225 acres with a faculty of researchers, professors and students. It operates as part of MSU’s agricultural program.

Agriculture remains the largest industry in the state, generating roughly $4.7 billion annually. In the Kalispell region, the industry generates roughly $152 million in annual revenues, according to MSU. There are 1.11 million acres of farm and ranch land in Northwest Montana.

Years will be needed to gauge efforts to cut Lake Erie algae Mon, 6 Jul 2015 08:03:13 -0400 JOHN SEEWER PERRYSBURG, Ohio (AP) — State agriculture and environmental leaders have made several changes to attack toxic algae in western Lake Erie, most notably prohibiting farmers in northwestern Ohio from spreading manure on frozen and rain-soaked fields and requiring training before they can use commercial fertilizers.

Soon, they’ll be handing out $12 million to farmers who take steps to reduce the pollutants that wash off their fields and help feed the algae, which have contaminated drinking water supplies and helped create dead zones where fish can’t survive.

Now the big question is, will it work?

It will be a few years before the changes take root and state officials can determine how much progress is being made in reducing the intensity of the harmful algae blooms.

If those changes don’t work, tougher regulations and new approaches will be needed so that Ohio, along with Michigan and Ontario, can reach their goal of cutting the amount of phosphorus flowing into western Lake Erie by 40 percent within the next 10 years.

Charting the progress will start with monitoring the phosphorus that washes off farm fields and feeds the algae.

“That’s going to be critical for us to start making judgments about these practices,” said Craig Butler, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio has extensive monitoring of the waterways in the northwestern area of the state near the lake but still needs more, Butler said.

Researchers from Ohio State University and Heidelberg University in northern Ohio also will be monitoring runoff along farm fields to determine how effective cover crops and drainage control structures are at filtering and holding back the phosphorus.

Ohio officials announced last week they will use $12 million from the federal government as incentives for farmers who plant cover crops, grass filter strips or add the drainage systems. What isn’t known yet is whether they will make a big impact.

“That’s going to have to come soon for us to make some credible measurements back to the public and say the money we’ve spent has been worth it,” Butler said.

The new money will put over 100,000 acres in Ohio into conservation practices.

“We’re making big steps in the right direction, but we can’t stall out now,” said Kristy Meyer, of the Ohio Environmental Council.

More regulations are needed, she said, such as requiring farmers to test their soil each year and better farm management plans to reduce the phosphorus going into the lake. “Voluntary actions aren’t going to cut it,” Meyer said.

Karl Gebhardt, the state EPA’s deputy director for water resources, said that while phosphorus runoff amounts vary each year because of weather patterns, there is starting to be a slight trend downward.

“We definitely have more practices on the ground,” he said. “I would think in most normal years we’d see a reduction.”

Farm use of drones to take off as feds loosen restrictions Mon, 6 Jul 2015 08:00:15 -0400 MARY CLARE JALONICK CORDOVA, Md. (AP) — Mike Geske wants a drone.

Watching a flying demonstration on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Missouri farmer envisions using an unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor the irrigation pipes on his farm — a job he now pays three men to do.

“The savings on labor and fuel would just be phenomenal,” Geske says, watching as a small white drone hovers over a nearby corn field and transmits detailed pictures of the growing stalks to an iPad.

Nearby, farmer Chip Bowling tries his hand at flying one of the drones. Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, says he would like to buy one for his Maryland farm to help him scout out which individual fields need extra spraying.

Another farmer, Bobby Hutchison, says he is hoping the man he hires weekly to walk his fields and observe his crops gets a drone, to make the process more efficient and accurate.

“I see it very similar to how I saw the computer when it first started,” says Hutchison, 64. “It was a no-brainer.”

Farmers are eager for the technology.

The small, relatively inexpensive vehicles could replace humans in a variety of ways around large farms: transmitting detailed information about crops to combines and sprayers, directing them very precisely to problem spots and cutting down on the amount of water and chemicals that a farmer needs to use in those areas.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group, says agriculture could account for 80 percent of all commercial drone use.

