Capital Press | http://www.capitalpress.com Capital Press Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:06:18 -0500 en http://EOR-CPwebvarnish.newscyclecloud.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Capital Press | http://www.capitalpress.com Cherry growers hear about new varieties http://www.capitalpress.com/Orchards/20170120/cherry-growers-hear-about-new-varieties http://www.capitalpress.com/Orchards/20170120/cherry-growers-hear-about-new-varieties#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 17:20:39 -0500 Dan Wheat http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129978 WENATCHEE, Wash. — Pacific Northwest cherry growers are being encouraged to plant new cherry varieties not only for better cherries but to keep up with buzz surrounding new apple varieties.

The pearl series, four cherry varieties released by Cornell University, were highlighted at the Northcentral Washington Stone Fruit Day on Jan. 17 by Oregon State University Extension horticulture professor Lynn Long of The Dalles.

B.J. Thurlby, president of Northwest Cherry Growers and the Washington State Fruit Commission in Yakima, said when he was promoting cherries to retailers last year, the first thing they all asked was his favorite new apple variety.

“I wanted to talk cherries but they wanted to talk apples,” he said.

Thurlby encouraged growers to check out the pearl series and said he likes Black Pearl.

“Retailers get excited about something new,” he said.

James Michael, domestic promotions director of Northwest Cherry Growers, said early cherries have the best market opportunity because there’s less competition from other produce early in the season.

Long said the new cherry varieties are all aimed toward producing fruit that is flavorful, large, firm, rain-crack resistant and ships well.

PNW growers seem most interest in Black Pearl because it is an early variety, but Ebony Pearl, which matures at the same time as Bing, is a better cherry, Long said.

Black Pearl is a fairly recent release developed for West Coast growers and export markets. It ripens seven days before Bing, is 70 percent 9 row and larger and is low in cracking and pitting, he said. Contrary to older early varieties such as Tieton, Black Pearl has good taste, he said, is a heavy producer and is “one we need to think about.”

“Ebony Pearl is probably the best tasting of the Pearl varieties. It has excellent strong flavor but with that tang that Burgundy Pearl lacks,” Long said.

Ebony is 94 percent 9 row and larger and has good firmness and low rain cracking, he said.

“If you are looking for something in Bing timing that’s larger than Bing and better in cracking resistance, Ebony might be something you want to consider,” he said.

Radiance Pearl is the fourth of the pearl series.

Long also talked about several of the Royal cherries of Zaiger Genetics of Modesto, Calif.

Royal Hazel is an early cherry that requires only 500 chilling hours during winter and early spring bud development versus 1,000 to 1,500 chilling hours for most cherries grown in Washington, Long said. First bloom is seven days before Bing. It has excellent, strong flavor, sizes well and has relatively low cracking potential, he said.

Royal Helen is a later cherry, ripening 13 days after Bing. It is very large and firm but is most prone to skin pitting, he said.

Most early varieties Washington and Oregon growers use now were developed some years ago in Canada but have deficiencies. Tieton and Chelan are often weak in flavor, Long said. Santina is more crack-prone at its nose with rain, he said.

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Trump takes oath as 45th president of the United States http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20170120/trump-takes-oath-as-45th-president-of-the-united-states http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20170120/trump-takes-oath-as-45th-president-of-the-united-states#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:08:15 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129990 WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump today took the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States, vowing to return the government to hands of the people.

Trump began his inaugural address by saying that “together we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.”

He said Americans have “joined a great national effort to build our country and restore its promise for all people.”

The new president also said change starts “right here and right now.”

The new president used his inaugural address to say it doesn’t matter which party controls the government. He says that what matters is “whether our government is controlled by the people.”

Trump said the forgotten men and women of the country “will be forgotten no longer.”

“Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another,” but “transferring power from Washington D.C. and giving it back to you, the people,” he said.

Trump said that, for too long, too few have had power and the people have paid the price.

He said: “Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.”

He said, “That all changes starting right here and right now.”

Trump also thanked former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama for their “gracious” aid through the transition.

Trump says Americans came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement “the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

Trump said the United States exists to serve its citizens and that Americans want great schools, safe neighborhoods and good jobs.

But he said too many people face a different reality: rusted-out factories, a bad education system, crime, gangs and drugs.

Trump says the “carnage stops right here and right now.”

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Commission seeks to change how winery assessment is calculated http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170120/commission-seeks-to-change-how-winery-assessment-is-calculated http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170120/commission-seeks-to-change-how-winery-assessment-is-calculated#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 17:11:34 -0500 Sean Ellis http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129979 BOISE — The Idaho Wine Commission is asking lawmakers to approve a change in how the state’s wine assessment is calculated, a move designed to simplify record-keeping for wineries.

The assessments paid by wineries and wine grape producers are currently calculated differently but the rule proposed by the wine commission seeks to put them on the same page, IWC Legislative Educator Roger Batt told lawmakers Jan. 17.

“It will provide more consistency and make for better recording when people go to fill out the assessment form,” he said.

Idaho wine grape growers pay an assessment of $7 a ton on the grapes they grow, while wineries pay an assessment of 4 cents a gallon on the wine they produce.

This can be confusing and results in unnecessary extra calculations by wineries, said IWC Executive Director Moya Shatz-Dolsby.

“Wineries buy the grapes by the ton and then we’re asking them to recalculate that” to figure out their assessment,” she said. “The new rule is making it (easier).”

Wineries will also pay $7 a ton on any grapes they buy from out of state. However, if they purchase grape juice from out of state, they will pay 4 cents a gallon.

That’s because in that case, the grapes have already been turned into juice and there is no other way to calculate it, Shatz-Dolsby said.

