Capital Press | Capital Press Tue, 22 Aug 2017 07:58:07 -0400 en Capital Press | Why people should avoid GMOs Mon, 21 Aug 2017 17:04:43 -0400 Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal geneticist at the University of California-Davis, laments the loss in the marketplace of GMO/rBST milk, a worthless poison. (“Caving in to unfounded opinions threatens tech advances ...,” (Capital Press, 8/18/2017). Does Ms. Eenennaam really want to drink rBST milk? Does she want her children and grandchildren drinking that milk?

rBST milk contains high levels of pus and high levels of insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1). See “Genetic Roulette,” pg. 157, by Jeffrey M. Smith. IGF-1 has been implicated in cancer. See “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth,” pp. 211-212, by Steven M. Druker. In this age of runaway cancer we don’t need more growth hormones in our food!

Further, Ms. Eenennaam erroneously asserts that GMOs have reduced toxic pesticide use. On the contrary, GMO food crops are heavily sprayed which has caused the rise of superweeds. Monsanto is now coming out with GMO dicamba ready crops due to the fact that glyphosate no longer works on superweeds. So now both glyphosate and dicamba will be sprayed on food crops — a massive increase in toxic pesticide use, to say nothing of the drift problems inherent in dicamba spraying.

One wonders whether bio-tech companies are funding Ms. Eenennaam’s research. GMOs are nothing but slow poisons masquerading as food.

Patricia Michl

Lake Tapps, Wash.

Idaho farmers say total eclipse was incredible experience Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:43:08 -0400 Sean Ellis REXBURG, Idaho — Idaho farmers in the solar eclipse’s path of totality — that area where the moon blocked out 100 percent of the sun — reported minor inconveniences, mostly related to traffic.

Or, in at least one instance, Canadian tourists who thought it would be a good idea to set up their eclipse viewing camp in the middle of a newly planted mustard field.

But those farmers also said the event was an awesome experience.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. It was really spectacular,” said Rexburg fresh potato grower Lynn Wilcox. “It’s an event that I’ll remember all the rest of my life and I’m glad I took the time to see it.”

Wilcox shut down his potato packing facility in Rexburg for the day because of the anticipated traffic congestion and rented out viewing space on the property to 131 vehicles.

“Everybody that stayed there thought it was just awesome,” he said.

When they awoke Friday morning, members of the Searle family in Shelley noticed vehicle tracks running through a mustard field they had planted three days before.

A.J. Searle followed the tracks and asked the culprits, Canadians who thought the field was a good place to enjoy their eclipse viewing experience, if they were stuck.

“They said, ‘No, we’re fine,’” he said.

When Searle informed them otherwise, the group left with no problems.

Other than that unwelcome incursion, he said the eclipse was remarkable.

“It was amazing; absolutely incredible,” he said. “It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Stan Searle, part of a different Searle farming family in Shelley, said he had planned to be cutting grain during the day of the eclipse but there was too much traffic to do that.

Traffic on the country roads near his farm was too congested to move grain trucks.

Two hours after the eclipse, traffic on those roads was still backed up and moving about 2 mph, he said.

Stan Searle thought the event was spectacular but he was also happy to see it end.

“We want it to get over with so we can go back to work,” he said.

Across the state in Weiser, Kimi Kelley and her husband Ron shared the total eclipse experience with about 20 tourists they allowed to camp out in their orchard for free.

The group included some astronomers who shared powerful telescopes they brought with them.

“It was really amazing,” Kelley said of the experience.

The Idaho Potato Commission used the eclipse as part of a marketing promotion titled, “Idaho Potatoes; Kissed by the Eclipse.”

The campaign is informing people that 308,000 acres of Idaho potatoes this years will have grown under the blanket of the solar eclipse.

IPC President and CEO Frank Muir said the promotion is a fun way to ride the eclipse wave and keep the state’s most famous farm commodity at the forefront of people’s minds.

“It’s a special crop,” he said. “How many times can you say, ‘I fed my family baked potatoes that were grown under the totality of the eclipse?’”

WSDA fines irrigation district’s ex-manager for herbicide mishap Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:56:46 -0400 Don Jenkins The Washington State Department of Agriculture has fined a former Cascade Irrigation District manager $450 for an errant herbicide application that severely damaged a pear orchard in Central Washington.

The penalty against Richard Lee, finalized Aug. 14, was the third fine issued by WSDA related to the April 1, 2016, spraying of weeds along a canal maintenance road 6 miles southeast of Ellensburg.

The herbicide settled on dust and then blew into a 22-acre pear orchard owned by the district’s board vice president, Ben Kern, and caused damage initially estimated at $220,000 to $300,000.

Kern said Monday he has yet to reach a settlement with the district’s insurance company. The spraying also harmed the block’s 2017 crop, he said.

“It definitely reduced this year’s crop well over 50 percent,” Kern said.

A district employee applied an herbicide with the active ingredient flumioxazin about 35 feet from the orchard, according to WSDA. A month later, Kern reported black spots on leaves and fruit.

The employee and Lee told a WSDA investigator that they had not known the herbicide’s label prohibited spraying within 300 feet of pear trees or on soil that might blow in the wind.

As district manager, Lee was responsible for herbicide applications, according to WSDA.

Efforts to contact Lee were unsuccessful. Kern said Lee resigned as district manager due to health reasons and that his resignation was unrelated to the herbicide incident.

In June, WSDA fined the irrigation district $1,100 and the employee, Kelton Montgomery, $450.

Lee originally appealed his fine, but agreed to settle without an administrative hearing, according to WSDA.

Kern said the district’s board has adopted a policy requiring three employees to attest they’ve read the label before approving a chemical application. “We’ve made these changes, which we didn’t have before, to eliminate any mistakes being made,” he said.

The district irrigates 12,500 acres in Kittitas County by drawing from the Yakima River.

Panel to fund multiple water projects under Proposition 1 Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:56:37 -0400 Tim Hearden SACRAMENTO — Now that applications are in, members of a state panel want to give portions of $2.7 billion in available water bond funds to as many projects as possible, a spokesman said.

The California Water Commission received 12 applications by the Aug. 14 deadline for funding for storage projects under Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond passed by voters in 2014.

That’s fewer than the commission had expected earlier this year, having received 44 separate “concept papers” from groups considering seeking funds for everything from large reservoirs to local groundwater recharge projects.

“Originally we thought we might get upwards of 20 to 25,” panel spokesman Chris Orrock said. “But as the process continued on and we got more toward the end of the application period, we saw that only 12 organizations had started the process. So two or three weeks ago we understood that this was going to be about the number we’d get.”

Some commissioners have expressed a desire for “funding as many projects as we can,” Orrock said, adding that the number will be determined when the panel gets through a technical review next spring.

The commission expects to make final determinations in June 2018.

“It’s not a beauty pageant,” Orrock said. “We’re going to be looking at the public benefits that projects say they provide and ensure that the public benefits are tangible and able to be realized. Then we’re going to look at what the public benefits ratio is to the overall project.”