Agricultural use of drones is about to take off after being grounded for years by the lack of federal guidelines. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved more than 50 exemptions for farm-related operations since January.

Companies with those exemptions say business has grown, helped by quick advances in the technology.

Bret Chilcott of Kansas-based AgEagle, which sells unmanned aerial vehicles and the software to help operate them, says his company took its first orders last year. Now it has a backlog of several hundred orders. He says the technology has transformed the market during that short period.

“Last year users had to land their aircraft and then take the data to the computer,” he says. “Now the data appears on your iPad or hand-held device a few minutes after flight.”

That data could be pictures, 3-D images of plants, thermal readings of crops or animals or other observations that a drone could make while in the air. Information that in the past took days to collect — or could not have been collected at all — can be gathered now in minutes or hours and, in some cases, integrated with separate data collected from other high-tech farm machinery.

Chilcott is optimistic that the technology to scout out problem spots so precisely will be transformative because farmers can limit spraying just to those places.

“In five years we won’t have to blanket a field with chemicals,” he says.

Still, most farmers cannot legally fly the vehicles yet.

The FAA is working on rules that would allow the drones to be used regularly for business while maintaining certain safety and privacy standards. An FAA proposal this year would allow flight of the vehicles as long as they weigh less than 55 pounds, stay within the operator’s sight and fly during the daytime, among other restrictions. Operators would have to pass an FAA test of aeronautical knowledge and a Transportation Security Administration background check.

Thomas Haun of North Carolina-based PrecisionHawk, another company with an exemption, says it is unclear what the business will look like eventually. Farmers may hire services that have unmanned aerial vehicles or every farm may get its own drone. Most likely, it will be a combination.

Haun says the proposed rules are appropriate. “It’s pretty spot on for where the technology is right now,” he says.

Some people have concerns about the guidelines. Pilots of crop dusters and other planes that operate around farms are concerned the rules do not go far enough to ensure safety.

“We can’t see them,” says Andrew Moore of the National Agricultural Aviation Association. His group advocated for the unmanned vehicles to include tracking systems or lights to help airplanes figure out where they are, but that was not included in the proposal.

The rules could pose some challenges for the eager farmers, too.

Geske may not be able to use drones efficiently to monitor all the irrigation pipes on his 2,100 acre Missouri farm if he has to keep them within sight. He’s still interested, though. The men he hires now use a lot of fuel and their trucks tear up his land and roads.

“You can wait forever on advancing technology,” Geske says.

Takeover opportunity leads to creamery&#x2019;s revival Thu, 2 Jul 2015 09:45:16 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — David Gremmels and Cary Bryant got more than they intended when trying to buy some cheese from Rogue Creamery.

In 2002, they were launching a wine-and-cheese bar and asked the creamery’s owner, Ig Vella, to become a supplier.

Vella’s response was surprising, remembers Gremmels: “Fellas, if you want my cheese you’re going to have to make it yourselves.”

Then in his early 70s, Vella was exhausted from splitting his time between Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Ore., and Vella Cheese in Sonoma, Calif. It was becoming apparent that he needed to focus on one business, so Vella decided to sell or close his operation in Oregon.

Though the proposal was a significant departure from their original plans, Gremmels and Bryant leapt at the opportunity and agreed to buy the company that same day.

They spent the next year learning the cheese-making craft from Vella and traveling to Europe to compare different techniques.

Meanwhile, the company was on shaky financial footing, so the wine-and-cheese bar was put on hold while they devoted capital and time to buttressing the creamery.

“We had to make a profit. I couldn’t sell things at a loss,” said Gremmels. “We worked hard and we worked day and night.”

While new to cheese-making, they brought modern skills to the creamery, which was founded in 1933.

Gremmels had spent his career building the brands of clothing and home furnishing companies before he was recruited to a marketing position at the Harry & David fruit basket company, which brought him to Oregon’s Rogue Valley.