Most of the IWC’s budget of $500,000 comes from the state’s wine excise tax, and the commission collects about $44,000 a year in wine assessments, which are split almost evenly among growers and wineries.

The change in the assessment formula will result in the wine commission collecting about $2,500 more a year from the state’s 50 wineries based on current production, according to IWC calculations.

The pending rule has been approved by Senate and House committees and is headed to the floors of both chambers for final approval.

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Dairy organization petitions for immigration reform http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170120/dairy-organization-petitions-for-immigration-reform http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170120/dairy-organization-petitions-for-immigration-reform#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:58:13 -0500 Carol Ryan Dumas http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129980 The Idaho Dairymen’s Association is asking people to sign a petition to bring congressional attention to farm labor shortages and the need for immigration reform.

The organization is hoping for at least 10,000 signatures by Feb. 3.

“The purpose is obvious (and) the new administration made the need for immigration reform one of their platform issues,” said Bob Naerebout, IDA executive director.

Dairymen want to make sure Idaho’s delegation understands the importance of immigration reform, he said.

There is currently no visa program to bring immigrant labor to Idaho for year-round employment, and the state’s low unemployment rate is keeping the available labor pool extremely tight, he said.

The damaging effects of labor shortages are being felt in the dairy industry and elsewhere in Idaho and inhibiting economic growth, he said.

The lack of labor is hampering investment in Idaho’s businesses and slowing growth in the state, resulting in missed opportunities for existing and new companies, he said.

Idaho can’t continue to be prosperous without immigration reform. Idaho is an agricultural state and dependent on foreign-born labor, he said.

The petition cites a “massive shortage of workers” for dairy farms in Idaho, the critical need for a consistent, legal workforce for efficient operation of dairies and the lack of a farmworker visa program for dairies.

It states: “We, the dairy producers of Idaho and supporters of the dairy industry in our state, respectfully request that the members of our congressional delegation work with other members of Congress and the new administration to develop and implement federal legislation that includes an effective visa program for dairy farmworkers as soon as possible.”

Such a program would include legal status for the current experienced workforce; access to year-round workers; and an effective program for legal new workers when they are needed in the future.

The petition began with a dairy producer from the Treasure Valley who is frustrated with his lack of ability to find labor. He asked IDA to assist with getting signatures, Naerebout said.

“We’re getting a pretty strong response right now, especially electronically,” he said.

Online

The petition is available at: www.idahodairymens.org

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Bob Lindsey recognized as Nut Grower of the Year http://www.capitalpress.com/Research/20170120/bob-lindsey-recognized-as-nut-grower-of-the-year http://www.capitalpress.com/Research/20170120/bob-lindsey-recognized-as-nut-grower-of-the-year#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:49:32 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129981 As a dentist, Bob Lindsey’s professional training didn’t overlap much with hazelnut farming.

Nonetheless, in the 1970s, Lindsey and his wife, Pat, bought a hazelnut orchard near Salem, Ore., to teach their six children the value of hard work and responsibility.

“It wasn’t that we knew anything. We were total strangers,” said Lindsey.

Roughly four decades later, Lindsey has won the title of Nut Grower of the Year, a prestigious award he received Jan. 18 at the Nut Growers Society’s 2017 meeting in Corvallis, Ore.

Though he initially saw hazelnut farming as a way to keep his four sons out of trouble, the crop soon captured Lindsey’s imagination.

He eventually launched an operation for cleaning and drying hazelnuts as well as a “Hazelnut Gnome Factory,” which sells several types of hazelnuts to consumers.

Though Lindsey could have lived in comfort after retiring from his dental practice, he continues to revel in producing hazelnuts at the age of 90, said Phil Walker, a fellow hazelnut grower who presented the award.

“Every day, he lives and breathes hazelnuts,” Walker said.

The son of an oil wildcatter in Montana, Lindsey was drafted into the Army and served in the Korean War.

When his military duty was finished, he studied dentistry and eventually opened a practice in Salem.

His involvement in various civic activities, such as advocating for water fluoridation, led to Lindsey’s election as Salem’s mayor, a role he filled from 1973 to 1977.

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Researchers program drone to hunt PVY in potatoes http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170120/researchers-program-drone-to-hunt-pvy-in-potatoes http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170120/researchers-program-drone-to-hunt-pvy-in-potatoes#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:34:36 -0500 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129982 POCATELLO, Idaho — Researchers say they’ve pinpointed individual spud plants infected with potato virus Y with 90 percent accuracy, using hyperspectral cameras mounted on drones.

Donna Delparte, an assistant professor of geosciences at Idaho State University, and graduate student Mike Griffel have successfully tested a “computer-learning” algorithm they developed to tease out PVY from spectral imaging “background noise,” such as field variability and unrelated crop stress.

“Our premise was to look at all of these wavelengths of light the human eye can’t see and look for differences between healthy plants and plants infected with PVY,” Griffel said, adding their images had leaf-scale resolution.

Griffel said the project detected disease well before potato crops reached the row-closure stage, far earlier than people can spot symptoms of PVY by scouting fields.

To develop their algorithm, they compiled crop data in fields over three seasons, ending in 2016. The researchers first analyzed fields from the ground with a high-tech camera capable of recording 100 bands of the light spectrum.

After studying the images, they selected the 15 most useful bands for identifying PVY based on its unique light reflection. Delparte programmed more basic hyperspectral cameras mounted on drones to detect those bands while surveying the same potato fields from the air.

They developed the algorithm based on common spectral signatures among sick plants. Their software “learned” to ignore field variability based on comparisons of sick plant signatures with signatures reflected from adjacent healthy plants.