Overall, the commission received nearly $6.8 billion in requests for projects that would cost a combined $13.1 billion. The largest request was for $1.66 billion for Sites Reservoir west of Maxwell, Calif., a planned $5.2 billion project to create as much as 1.8 million acre-feet of offstream surface water storage.

The Sites Project Authority and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are taking comments through Nov. 13 on environmental documents for the proposed reservoir, and two public meetings are scheduled to provide more information.

The meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Sites Project Authority, 122 Old Highway 99 West, Maxwell; and 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 28 in Room 306 at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St.

Another frequently discussed project, the planned Temperance Flat Reservoir near Fresno, is seeking $1.3 billion toward a projected $2.66 billion overall cost. Temperance Flat would create 1.26 million acre-feet of new storage above Millerton Lake.

Other proposed surface storage projects seeking funds include the Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion ($434 million); the Pacheco Reservoir expansion ($484.5 million) and local surface storage projects in San Diego ($219.3 million) and Nevada and Placer counties (nearly $12 million).

In addition, five projects that would involve the conjunctive use of surface and ground water are seeking funding. They are the Willow Springs Water Bank in Southern California ($305.8 million), the Chino Basin project ($480 million), the San Joaquin River and Tributaries project ($22 million), the Tulare Lake Storage and Floodwater project ($452.2 million) and the South Sacramento County Agriculture and Habitat Lands program ($304 million).

The Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project is asking for $85.7 million.

The commission expects to hold multiple public meetings in early 2018 as it determines each project’s level of public benefits and gives it a final “project score,” according to a news release. For schedules and the status of reviews, visit .

Defining ‘fairness’ provides insight into how family farms work Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:52:31 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas The definition of fairness used in running a farm or other family business appears to impact its bottom line, a new study has found.

The farms found to be most profitable are those in which the family members making the largest contributions receive the highest incomes, according to the study, which was just released by the Purdue Initiative for Family Firms. The study also showed that while those farms had the highest income compared to families who had a different definition of fairness, they also had the most internal tension.

Families that define fairness as treating each member according to their needs had the lowest overall income but also had lower tension levels.

In addition to those two definitions, the Purdue University researchers also posed the definition of treating each member the same regardless of their need or contribution and also offered the option of a family having no definition of fairness.

The issue of fairness was the subject of Purdue’s Family Business Succession Survey in 2012 and revisited in its latest question of the month survey. In the latest survey, treating each member according to need shot significantly above its ranking in 2012.

Maria Marshall, Purdue professor of agricultural economics, said she isn’t sure why the results for that definition were so different in the latest survey. It could be the much wider distribution of the 2012 survey and its context of succession planning.

Defining fairness is important so everyone knows what to expect in a family business such as farm, and there’s a level of consistency, she said.

An estate or succession plan will likely reflect a family’s definition of fairness, and the younger generation should have some idea of what to expect and be talking about it, she said.

Raising awareness of the fairness factor is meant to help family businesses work through the process of planning to transfer leadership and ownership from one generation to the next, she said.

“There is no right or wrong answer. Is the goal family harmony or better profits?” she asked.

Families treating members according to their contribution are likely driven by the facts of business and not emotions and choose managers who are the most capable, giving them more responsibility and compensation. The high level of tension could come from resentment among family members because not everyone is treated equally.

Treating members according to need could mean less efficiency and making less-than-optimum business decisions, which could also put a strain on the family business.

“It might not be best for the business, but it reduces tension for the family,” she said.

It’s common for families to value working together and harmony above all else, so they are willing to accommodate everyone, she said.

The definition of fairness is different from family to family and can change over the course of the family’s life cycle. But it provides consistency in dealing with business strategy and succession.

Those without a definition of fairness might treat members according to their need one time and according to their contribution another. Defining fairness is helpful in understanding as a family how members will be treated.

It’s important in understanding behaviors in the business and how the business might be passed down, particularly in the case of sweat equity, she said.

“Are you doing what’s fair or what’s equitable?” she asked.

Governor to sign transportation bill in Ontario Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:12:04 -0400 Sean Ellis ONTARIO, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown will travel to Ontario Aug. 28 to hold a ceremonial signing of the state’s $5.3 billion transportation bill, which provides funding for a major rail transload facility in Malheur County.

The bill provides $26 million for the transload facility, which onion industry leaders say could be a game-changer for farmers because it will allow onions and other commodities to be loaded directly onto rail cars, reducing transportation costs and possibly opening new markets.

The governor plans to meet with producers in Ontario before signing House Bill 2017.

This will be Brown’s second visit to Ontario this year. Before that, farmers can’t remember the last time a governor visited the area in an official capacity.

Local onion industry leaders are encouraging as many farmers as possible to show up for the Aug. 28 signing and thank Brown for her role in helping ensure inclusion of the funding for the transload facility in the transportation package.

“We’re telling people, be sure and thank her and express our gratitude,” said Grant Kitamura, general manager of Murakami Produce, an onion shipping company. “This facility will be a great help to the onion industry and other commodities.”

Dozens of onion storage and packing sheds collapsed under the weight of snow and ice this winter and Brown toured the region in February to see the damage first-hand.

Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, vice co-chairman of the committee that crafted the transportation package, said Brown is following up on what she said she would do when she visited the region in February: help the local economy recover from the damage.

The governor’s visit to the area is “extremely significant and I think it’s a reflection of how supportive she is of this investment in our area,” he said.

Bentz said the transload facility “is a great, big deal to this community and I think she understands that and wants to share in the hope this brings to this community.”

Bentz said ag industry leaders will be notified once specific times and places for Brown’s visit are set.

He said it’s also important for locals to thank the governor for her support of House Bill 2012, which created a special economic development region in Malheur County with the goal of helping farmers and other businesses compete on a more level playing field with their Idaho counterparts.

Nyssa farmer Paul Skeen, who helped escort Brown during her February visit, said her interest in and support for the area is refreshing because Eastern Oregon residents have long felt forgotten by the rest of the state.

“It’s symbolic about how she feels about us,” he said about the governor’s planned visit and ceremonial signing. “It’s been a long time since anybody even recognized we were part of the state.” He said it’s important for farmers and others to show up and thank Brown for her support.

“I plan on being there, shaking her hand and telling her, ‘Thank you,’” Skeen said.

Some evacuation orders lifted on western Montana fire Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:19:57 -0400 LOLO, Mont. (AP) — Some evacuation orders have been lifted on a western Montana wildfire that blew up last week, destroying two homes and eight outbuildings. However residents allowed to return are still asked to be ready to leave on short notice.

The Lolo Peak Fire has burned 49 square miles in the Lolo National Forest southwest of Missoula. More than 1,000 personnel are assigned to the fire, which was started by lightning in mid-July.

The fire showed moderate growth Saturday and Sunday. Fire information officer Mike Cole says the weather Monday and Tuesday should favor the firefighting effort.

A firefighter was injured Saturday when she was hit by a rock and fell down, breaking her collarbone. A camp crew worker also suffered a foot injury on Saturday.

Walmart expands grocery service with Uber to 2 more markets Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:18:42 -0400 ANNE D’INNOCENZIO NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service with ride-hailing service Uber to two more markets — Dallas and Orlando, Florida.

