Capital Press | Nation/World Capital Press Sun, 28 Aug 2016 19:04:56 -0400 en Capital Press | Nation/World Farms see agritourism industry grow Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:42:28 -0400 BRIAN BRUSThe Journal Record OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Andy Wooliver would prefer to not haul his crop of pumpkins from the field by hand this season. Fortunately, he knows a lot of customers are willing to pay to do it themselves.

“Our customers are always welcome to come pick any produce they’d like. It saves us a little bit of work,” Wooliver said.

Meriruth Cohenour, the state Agriculture Department’s market development coordinator, said the aspect of agritourism referred to as U-pick is picking up consumers as temperatures fall into fall. Farmers tell her they’re putting more effort into inviting people to participate in harvest, she said, and more consumers seem to be trying to connect with the source of their food.

The Journal Record reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported slightly more than 33,000 farms nationwide offered agritourism and recreational services such as farm or winery tours, hayrides and hunting in 2012, the latest farm census. Another census is due this year. Producers also add value to their agricultural commodities when they process them to produce items such as beef jerky, fruit jams, floral arrangements, cider and wine, and that often leads to on-site marketing and agritourism. Nationally, 94,799 farms produced and sold value-added products in 2012, and Oklahoma was identified as one of the top five states with 3,815 participants.

Fruits at the end of summer are popular lures. Other examples of Oklahoma’s U-Pick attractions include blackberries, raspberries and strawberries at Buffalo Creek Berry Farm in Mustang; herbs, vegetables and blackberries at Crestview Inc. Farms in Arcadia; and honey and blueberries at Canyon Berry Farms in Claremore. The latter recently closed public operations for 2016, owner David Patterson said.

Paul Brown at Brown Farm and Garden in Chickasha said agritourism is more labor-intensive than might be expected, particularly the U-Pick aspects. A farmer needs family or hired hands to help manage customers and play the part of happy host. He won’t be promoting his 40-acre pumpkin patch much this year.

Wooliver is between U-pick crops on his 80-acre farm right now. His strawberry patch drew hundreds of people this year, but pumpkins are still several weeks away. Wooliver said he doesn’t mind customers getting in the way of work or trampling his fields a little because they can’t do much harm compared with the revenue they produce - pumpkin vines are kaput anyway after they’re ready to yield their fruits. Over the years, Wooliver has added a corn maze to his agritourism attractions as well.

“It’s important to attract the entire family out for the day with hayrides and other fun little activities,” he said. “We like for them to see the growing practices we use to bring food to the table.”

Sorghum facility would provide farmers with stable rotation crop Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:38:00 -0400 Sean Ellis PARMA, Idaho — A planned $90 million sorghum processing facility will provide farmers in the region a new rotation crop that fetches a stable price every year.

The facility, Treasure Valley Renewables, will also use waste from dairies and other agricultural sources.

“This is an absolutely great project for this area,” said Neill Goodfellow, director of Agrienergy Producers Association, a 25-farmer cooperative that will grow the sorghum used by the facility. “It will give farmers a stable price for that crop year after year.”

Nyssa, Ore., farmer Charlie Barlow, one of the farmers who will grow the sorghum, said the project has been several years in the making, and it’s exciting to see it start to come together.

Having a new rotation crop with a stable price will be a big benefit to growers, he said. In years like this, when commodity prices are depressed, that would mean lot, he said.

“It gives us a stable crop, something we can count on year in and year out,” he said. “It would probably be a middle of the road type rotation crop, a little bit better than some of the rotation crops we have now.”

But, he added, sorghum won’t replace the area’s main cash crops such as onions, potatoes and sugar beets.

Kurt Christensen, one of the project organizers, said the facility will handle about 1,500 acres of sorghum a year. The high-biomass sorghum was developed specifically to be high in fiber.

The fiber will be pulped and molded into paper products used by the restaurant industry.

The facility will include an anaerobic digester plant that will use the sorghum byproduct and agricultural and food waste to produce electricity and compressed natural gas.

While the facility will consider any type of agricultural waste that would work in the digester, “dairy waste is an important part of that,” Christensen said.

Byproducts produced at the facility will include fertilizer, compost and livestock bedding for local farmers, ranchers and dairies.

The biogas produced by the digester facility will be compressed and put into a commercial natural gas pipeline and used for dual-fuel vehicles.

Organizers provided details of the project to area residents Aug. 25 during a neighborhood meeting at Parma City Hall.

The 48-acre site is off Shelton Road, where Highway 95 and Highway 26 meet.

For the project to move forward, the property must be rezoned from agricultural to heavy industrial.