PVY, vectored by aphids, is a major disease affecting potato seed growers and is the primary target of Idaho’s annual winter grow-out in Hawaii, which evaluates the health of certified seed lots. The researchers shared their findings with seed growers during the Idaho Seed Potato Growers seminar Jan. 17 in Pocatello.

“We feel like we’re right on the cusp of taking this to a really fast, efficient way of detecting the virus,” Delparte said.

The first three years of research were funded with grants from USDA and the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission. Delparte said she’s seeking additional funding from seed growers and industry sources to leverage more grants and continue the work, delving into other diseases and crops.

“Our hope is in another round of research and testing, we can tighten that work flow so we get faster and faster and get results back quickly to the grower,” Delparte said.

Griffel envisions the technology will eventually enable drones to text GPS coordinates of sick plants to field agronomists, or direct drones to spray and kill sick plants upon detection.

“I think this type of data would give Idaho a marketing bump,” Griffel said.

Griffel said cameras commonly mounted on drones by companies providing data for agricultural producers and other industries aren’t sensitive enough to pick up PVY. However, he said his research findings could aid in development of simpler cameras, recording only bands of importance to PVY.

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Platforms better than conveyors, expert says http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170120/platforms-better-than-conveyors-expert-says http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170120/platforms-better-than-conveyors-expert-says#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:18:38 -0500 Dan Wheat http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129983 WENATCHEE, Wash. — Harvest-assist platforms are faster than conveyor systems for pickers who work quickly, a tree fruit specialist says.

Conveyor systems work well in Europe and Australia where pickers are slower, half the speed of typical Washington pickers, Karen Lewis, a Washington State University Extension tree fruit specialist, told Capital Press. She also spoke via Skype at the Northcentral Washington Apple Day in Wenatchee on Jan. 19.

Pickers frequently have to adjust conveyor arms to keep them close to their work, and that slows Washington pickers who often pick two to four apples at a time, Lewis said.

Harvest-assist platforms, on which apple pickers still pick into bags and dump their bags into bins, optimize their high proficiency, she said.

“We are the envy of the world with our predominately Mexican workforce. We pick an apple every two seconds and that’s not just for a short period, but over time. No place picks like that in the world and we have the numbers to back this up,” she said.

Abundant Robotics, Hayward, Calif., has been field testing a robotic picker it says has picked one apple per second. It’s aiming to have it ready for commercial use in the fall of 2018.

Conveyor systems have not been making new sales in Washington, Lewis said. It may be because they’re not what growers want, she said.

Automated Ag Systems of Moses Lake, Wash., has sold 400 to 500 of its Bandit Xpress self-propelled harvest-assist platforms from 2013 through 2016, mostly in the West, owner, J.J. Dagorret, has said.

A New York grower, Rod Farrow, has said he’s experienced a 30 percent increase in efficiency using the Bandit Xpress to replace ladders. His pickers still use bags.

Lewis said pickers color pick better at night with LED lights on platforms because they can see color better than in the daylight.

She also spoke about mechanized pruning and blossom thinning at the educational meeting, which was attended by hundreds of growers and co-sponsored by WSU Extension and the Northcentral Washington Fieldmen’s Association.

High-density planting of trees with narrow canopies where all the apples are within arm’s reach is vital to mechanization, she said.

Mechanized hedge pruning during winter tree dormancy keeps trees narrow, or sets the box, for fruit production and should be followed up by detailed hand pruning to fine-tune tree architecture and manage bud load, she said. Mechanized pruning ahead of hand pruning is faster than just hand pruning, she said.

A second mechanized hedging in early June eliminates excess limbs, foliage and young apples, keeping the canopy small to allow better light for growth of remaining apples.

“Fruit, leaves and wood are flying. Fruit is hitting fruit. It’s not something we normally do and it can be pretty scary for the grower but results can be pretty fantastic,” Lewis said.

Better light penetration for remaining apples improves their growth and quality, she said. About 3.5 to 4 percent damage of fruit left on trees is manageable for pickers to cull, she said. Very few growers do early June hedge pruning, she said.

Mechanical blossom thinning is best done right at bloom. If done too early it knocks off too many spurs of the following year’s crop and if done too late eliminates too much fruit set, she said.

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Organic checkoff proposal exposes a split in industry http://www.capitalpress.com/20170120/organic-checkoff-proposal-exposes-a-split-in-industry http://www.capitalpress.com/20170120/organic-checkoff-proposal-exposes-a-split-in-industry#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:38:59 -0500 Carol Ryan Dumas http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129984 A research and promotion checkoff for the organic industry is meeting with divided support as the USDA seeks public comment on the proposal.

The Organic Trade Association, which represents producers, handlers and processors, has worked for several years to formulate a checkoff that would meet the needs of the entire industry, which has grown to $43 billion in domestic sales.

But the No Organic Checkoff Coalition, consisting mostly of farmer organizations, contends OTA has missed the mark and USDA has not satisfactorily addressed their concerns.

OTA has logged “thousands and thousands of miles” meeting with stakeholders to shape an effective program, Laura Batcha, OTA’s CEO and executive director, said in a telephone conference.

“We’re really thrilled to reach this milestone. … It’s been a program that has gone through multiple iterations,” she said.

OTA has incorporated reforms based on stakeholder input and their concerns with other checkoffs to arrive at a unique program that spans the many commodities in the organic arena, she said.

The program puts heavy emphasis on research, information and extension to bolster organic production, educate consumers and provide value to the entire industry, she said.

The checkoff would provide money for production-based research, one of the areas of greatest interest to stakeholders. It would also facilitate the transfer of knowledge to those entering the industry and technical services to accelerate the adoption of organic practices, she said.

