Capital Press | Nation/World Capital Press Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:30:23 -0500 en Capital Press | Nation/World Fire temporarily closes farm store in Walla Walla Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:32:03 -0500 Matw Weaver A heater fire the evening of Nov. 27 has temporarily closed the Cascade Farm and Outdoor store in Walla Walla, Wash.

The heater caught fire at approximately 11 p.m., causing isolated smoke damage and water damage from the sprinkler system, according a press release from the store’s parent company, Bi-Mart Corp.

The company is evaluating the damage with an insurance adjuster this week, said Don Leber, Bi-Mart vice president of marketing and advertising.

“Although there was very limited fire and water damage, it’s all about the smoke and what it penetrates in the store,” Leber said. “Chances are we’ll have to replace a lot of the merchanidise.”

The store will re-open, but the cost of damage and the time frame for the closure is uncertain until damage and cleanup needs are assessed, Leber said.

“We apologize for the inconvenience,” he said. “We will definitely be re-opening the store.”

The store opened in April 2014. Cascade Farm and Outdoor also has a location in Coos Bay, Ore.


National feeder and stocker cattle report Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:54:23 -0500 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Nov. 27

This week Last week Last year

126,900 286,500 149,300

Compared to Nov. 20: Feeder cattle and calf markets were not fully tested due to limited marketing during the Thanksgiving holiday week.

Several major auctions held specials on Monday and Tuesday this week with calves trading mostly steady to $10 higher with some instances $15 higher on lightweight calves under 500 lbs. Yearlings sold steady to $4 higher on a light test.

Direct trade on a light test was steady to firm with instances 3 higher.

Demand was high at Green City, Mo., on Tuesday for their annual Thanksgiving Yearling Special with over 3800 head of top quality yearlings on offer. Although prices have been disappointing this fall for the entire beef complex buyers stepped up at the Green City Livestock Auction pushing prices beyond expectations as near 200 head of 700-750 lb. steers averaging 732 lbs. sold for a weighted average price of $191.84; 370 head of 800-850 lbs. steers averaging 820 lbs. sold for a weighted average price of 186.25; 210 head of 900-950 lbs. averaging 914 lbs. sold with a weighted average price of 180.11 and a pot load of fancy yearling steers weighing 903 lbs. dropped the gavel at 189.50.

The sellers of these cattle will now have a couple of days to pay off notes then roll the dice and reload for Friday’s annual special calf sale in Green City.

The Oklahoma National Stockyards on Monday sold over 4600 head with steer calves trading $6-8 higher and heifer calves selling $10-20 higher. The cattle complex this week shifted between follow through buying on Monday with sharp gains only to sell off on Tuesday with sharp losses with pre-holiday positioning.

But a quiet Wednesday trading in the cattle futures closed with slight to modest gains ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday made for a welcome day of trading instead of the volatility that has persisted.

Volatility continues, which makes it difficult for cattlemen to put any type of reasoning to trade in the cattle futures.

On Monday the USDA’s Cold Storage Report was released showing volumes above year ago totals. Total red meat supplies in freezers were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 21 percent from last year at 1.161 billion lbs. Total red meat supplies are a record high for the month of October. Total beef stocks in freezers were near 512 million lbs., up 3 percent from last month and up 34 percent from last year.

Frozen pork supplies were near 602.7 million lbs., which was down 8.1 percent from last month but up 13 percent from last year. Pork in cold storage did see significant declines which is typical for this time of the year.

Chicken in cold storage was 30 percent higher than year ago totals due to production increases and heavier bird weights. Turkey production was 9 percent lower than last year due to losses from bird flu.

Choice boxed-beef values continue to tread water this week trading mixed but closing on Nov. 26 31 cents higher at $204.40. Auction volume included 46 percent weighing over 600 lbs. and 38 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

79,700 251,500 96,800


This week Last week Last year

19,600 34,200 29,000

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 6,000. No cattle over 600 lbs. No heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 300 lbs. $200 March-April Del; 325 lbs. $194-196 March-April Del.

National wool review Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:54:04 -0500 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.

Nov. 27

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was at a standstill this week. There were no confirmed trades. Most of the fall clips have been collected, yet some are still finishing some late fall shearing for wool to market at a later date.

Small amounts of wool are attempting to be marketed at this time, but many are opting to hold onto their wool as there is optimism that there will be another strong rally in the spring where wool will receive a more attractive offer to producers. Currently there is still some resistance due to the strong U.S. dollar.

Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was at a standstill this week.

There were no confirmed trades.

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50

Northwestern grain market prices Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:51:06 -0500 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)


Nov. 25


Cash wheat bids for October delivery ended the holiday shortened reporting week on Wednesday, Nov. 25, mixed compared to Nov. 18 noon bids for November delivery.

December wheat futures ended the reporting week on Wednesday, Nov. 25, mixed as follows compared to Nov. 18 closes: Chicago wheat futures were 11.50 cents lower at $4.7925, Kansas City wheat futures were 5.25 cents lower at $4.5725 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 5.75 cents higher at $5.1450. Chicago December corn futures trended 1.75 cents higher at $3.66 and January soybean futures closed 15.25 cents higher at $8.7525.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during November for ordinary protein were not available, compared to not available last week for November delivery.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. There were no white club wheat premiums for this week or last week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for November delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were $6.9775-7.3775 and bids for White Club Wheat were $9.3775-9.7775.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: December not available; January, February and March $4.8750-5.38. One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: December $6.75-7.4275, January $6.80-7.5275, February and March $6.80-7.6275.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during November were $6.4425-6.88, 2 to 11.50 cents per bushel lower compared to $6.5575-6.90 last week for November delivery. White club wheat premiums for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein soft white wheat were $1.15 to $1.35 per bushel over soft white wheat bids compared to $1.15 to $1.35 Nov. 18. Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: December $6.4425-6.84, January, February and March $6.4250-6.88.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein U.S. 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for November delivery were 10.25 cents per bushel lower compared to Nov. 18 noon bids for November delivery. On Nov. 25, bids were as follows: November $5.5225-5.6725, December $5.5225-5.7225, January $5.67-5.72, February $5.70-5.75 and March $5.73-5.77.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein U.S. 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during November were 0.75 of a cent to 5.75 cents per bushel higher than Nov. 18 noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. On Nov. 25, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: November $6.2450-6.5950, December $6.3450-6.5950, January, February and March $6.0950-6.5450.


Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN shuttle trains for November delivery were 3.25 to 7.25 cents lower from $4.41-4.46 per bushel. Forward month corn bids were as follows: December $4.44-4.46, January $4.5475-4.5675, February $4.5575-4.5675, March $4.5675-4.5775 and April $4.5925-4.6025. Bids for U.S. 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN shuttle trains for November delivery were 12.25 to 14.25 cents higher from $9.7225-9.7725 per bushel. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: December $9.6525-9.7525, January $9.6925-9.7325 and February $9.6375-9.6775. Bids for U.S. 2 Heavy White Oats for November delivery trended steady at $3.8475 per bushel.


There were eight grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, Nov. 25, with four docked compared to 12 Nov. 18 with four docked. There were no new confirmed export sales this week from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.

California shell egg prices Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:44:02 -0500 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

Nov. 27

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are unchanged on Jumbo, Extra Large and Large with Medium and Small down 12 cents. Trade sentiment is lower. Retail and food service movement is seasonally brisk and reported as good to very good. Offerings are light to mostly moderate with Jumbo in the tightest position. Supplies are moderate. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price $2.31.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 305 Extra large 317

Large 311 Medium 251


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 257-268 Extra large 243-255

Large 243-252 Medium 189-198

Central Oregon Livestock Auction report Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:31:52 -0500 Oregon


(Central Oregon Livestock Auction)

Nov. 23

Total head: 343.

Baby calves: NA.

Steers: 300-400 lbs. $200-225; 400-500 lbs. $180-200; 500-600 lbs. $160-185; 600-700 lbs. $155-165; 700-800 lbs. $140-155; 800-900 lbs. $135-145.

Bulls: High yield $93-97.50; mostly $90; thinner $85-90.

Pairs: NA.

Bred cows: First calf heifers NA.

Heifers: 300-400 lbs. $180-190; 400-500 lbs. $165-180; 500-600 lbs. $155-165; 600-700 lbs. $145-155; 700-800 lbs. $135-145.

Heiferettes: 850-1000 lbs. $125-135.

Cows: Heiferettes $100; Feeder cows $78; high-yield $83; medium-yield $73; low-yield $65.

Portland daily grain report Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:15:30 -0500 Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 30, 2015

USDA Market News

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

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

In early trading December wheat futures trended mixed, from 4.75 cents lower to eight cents per bushel higher compared to Friday’s closes, with the decline in Chicago soft red winter wheat and the greatest advance in Chicago hard red winter wheat.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for December delivery for ordinary protein were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as not available. Bids for guaranteed maximum 10.5 protein were not well tested in early trading but were indicated as steady to lower compared to Wednesday’s noon bids.

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

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

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during December trended mixed compared to Wednesday’s noon bids.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during December were higher in early trading.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel US 1 Soft White Wheat - delivered by Unit Trains and Barges

Ordinary protein

Dec NA

Jan 4.7650-5.3800

Feb 4.7650-5.3800

Mar 4.7650-5.3800

Apr NA

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Dec 6.2600-6.8400

Jan 6.3150-6.8800

Feb 6.3150-6.8800

Mar 6.3150-6.8800

Apr NA

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

Ordinary protein

Dec NA

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Dec 7.8600-8.5900

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


Ordinary protein 5.3300-5.5800

11 pct protein 5.4800-5.6800

11.5 pct protein

Dec 5.5300-5.7300

Jan 5.6950-5.7250

Feb 5.7250-5.7450

Mar 5.7450-5.7650

Apr NA

12 pct protein 5.5600-5.7700

13 pct protein 5.6200-5.8500

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

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

13 pct protein 6.0450-6.2950

14 pct protein

Dec 6.3650-6.6150

Jan 6.0950-6.5450

Feb 6.0950-6.5450

Mar 6.0950-6.5450

Apr NA

15 pct protein 6.4850-6.7750

16 pct protein 6.6050-6.9350

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Dec 4.4225-4.4725


Feb 4.5325-4.5425

Mar 4.5425-4.5525

Apr 4.5700-4.5800

May 4.5800

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Dec 9.6875-9.7875

Jan 9.7075-9.7475

Feb 9.6400-9.7100

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.8475

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Oct 2015

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 5.4900

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 5.8600

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 6.0900

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 6.5200

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Advocacy groups in Montana, Idaho sue over forest plan Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:51:14 -0500 KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Snowmobile clubs and advocacy groups from Montana and Idaho are suing over a U.S. Forest Service plan that bars motorized access in certain areas of the Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana.

The forest plan, finalized in January, designates 115,000 acres as recommended wilderness areas and eliminated mechanized and motorized means of transport in those places.

The lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this month alleges the plan fails to follow Forest Service guidelines for recommended wilderness areas.

“A lot of wilderness has exceptions,” plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Bell told the Daily Inter Lake. “Some of the recent wilderness designations, for instance, have allowed specific roads to be traveled.”

The lawsuit also says forest officials did not allow enough public comment before deciding on the recommended wilderness area designations and questions how Kootenai officials proposed additions to the national Wild and Scenic Rivers system.

The last forest plan, completed in 1987, had found that 112 miles of streams and rivers in the Kootenai were eligible for the Wild and Scenic designation. Kootenai forest officials identified about 63 miles of waterways as eligible in its draft environmental analysis for the new plan.

The lawsuit alleges that Kootenai officials removed some waterway segments and added others after receiving objections from environmental groups. The result was an increase in the total mileage in the final plan, which did not go through public scrutiny, the plaintiffs said.

Officials with the Kootenai National Forest declined to comment on the pending litigation. They have 60 days to respond to the suit.

The plaintiffs in the case are the Ten Lakes Snowmobile Club, Montanans for Multiple Use, Citizens for Balanced Use, the Glen Lake Irrigation District, Backcountry Sled Patriots, the Idaho State Snowmobile Association and the Blueribbon Coalition.