The world’s largest retailer had launched a pilot grocery service with Uber last year in Phoenix and then Tampa, Florida, earlier this year.

The move, announced Monday, marks the latest steps that Walmart is taking to offer more options for online grocery shoppers looking for convenience amid increasing competition from online leader The stakes are expected to get higher with Amazon’s announcement in June to buy Whole Foods Market.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter operates its own grocery delivery system in San Jose, California, and Denver. It also has curbside grocery pick up service for online shoppers at more than 900 of its stores.

Nearly all of Montana is in or trending toward drought Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:15:17 -0400 BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Nearly all of Montana is experiencing drought or trending toward drought, fueling wildfires and costing farmers millions of dollars.

The Billings Gazette reports drought conditions stretch 680 miles west to east from Noxon to Sidney. This is the first summer in 10 years that so much of the state was experiencing drought at the same time and the first year since 2004 that more than 10 percent of the state was in extreme drought, the worst category recognized.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, only 2.7 percent of the state is experiencing normal conditions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Montana is expecting crop losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and farmers are worried that fall rain won’t follow the dry summer, making it difficult for them to seed winter wheat in the months ahead.

High school senior project tests cover crops Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:39:10 -0400 John O’Connell GRACE, Idaho — Ross Harris may change how he farms and ranches, contingent on the results of his son’s high school senior project.

Other Caribou County farmers and ranchers should also be interested in 18-year-old Chase Harris’ research — testing a nine-species cover crop blend, with plants intended to survive the winter, thrive in his growing environment and provide good forage for the family’s cattle.

Chase — working with Cameron Williams from the Caribou County office of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service — planted 8 acres of the family farm to cover crops on Aug. 18, in a pasture where cattle will also have access to grass and a harvested alfalfa field. Chase said another key component of his research will be assessing which forage source the cattle prefer.

Farmers plant cover crops primarily to improve the health of their soils, but many growers also opt to graze cover crops, allowing livestock to benefit from the forage value while recirculating nutrients in their manure. Cover crops aren’t common yet in Caribou County, which has a short growing season.

“We’ve always kind of been conventional farming until Chase went looking at this,” Ross Harris said, adding he’d be “crazy not to continue” experimenting with cover crops if they work for his son. “We’ll see how the cattle eat it and what the cover crop might look like this spring.”

Harris plans to graze his cover crop this fall and to swath and bale the growth for feed in the spring, before his father plants no-till alfalfa into the plot.

In Idaho, high school seniors are required to complete a project that benefits the community and includes 40 hours of work with an instructor, along with a report and a presentation. Chase said most of his classmates plan to shadow a professional and report what they learn about an interesting career.

“I figured if I was going to do this, I was going to do it all the way,” the Grace High School student said.

In addition to conducting the experiment on his own farm, Harris helped Williams organize and promote a recent cover crop field day in Caribou County, which included presentations by a couple of the nation’s top cover crop experts. Harris also helped plant the cover crop plots highlighted during the field day.

“Often it takes the next generation to attempt new techniques like Chase is trying on his family’s operation,” Williams said.

Chase said he got the idea for his cover crop project from his biology teacher, Eli Hubbard, who spoke in class about cover crops as a means of improving soil structure. Hubbard planted his first cover crops this season on his farm and ranch.

“We live in a valley where everyone has been doing the same thing for so long, and we don’t think there’s any other thing that works,” Hubbard said. “I think it’s going to take a few people trying things, and as they see success, other people are going to start asking questions.”

Barley breeder developing dryland, craft malt variety Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:18:50 -0400 John O’Connell ABERDEEN, Idaho — Barley breeder Gongshe Hu has sought help from crop researchers in an arid North African country as he starts working to develop a drought-tolerant malt barley variety well suited for the growing craft brewing industry.

Hu, with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, asked officials with an international germplasm collection center in Morocco to send him two-row barley lines with good drought tolerance and high yield potential.

This season, Hu planted about eight lines — all top performers in Morocco’s drought nursery, where they received reduced irrigation — in Aberdeen to expand seed for further evaluation. He hopes a few will perform well in the local climate and make good parents to confer drought tolerance in his breeding program.

Hu explained that craft brewers typically use all-grain recipes, requiring malt barley with lower protein levels than malt used in brewing beers commonly produced by large brewers, blended with corn or rice sugar. Dryland farming conditions, however, tend to elevate protein levels.

Hu’s breeding project will seek to combine drought tolerance with low-protein genetics to create a cross usable by dryland growers raising malt for all-grain brewing.

“It looks like we will have five or six lines that grow pretty well in this environment,” Hu said.

Hu will plant the seeds he’s raising this season in Aberdeen’s drought-tolerance nursery next season to evaluate them against local lines. Hu said it could take as long as a decade for the project to yield new varieties — even with his program speeding the breeding process by raising some generations of crosses in New Zealand during winters.

“At the moment, we’re trying to introduce as much genetic diversity as we can for drought tolerance,” Hu said.

Drought tolerance is also a trait Oregon State University barley breeder Patrick Hayes has prioritized.

“Low protein is always important for malting barley, especially under dryland conditions,” Hayes said.

The American Malting Barley Association added all-malt guidelines for barley breeding in 2014, specifying all-malt varieties should have less than 11.8 percent protein, a percentage point lower than standard malts that are blended with adjunct ingredients.

“A low protein, dryland barley would potentially be useful throughout craft brewing, and would be especially desirable considering increasing environmental pressure throughout barley growing regions,” said Damon Scott, technical brewing projects coordinator with the Brewers Association.

Both the Brewers Association and AMBA have supported research regarding drought tolerance.

“The whole malting barley industry would be interested in any lines that would be more drought tolerant,” said Scott Heisel, AMBA’s vice president and technical director.

Soda Springs dryland farmer Scott Brown, who serves on the Idaho Barley Commission, raises malt barley for large brewing companies, and he generally meets their protein specifications. But Brown believes a lower-protein dryland variety would allow his growing area to tap into the craft market, and potentially enable dryland growers in other regions that now raise only feed barley to produce malt.

Idaho could pass Oregon this year for No. 2 hop state Mon, 21 Aug 2017 08:27:07 -0400 Sean Ellis WILDER, Idaho — Idaho is projected to pass Oregon this year to become the second largest hop-producing state in the nation.

According to Aug. 10 projections by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Idaho hop growers will produce 12.83 million pounds of hops in 2017 and Oregon farmers will produce 12.75 million pounds.

“We have a chance” at that No. 2 spot, said Idaho hop grower Mike Gooding. “It’s going to be close.”

Gooding said his family has been producing hops in Idaho for 70 years “and Idaho has always been in the third spot for as long as anybody can remember.”

Nabbing the No. 2 spot — Washington is an unchallenged No. 1 with an estimated 72 million pounds this year — won’t mean anything other than bragging rights, Gooding said, but it is a good sign of the health of the Idaho industry.

Idaho has been bearing down hard on Oregon for the No. 2 spot for several years and even if the state doesn’t pass Oregon this year, it appears it’s only a matter of time before that happens.