There is also a high interest in educating consumers so they fully understand the rigorous steps involved in organic production so farmers can realize prices that make sense for what they do. That understanding and promotion of organic brands will benefit processors as well, she said.

“This is really all about the (organic) sector coming together and investing in itself,” she said.

The coalition, however, contends the checkoff is more likely to promote large processors’ needs over those of family farmers.

While the makeup of the board appears fairly balanced — with eight producers, seven processors, one importer and one at-large member — the reality is those producer seats would likely be filled by large-scale farmers, whose interests are more typically aligned with large agribusiness, said Kate Mendenhall, coalition coordinator and a beginning organic farmer in Iowa.

It’s a lot harder for small-scale farmers to leave their operations and travel to meetings, and large-scale farmers have ended up on checkoff boards in the past, she said.

In addition, farmers make up the majority of certified organic operations, and the board should mirror that, she said, adding that farmers are responsible for building the organic movement and market, and they should be better represented.

Another problem is that 60 percent of certified organic operators are small-scale farmers — whose sales fall below the mandatory assessment level — and they won’t have a vote in the referendum to establish a checkoff unless they volunteer to participate in the checkoff and incur burdensome assessments, she said.

Farmers, handlers and processors with gross organic revenue below $250,000 can choose whether to participate. The assessment is set at one-tenth of 1 percent of net organic sales. The checkoff also applies to importers.

If small-scale farmers do choose to participate, it will be big industry on the board making decisions that will benefit bigger-scale production and small-scale farmers will be funding their own competition, Mendenhall said.

“History has shown in checkoffs that big industry wins out,” she said.

OTA contends it has worked hard to come up with a unique checkoff that better represents all producers and addresses their needs and that even if small farmers decide not to participate, they will still receive the benefits of the program.

The checkoff could provide more than $30 million annually, and 50 to 75 percent would be earmarked for research and related activities, such as technical assistance and dissemination of research findings. It would require that 25 percent of the assessments from producers be used for local and regional research, according to OTA.

The proposed rule states that no less than 25 percent of the funds shall be allocated to research; 25 percent shall be allocated to information; 25 shall be allocated to promotion; and 25 percent shall remain discretionary, with no more than 15 percent expended for administration, maintenance and functioning of the board.

The checkoff would provide a stable, reliable source of funding to support research on organic production, dissemination of research information to farmers and the development of support systems to enable the expansion and success of organic farmers, said Doug Crabtree, an organic farmer who raises grains, pulses and oilseeds in Montana.

“We see first-hand the need for more research,” he said during OTA’s conference call.

In particular, the industry needs seed varieties that work in organic systems, which rely on crop rotation to protect against weeds and pests. Non-organic varieties are less suited for organic production, and there is very little being done to develop viable varieties, he said.

Climate change and weather variations are also a huge challenge. Strong research and commitment are needed to address all the challenges in organic production, he said.

But the coalition also takes issue with the research part of the proposal, which states that the majority of research funds shall be allocated to agricultural research.

A majority could be as little as 12.6 percent, and that’s not enough; it should be 100 percent, Mendenhall said.

The remainder of the 25 percent research funding could end up going to other research, such as marketing or processing, she said.

“Everyone thinks we need more research dollars, we just think there’s a better way to get that money, she said.

Organic farmers have always thought outside the box. The industry can do better than a checkoff that’s bad for family farmers, she said.

The checkoff would also support information to bring more farmers into organic production. Significant imports of organic commodities illustrate the amount of lost opportunity, Crabtree said.

Organic can be an economic engine for rural America, said Melissa Hughes, OTA president and general counsel for Organic Valley.

The checkoff will also allow the industry to speak with one voice to make sure consumers know what the organic seal means, she said.

“Now more than ever, the organic industry needs to come together and invest in its future,” Batcha, the OTA’s CEO and executive director, said.

But the coalition contends checkoffs are inherently bad for small-scale farmers, are another tax and come with restrictive guidelines, heavy bureaucracy, lack of accountability with a history of corruption and cost of administration.

“A failed federal program does not belong in organic,” Mendenhall said.

In addition, promoting organic sales now would increase imports, she said.

“We already have a supply problem in the U.S. We don’t need more promotion; we need help for producers to transition into organic production,” she said.

More demand would be filled by imports that would decrease prices and hit organic farmers the hardest. Growing organic acres and promotion need to go hand-in-hand, she said.

A referendum is required to put the program in place and every seven years to continue the program.

Online

The proposed rule is available at: http://bit.ly/2iTW01D

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Severe winter weather delays delivery of Capital Press http://www.capitalpress.com/20170120/severe-winter-weather-delays-delivery-of-capital-press http://www.capitalpress.com/20170120/severe-winter-weather-delays-delivery-of-capital-press#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:55:17 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129985 Due to severe winter weather in the Columbia River Gorge, the Capital Press is experiencing difficulty in trucking the Jan. 20 edition from our printing plant in Pendleton, Ore., to the Postal Service in Portland. We expect delays in readers receiving their copies.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Subscribers have access to all Capital Press content, which is available on this website. Or, they can read the e-edition of this week’s paper, also available on this site.

If you are unsure how to access the e-edition, call us at 1-800-882-6789 for assistance.

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National potato leader voices optimism about Trump http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20170120/national-potato-leader-voices-optimism-about-trump http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20170120/national-potato-leader-voices-optimism-about-trump#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:02:36 -0500 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129986 POCATELLO, Idaho — A top national potato leader is optimistic Donald Trump’s presidency will be good news for his industry.