Bryant, on the other hand, was able to put his training as a microbiologist to use.

“Cary brought the strict science with the recipes, the testing and the fine-tuning,” said Gremmels.

The change in ownership also brought some new flair to the company’s products.

Rogue Creamery’s blue cheeses are still made with the same strain of mold that Tom Vella, Ig’s father, imported from France, where it’s used to make Roquefort from sheep’s milk.

Gremmels and Bryant adjusted the recipe for the Rogue River Blue by wrapping it in Syrah wine grape leaves and soaking it in artisanal brandy.

Their innovation brought outstanding results — the variety won the title of Best Blue Cheese at the World Cheese Awards in London in 2003.

The award put Rogue Creamery on the global map of fine cheese-makers, helping the company to achieve profitability and 20 percent annual sales growth since Gremmels and Bryant took over.

The company attained another milestone in 2007, when it crossed food safety hurdles to become the first U.S. creamery to export raw milk cheese to the European Union.

Whole Foods, a high-end grocery store chain, is now Rogue Creamery’s largest customer, carrying its cheeses in more than 400 stores.

Over the past 13 years, the creamery has gone from “negligible sales” to a “multi-million-dollar company,” said Gremmels.

It’s also taken steps to become vertically integrated with the 2012 purchase of its own organic-certified 70-acre dairy farm, which currently supplies more than half the creamery’s milk with 120 cows.

The goal is to double the herd’s size over the next year and become completely self-sufficient.

By controlling its source of milk, the creamery gains certainty about quality and production practices at a time when many dairy farmers in the region have retired from the industry, said Gremmels.

The dairy can also serve as a “sustainable model” for other operations with its organic practices and robotic milking system that reduces labor and cow stress, he said. “We hope to inspire other dairy people to come online and join us in producing milk in Southern Oregon.”

Aside from securing Rogue Creamery’s milk supply, the farm provides a new way to communicate with the public, said Francis Plowman, the company’s “cheese narrator.”

“We think that will be a very big tourist attraction,” he said.

The operation’s agritourism appeal will coincide nicely with the company’s upcoming line of ice cream, which will be made with honey and other “pure and simple ingredients,” Plowman said.

Ice cream is part of the company’s venture into fresh — rather than aged — dairy products, such as mozzarella, he said.

Because they don’t have to sit in inventory for an extended time before sale, fresh products improve cash flow.

Rogue Creamery has also recently found a profitable use for blue cheese that doesn’t meet the company’s “top tier” quality requirements: it’s turned into a shelf-stable powder.

The powder has proven popular as a stand-alone condiment as well as a bulk ingredient that’s sold to food manufacturers, Plowman said. “It really has the taste profile of our blue cheeses.”

Rogue Creamery

Owners: David Gremmels and Cary Bryant

Founded: 1933

Employees: 43

Location: Central Point, Ore.

Products: 30 cheese varieties, shelf-stable blue cheese powder, upcoming ice cream line

Vertical integration: Company owns cheese-making plant, retail shop, cold storage and packaging facility, 70-acre dairy farm

&#x2018;Pizza farms&#x2019; invite public for a slice of rural life Thu, 2 Jul 2015 11:43:52 -0400 STEVE KARNOWSKI MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As the farm-to-table movement connects more consumers with local farmers, some farms have shortened the distance between the plow and the plate. They’re inviting customers over for pizza.

On Wednesday nights when the weather is nice, Pat and Tammy Winter serve well over 200 pizzas to guests at their Red Barn Farm near Northfield, about an hour south of Minneapolis. Customers make a picnic out of it, setting up chairs and tables outside the 101-year-old barn and packing in soda, beer and wine. Children chase the chickens and pet the horses while their families wait for pizzas to emerge from wood-fired ovens.

While pizza farms have sprouted across the country as agritourism grows, they’re particularly popular in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where they provide small farms with extra income and city dwellers with opportunities to get in touch with their food sources. Farmers and diners alike appreciate that the pizza toppings often were grown or produced onsite.