Idaho hop acres have soared from 3,743 in 2014 to 4,863 in 2015, 5,648 in 2016 and 7,169 in 2017. During that same period, Oregon’s hop acres have also increased, although more slowly, from 5,410 in 2014 to 6,612 in 2015, 7,765 in 2016 and 8,045 in 2017.

But average yield per acre is greater in Idaho — hop yields are forecast to be 1,790 pounds per acre in Idaho this year and 1,596 pounds in Oregon — and NASS projects that will nudge Idaho past Oregon this year.

Idaho yields are higher because the state’s hop farmers grow more of the high-yielding, high-alpha varieties, which grow better in hot, dry climates such as southwestern Idaho, where most of Idaho’s hops are produced, Gooding said.

Those high-alpha varieties produce much higher yields than the aroma varieties popular in Oregon’s hop growing region of Marion and Polk counties, said Oregon Hop Commission Administrator Michelle Palacios.

The difference in land availability and expense between the states’ hop growing regions is a big reason Idaho has added more acres in recent years, Palacios said.

She said Oregon’s hop industry has experienced healthy growth in recent years and Idaho’s success has not come at Oregon’s expense and is good for the overall domestic hop industry.

“I don’t think there are going to be any hard feelings,” Palacios said of the possibility her state could lose its No. 2 hop ranking. “We are still being very successful in our corner of the world. We feel good any time the U.S. hop industry is successful.”

While the battle for the No. 2 spot will be close this year, Gooding said Idaho’s first-year, or baby, hops likely won’t yield as well as some people thought they would when NASS gathered the data it used for its projections.

“The way the babies look, I don’t know that we’ll pass Oregon this year,” he said. “Those babies are not turning out the way people expected when that information was gathered.”

Environmentalists sue Cargill’s Ferndale Grain Mon, 21 Aug 2017 08:15:18 -0400 Don Jenkins Two environmental groups are suing Cargill Inc., alleging the company is violating the Clean Water Act by releasing polluted stormwater from its animal feed plant in Ferndale, Wash.

Seattle-based Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and Bellingham-based Re Sources for Sustainable Communities filed the lawsuit Aug. 7 in U.S. District Court for Western Washington.

The groups claim Ferndale Grain has released stormwater that’s too cloudy and has too much zinc and copper after heavy rains. The water is discharged into a ditch that flows into larger waterways and eventually Puget Sound, according to the suit. The allegations are based on water-quality tests submitted by the company to the state Department of Ecology.

Cargill did not respond to an email requesting comment.

The lawsuit alleges violations over several years and seeks penalties of up to $52,414 per day. Cargill can afford to pay a significant penalty, according to the suit.

The groups also seek fees for attorneys and expert witnesses, and to participate in developing and implementing a pollution-control plan at the plant.

According to Ecology records, Ferndale Grain submitted a report in May on plans to reduce the amount of zinc released. Releases last exceeded standards for turbidity in 2015 and for copper in 2013, according to records submitted with the lawsuit.

Cargill is the country’s largest privately owned company, according to Forbes magazine. The company’s revenue totaled $107 billion in 2016, according to the company’s annual report.

Western Innovator: New way to keep produce fresh Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:33:35 -0400 Tim Hearden SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — James Rogers was driving through the iconic Salinas Valley and listening to a lecture on world hunger when he got an idea.

He was working on his doctorate in material sciences at the University of California-Santa Barbara, and his research involved preserving such materials as steel. His studies led to frequent trips up the coast to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“I was cruising up (Highway) 101 ... and listening to an article on world hunger,” Rogers said. “I just happened to be driving through the Salinas Valley at the time and I saw these lush, green fields.

“The question was on my mind, ‘If we’ve got these magical seeds that we can grow in the ground ... how is it still possible that people are going hungry?’” he said. “It seems in theory that we should be able to feed more people.”

That thought led Rogers, 32, and several of his fellow doctoral students to start a company called Apeel Sciences and invent a product called Edipeel, a natural preservative made from food compounds that shippers or retailers can spray on produce to increase its shelf life.

Edipeel is a powdered mixture of different food molecules from unused or discarded plant materials, such as grape pressings from making wine, that are dissolved in water and sprayed on produce.

When it dries, the resulting thin barrier — which is edible and tasteless — slows the rate at which water can get out and oxygen can get in, which keeps the produce fresh, Rogers explained.

The product is designated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as generally safe to eat, and the Organic Materials Review Institute has approved it for use on organic fruits and vegetables.

Apeel says the spray can effectively double the shelf life of produce and reduce the need for refrigeration.

Rogers worked on Edipeel with Jay Ruskey, an organic grower of caviar limes — a rare citrus fruit that only lasts about a week after picking.

“He was a local guy who had a unique challenge related to perishability on his crop,” Rogers said. “We were able to develop a product for him that he now uses commercially.”

A native of Michigan, Rogers spent his early childhood in a suburb of Detroit, where his father was an engineer for a company that made brakes for large trucks and his mother was a substitute teacher. The family later lived near Vancouver, Wash., where Rogers finished high school.

“I was the kid who always wanted to know what everything was made out of and how it worked,” Rogers said.

Rogers earned dual undergraduate degrees in material science and engineering and biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh before advancing to UC-Santa Barbara, where he earned his master’s degree in economics and his doctorate in materials.

Since Apeel was founded in 2012, the company has received $40 million in funding for developing its products, including grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Powerplant Ventures and other philanthropic and private investors.

The company’s stated mission is to end food waste and help growers reduce reliance on chemical pesticides, refrigeration and other techniques used for food preservation in favor of more natural solutions.

For Rogers, the effort required what he described as a “crash course” in agriculture.

“I was never directly on the farm,” Rogers said. “In fact, when I called my mom and told her about my idea to help reduce perishability on the planet, she said, ‘Sweetie, that’s really nice, but you don’t know anything about fruit.’

“We don’t make the fruit any better, we just slow it down from getting worse,” he said.

One of the first things he learned is Americans throw away one-third to half of what is grown, and the developing world discards as much as two-thirds of what is grown, he said.

“I thought, Gee, it doesn’t sound like the problem is on the production side. It sounds like the problem is with the storage ... after it’s harvested,” he said.

Rogers discovered that the leading causes of perishability in fruits and vegetables is water loss and oxidation, he said.

“This started to ring a bell from my undergraduate days at Carnegie Mellon when I studied steel,” he said. In refining metals, a micro-thin oxide or nitride layer acts as a shield against deeper corrosion....

“If people are going hungry not because of lack of production but because of perishability of fresh produce, what’s causing the produce to perish is water loss and oxidation,” Rogers said. “It’s a similar problem that steel had that was solved by a thin barrier around the outside.

“We thought, What if we could take food, find materials we need to create a barrier in food and then reapply it to food?” he said. “How could you argue with that philosophically?”

Rogers believes Edipeel could be particularly useful in some developing nations where access to refrigeration is limited. The company is now researching use of the spray before harvest as an alternative to chemical fungicides and pesticides.

Since fungi and insects use molecular recognition on the surface of the fruit, Rogers and his colleagues are testing whether they can “camouflage” the fruit to avert attack by pests.