National Potato Council Executive Vice President and CEO John Keeling spoke Jan. 18 on the Idaho State University campus during the 47th Annual Potato Conference.

On immigration, Keeling said NPC supports a foreign guestworker program “that works,” as well as a change in legal status that would enable agriculture to retain undocumented foreign workers who are “here doing the work now.”

“It would shock me given the understanding Trump has of the hospitality industry if we don’t do something,” Keeling said. “He understands who changes the beds in his hotels and who buses the tables in his restaurants.”

Keeling said 20 percent of U.S. potatoes are exported, and NPC will “push the concept of trade and the value of trade.” Despite comments Trump has made about many of the major U.S. trade agreements not being in the country’s best interests, Keeling predicts U.S. foreign exports will continue to grow under the new administration.

Keeling supports being “tougher on trade partners,” and he predicts rather than starting from scratch with trade agreements, Trump will change them slightly.

“He is the king of re-branding,” Keeling said.

Keeling believes Trump’s vision for the Environmental Protection Agency should be much more in line with potato growers’ priorities than under President Barack Obama.

“There’s not a single agency of all of them where the turn-around in direction, philosophy and everything else will be bigger than with the EPA,” Keeling said.

Keeling believes Trump’s pick to head EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, will place a higher premium on states making environmental decisions. He said having “an EPA that works” is vital to ensuring agricultural chemicals are approved in a timely manner. He believes Obama’s EPA too often based decisions on epidemiological data — relying on patterns and apparent correlations — even when it was inconsistent with scientific data.

Keeling argues there was no scientific justification for EPA’s controversial choice to expand Clean Water Act regulation to “cover every drainage area that might be wet once every two years,” and he expects that policy will be reversed within Trump’s first 90 days in office.

Keeling was also critical of shortened EPA public comment periods.

Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir is encouraged by comments Trump made about the Idaho potato industry. In a video shown at the Expo, Muir included a clip of Trump saying, “Obviously, I love Idaho potatoes. Who doesn’t love potatoes from Idaho?”

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The full text of President Trump’s inaugural address http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20170120/the-full-text-of-president-trumps-inaugural-address http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20170120/the-full-text-of-president-trumps-inaugural-address#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:52:42 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129987 The Inaugural Address

REMARKS OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP – AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

INAUGURAL ADDRESS

FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.

As Prepared for Delivery –

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.

We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth.

Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day. This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.

You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.

These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry;

Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military;

We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own;

And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.

From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.

We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.

In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over.

Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.

We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.

It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.

So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:

You will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, We Will Make America Strong Again.

We Will Make America Wealthy Again.

We Will Make America Proud Again.

We Will Make America Safe Again.

And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America.

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Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass reopens after 2 days http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170120/interstate-90-over-snoqualmie-pass-reopens-after-2-days http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170120/interstate-90-over-snoqualmie-pass-reopens-after-2-days#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:25:10 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129988 NORTH BEND, Wash. (AP) — Washington transportation officials have reopened Interstate 90 east of Seattle over Snoqualmie Pass after an ice storm closed it Tuesday night.

Washington Department of Transportation officials said both directions of the state’s main route across the Cascade Mountains reopened by 6 p.m. Thursday.

Crews used excavator and loaders to break up and move 20 to 30 trees and clear tons of fallen debris, rocks and snow that came down onto the interstate.

Crews also performed avalanche control west of the summit to bring down unstable snow.

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Second of three back-to-back storms arrives in California http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170120/second-of-three-back-to-back-storms-arrives-in-california http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170120/second-of-three-back-to-back-storms-arrives-in-california#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:15:47 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129989 LOS ANGELES (AP) — The second in a trio of storms arrived in California early Friday, spreading rain that was heavy at times up and down the soggy state.

Flash flood warnings were issued by the National Weather Service for southeastern Sonoma County and in central Santa Cruz County and southeastern Santa Clara County.

Radar and automated rain gauges indicated thunderstorms were producing heavy rains across those areas, the weather service said.

On the Central Coast, a flood advisory was issued for parts of San Luis Obispo County as rain fell at rates between a quarter-inch and a half-inch per hour.

A flash flood watch was issued for wildfire burn scar areas north and east of Los Angeles out of concern that periods of heavy rain could trigger mud and debris flows from denuded mountain slopes.

Storm warnings were also posted up and down the Sierra Nevada and across the mountains of Southern California.

Big surf also was rolling ashore, and forecasters said waves could build to 30 feet on the Central Coast.

The third storm was forecast to be the strongest of the trio and hit the state through the weekend.

Storms since the fall have caused drought to retreat from nearly half the state.

Downtown Los Angeles is among many locations seeing significant improvement after five years of drought.

As of Thursday night, downtown had received 9.82 inches of rain since the start of the water year on Oct. 1, nearly 4 inches above normal to date and well above the 3.76 inches that had fallen in the same period a year earlier.

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Mars investigating spilled Skittles headed for cattle feed http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20170120/mars-investigating-spilled-skittles-headed-for-cattle-feed http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20170120/mars-investigating-spilled-skittles-headed-for-cattle-feed#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:04:31 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129991 NEW YORK (AP) — A mysterious Skittles spill on a rural highway in Wisconsin is taking another twist, with Mars Inc. saying it doesn’t know why the discarded candy was about to be used as cattle feed.

The case began when a Wisconsin sheriff posted on Facebook this week that “hundreds of thousands of Skittles” had been found spilled on a rural highway and it was unclear how they got there. Later, he updated the post to say the candy had fallen off the back of a truck on its way to be cattle feed.

Only red Skittles had spilled out, and Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt joked in the post that it would be difficult to “Taste the Rainbow” in its entirety. The incident gained attention online after CNN wrote about it, citing a report from a local affiliate.