‘12 Days of Christmas’ items top $34K, up 0.6 percent Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:28:40 -0500 JOE MANDAK PITTSBURGH (AP) — Lords a-leaping is the U.S. economy slow to recover!

The cost of 10 lords a-leaping increased 3 percent over last year, but nine of the other 12 gifts listed in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” stayed the same price as last year, according to the 32nd annual PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index released Monday.

The index is a whimsical way the Pittsburgh-based bank tracks inflation.

The set of gifts spelled out in the final verse of the song would cost $34,131 this year, or 0.6 percent more than the adjusted 2014 price of $33,933. PNC decided to adjust the historic prices of turtle doves and swans after realizing the prices quoted by vendors didn’t reflect the birds’ overall value on the open market over the years.

“The headline, I think, is that inflation in this economy, with the sort of tepid recovery we’ve seen, is almost nonexistent,” said Jim Dunigan, chief investment officer of PNC’s asset management group.

While the good news is that the price of consumer goods isn’t rising very much, it also means demand for those goods is down, at least partly due to wage stagnation.

The government’s Consumer Price Index has pegged inflation at about 0.2 percent, Dunigan said.

The only other items to increase in price since last year were a partridge in a pear tree and two turtle doves.

The bird in the bush rose 3.5 percent overall, mostly because partridges now cost $25 each, up from $20, because partridges are increasingly popular as gourmet food. Pear trees inched up from $188 to just under $190.

Turtle doves increased 11.5 percent, from $260 to $290, mostly due to increased grain prices that pushed up feed costs.

The lords a-leaping are more expensive because labor costs increased their price from $5,348 to $5,509.

PNC calculates the prices from sources including retailers, bird hatcheries and two Philadelphia dance groups, the Pennsylvania Ballet and Philadanco.

A buyer who purchased all the items each time they are mentioned in the song would spend $155,407.18.

The full set of prices:

— Partridge, $25; last year: $20

— Pear tree, $190; last year: $188

— Two turtle doves, $290; last year: $260

— Three French hens, $182; last year: same

— Four calling birds (canaries), $600; last year: same

— Five gold rings, $750; last year: same

— Six geese-a-laying, $360; last year: same

— Seven swans a-swimming, $13,125; last year: same

— Eight maids a-milking, $58; last year: same

— Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $7,553; last year: same

— 10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $5,508; last year: $5,348

— 11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,635; last year: same

— 12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,855; last year: same

South Korea parliament ratifies free trade pact with China Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:10:11 -0500 YOUKYUNG LEEAP Business Writer SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s parliament on Monday approved a free trade pact with China after opposition lawmakers secured a $1.4 billion relief package for farmers.

The ratification, which comes five months after the trade pact was signed, paves way for the deal with South Korea’s largest export market to take effect this year. South Korea already has trade deals with the European Union and United States.

Lawmakers passed the deal after agreeing to spend 1.6 trillion won ($1.4 billion) over the next decade on tax breaks and other aid for farmers and fishermen.

The main opposition party was against ratifying a deal that would hurt agriculture and fisheries. Both industries feared greater competition from less expensive Chinese imports.

To further appease concerns about the deal’s impact, lawmakers agreed to seek donations to establish a 1 trillion won fund for the agriculture and fishing industries over the next decade.

Once put into effect, the deal would eliminate tariffs on $42 billion of South Korea’s imports from China and on $73 billion in South Korean exports to China. Eventually, it will remove tariffs on more than 90 percent of goods. Autos and rice remain protected.

South Korea’s government said the deal would create about 54,000 jobs over the next 10 years and bring other economic benefits, such as boosting sales of fashion items, cosmetics and electronics goods made by small-and-medium Korean companies in the Chinese market.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, has been struggling to boost exports, which sank 16 percent in October from over a year earlier, the biggest drop in six years.

Earlier in November, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed during their meeting in Seoul to work toward ratifying the deal by the end of the year.

South Korea was China’s fourth-largest trading partner in 2014 after the U.S., Hong Kong and Japan.

Deere lays off 220 employees, citing sales drop Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:08:06 -0500 MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Deere & Co. is laying off about 220 workers from its Seeding and Cylinder operation in its hometown as agricultural machinery sales slump.

The Moline, Illinois, said Monday that the layoffs, effective Feb. 15, are unlike past seasonal layoffs. The new job cuts have no specific call-back date for workers.

Deere employs about 60,000 people globally, about 29,000 in the United States and Canada.

Commodity prices have declined over the past three years, leading to weaker sales of farming machinery.

Sales of Deere’s agriculture equipment, which include tractors, fell 25 percent it its most recent quarter. Falling oil prices also have affected the company’s construction equipment sales.

The company expects sales of its equipment to fall 7 percent in fiscal 2016.

H-2A provider increases bus inspections Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:08:40 -0500 Dan Wheat OLYMPIA — The largest provider of H-2A-visa foreign agricultural guestworkers in the West, Olympia-based wafla, is reviewing its transportation procedures after a bus load of Mexican H-2A workers heading from Michigan to Mexico crashed in Arkansas, killing six and injuring another six onboard.

The site of the Nov. 6 crash was in an area of unusual lane changes on Interstate 40 in North Little Rock. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause. The charter bus carrying 22 people struck a bridge abutment. The bus was headed for Laredo, Texas.

In June, a charter bus carrying H-2A workers from Mexico to North Carolina slammed into the rear of an 18-wheel truck on a freeway west of Houston, killing two people and injuring almost a dozen others.

In light of those accidents, wafla — formerly the Washington Farm Labor Association — is stepping up its inspections of charter bus services it uses and has met with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to map out a plan of self audits, said Dan Fazio, wafla director.

Wafla is looking at vehicle and driver fitness using FMCSA statistics, he said.

Walfa transported close to 9,000 workers from Mexico to Washington state and back again in 2015 in more than 200 roundtrips. It used two Mexican and one U.S. company in 2015 and occasionally used Greyhound.