Rogers said he doesn’t plan to sell his invention to a major company and do something else.

“There’s no get-rich-quick scheme on our part,” he said. “We’re really committed to sticking around and making this thing happen.”

James Rogers

Age: 32

Residence: Santa Barbara, Calif.

Occupation: Apeel Sciences owner and chief executive officer

Honor: Received the 2012 Frank J. Padden Jr. Award for polymer physics, the premier polymer physics prize in the U.S.


Washington culvert case seen as Western water issue Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:14:36 -0400 Don Jenkins Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that he said goes beyond how quickly one state will replace salmon-blocking culverts.

The reasoning behind the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ order to take out more than 800 culverts in Western Washington could be applied to removing dams, restricting farming and altering century-old water rights in Western states, including Oregon and Idaho, where tribes have similar treaty rights, according to the attorney general.

“It could be the basis for all kinds of things,” Washington Farm Bureau associate director of government relations Evan Sheffels said. “If you just replace the word ‘culverts’ with ‘water rights,’ you get a sense of how big this case could be.”

Ferguson’s appeal was the latest step in a lawsuit brought in 2001 by the U.S. government and 21 Washington tribes. A three-judge panel ruled last year that the culverts diminish fish runs and therefore violate treaties the tribes signed in 1854 and 1855. The judges said Washington was insufficiently concerned about promises that tribes would always be able to make a moderate living by fishing.

The court said the state could build bridges over streams, reroute roads or modify culverts to allow fish to pass. Replacing the culverts could cost about $2 billion, though estimates vary.

The panel in May denied the state’s motion to have the case heard by the full circuit court. In a dissenting statement, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain said the decision was “an ideal candidate for review” because the ruling could be “used to attack a variety of development, construction and farming practices, not just in Washington but throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

“While such speculation may sound far-fetched, in actuality, it is already occurring,” wrote O’Scannlain, whose opinion was supported by eight other justices.

Ferguson, a Democrat, said in a statement that the state should speed-up replacing culverts and that he supports salmon restoration and respects treaty rights. But he said the circuit court’s ruling was too broad.

In its brief to the Supreme Court, Washington asks the high court to reconsider whether the treaties guaranteed tribes a moderate living from fishing. The state also argues that the federal government approved the culverts and should bear responsibility, and that even if the culverts are removed other fish barriers will remain.

The brief elaborates on points made by O’Scannlain. “As the dissent pointed out, the same reasoning could be used to demand any number of changes in longstanding governmental and private practices, from the ‘removal of dams’ to altering farming practices to the elimination of century-old water rights,” according to the attorney general’s office.

The tribes, in arguing against a rehearing by the circuit court, said the state was exaggerating the ramifications of the case and that the ruling was limited to state-owned culverts that block fish.

The tribes accused the state of taking the “radical position” that it has the authority to block streams.

ODFW shoots third Harl Butte wolf for livestock attacks Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:02:30 -0400 Eric Mortenson Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff shot and killed a third member of the Harl Butte pack Thursday night and will shoot one more as it tries to deter the pack from devouring cattle in Wallowa County.

The latest “lethal take” is the department’s escalated response to eight confirmed livestock attacks attributed to the pack over the past year. The most recent was a calf found dead Aug. 16 on private pasture. The department killed two pack members earlier this month and announced it would monitor the situation. After the most recent attack, ODFW decided to kill two more adult wolves.

Ranchers represented by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association said ODFW should kill the entire pack, which apparently included 10 adults and three pups before the three adults were shot this month. Todd Nash, the association’s wolf chairman and a Wallowa County commissioner, said the pack gets after cattle every day.

The ODFW action was condemned by a coalition of 18 conservation groups, which called the shootings “unnecessary and counterproductive” and asked Gov. Kate Brown to intervene. The groups include Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity, all active participants in Oregon wolf management planning and often critical of ranchers and ODFW.

In a letter to the governor, the groups said killing pack members has “deepened public mistrust of ODFW.”

“Rather than a wolf problem, the Harl Butte situation raises disturbing questions about ODFW’s ability and willingness to require livestock operations to make meaningful efforts to avoid conflict,” the groups told Brown.

The letter said killing wolves is expensive and dangerous, and leads to more conflict with livestock.

“Killing disrupts important social structures and affects a pack’s ability to hunt deer and elk. Research has shown it only makes it more likely the animals will turn to livestock to feed themselves and their offspring,” the groups said in the letter.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office was not immediately available for comment.

Wildfires scorch portions of the West Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:19:19 -0400 HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A month-old wildfire flared up in western Montana, forcing the evacuation of hundreds more homes and devouring another large chunk of forest as the drought-stricken state struggles with one of its worst wildfire seasons in years.

Fires burning across the West include one threatening 400 homes near an Oregon town within the path of Monday’s total solar eclipse and another near Yosemite National Park.

The glow from the flare-up Wednesday night and early Thursday near the community of Lolo in western Montana was visible from the airport in Missoula, about 20 miles north of the blaze, said fire information officer Jordan Koppen.

Just over 500 homes had been evacuated by Thursday morning, but additional evacuations were ordered in Missoula and Ravalli counties. Officials did not know how many homes the mid-day evacuation order affected.

Ravalli County deputies were going door-to-door and asking people to leave on Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Steve Holton told KGVO-AM.

Hundreds of other residents in areas along U.S. Highway 93 and U.S. Highway 12 had been warned to prepare for evacuation.

The Lolo Peak Fire has burned 23.5 square miles of timber. No homes have been reported burned. A Hot Shot firefighter working on the fire — 29-year-old Brent Witham of California — died on Aug. 2 when he was hit by a falling tree.

A report released Thursday shows drought across the entire state of Montana, with two-thirds of the state in “severe” drought conditions — or worse. Drought conditions in an area around Fort Peck Reservoir of northeastern Montana are rated as exceptional, with crops and livestock languishing under parched conditions.

The 13 largest active fires in Montana have burned nearly 182 square miles of land.

Elsewhere, a fire that started last week near Sisters, Oregon, has expanded to more than 5 square miles and led officials to issue evacuation warnings.

Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act so the Oregon fire marshal can mobilize resources from around the state to protect homes.

“State agencies are already working around the clock and across the state, and as we get closer to the total solar eclipse, we’ll need all resources available to keep communities, visitors, and property safe,” Brown said in a statement.

In California, crews fighting a fire in Yosemite National Park are trying to guide the flames away from the small town of Wawona and into the wilderness. The fire has closed campgrounds and trails in the park but authorities have not ordered anyone to leave. No structures have been damaged.

A fire in Glacier National Park in Montana has closed a trail that provides access to a popular backcountry chalet. The Sperry Chalet has been closed for the season.

National wool and sheep review Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:19:38 -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.

Aug. 18

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

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50

In Australia this week, the Eastern Market Indicator was up 64 at 1614 cents per kg clean from the sale a week ago. A total of 39,126 bales were offered with sales of 98.0 percent. The Australian exchange rate was weaker by .0059 at .7936 percent of the U.S. dollar. Australian wool prices are quoted delivered Charleston, S.C. The current freight rate is .15 cents per pound clean.