Most farms keep things simple by requiring guests to bring their own napkins, plates and utensils, and to take their garbage home. They may offer limited, if any, beverages. But this isn’t about fine dining; it’s about a dining experience, and one that often boasts an unbeatable pastoral setting.

“It’s fun to get people back out to the country,” Pat Winter said.

For small farmers with an entrepreneurial spirit, diversification is a useful strategy for growing their businesses, said Greg Schweser, an expert on sustainable local food systems with the University of Minnesota Extension. Diversification can mean agritourism, such as selling pizza or hosting visitors for overnight farm stays, he said. Farm wineries already do a lot of those sorts of things, he noted. And farms that have to add commercial kitchens to comply with regulations also can use them to produce products — such as jams and baked goods — they can sell in the offseason, he said.

“Direct sales to consumers, that’s the best way to capture the most value for the dollar,” he said. “There’s no middleman. There’s no wholesalers. That’s how small farmers are making it.”

Terra Carey and Kara Denney of Minneapolis recently dined at Red Barn Farm. They had eaten at other pizza farms and knew the drill. They spread a blanket next to the vegetable garden, opened a bottle of rose wine, and spent time relaxing before savoring their pizzas — one with olives, tomato and fresh basil, another with locally-made sausage and the Winters’ own sauerkraut.

“It tastes like a hot dog in pizza form,” Carey said.

The Winters said they weren’t looking to get into the pizza business when they bought the 10-acre farm about seven years ago. It found them. He had worked in real estate until the market tanked. She was a baker, and they thought it would be fun to build a brick oven and make pizza. At first they served only family and friends, but it took off. They also turned their barn into a venue for weddings and receptions, events which they cater and have become their main business. Their little general store sells their salsas and breads, as well as eggs from their 60 hens.

Running a pizza farm isn’t all idyllic. It takes a lot of hard work and the tenacity to overcome regulatory headaches. While the Winters were able to make the necessary investments, regulations led Dave and Mary Falk of LoveTree Farmstead Cheese near Grantsburg, Wisconsin, to scale back Pizza by the Pond.

The Falks use a sourdough fermented for three days, topped with artisanal cheeses from their sheep and cows, and seasonal Northwoods delicacies such as fiddleheads and wild ramps. But Mary Falk said they’re able to open to the public this summer for only three weekend days plus three holidays because of tangles with inspectors. Otherwise they’re limited to private parties. To get in, it helps to get accepted into their private Facebook group.

“We’re pretty bizarre. We warn them — Ma and Pa Kettle revisited,” she said. “We’re not manicured. It’s pretty rustic.”

A pioneering pizza farm is AtoZ Produce and Bakery near Stockholm, Wisconsin, where Robbin Bannen and Ted Fisher open only Tuesdays and spend the rest of the week farming. They’ve been making pizza for 17 years. Bannen said they never intended it to become such a phenomenon. She worries they’re already exposed enough. She wants to protect the experience for existing customers, and keep their workload manageable.

“We do this because we love it,” she said. “We don’t do this because we want to get rich and we don’t do this because we have grandiose ideas of what a farm is.”

Pizza nights on a farm offer a fun, festive atmosphere that can help consumers put a face on their food and generate customer loyalty for a farm’s other products, said Andrew Bernhardt, a community food systems specialist with University of Wisconsin Extension.

“They’re selling an experience by letting people come to their farm, and I think there are a lot of people out there hungry for this experience,” he said.

Heat, herbicide-resistant barley on Spillman Field Day agenda Thu, 2 Jul 2015 14:17:53 -0400 Matw Weaver Washington State University will showcase its grain and legume research at the upcoming Spillman Field Day.

Registration begins 7:30 a.m. July 14 at the Spillman Agronomy Farm in Pullman, Wash. WSU puts on the event every other year.

“This is one of the showcase events for research happening at the WSU research farm,” said Ryan Higginbotham, director of WSU’s cereal variety testing. “Growers only get a tour of it once every other year, so I would hope they would be interested in coming and checking it out.”