“Wafla is responsible and liable for arranging transportation, so we have to walk the walk, so to speak,” said Montse Walker, wafla’s H-2A program manager.

Most agents who assist employers in using the H-2A program make sure the employer is responsible for transportation mishaps so wafla taking responsibility in that regard is rather unique, she said.

Last year, wafla made a substantial interest-free loan to Fonteras Del Norte, a California bus company with regularly scheduled and charter services to Eastern Washington, for the purchase of two new buses. In exchange, Fronteras Del Norte allowed wafla to display its “boots on the ground” advertising logo on the buses.

Wafla anticipates chartering more bus trips in 2016 as use of H-2A workers to tend and harvest crops, mostly tree fruit, continues to increase in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and other states, Fazio said.

Lawsuits could expand water rule impact Fri, 27 Nov 2015 14:19:07 -0500 Sean Ellis BOISE — A former EPA official told Idaho water managers and attorneys that agriculture is mostly exempt from Clean Water Act requirements and would presumably be unaffected by EPA’s new Waters of the U.S. rule.

But, he added, lawsuits from groups seeking greater CWA enforcement could change that.

Winthrup, Wash., attorney Mark Ryan worked for the EPA for 24 years as a CWA specialist and senior litigator.

Agriculture’s exemption from the CWA’s requirements for point source discharges is embedded in statute and unaffected by the new rule, he told several hundred people Nov. 19 during Idaho Water Users Association’s annual meeting.

“If water hits your farm field, then runs into a ditch, you are not covered by the Clean Water Act. You are exempt,” he said.

However, it’s likely that lawsuits will seek to pressure EPA to decide that the point where an irrigation ditch flows back into a river is a point source for discharge. That would mean daily pollution restrictions for the ditch, which would directly impact farmers.

“That would be a huge change for the people in this audience,” Ryan said.

“(EPA) does) not want to regulate agriculture, I can guarantee you that,” Ryan said. “But someone is going to bring that lawsuit.”

Layne Bangerter, the state director of agriculture for Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said his boss believes the new rule would expand EPA’s control over water to virtually every area, despite what the agency claims.

“Ditches are exempt if EPA determines they are exempt,” he said. If the new rules passes, “The federal government will be telling you what you are going to do (with your water).”

Crap told Idaho farm industry leaders Nov. 23 during a campaign event that congressional members opposed to the rule will try to stop it through a provision in an appropriations bill next month.

Crapo told the Capital Press that the new rule amounts to a federal power grab over state waters.

“Think about it: (federal) control over water is one of the most significant issues to agriculture that we have right now,” he said.

The president has threatened to veto any legislation that seeks to stop the rule, Crapo said, but if opponents can include language in an omnibus appropriations bill that continues funding the federal government, “then the pressure on the president to sign it increases.”

Bangerter said his boss, a former water law attorney, is watching the issue closely.

“This is the hill to fight on,” he said. “It’s no secret that we’re going after this rule.”

A federal court has temporarily blocked the rule from taking effect.

Twenty-nine states are part of lawsuits challenging the rule, seven states have intervened in support of it, 38 industry groups have filed complaints opposing it in district court and 13 environmental groups have filed petitions in support, Seattle attorney Brent Carson told IWUA members.

“We now have quite a bit of litigation going on,” he said. “We may have 15 opinions by 15 district court judges.”

Eleven months later, U.S. finally free of bird flu Wed, 25 Nov 2015 16:31:24 -0500 Don Jenkins The U.S. Department of Agriculture has notified international officials that the U.S. has cleansed itself of bird flu, raising hopes that remaining foreign bans on American poultry products will be lifted.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued its final bird flu report to the World Organization for Animal Health on Nov. 18, declaring that the U.S. has stamped out the virus 11 months after it was first detected in a wild duck at a northwest Washington lake.

The disease eventually infected 219 commercial and backyard flocks in 15 states and claimed 48 million birds, by far the worst avian flu outbreak in U.S. history.

Diseased birds were culled, contaminated barns were scrubbed and the virus contained, the USDA reported. The last sick poultry flock was detected June 18 and, according to the USDA, all cases are “final, closed and resolved.”

Migratory waterfowl introduced an Eurasian strain of highly pathogenic bird flu, which mixed with a low pathogenic virus already common in North American birds, according to health officials, who warn the disease could resurface this winter.

The USDA is stockpiling millions of doses of bird flu vaccine and testing thousands of wild birds, which spread the virus to chickens, turkeys and other domesticated birds but are immune from its ill effects.

Many countries banned U.S. poultry and eggs in response to bird flu. U.S. exports of eggs, poultry and related products declined by 21 percent to $3.3 billion between January and September, compared to $4.2 billion over the same period in 2014, according to the USDA.

USA Poultry & Egg Export Council spokesman Toby Moore said that trade bans have been coming down since mid-summer.

“It’s getting there slowly but surely,” he said. “I think the people at APHIS have done a remarkable job of handling this from a trade perspective.”

China and South Korea continue to bar U.S. poultry products. Losing China as a market for chicken feet has been one of the bigger trade losses this year for the U.S. poultry industry.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Reuters in an interview last week that he planned to raise the issue at the annual U.S.-China Joint Commission and Trade meeting in Guangzhou, China. That forum ended without an announcement.

“Who knows how long it’s going to take,” Moore said.

He was more optimistic that exports to South Korea will resume shortly. U.S.-Korean officials are working on an agreement that would call for Korea to ban only poultry and eggs from states or counties where the virus appeared, rather than prohibiting all U.S. poultry.

Worldwide, new cases of highly pathogenic bird flu continue to appear. France reported a new outbreak Nov. 25 affecting 32 birds. The species was not identified in a notification to international animal health officials.

The USDA reports that state and federal agencies have tested 22,536 wild birds since July, including 5,616 in the Pacific Flyway. Only one, a mallard duck collected July 31 in Utah, tested positive for highly pathogenic bird flu, according to the USDA.

The USDA issued a second call Nov. 20 for companies to submit proposals to manufacture bird flu vaccines. The department awarded two contracts in August.