The use of a variety of food byproducts for animal feed is common, and Skittles maker Mars Inc. says it has procedures for discarding foods for that use. However, the company says the Skittles in question came from a factory that doesn’t sell unused products for animal feed.

“We don’t know how it ended up as it did and we are investigating,” Mars said.

Company spokeswoman Denise Young said the Skittles were supposed to be destroyed because a power outage prevented the signature “S” from being placed on the candies. She said Mars planned to contact the sheriff’s office and the farmer to find out more.

Schmidt said the Skittles spilled from a box that started to disintegrate in the rain, and about half of them got out. The Skittles on the ground did not have the standard letter “S” on them, he said.

The sheriff said he has spoken to the farmer, but did not provide a name and said he did not have a contact number for him.

Josh Cribbs, a cattle nutritionist and director of commercial development for the American Maine-Anjou Association, which promotes a particular cattle breed, said that which food byproducts get used for cattle feed varies depending on what’s available in the region and particular time of year. In places like Texas, for instance, Cribbs said citrus rinds are common.

Cribbs said a specific product would not be used alone, but be mixed with other ingredients to achieve a particular nutritional profile.

“You might think, ‘Oh my gosh, they might be eating a Skittle.’ In reality, that piece of candy is being broken down,” he said.

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California thieves take 190,000 bees from Montana beekeeper http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170120/california-thieves-take-190000-bees-from-montana-beekeeper http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170120/california-thieves-take-190000-bees-from-montana-beekeeper#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:40:38 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129992 GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana beekeeper says thieves got away with 488 bee hives he had taken to California to pollinate almond trees.

Lloyd Cunniff tells the Great Falls Tribune it appeared the thieves used semitrailers to steal about 190,000 bees sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning in Yuba City, Calif. He said he was storing the bees on a fellow beekeeper’s property before moving them to Fresno, where he had a contract to pollinate almond trees.

Cunniff says the theft will cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in income. The hives were insured.

Cunniff said he reported the theft to the Sutter County sheriff’s department and learned other beekeepers have reported thefts, as well. He says beekeepers also are searching for the missing hives.

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OSU scientists sequence genome of beaver, school mascot http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20170120/osu-scientists-sequence-genome-of-beaver-school-mascot http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20170120/osu-scientists-sequence-genome-of-beaver-school-mascot#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:37:26 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129993 EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Scientists at Oregon State University have sequenced the beaver genome thanks to a 2015 crowdfunding effort.

The Register-Guard reports that the funding drive raised $20,001 from 103 donors. OSU used the money to pay for research on the genetic code of its mascot animal, the North American beaver.

The project used a blood sample from the 5-year-old beaver, Filbert, who lives at the Portland Zoo. OSU researchers say they discovered that beavers have 26,200 genes, or about 33 percent more inheritable information that humans have.

OSU says the project was done in a spirit of fun but could also lead to scientific advances by providing insights into beaver populations, diseases and evolutionary history.

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Auction held at Hawaii’s last sugar plantation http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20170120/auction-held-at-hawaiis-last-sugar-plantation http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20170120/auction-held-at-hawaiis-last-sugar-plantation#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:37:11 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129994 WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — A California-based company has helped auction off equipment and vehicles used at a Hawaii sugar plantation that shut down its operations at the end of last year.

The Maui News reports that the two-day auction run by Global Partners started Wednesday. Items from Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. that were up for grabs included pickup trucks, farming equipment, machine shop items and microscopes.

Auction officials say about 1,000 people registered online for the event and about 250 bidders attended the auction at a Maui hotel.

There was a 15 percent premium of the bid price for onsite bidders and an 18 percent premium of the bid price for online bidders.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. was the state’s last remaining sugar plantation before it shuttered last month.

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Idaho potatoes on Trump’s luncheon menu http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170120/idaho-potatoes-on-trumps-luncheon-menu http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170120/idaho-potatoes-on-trumps-luncheon-menu#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:35:38 -0500 MARK KENNEDYAP Entertainment Writer http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129995 NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s first meal as president of the United States isn’t too far from the typical power lunch for a billionaire businessman — lobster, beef and a rich chocolate dessert.

The inaugural committee released the lunch menu following the swearing-in ceremonies on Friday and Trump and some 200 guests will be tucking into a first course of Maine lobster and Gulf shrimp in a saffron sauce, Angus beef from Virginia with Idaho potatoes and a dark chocolate sauce, and a chocolate souffle with cherry vanilla ice cream.

The three-course menu isn’t too far from previous lunches other new commanders in chief have enjoyed, with lobster, in some form, usually making the first course.

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Former Payson hotshot supervisor sues feds over fatal wildfire http://www.capitalpress.com/Timber/20170120/former-payson-hotshot-supervisor-sues-feds-over-fatal-wildfire http://www.capitalpress.com/Timber/20170120/former-payson-hotshot-supervisor-sues-feds-over-fatal-wildfire#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:22:44 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129996 PHOENIX (AP) — A former hotshot supervisor in Payson has sued the federal government over the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, saying records are being concealed.

Fred Schoeffler is seeking aircraft radio transmissions that may help explain the deaths of 19 elite firefighters in the fire.

In his lawsuit, Schoeffler says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied a public-records request for recordings and transcripts of Forest Service radio traffic among employees who were conducting an aerial firefighting study during the fatal blaze.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team had been in a relatively safe position on a ridge top.

For an unknown reason and without notifying anyone, they moved down the mountainside through an unburned area where they were trapped by a wall of flames when winds shifted the fire in their direction.