The Eastern Market Indicator closed up 64 at 1614 cents per kg clean. Australian exchange rate was weaker by .0059 at .7936 percent of the U.S. dollar.


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

Aug. 18

Compared to Aug. 11: Slaughter lambs were mostly lower. Slaughter ewes were steady to 5.00 lower, with the expectation of San Angelo, Texas, which trended 4.00-8.00 higher. Feeder lambs were steady to 10.00 lower.

At San Angelo, 10,708 head sold, with sheep consisting of 5,860 head. In direct trade, feeder lamb trade, no confirmable sales; 7,600 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were 7.00-83.00 lower. 2,580 lamb carcasses sold with all weights no trend due to confidentiality. All sheep sold per hundredweight (cwt) unless otherwise specified.

Slaughter Lambs: Choice and Prime 2-3 90-150 lbs

San Angelo: Shorn and wooled 115-150 lbs 140.00-156.00.

Ft. Collins, Colo.: Wooled 110-120 lbs 196.00.

South Dakota: Shorn and wooled 110-155 lbs 150.00-158.00.

Slaughter Lambs: Choice and Prime 1-2

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs 190.00-220.00; 60-70 lbs 188.00-206.00; 70-80 lbs 180.00-202.00, few 200.00-2047.00; 80-90 lbs 175.00-198.00, few 200.00-214.00; 90-110 lbs 170.00-200.00, few up to 226.00.

Ft. Collins: Few 40-50 lbs. 205.00-210.00; few 60-80 lbs 200.00; pkg 95 lbs 207.50.

Billings, MT: 76 lbs 176.50.

Slaughter Ewes:

San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) 70.00-78.00; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) 76.00-88.00, few 90.00-94.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 62.00-76.00; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) 55.00-60.00; Cull 1 20.00-52.00.

Ft. Collins: Good 2-3 (fleshy) 67.50-79.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 39.00-47.50.

Billings, Mont.: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) 43.00-50.00; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 47.00-52.50; Utility 1-2 (thin) 48.00-52.00; Utility and Cull 1-2 47.00-52.00; Cull 1 43.00-46.00.

Feeder Lambs: Medium and Large 1-2

San Angelo: 40-70 lbs 180.00-188.00; 70-90 lbs 170.00-174.00; 99 lbs 164.00; 106 lbs 163.00.

Ft. Collins: Few 45-80 lbs 195.00-210.00; 90-110 lbs 185.00-195.00.

Billings: 49 lbs 185.00; 50-60 lbs 183.00-185.00; 60-70 lbs 180.00-186.50; 70-80 lbs 172.00-179.00; 80-90 lbs 164.00-175.00; 90-100 lbs 160.00-170.50, few 172.00; 100-110 lbs 156.00-165.00; 110-130 lbs 151.00-159.50, few 162.50.

Replacement Ewes: Medium and Large 1-2

San Angelo: Hair ewe lambs 45-80 lbs 190.00-214.00 cwt, 90-105 lbs 130.00-180.00 per head; yearling hair ewes 175.00-188.00 per head; baby tooth hair ewes 165.00-195.00 per head; solid mouth hair ewes 120.00-130.00 per head; mixed age hair ewes 80-135 lbs 85.00-150.00 cwt.

Ft. Collins: Pkg hair sheep 140.00 lbs 100.00 cwt.

Billings: Baby tooth wool 170 lbs 63.00 cwt; solid mouth 215 lbs 52.00 cwt.

National Weekly Lamb Carcass Report:

Weight Wtd. Avg.

45 lbs. down Price not reported

due to confidentiality

45-55 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

55-65 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

65-75 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

75-85 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

85 lbs. up Price not reported

due to confidentiality

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 36,000 compared to 36,000 last week and 37,000 last year.

West Coast grain price report Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:38:53 -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)


Aug. 17

Pacific Northwest Market Summary

Cash wheat bids for August delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, Aug. 17, steady to lower compared to week ago noon bids for August delivery.

September wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, Aug. 17, lower as follows compared to week ago closes: Chicago wheat futures were 26.50 cents lower at 4.14, Kansas City wheat futures were 34 cents lower at 4.1425 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 33 cents lower at 6.7025. Chicago September corn futures trended 6.75 cents lower at 3.5050 and August soybean futures closed 2.25 cents higher at 9.33.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during August for ordinary protein trended 26.50 to 35.00 cents per bushel lower compared to week ago prices for the same delivery period from 4.89 to 5.25.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

White club wheat premiums were zero to five cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids this week compared and last week.

One year ago bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for August delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were 5.05-5.14 and bids for White Club Wheat were 5.06-5.24. Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: September 4.94-5.25, October, November and December 5.00-5.35.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: September 5.06-5.18, October 5.15-5.23, November 5.13-5.28 and December 5.13-5.31.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during August trended steady to 26.50 cents per bushel lower than week ago prices for the same delivery period from 5.1550 to 5.25.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

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

One year ago bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein for August delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were 5.01-5.11 and bids for White Club Wheat were 5.01-5.11.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: September 4.89-5.25, October, November and December 5.00-5.35.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: September 5.06-5.11 and October and November 5.13-5.18.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for August delivery were 34.00 cents per bushel lower compared to week ago noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. This week, bids were as follows: August 4.7925-5.1425, September 4.9925-5.1925, October 5.27-5.42, November and December 5.32-5.42.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during August were 33 cents per bushel lower than week ago 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: August 7.5025-7.8025, September 7.6025-7.8025, October 7.9425-7.9925, November 7.9425-8.0425 and December 7.9425-8.0925.

Coarse feeding grains

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for August delivery trended mixed, from 6.75 cents lower to 0.25 of a cent higher from 4.0150-4.1550.

Forward month corn bids were as follows: October and November and December 4.2625-4.3225.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for August delivery were not available as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: September 10.11-10.15, October 10.13-10.17 and November 10.11-10.17. Bids for US 2 Heavy White Oats for August delivery trended steady at 3.1200 per bushel.

Pacific Northwest Export News: There were 11 grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, Aug. 17, with four docked compared to seven last week with three docked. There were no new confirmed export sales this week from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 17

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


BARLEY US No 2 (46 lbs. per bushel)

Truck Petaluma-

Santa Rosa 9.65


Oakdale-Turlock 10.00

CORN US No 2 Yellow

FOB 6.85

Turlock/Tulare 8.10

Rail Los Angeles-

Chino Valley 8.28

Truck Stockton-Modesto-

Oakdale-Turlock 8.40


Fresno Counties 8.40

Glenn County NA

Kern County NA

SORGHUM US No 2 Yellow (Milo)

Rail Los Angeles-

Chino Valley 8.95

California shell egg price report Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:19:49 -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)

Aug. 18

Benchmark prices are unchanged. Asking prices for next week are 9 cents lower for Jumbo and Extra Large, 7 cents lower for Large and 4 cents higher for Medium and Small. Trade sentiment is steady. Demand ranges light to fairly good, mostly light to moderate and better into retail accounts. Offerings are fully adequate for the larger sizes and light to moderate for Medium. Floor stocks are usually light. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price 67 cents.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 142 Extra large 131

Large 124 Medium 87


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 129-142 Extra large 117-121

Large 109-118 Medium 68-79

Fluid milk and cream review — West Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:13:53 -0400 FLUID MILK AND CREAM REVIEW – WEST

(USDA Market News)

AUG. 17

Warmer weather conditions continue to negatively affect farm milk production in California. Outputs are lower this week.