The USDA says it wants to be able to deliver doses anywhere in the U.S. within 24 hours to contain an outbreak. The chicken and turkey industries alone could need 100 million doses a month, according to the USDA.

Following strong earns, Hormel announces 2-for-1 stock split Wed, 25 Nov 2015 10:36:45 -0500 NEW YORK (AP) — Hormel is announcing a two-for-one split a day after the company reported a strong fourth quarter and outlook.

The company is projecting higher sales from organic meats producer Applegate, which it bought earlier this year.

Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said Wednesday that the split “demonstrates our confidence that we will continue to grow our sales and earnings.”

Shares hit an all-time high Tuesday.

The stock split, which would increase the number of shares to 1.6 billion from 800 million, requires shareholder approval.

Hormel Foods Corp., based in Austin, Minnesota, set Jan. 26 as the record date for shareholders to be eligible for the split. It would be effective around Feb. 9.

Portland daily grain report Wed, 25 Nov 2015 10:28:45 -0500 Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015

USDA Market News

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

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

In early trading December wheat futures trended mixed, from 3.25 cents lower to 3.25 cents per bushel higher compared to Tuesday’s closes, with the greatest decline in Chicago soft red winter wheat and the advance in Minneapolis dark northern spring wheat.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for November delivery for ordinary protein were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as not available. Bids for guaranteed maximum 10.5 protein were not well tested in early trading but were indicated as steady to lower compared to Tuesday’s noon bids.

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

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

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during November trended mixed compared to Tuesday’s noon bids.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during November were higher in early trading.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

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

Ordinary protein

Nov NA

Dec NA

Jan 4.8875-5.3800

Feb 4.8875-5.3800

Mar 4.8875-5.3800

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Nov 6.4600-6.8800

Dec 6.4600-6.8400

Jan 6.4375-6.8800

Feb 6.4375-6.8800

Mar 6.4375-6.8800

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

Ordinary protein

Nov NA

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Nov 8.0300-8.0600

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


Ordinary protein 5.2700-5.5200

11 pct protein 5.4700-5.6200

11.5 pct protein

Nov 5.5200-5.6700

Dec 5.5200-5.7200

Jan 5.6725-5.7225

Feb 5.7025-5.7525

Mar 5.7325-5.7725

12 pct protein 5.5500-5.7100

13 pct protein 5.6100-5.7900

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

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

13 pct protein 6.1075-6.2575

14 pct protein

Nov 6.2275-6.5775

Dec 6.3275-6.5775

Jan 6.1125-6.5625

Feb 6.1125-6.5625

Mar 6.1125-6.5625

15 pct protein 6.5875-6.7375

16 pct protein 6.7475-6.8975

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Nov 4.3950-4.4450

Dec 4.4250-4.4450

Jan 4.5350-4.5550

Feb 4.5450-4.5550

Mar 4.5550-4.5650

Apr 4.5800-4.5900

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Nov 9.6950-9.7450

Dec 9.6250-9.7250

Jan 9.6650-9.7050

Feb 9.6000-9.6400

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.8475

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Oct 2015

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 5.4900

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 5.8600

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 6.0900

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 6.5200

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Fresh food nutrition on industry’s radar Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:34:11 -0500 John O’Connell For the past decade, Pat Hayes has participated in a project with a surprisingly unusual goal among the nation’s crop breeders — selecting seed with nutrition in mind.

Even in his own lab, the Oregon State University barley breeder said, yield and disease resistance remain the top priorities. But Hayes believes the concept of breeding for enhanced nutrition may finally be coming of age.

“It ought to be at the top of the list,” said Hayes, who has been breeding human food barley lines containing 4-7 percent of a heart-healthy fiber, betaglucan. “At the end of the day, we eat to avail ourselves of nutrition.”

Crop researchers throughout the country agree there’s historically been little attention to bolstering levels of key vitamins, minerals and compounds in fresh foods.

But times may be changing as produce departments slowly introduce unique varieties making bold health claims — such as Del Monte’s pink pineapple, genetically engineered with high levels of cancer-fighting lycopene. Fresh meats, dairy products and eggs with elevated heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acid content have also made their way into supermarkets. And the trend hasn’t been missed by commodity crops, where public and private breeders are racing to develop soybeans without artery-clogging trans fats.

“In the past, I’d say (nutrition) was completely ignored, and now I’d say it’s growing in importance in variety selection and consumer selection,” said David Gombas, with United Fresh Produce Association.

The nutrition trend’s potential remains to be seen, but Gombas believes he’s noticed a growing emphasis on healthier fresh products during the past five years.

“It’s a big ship to turn,” Gombas said. “But in the next five years, I think you’re going to see branding of fruits and vegetables for their high nutrient content.”

Gombas believes growth in the organic and GMO-free sectors, perceived by some consumers to be healthier options, are indicators that the timing is right to breed for nutrition.

As for the need for fresh foods with enhanced nutrition, scientists note Americans face an obesity crisis, but aren’t necessarily meeting dietary goals. It’s estimated less than 5 percent of Americans meet their daily recommended allowance of potassium, for example.

Researchers cite a myriad of reasons why enhancing nutrition hasn’t thus far been a necessity in the fresh food industry.

Hayes points out that nutrition is complex, and society’s understanding of which attributes are desirable, and the appropriate doses, is constantly evolving.

“Unfortunately, nutrition has been an expensive and shifting target,” Hayes said.

Hayes also notes fruits and vegetables generally do a good job of delivering nutrition already, and promoting a balanced diet may be a simpler path for the industry than developing “super foods.”

Hayes’ colleague at OSU, vegetable breeder Jim Myers, warns produce could essentially evolve into pharmaceutical products, with similar side effects. Myers, however, acknowledges the industry has ample room to improve nutrition before reaching that point.

“I think there is some growing trend to recognize that nutrition is important and you can breed for it,” Myers said. “Right now, I think that type of breeding is happening in smaller companies or public breeding programs, such as mine.”

Myers sees greater potential for nutrient-enhanced varieties in the fresh market than in the processed market, which values uniformity.