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Interstate 84 reopens in Columbia River Gorge http://www.capitalpress.com/20170120/interstate-84-reopens-in-columbia-river-gorge http://www.capitalpress.com/20170120/interstate-84-reopens-in-columbia-river-gorge#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:19:10 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129997 PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — All lanes of Interstate 84 between Troutdale and Hood River have reopened.

The stretch of highway in the Columbia River Gorge had been closed since Tuesday because of snow and ice.

Oregon Department of Transportation said Friday morning that the road is safe, but motorists should still use caution.

The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed.

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Group: Settlement will cut oil pollution at Washington dam http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20170120/group-settlement-will-cut-oil-pollution-at-washington-dam http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20170120/group-settlement-will-cut-oil-pollution-at-washington-dam#Comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:17:48 -0500 PHUONG LE http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170129998 SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday agreed to obtain a pollution permit to settle allegations that operations at the Grand Coulee Dam in Eastern Washington polluted the Columbia River in violation of federal clean-water laws.

Under the settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane, the federal agency said it would, for the first time, obtain a permit for discharges at the Grand Coulee Dam, the nation’s largest hydropower producer.

It also agreed to investigate the use of more environmentally friendly oils and to disclose the amount of oil, greases and other pollutants used at the dam that could possibly be released into local waters.

The settlement resolves a 2016 lawsuit by the nonprofit Columbia Riverkeeper, which alleged the federal agency released oil and other pollutants from the dam into the river without a required permit designed to monitor and control water pollution.

“The settlement will result in less oil discharged into the river. Oil is toxic. It harms fish and wildlife and it harms people who rely on that fish and wildlife,” the group’s executive director Brett VandenHeuvel said. He said it ensures the federal government does its part to keep toxic pollution out of the Columbia River.

The Bureau of Reclamation, which operates 53 hydroelectric power plants in the country, did not admit to any wrongdoing, misconduct or liability in the settlement. A message left with a spokesman was not immediately returned.

The Grand Coulee Dam, about 90 miles west of Spokane, provides enough electricity to power 2.3 million households in 11 states and Canada a year.

The settlement mirrors one that the environmental group reached with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2014. The group similarly sued the Corps for releasing — without a pollution permit — oils, cooling water and other pollutants from eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers in Oregon and Washington.

“Now that two large federal dam operators have agreed to limit toxic pollution and assess switching to eco-friendly oils, we think that will carry over to many other federal and private dam operators,” VandenHeuvel said.

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Soil health workshop set for Burley http://www.capitalpress.com/Profit/20170119/soil-health-workshop-set-for-burley http://www.capitalpress.com/Profit/20170119/soil-health-workshop-set-for-burley#Comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:11:08 -0500 Carol Ryan Dumas http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170119842 A soil health workshop featuring a direct seeding and cover crop project by the Minidoka Soil and Water Conservation District is planned for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Best Western Burley Inn and Convention Center.

Keynote speaker Marlon Winger, Natural Resources Conservation Service state agronomist, will also give a presentation titled “Is It a Cover Crop or a Biological Primer?”

Other topics will include cover crops as they relate to eradicating blight and integrated pest management, as well as presentations on biofumigation and NRCS programs and projects.

Lunch will be provided and two pesticide applicator credits are available.

To register, contact Doreen McMurray at 208-878-5556 or dmcmurray6@gmail.com.

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Severe winter weather delays delivery of Capital Press http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20170119/severe-winter-weather-delays-delivery-of-capital-press http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20170119/severe-winter-weather-delays-delivery-of-capital-press#Comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 08:39:24 -0500 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170119854 Due to severe winter weather in the Columbia River Gorge, the Capital Press is experiencing difficulty in trucking the Jan. 20 edition from our printing plant in Pendleton, Ore., to the Postal Service in Portland. We expect delays in readers receiving their copies.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Subscribers have access to all Capital Press content, which is available on this website. Or, they can read the e-edition of this week’s paper, also available on this site.

If you are unsure how to access the e-edition, call us at 1-800-882-6789 for assistance.

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Washington Ecology shakes up dairy regulation http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170119/washington-ecology-shakes-up-dairy-regulation http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170119/washington-ecology-shakes-up-dairy-regulation#Comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:41:23 -0500 Don Jenkins http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170119839 New rules issued by the Washington Department of Ecology on Wednesday will change the regulatory landscape for the state’s 230 dairies with more than 200 cows.

Embracing the rules may shield dairies from government fines or lawsuits by environmental groups, but will mean taking on new obligations with uncertain costs.

“Every farmer will look at this very differently,” said dairyman Jay Gordon, policy director for the Washington State Dairy Federation.

“Some will sleep better at night knowing they won’t get sued, or at least are less likely to get sued,” he said. “Others will say, ‘Why do I need this?’ It means more regulations, more paperwork and more burdens. We’re very concerned about that.”

The rules, codified in a revised permit for concentrated animal feeding operations, were years in the making and are meant to keep nitrates out of groundwater and fecal coliform out of surface water.

They are in addition to the state’s 19-year-old Dairy Nutrient Management Act, which has the identical goal.

While all dairies must follow the nutrient act, only a few have had CAFO permits. Environmental groups hoped a revised permit would be a vehicle to force dairies to line manure lagoons with synthetic material and install wells to monitor groundwater, steps the department was unwilling to take.

“Ecology was presented with an unprecedented opportunity to protect the environment and public health,” Andrea Rodgers of the Western Environmental Law Center said in a written statement. “It is outrageous that Ecology has given permission for industrial agricultural facilities to dump pollution into our drinking water.”