The agenda includes updates on winter and spring wheat, barley and grain legume breeding programs. USDA Agricultural Research Service plant pathologist Xianming Chen will provide an update on stripe rust. WSU professor Kulvinder Gill will give a progress report on two-gene Clearfield wheat varieties and heat tolerance.

“I think everyone will be concerned about the heat and drought,” Higginbotham said. “We won’t have the answers because we can’t make it rain, but (farmers) will be able to see how different varieties are faring, and how they look compared to what they have on their own farm.”

Researchers and farmers are finding heat-stressed plants at a variety of locations, Higginbotham said.

Higginbotham plans to provide yield information to farmers once the varieties are harvested.

Higginbotham believes growers will be interested in WSU barley breeder Kevin Murphy’s work developing varieties with resistance to Beyond and other herbicides.

“They would not be labeled for spraying with the chemistry, but you could plant them in a rotation where you’re using Beyond, whereas right now barley is not a good fit,” he said. “(That) might help increase the barley acreage.”

Higginbotham expects 150 attendees, he said.

WSU small grains economist Randy Fortenbery will provide an economic update during lunch.


Idaho aquifer agreement finalized Thu, 2 Jul 2015 14:43:43 -0400 John O’Connell TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Idaho surface and groundwater irrigators have finalized terms of an agreement aiming to reverse declining Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer levels.

The agreement, reached on July 1, provides a potential longterm solution to a water call filed a decade ago by irrigation companies with the Surface Water Coalition against junior well irrigators with Idaho Ground Water Appropriators, Inc.

Surface users say they’ve been injured by declining spring flows into the Snake River from Blackfoot to Milner Dam, due to the increase in junior well use.

The sides now have until Aug. 1 to convince member districts to participate, or continue facing the risk of curtailment during future dry years.

The agreement seeks to stabilize the aquifer within the next five years and meet its longterm goal of restoring levels to the average fill from 1991-2001 by 2026, according to IGWA attorney Randy Budge. Aquifer levels during the target period were roughly between current lows and peak levels from the early 1960s.

“We were struggling to work out the recovery goal over the last few days,” Budge said. “The experts looked at it and concluded trying to look at one year is probably not the way to do it.”

Under the final terms sheet, well users will be expected to reduce their water usage by 240,000 acre feet per year, about equal to the average annual decline in the aquifer. According to new estimates, the average well user will have to curb water usage by 11 percent per year to meet the goal — slightly less than officials originally calculated.

Nineteen “sentinel” wells have been designated throughout the aquifer to monitor groundwater response to the plan’s implementation.

Budge is optimistic the agreement will be approved by most or all groundwater districts. Participants will be granted safe harbor from curtailment or steep mitigation obligations during future dry years. Twin Falls Canal Co. General Manager Brian Olmstead said it was a risk for his irrigators to consent to safe harbor, but they’ve already ratified the agreement, understanding the importance of protecting the aquifer.

“The only solution is the longterm solution, and that’s why we’ve voted to take the risk,” Olmstead said. “Doing nothing has more risk than anything.”

Thus far, well users have avoided curtailment by providing sufficient mitigation water. They entered into negotiations when it appeared they would fall short this season — prior to an extremely wet May. IGWA Executive Director Lynn Tominaga said his organization has secured the required 110,000 acre feet to meet this season’s debt, despite competition for water with the Bureau of Reclamation, which needed it for flow augmentation.

In future years, IGWA will provide a flat 50,000 acre feet of mitigation water. During wet years, mitigation water will be injected into the aquifer, called recharge, or used for “soft conversions,” switching certain groundwater users to surface water.

IGWA has also agreed to invest $1.1 million annually on soft conversions, when water is available, and has purchased 13,000 acre feet for soft conversions this season.

Furthermore the state has agreed to inject an average of 250,000 acre feet of water into the aquifer annually through an expanded recharge program.