However, milk is still available for most processing needs and is moving well within contracts. Spot loads are harder to find.

Bottled milk demand is strong due to schools being back in session in most parts of the state.

Arizona milk output is still following a downward trend. Nevertheless, balancing plants are working at or near full capacities processing milk. Class I demand is steady. Demand for Class II is active as ice cream processors continue taking on more loads of milk.

Recent rains in the state have resulted in new forage production. Topsoil and subsoil moistures are both rated 97 percent adequate to surplus.

Milk production in New Mexico is slightly down. Class I sales are higher as most schools started to reopen. Class II requests are down. Due to repair/maintenance projects at some plants, cheese manufacturers have reduced their orders by a few loads.

However, demand for Class III remains stronger this week as other Class III plants take on additional loads. Topsoil moisture across the state is 82 percent adequate to surplus compared to 74 percent last week. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is 92 percent complete, while the fourth and fifth cutting are, respectively, 58 and 21 percent complete.

In the Pacific Northwest, cows are producing more than sufficient milk to meet all manufacturing needs. The heat present in the area is not depressing milk yields as cooler nights are helping cows recharge.

Furthermore, pasture and rangeland conditions are good to excellent for dairy herds’ productivity. Class I processors continue pulling heavy milk supplies to cover large bottled milk requests from schools and retailers.

Farm milk output throughout the mountain states of Idaho, Utah, and Colorado is very active and processors are getting enough milk intakes to meet most manufacturing needs. Demands for Class I and Class II are fair to good. Some distressed milk loads are still available at $4 under market, according to some processors.

Western condensed skim continues to move strongly in the Western region. Inventories are steady compared to last week. Contacts in the West report that ice cream makers are buying cream at higher multiples while butter producers are taking theirs at the lowest multiples. Most low multiples seem to be for a few distressed loads of cream.

This week cream multiples for all usages remain steady at 1.07-1.27. According to the DMN National Retail Report-Dairy for the week of Aug. 11-17, the national weighted average advertised price for one gallon of milk is $3.22, up $0.62 from last week, and $0.73 higher from a year ago.

The weighted average regional price in the Southwest is $2.25, with a price range of $1.99-$2.39. This week, no advertised dairy ads were reported in the Northwest.

According to CDFA, September 2017 Class 1 prices in California are $18.65 in the North and $18.92 in the South. The statewide average Class 1 price based on production is $18.66. This price is up $0.32 from the previous month, and $0.53 higher than a year ago.

National feeder and stocker cattle report Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:59:27 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Aug. 18

This week Last week Last year

190,400 404,200 192,900

Compared to Aug. 11: Feeder steers and heifers began the week with trends mostly 5.00 to 10.00 lower. Early-week markets had to play catch-up with the lower markets observed late last week.

However, as the week progressed, sales became mixed from 3.00 lower to 5.00 higher.

In the Southeast region, feeder markets were 1.00 to 5.00 lower. Trade and demand was moderate, with instances of good demand reported in a few auction barns on yearling cattle as feed yards are in need of cattle to fill pen space.

There has been a larger volume of un-weaned and short weaned calves reported, with many seeing heavy discounts.

Tuesday’s CME live and feeder cattle futures put optimism into the market, encouraging feeder buyers to purchase cattle at higher prices.

However, the confidence faded as the board saw declines thereafter and cash trade for slaughter cattle saw lower prices.

Compared to last Friday, August live cattle futures ended the week 3.37 lower at 106.38 and October 1.50 lower at 105.90.

Feeder cattle futures for August were 1.27 lower at 140.50 and 2.19 lower at 140.03 for September.

There were still noteworthy sales in the field, with the Sheridan Livestock Auction Co. in Rushville, Neb., seeing several good strings of yearling steers, with several loads of steers weighing 890 pounds selling at an average price of 150.85. There were also several loads of 918-pound yearling steers coming off grass that sold at an average price of 145.30.

On Monday, Iowa traded live slaughter cattle at 110.00, setting the tone for the week. On Wednesday, direct slaughter cattle trade broke out in Nebraska. Dressed purchases were 8.00 to 10.00 lower from 175.00-177.00.

On Thursday, more trade occurred with dressed purchases steady with Wednesday at 175.00. Live sales were 6.00 to 7.00 lower compared to last week from 109.00-110.00, with a few up to 110.50.

In Kansas and the Texas Panhandle, trade has been inactive on light demand.

In the Southern Plains, live purchases were 5.00 lower at 110.00.

Weather has played a factor throughout many regions this week, with the Northern and Southern Plains seeing heavy rainfall and unseasonable lower temperatures. This curtailed receipts throughout both regions.

In central Nebraska, adverse weather was reported as well, with some areas receiving extensive damage from hail.

The Corn Belt may find the rain showers beneficial for their soybeans, as they are in a critical development stage. The soybean crop rating declined 1 point, with 59 percent in the good or excellent category and 79 percent of the crop has pods set.

The corn crop rating improved 2 points, now with 62 percent rated in the good or excellent category and only 16 percent dented.

Compared to last Friday, Choice boxed-beef closed 5.31 lower at 194.29 and Select boxed-beef closed at 192.50, down 3.62. Today’s Choice-Select spread is at 1.79.

Auction volume this week included 55 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.

National Slaughter Cattle Summary

(USDA Market News)

Aug 18

Slaughter cattle on a live basis sold 4.00-5.00 lower, dressed 8.00-9.00 lower. Boxed Beef prices as of Friday afternoon averaged 197.86 down 2.60 from last Friday. The Choice/Select spread is 3.48. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Friday afternoon totaled about 75,500 head. Last week’s total head count was 73,890 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: 109.00-110.50. Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers 173.00-175.00.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 109.00-110.00. Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls sold mostly 2.00-3.00 lower this week.

Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value Friday was 181.48, down 0.21 from last Friday.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Aug. 18

This Week Last Week Last Year

180 1,050 1,364

Compared to Aug. 11: Not enough comparable trades for a market test. The feeder supply included 0 percent steers and 100 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 3-8 cent slide on yearlings. Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Feeder Steers: No test.

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1: Current FOB Price: 835 lbs 124.19.

Western hay price report Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:41:31 -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)

Aug. 18

This week FOB Last week Last year

11,017 6207 4770

Compared to Aug. 11: Premium and good Alfalfa were steady to slightly higher. Timothy Grass prices were firm with a greater variety of bale sizes available. Prices for Alfalfa Straw were steady.