In 2011, Myers’ program released Indigo Rose, a purple tomato variety high in anthocyanin — a pigment with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties not normally found in abundance in tomatoes. The variety also had high fruit-rot resistance.

Myers pitched Indigo Rose to California processed tomato growers, who rejected it as too unusual. Home gardeners comprise the current market for Indigo Rose.

Mike Thornton, superintendent of University of Idaho’s Parma Research & Extension Center, sees logistical challenges in awarding an enhanced-nutrition premium in commodity crops, which are typically commingled. Labeling would also create problems, as nutrition facts generally represent a composite for a class, such as potatoes, rather than specific data from a given variety raised in a specific region during a certain season, Thornton said.

Victor Raboy, a research geneticist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, Idaho, believes the potential for a yield hit is the main reason why breeding for nutrition has “taken a back seat.”

“Many nutritional-quality traits are negatively correlated with yield and productivity,” Raboy said.

Raboy isolated the first gene expressing low phytic acid in corn and barley. Phytic acid can’t be digested, but it’s known to bond with zinc and iron in the intestinal tract, often contributing to mineral deficiencies. Animals fed low-phytate seed also seem to enjoy a health boost. Yet the product has found no market.

“A farmer is not going to grow low phytic acid corn if they’re getting 5 to 10 percent less yield, because they’re getting paid for corn,” Raboy said. “The low phytic acid corn is so much more nutritious, but there’s less yield.”

Thornton and Roy Navarre, a research geneticist with the Prosser, Wash., USDA-ARS facility, have been central in the effort to step up nutrition in potatoes.

The researchers are starting the third year of a project funded by the Oregon, Washington and Idaho potato commissions to evaluate advanced breeding lines from the states for key vitamins and nutrients, such as zinc, iron, vitamin C, B vitamins and antioxidants. They’re also evaluating how growing locations and conditions affect nutrients.

One new potato variety, Targhee Russet, has been consistently high in vitamin C, though Thornton admits yield, resistance and tuber quality were the main drivers behind its release.

Thornton explained colorful spuds are often the most nutritious, as their pigments are high in antioxidants.

They’ve found cultural practices on farms can also boost antioxidants. Heavier soils with a lot of organic matter, for example, tend to yield more colorful and antioxidant-rich spuds. They’re also experimenting with growth regulators to produce smaller spuds, concentrating antioxidants.

Thornton has worked with a few companies, such as Wisconsin-based Tasteful Selections, that have specialized in small, colorful spuds for enhanced nutrition.

“Within the last five years, I would say there’s been a lot more of this research going on,” Thornton said.

Bernie Hansen, founder of Kansas-based NBO3, markets fresh meat, eggs and dairy products with elevated levels of heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. He buys enriched Omega 3 milk from dairies willing to feed their cattle a special flax-heavy diet. Most of the dairies report improved animal health, Hansen said.

He also buys back dairy cows once they’re past their prime, marketing the meat at a premium as Great-O beef. A few months ago, USDA granted Hansen the right to make a health claim with his beef.

Hansen argues improving nutrition is the food industry’s responsibility and should be the norm rather relegated to a niche market.

“Having healthier food shouldn’t just be for people who have more expendable cash,” Hansen said.

Kansas State University economics professor Sean Fox has studied consumer response to Great-O products. He’s found consumers are willing to pay about $1.85 per pound extra for Omega 3-enhanced steak, about the same premium enjoyed by steak marketed as locally produced or guaranteed-tender.

“That gives me a sense of how big a market segment there might be for Omega 3 enrichment — similar to the locavore market, which is still relatively small,” Fox said.

Often, it takes government intervention for enhanced nutritional crops to gain a foothold.

Raboy recalled a corn mutation discovered years ago by his post-doctoral adviser, elevating levels of lysine, an essential amino acid with antiviral properties.

“There was huge excitement about it, and then huge disappointment because it wasn’t going anywhere,” Raboy said.

Though abandoned in the United States, research on the lysine corn mutation continues in Mexico, where the government has stepped in to address a general lysine deficiency among its population.

Government influence is also behind an ongoing effort in the United States to develop new soybean varieties with healthier fats.

To increase the shelf-life of soy cooking oil, the industry has been treating it with hydrogen gas. These partially hydrogenated oils create unhealthy trans fats as a byproduct. In 2003, the government mandated labeling of trans fats. Early this year, the government removed the “generally recognized as safe” status of partially hydrogenated fats.

Kristin Bilyeu, a USDA-ARS research molecular biologist in Columbia, Miss., has been conventionally breeding for soy higher in oleic acid — a healthier fat also found in olive oil. She’s managed to shift oleic acid content in soy from 25 percent to 80 percent.

Pioneer and Monsanto have also been working on healthier soybeans.

A Monsanto spokesman said the company’s Vistive Gold soybean is closest to commercialization and is undergoing trials in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. He said it provides stable oil without hydrogenation, with no trans fats and less saturated fat, while also delivering higher yields.

Developed through genetic engineering, the line is scheduled for release in 2016.

Monsanto also has a soybean containing elevated Omega 3 fatty acids in the advanced stages of development.

J.R. Simplot Co. spokesman Doug Cole believes the industry has experienced a “new wave of products that have health benefits direct for consumers.”

Nonetheless, consumer research tells Simplot, a major processor of potatoes, the public is more concerned about reducing food waste.

Cole said Simplot has experimented with beta-carotene enrichment, but “it remains to be seen whether we’ll commercialize that.”

“The technology exists to increase levels of other vitamins, and Simplot is investigating that,” Cole said.

19 people ill in E. coli linked to Costco chicken salad Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:27:21 -0500 DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP SEATTLE (AP) — The strain of E. coli linked to Costco chicken salad that has sickened 19 people in seven states is more likely to be life-threatening than a recent food-borne illness that led to the closure of some Chipotle restaurants in the Northwest.

People who bought chicken salad at any U.S. Costco store on or before Friday were advised to throw it away, even if no one has gotten sick.

The strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli can be life-threatening, but no deaths have been reported in the current outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said five people have been hospitalized and two have developed a type of kidney failure.