There was no opposition to the project at the meeting, though there were questions about possible noise, traffic, odor and lighting impacts.

Christensen said the company will do everything it can to mitigate any possible impacts.

“We really want to be good neighbors,” he said.

Organizers said the entire project will take about 17-19 months to complete. Some parts, such as the digester facility, which will provide the electricity to run the sorghum plant, are expected to be operational next year.

Potato truck takes to Hudson River during New York visit Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:35:51 -0400 John O’Connell NEW YORK CITY — The Idaho Potato Commission can thank the New York City Police Department for drawing attention to a grandiose publicity stunt orchestrated Aug. 24 in the Big Apple.

The department issued a tongue-in-cheek all-points bulletin over the police scanner advising officers to “be on the lookout for a big potato floating down the Hudson River.”

From that moment, IPC officials’ phones began ringing incessantly with the coveted national media inquiries they hoped to generate by floating their Idaho icon — the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck — past the Statue of Liberty on a barge, pulled by a tugboat.

The 6-ton replica Russet Burbank on a flat-bed truck has toured the country for the past five years to raise awareness of Idaho potatoes and drawing attention to IPC charitable donations in communities along its route. IPC is already planning a sixth tour.

IPC Commissioner Randy Hardy, of Oakley, said the truck was on the water for several hours, photographed by onlookers from tour buses and ferry boats during its cruise.

“I think there will be a lot of media play on it from here on,” Hardy said shortly after the potato truck docked.

IPC President and CEO Frank Muir said the giant, floating spud was the top story on the news feed in New York City taxi cabs.

“There were TV crews filming it from helicopters. We’ve been picked up by all of the major media here, including the highest circulation radio station, as well as the TV station here,” Muir said.

Muir said IPC began planning the event and securing the necessary permits about a year ago, moving to the water based on restrictions against semi-trucks on certain Manhattan streets.

In conjunction with the spectacle on the Hudson, IPC also gave a New York City soup kitchen a voucher for 12,000 pounds of Idaho potatoes — roughly equivalent to the serving size of the replica spud. Muir and his cohorts volunteered at the kitchen Aug. 25 to help serve baked Idaho potatoes.

John-Harvard Reid, associate director of Holy Apostle Soup Kitchen, said his kitchen serves 1,000 homeless guests every Monday through Friday and hasn’t missed a meal in 34 years, including during Hurricane Sandy.

“Getting a baked potato is like something you remember from home,” Reid said. “A lot of times when you’re homeless, you don’t get those comfort meals that make you feel like you’re home again.”

In other IPC news, sports reporter Heather Cox took photographs and footage of IPC mascot Spuddy Buddy at the Summer Olympics in Brazil, with an emphasis on volleyball coverage. Cox has posted images from the Olympics on social media.

Obama plans to create world’s largest marine protected area Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:40:18 -0400 KEVIN FREKING WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday expanded a national monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating a safe zone for tuna, sea turtles and thousands of other species in what will be the world’s largest marine protected area.

Obama’s proclamation quadrupled in size a monument originally created by President George W. Bush in 2006. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will contain some 582,578 square miles, more than twice the size of Texas.

The president is slated to travel to the monument next week to mark the new designation and cite the need to protect public lands and waters from climate change. The president was born in Hawaii and spent much of his childhood there.

In creating the new monument, Obama cited its “diverse ecological communities” as well as “great cultural significance to the Native Hawaiian community and a connection to early Polynesian culture worthy of protection and understanding.”

The monument designation bans commercial fishing and any new mining, as is the case within the existing monument. Recreational fishing will be allowed through a permit, as will be scientific research and the removal of fish and other resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices.

The regional council that manages U.S. waters in the Pacific Islands voiced disappointment with Obama’s decision, saying it “serves a political legacy” rather than a conservation benefit.

The council recommends catch limits and other steps designed to sustain fisheries. It said it recommended other expansion options that would have minimized impacts to the Hawaii longline fishery, which supplies a large portion of the fresh tuna and other fish consumed in Hawaii.

“Closing 60 percent of Hawaii’s waters to commercial fishing, when science is telling us that it will not lead to more productive local fisheries, makes no sense,” said Edwin Ebiusi Jr., chairman of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council “Today is a sad day in the history of Hawaii’s fisheries and a negative blow to our local food security.”

The Pew Charitable Trusts helped lead the push to expand the monument. It says research shows that very large, fully protected marine reserves are necessary to rebuild fish populations and diversity of species.

“By expanding the monument, President Obama has increased protections for one of the most biologically and culturally significant places on the planet” said Joshua S. Reichert, an executive vice president at Pew.