This week FOB Last week Last year

Alfalfa Mid Square

Premium 4344 162.69

Good 1888 142.85

Alfalfa Small Square

Premium 2381 196.71

Orchard Grass Mid Square

Fair 350 145.00

Timothy Grass Mid Square

Premium 600 245.00

Good 424 215.00

Timothy Grass Small Square

Premium 20 240.00

Alfalfa Straw Mid Square

Utility 1000 60.00

Wheat Straw Small Square

Utility 10 100.00


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 18

Compared to Aug 11: Prices trended generally steady. All prices reported are 2017 crop, unless otherwise noted. Most producers are done with first cutting and out in the field working on second cutting. Extreme heat in some of the growing areas has slowed movement. Some rain and thunderstorms have diminished quality of hay. Retail/Stable type hay remains the largest demanded hay.

All prices are in dollars per ton and FOB unless otherwise stated.

This week FOB Last week Last year

2729 5921 6904

Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Wasco Counties

Tons Price

Alfalfa Small Square

Prem Retail/Stable 30 210.00

Orchard Grass Small Square

Premium 24 240.00

Eastern Oregon

Alfalfa Large Square

Premium 28 160.00

Good 28 130.00

Mid Square

Premium 300 155.00

Alfalfa/Grass Mix Sm Square

Premium 270 173.52

Harney County

Grass Small Square

Good 30 90.00

Klamath Basin

Oat Large Square

Good 300 90.00

Lake County

Alfalfa Large Square

Supreme 1234 200.41

Prem Rain Damage 200 180.00

Small Square

Good/Premium 85 185.00

Triticale Large Square

Premium 200 110.00


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 18

This week FOB Last week Last year

17,857 1800 700

Compared to Aug. 11: An increase in the variety of hay was available this week. The ready availability of both Alfalfa and Timothy Grass may have contributed to lower prices that were reported for the week.

Alfalfa Large Square

Good 500 120.00

Alfalfa Mid Square

Supreme 3500 152.50

Premium 3615 136.61

Good 5550 124.51

Export 500 125.00

Fair 4100 100.00

Timothy Grass Mid Square

Fair 92 165.00


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 18

This week FOB Last week Last year

8858 10,016 43,550

Compared to Aug. 11: All classes traded steady with moderate demand. According to the NASS crop progress report Aug. 13, Alfalfa fields were being irrigated, cut, and baled. Black-eyed beans continued to be irrigated and cultivated. Corn was being harvested for silage. Cotton was blooming and forming bolls, and continued to be irrigated. Sorghum for silage continued to be cultivated and irrigated.


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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supr Organic 150 325.00

Prem Organic 25 260.00

Retail/Stable 25 220.00

Orchard Grass Premium

Retail/Stable 25 300.00


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

Alfalfa Premium 382 226.44

Good 150 170.00

Oat Premium 125 135.00

Good 175 115.00


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

Alfalfa Supreme Del 80 265.00

Premium 1600 204.69

Retail/Stable 500 220.00

Del 100 220.00

Del Ret/Stable 200 225.00

Good/Premium 425 200.00

Good 400 165.00

Grassy 170 83.00

Del 450 165.00

Fair Del Rain Dam 100 160.00

Orchard Grass Good 800 214.00

Oat Good Del 200 125.00

Corn Silage Good Contr 1 40.00

Wheat Straw Good Del 600 105.00


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


Premium 150 200.00

Retail/Stable 125 220.00

Forage Mix-Three Way

Premium 75 180.00


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


Prem Ret/Stable 50 180.00

Good/Premium 175 152.86

Good 250 125.00

Export 500 140.00

Fair 750 110.00

Bermuda Grass

Prem Ret/Stable 100 185.00

Organic Valley butter plant opens in W. Oregon Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:13:13 -0400 Aliya Hall McMINNVILLE, Ore. — Organic Valley celebrated the grand opening of its new butter plant in McMinnville on Aug. 12 after buying the old Farmers Cooperative Creamery last year.

The plant is the co-op’s first brick-and-mortar facility outside Wisconsin, Hans Eisenbeis, director of Organic Valley public relations, said.

Organic Valley is the nation’s largest cooperative of organic farmers, with 2,013 members, 77 of whom are in Oregon and Washington. After Wisconsin, Oregon produces the next largest volume of milk in the Organic Valley supply chain. The co-op’s sales have topped $1.1 billion, and in 2016 it saw a 15 percent growth in membership and 5.8 percent growth in sales, according to the co-op.

The plant will produce butter and skim milk powder, but in the future could expand to making buttermilk powder and other products.

The creamery has 37 full-time employees on two shifts, Monday through Friday.

Organic Valley’s renovation of the former FCC plant was one of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s business development reserve fund investments to support small business growth, according to her office. The facility received a $350,000 check that Chris Cummings, deputy director of Business Oregon, presented during the opening ceremony.

“Organic Valley knew pretty quickly that McMinnville is the place to do business,” he said.

The event included a tour of Dan Bansen’s dairy in Dayton, Forest Glen Jerseys.

Bansen estimated he had about 800 guests at the farm that morning, according to Sasha Bernstein, a company spokeswoman.

Forest Glen Jerseys was the first farm in Western Oregon to join the co-op with 300 its cows, and is one of the bigger dairies associated with Organic Valley, Bansen said. He has followed organic practices for 24 years.

In Oregon, about 20 percent of the dairies are organic, said co-op member Steve Pierson of Sar-Ben Farms.

At the end of the event, official remarks were made by George Siemon, Organic Valley CEO; Lisa Hanson, deputy director of Oregon Department of Agriculture; Scott Hill, mayor of McMinnville; Pierson; and Cummings.

Siemon thanked FCC for giving them the opportunity to take over the plant, and said that McMinnville was the “strongest regions for the Organic Valley brand.”

Eisenbeis said earlier that Organic Valley had “a cultural fit” in McMinnville — a city that Hill dubbed unique because of its heritage.

“This is a historic building, we’ve seen it for many years,” Hill said of the plant, “but in partnering with Organic Valley we will be taken into the future to produce the best butter in America.”

Wildfire threatens buildings in Central Oregon; shelter opens Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:31:37 -0400 SISTERS, Ore. (AP) — With the solar eclipse just days away, a wildfire raging within Oregon’s path of totality threatened more than 650 structures Thursday and led officials to issue evacuation warnings.

Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act so the Oregon fire marshal can mobilize resources from around the state to protect homes.

“State agencies are already working around the clock and across the state, and as we get closer to the total solar eclipse, we’ll need all resources available to keep communities, visitors, and property safe,” Brown said in a statement.

The wildfire was burning in the center of the state near the town of Sisters in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. The blaze started last week and stayed relatively small and tame for days. It expanded Wednesday to more than 5 square miles, charring dead timber in the scar of a 2006 wildfire.

More than 200 firefighters were working to establish containment lines.

The homes where people were told to prepare to evacuate lie west of Sisters, the Western-themed town where eclipse observers will see 34 seconds of totality on Monday. The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Sisters Middle School for those who choose to leave.

Late Thursday, Oregon Department of Transportation officials closed McKenzie Pass Highway, also known as Highway 242, west of Sisters. Campers and hikers were being escorted from the area, the agency said.

Other wildfires are burning in what is typically Oregon’s busiest month for wildland firefighters. The state after a very wet winter and spring has so far been spared the kind of wildfire that destroys neighborhoods and burns areas the size of Rhode Island.