The CDC and state health officials were investigating and have not yet determined what ingredient in the rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores could be the source of the outbreak.

Six people have become ill in Montana, five in Utah, four in Colorado and one each in California, Missouri, Virginia and Washington state. The CDC said the illness reports began on Oct. 6 and involved people from age 5 to 84.

The outbreak is not related to a recent case involving Chipotle restaurants in which more than 40 people were sickened. That strain was identified as E. coli 026. Chipotle voluntarily closed 43 restaurants in Washington and Oregon after that outbreak. They were reopened after a deep cleaning and the ordering of a fresh supply of ingredients.

The current strain linked to Costco has been identified as E. coli 157, which the CDC said is more likely to be more harmful, especially in young children.

A call to Costco headquarters in Washington state seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Seattle attorney Bill Marler, who is representing people sickened in the previous Chipotle outbreak, said the current problem appears serious since two people have developed kidney failure. People were hospitalized in the Chipotle outbreak, but no one developed kidney failure.

Marler said the new case is a good example of why food safety is so crucial.

“Costco has always been a leader in food safety at retail, it just goes to show you how important controlling your supply chain is,” Marler said.

The human intestines contain hundreds of E. coli and similar bacteria strains. Most are harmless, but a few can cause serious problems.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting.

The bacteria are associated with animal waste but aren’t just associated with meat. E. coli can be spread in indirect ways on produce.

Health officials say the incubation period is three to seven days from the time of exposure.

General Mills sets goal to buy all-cage free eggs by 2025 Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:24:39 -0500 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — General Mills has set a deadline for its conversion to all cage-free eggs by 2025.

The Minnesota-based company, whose brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Progresso soups and Yoplait yogurt, initially announced its plans to go cage-free in July.

But it updated its animal welfare policy Tuesday to establish the 10-year time frame.

Josh Balk, a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States, said it’s a further sign that major food manufacturers recognize consumers are turning against the idea of confining food animals to cages.

McDonald’s, which buys 2 billion eggs a year, set a goal in September to buy all cage-free eggs in 10 years. Other companies going cage-free include Burger King and Starbucks.

EPA nixes approval of new weed killer for genetically engineered crops Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:12:32 -0500 ANDREW TAYLOR WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans.

The EPA announced the decision after receiving new information from manufacturer Dow AgroSciences that a weed killer called Enlist Duo is probably more toxic to other plants than previously thought.

It was originally approved a year ago and is designed to be used with new strains of genetically modified corn and soybeans. The agency says it needs to study whether wider buffer zones will be required to protect non-target plants.

The seeds are engineered to resist the herbicide, so farmers can spray the fields after the plants emerge and kill the weeds while leaving crops unharmed.

EPA’s move was welcomed by environmental and food safety groups that had sued to rescind approval of the potent new herbicide. But it is sure to create anxiety for the agriculture industry, since many weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide commonly used on genetically modified corn and soybeans now. Enlist includes a combination of glyphosate and an updated version of an older herbicide named 2,4-D.

“With this action, EPA confirms the toxic nature of this lethal cocktail of chemicals, and has stepped back from the brink,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Paul Achitoff. “Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and is wiping out the monarch butterfly, 2,4-D also causes serious human health effects, and the combination also threatens endangered wildlife. This must not, and will not, be how we grow our food.”

Dow AgroSciences issued a statement calling for rapid resolution of the matter, citing “the pressing needs of U.S. farmers for access to Enlist Duo to counter the rapidly increasing spread of resistant weeds” and predicting that “these new evaluations will result in a prompt resolution of all outstanding issues.”

EPA’s decision means that Enlist Duo, which is currently on the market, won’t be in wide use for plantings next spring. EPA hasn’t said whether farmers already in possession of the herbicide will be able to use it, and that could be a topic for future litigation, said Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety.

Urban farmers find that success leads to eviction Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:12:31 -0500 SCOTT McFETRIDGE OMAHA, Neb. (AP) —

After four years of growing and selling produce in the heart of Omaha, Ali Clark has become expert at yanking out her black raspberry bushes and replanting them at another site.

It’s a prickly chore Clark loathes but one she can’t avoid as her Big Muddy Farm has had to move from one vacant lot to another even though the business was thriving.

Urban farms like Clark’s are being evicted from center cities across the nation where they’ve become a much-remarked-on driver of urban revival in recent years, having brought healthy food, commerce and eye-pleasing greenery to dreary neighborhoods. During the recession, downtown landowners and leaders offered up plots for free to get new vitality on empty streets.

Now the thriving farms are being routed by another urban phenomenon: the hordes of people moving back downtown to live, which is turning green spaces into prime real estate. Plots where low-income residents raised vegetables, where community groups trained at-risk youth and where small garden businesses took root are being snapped up for construction of new apartments and townhouses.

“You have to plant as if you’re going to be there 10 years, even if you know it probably won’t work that way,” said Clark, a co-founder of Big Muddy Farm. She added, “It stinks to put in the time in an investment that doesn’t last.”

The evictions are sad but inevitable, said Amy Brendmoen, a City Council member in St. Paul, Minnesota, which recently booted an urban farm from city land to make way for housing construction. Even the most robust farms can’t earn enough to compete with a real estate development.

“You couldn’t help but smile when you went by,” she said of the ousted Stones Throw farm. “They were working so hard. You could see the harvest. It was incredible.”

No estimates exist on the number of urban farms, but their popularity soared in the past seven or eight years. Many started as community projects.

It’s unclear how many will survive. Big Muddy’s partners are hoping to hold onto their main farm, a series of raised beds and unheated greenhouses on three empty lots between a nonprofit theater and houses dating to the early 1900s.

But in Denver, Lisa Rogers last month closed her Feed Denver organization, which promoted urban farming in the booming city. The fact that the farms’ beautifying effect actually helps endanger them is a bitter pill to swallow.

“Developers will call and say, ‘We have a piece of land, can you pretty it up for two years?’ Rogers said. “As available land gets squeezed and prices go through the roof, like in Denver, it’s nearly impossible to find land and stay there.”