Dairies will need a CAFO permit if they discharge pollutants into surface water or groundwater. Ecology holds that manure seeps from lagoons and almost certainly reaches groundwater. If a dairy has lagoons and more than 200 cows, “they should be applying,” Ecology water quality manager Heather Bartlett said.

Ecology will work with Washington State Department of Agriculture inspectors to identify dairies that don’t have permits, but should, she said.

A dairy without a CAFO permit may receive a warning and could eventually be fined. Penalties could be appealed. “Ultimately, Ecology has the burden of proof,” Bartlett said.

WSDA has been in the background in developing the rules, but will now play a role in enforcing them. “Hopefully, we can make this as seamless as possible for the dairy industry,” WSDA Deputy Director Kirk Robinson said.

Here are more details about the CAFO permit:

• Ecology exempted the 147 dairies with fewer than 200 cows because of the cost.

• The annual permit fee will depend on dairy size. A dairy with 200 to 400 animal-units will pay $592 the first year. A dairy with more than 800 animal-units will pay $2,373. Fees are scheduled to rise next year by 5 percent. An animal unit is a cow that’s approximately 1,000 pounds.

• Dairies will have to test fields before planting and after harvesting crops. Before, dairies were required to only test post-harvest. Washington diaries will have to analyze soils two to fives times more often than Idaho dairies, according to Ecology. Additional testing will cost between $3,150 to $9,250 per dairy over five years, Ecology estimates.

• Ecology estimates a one-time WSDA assessment will cost $460 per lagoon. Lagoons that score low by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service standards will need to be repaired. Repairs could cost hundreds of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Ecology. Previously, Ecology had proposed requiring assessments by engineers, which the department estimated would cost $7,400 per lagoon.

• Ecology will offer two versions of the permit, a concession to the dairy and opposed by environmental groups. One permit will be for dairies that discharge pollutants into groundwater and surface water. Because the federal Clean Water Act covers surface water, environmental groups unhappy with Ecology’s enforcement could sue dairies that have this permit. The other permit will regulate groundwater discharges and wouldn’t be subject to enforcement through third-party lawsuits.

• Dairies have WSDA-approved “nutrient management plans.” Under Ecology, dairies also must have “manure pollution prevention plans.” The plans will be similar and adding a second one might cost nothing, according to Ecology. The department estimated writing a plan from scratch will cost $9,800.

• Dairies already must keep records to show WSDA that they are not spreading too much manure. Ecology says additional record-keeping costs should be minimal and did not make a dollar estimate.

• Although dairies were the focus as Ecology developed the rules, the CAFO permit could apply to other livestock operations. By exempting small dairies, Ecology has excluded other producers as well. For poultry, a farm with fewer than 37,500 laying hens would be exempt.

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Spud equipment sales remain steady http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170119/spud-equipment-sales-remain-steady http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170119/spud-equipment-sales-remain-steady#Comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:26:29 -0500 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170119840 POCATELLO, Idaho — Farm equipment manufacturers participating in the recent Agricultural Expo at Holt Arena say they’re still doing plenty of business on machinery used in potato production, though sales of agricultural equipment in general have slumped.

Leaders in agricultural equipment production such as John Deere have reported sharp declines in sales during the past two years, due to depressed commodity markets.

The potato market has been no exception to low prices, with current fresh-market spud payments still well below production costs, as recently estimated by University of Idaho economists.

However, companies specializing in potato equipment, such as the Blackfoot, Idaho-based manufacturer Spudnik, say they’re somehow bucking the machinery sales trend.

“We’re doing a good business this year, maybe a little ahead of where we were this time last year,” said Spudnik sales representative Phil Cardon, based in Pasco, Wash. “We’ll still have a strong year. We’ve got strong orders.”

If there’s been a challenge for Spudnik recently, it’s been keeping up with orders, said Cardon, whose company has improved controls in the cabs of its latest generation of field equipment. Cardon believes that the potato market can turn around more quickly than other commodities since spuds are perishable, and he noted Northwest fresh sheds have been “shipping hard since the very beginning of the year.”

Brock Mitchell, vice president of sales with the Burley, Idaho-based potato equipment manufacturer Double L, believes the contract market with processors provides some stability for the potato industry, enabling growers to take advantage of new product innovations.

“Whether it’s domestically or worldwide, potato equipment seems to still be moving, in spite of some of the pressure on commodity prices,” Mitchell said. “It will be interesting to see how it goes throughout the year, but it seems to be moving.”

Bruce Nyborg, with the Rexburg, Idaho-based potato machinery manufacturer Logan Farm Equipment, said truck-bed sales have been strong as growers seek to harvest with less labor.

“Our sales have been steady,” Nyborg said. “It’s down a little bit this year, but it’s still a pretty good year.”

Dan Reeves, with the Blackfoot-based potato equipment manufacturer Milestone, highlighted his company’s new piler at the Expo. It should reduce bruising while allowing growers who often need to use side-by-side pilers to cover their largest potato storages to get by with a single machine.

Reeves said his sales have been flat.

“(Declining sales) are something you’re seeing across the board in the agricultural industry, but we’re staying steady with our Milestone stuff,” Reeves said.

By contrast, Harvey Stushnoff, with Agri-Service in Twin Falls, believes hay-intensive growers have been especially hard hit by low commodity prices and are “hanging on to their equipment.”

Gary Miller, a Bank of Commerce loan officer in Shelley, Idaho, emphasized a lot of hay has been fed this winter, and he’s hopeful the forage glut will diminish. For the most part, he said growers have stopped upgrading and are waiting for prices to rebound.

Organizers of the Expo, hosted from Jan. 17-19, say interest in their event also remained strong, with 120 vendors participating.

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