Even public property isn’t safe. Recently, a 6,000-square-foot nonprofit farm called GreenLeaf was evicted by the Denver Housing Authority so the land could be sold to a private housing developer. At-risk high school students worked at the farm, which is now moving next to a middle school.

“We’re going to have to look for new customers, and our old ones are going to have to look for a new produce source,” said Cody Meinhardt, the nonprofit group’s executive director.

In many center cities, residents are lamenting the disappearance of the farms, or their move to the suburbs.

Laura Staugaitis regularly bought produce-filled boxes from a local farmer near Denver, but said she can’t justify the 45-minute trip the purchase now requires.

“The drive made it a negative experience rather than an enriching experience,” she said.

The pressure for urban land is especially intense in the fastest growing cities like Houston.

In 2008, neighbors in a financially and racially mixed area just southwest of downtown signed a $1 a year lease with a property owner to turn an overgrown lot into the Midtown Community Garden.

“My goal was to get people out of their homes and apartments so they could relate to each other, and we did that,” said resident Scott Harbers, who helped set it up.

But attempts to get local government to acquire the site as a public space failed, and last year it was sold for nearly $1 million to a housing developer.

Some urban farm promoters are pushing local officials to begin setting aside plots for urban agriculture because of the health and community benefits. In the Seattle area, officials have designated portions of parks and other public land. In Los Angeles, community groups are working to encourage developers to have farming and green space designed into housing projects, including on rooftops.

“The vacant lot story is cool, but it’s also short term,” said Jesse Dubois, a leader in the Los Angeles urban farming effort.


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Deere’s profit tops forecasts even as its sales fall sharply Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:02:45 -0500 MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Even though sales of its green tractors, bulldozers and other equipment fell sharply, Deere & Co. reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings as it cut costs.

The Moline, Illinois-based company also posted an earnings outlook for the year that surpassed Wall Street expectations. Its shares rose more than 2 percent in morning trading.

Deere has been hurt by weak commodity prices which have made farmers less likely to buy new equipment. And falling oil prices has hurt sales of its construction equipment.

Sales of its agriculture equipment, which include tractors, fell 25 percent in the quarter from a year ago. Sales of its construction equipment fell 32 percent in the period from a year ago.

For the fiscal year 2016, the company expects earnings of about $1.4 billion, above the $1.33 billion analysts expected, according to FactSet. Deere said it expects sales of its equipment to fall 7 percent in fiscal 2016, compared with the year before.

For the quarter ending Oct. 31, it reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $351.2 million, or $1.08 per share.

The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 74 cents per share.

Deere said it cut costs by 21 percent to $6.26 billion.

The agricultural equipment manufacturer posted revenue of $5.93 billion in the period, which fell short of Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $6.13 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of $1.94 billion, or $5.77 per share. Revenue was reported as $25.78 billion.

Shares of Deere rose $1.59, or 2.1 percent, to $77.93 in morning trading Wednesday. Deere shares have dropped about 14 percent since the beginning of the year.


Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights ( using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on DE at


Keywords: Deere, Earnings Report

Hormel beats 4Q profit forecasts Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:47:34 -0500 AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) — Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL) on Tuesday reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $187.2 million.

On a per-share basis, the Austin, Minnesota-based company said it had profit of 69 cents. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 74 cents per share.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 68 cents per share.

The maker of Spam canned ham, Dinty Moore stew and other foods posted revenue of $2.4 billion in the period, which missed Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.54 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of $686.1 million, or $2.54 per share. Revenue was reported as $9.26 billion.

Hormel expects full-year earnings to be $2.85 to $2.95 per share.

Hormel shares have climbed 33 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed slightly more than 1 percent. The stock has climbed 27 percent in the last 12 months.

Costco pulls chicken salad off shelves due to E. coli Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:46:27 -0500 OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say chicken salad from Costco has been linked to at least one case of E. coli in Washington state.

The Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other western states are investigating E. coli illnesses from chicken salad purchased from various Costco stores in late October.

One case of E. coli has been confirmed in King County. Authorities say the person became ill in late October but was not hospitalized.

Colorado, Montana and Utah also have confirmed E. coli cases connected to Costco chicken salad. Officials are working to determine the source.

Consumers who purchased chicken salad made with rotisserie chicken - item number 37719 - from any Washington Costco location should discard it.

People who have eaten it and feel ill should talk to a health care provider.

Colorado wildlife officials revisit wolf concerns Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:32:46 -0500 GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — Colorado wildlife officials are considering renewing their opposition to the introduction of wolves as the federal government considers recovery plans for the Mexican wolf.

The state Parks and Wildlife Commission on Friday considered a draft resolution highlighting the dangers to livestock, wildlife and humans that would reaffirm positions the commission took in the 1980s, The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction reported. However, commissioners put off a vote to make sure the resolution is consistent with recommendations approved by the commission in 2005 that called for allowing wolves to migrate into the state.

Gary Wockner, a member of a working group that came up with the 2005 recommendations, said the resolution as proposed was misleading.

“This sneaky resolution is a 100 percent violation of the agreement of the Colorado Wolf Working Group,” Wockner wrote in an email to reporters.

Parks and Wildlife spokesman Matt Robbins said wildlife commissioners have already asked to have the proposed resolution reworded to better reflect the thoughts of the working group.

In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife decided to list the Mexican wolf, a smaller subspecies of the gray wolf, as endangered. Wildlife commissioners decided to revisit their stance to support a Nov. 13 letter expressing concerns about the agency’s recovery plans by the governors of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, Robbins said.

The Four Corners governors wrote that science does not suggest the animals lived north of Interstate 40, which runs through New Mexico and Arizona, but that Fish And Wildlife has filled a panel on the recovery plan with scientists who want to establish wolves north of that point.

Wolf reintroduction has been a contentious issue in the Northern Rockies, as well. Gray wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s. That population has spread out of the park and into Idaho, Montana and elsewhere.

Wolves remain under federal protection in Wyoming, which is fighting in court to try to gain state control of them. Congress specified that state management of wolves in Idaho and Montana is not subject to legal challenges.


Information from: The Daily Sentinel,