The White House is describing the expansion as helping to protect more than 7,000 species and improving the resiliency of an ecosystem dealing with ocean acidification and warming. It also is emphasizing that the expanded area is considered a sacred place for Native Hawaiians.

Shipwrecks and downed aircraft from the Battle of Midway in World War II dot the expansion area. The battle marked a major shift in the war. Obama will travel to the Midway Atoll to discuss the expansion.

With the announcement, Obama will have created or expanded 26 national monuments. The administration said Obama has protected more acreage through national monument designations than any other president.

The White House said the expansion is a response to a proposal from Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and prominent Native Hawaiian leaders. The federal government will also give Hawaii’s Department of Natural Resources and Office of Hawaiian Affairs a greater role in managing the monument, an arrangement requested by Schatz and Gov. David Ige.

Climate change taking toll on American pika’s Western lands Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:24:21 -0400 BRADY McCOMBS SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Populations of a small rabbit-like animal known as the American pika are vanishing in many mountainous areas of the West as climate change alters its habitat, according to findings of a study released Thursday by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The range for the mountain-dwelling herbivore is decreasing in southern Utah, northeastern California and in the Great Basin that covers most of Nevada and parts of Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California, the federal agency concluded after studying the cuddly looking critter from 2012-2015.

The findings come more than a decade after the same agency, and same lead researcher, concluded in 2003 that pika populations were dwindling, at least partly because of global warming. This new study makes a more authoritative statement about the role of global warming on the animal.

“The longer we go along, the evidence continues to suggest that climate is the single strongest factor,” said Erik Beever, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and lead author. “It’s not to say it’s the only thing, but by far it’s the largest single factor.”

The pika’s habitat on mountain slopes, known as talus, are hotter and drier in the summer and more harsh in the winter with less snowpack to serve as an insulator, Beever said.

The study bolsters the case for wildlife advocacy groups that have been pushing for years to have the animal added to the endangered species list amid concerns about global warming.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a request in 2010, saying not all populations were declining. A new request was made this April by a high school student in New York state.

A preliminary decision on that request is due out in early September, but the agency’s staff won’t take into account the new study, said spokeswoman Serena Baker. That’s because they are bound by rules to only take into account information submitted with the petition, she said.

Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species director, said the new research confirms that climate change is putting the animal at real risk. He said they may consider filing a new endangered species petition or sending in supporting information for the existing petition to ensure future generations are treated to seeing the critters during mountain hikes.

“It’s gotta be one of the cutest animals in North America. It’s like a cross between a bunny rabbit and prairie dog,” Greenwald said. “Part of what makes our world interesting is the diversity of animals and plants that you can see when you go to different species.

The pika is similar in size to a hamster but their big, round ears and thick brown and black fur have made them a favorite of backpackers and hikers.

President Barack Obama mentioned the plight of the pika this summer when he spoke at Yosemite National Park about the damage climate change is inflicting on the nation’s national parks. He said the pika was being forced further upslope at Yosemite to escape the heat.

The study didn’t quantify how many total American pika still exist, but honed in on several areas where the small animal no longer roams in search of grass, weeds and wildflowers to eat.

At Utah’s Zion National Park, they’re gone all together despite being seen as recently as 2011. In nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument, they’re no longer in three-fourths of their historical habitat, Beever said.

Pikas were only found in 11 of 29 sites where they once lived in northeastern California.

In the Great Basin, which stretches from Utah’s Wasatch Mountains in the east to the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains in the west, the population is down about 44 percent compared to historical records.

“It’s not that they’ve just moved, they are gone all together,” Beever said.

Researchers did find that the animal is thriving in a few places, such as the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Beever said.

Those findings show a species can both benefit and suffer from climate change depending on the habitat.

“This is a species that gives us a little bit of an insight into what is going on these more isolated parts of our landscapes up in these mountain ecosystems,” Beever said.

More plaintiffs join suit challenging anti-corporate farming law Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:28:59 -0400 BLAKE NICHOLSON BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The number of plaintiffs suing to abolish North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law has expanded and now includes people and companies with ties to four U.S. states and a former Soviet republic.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who is defending the law, said the addition of plaintiffs only exacerbates problems with what he considers an overly vague lawsuit.

The North Dakota Farm Bureau, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and a Wisconsin dairy company that wants to expand into North Dakota sued in federal court in June. They want a judge to declare unconstitutional the nearly century-old law that aims to protect the state’s family farming heritage by barring large corporations from owning agricultural operations.

The original plaintiffs were recently joined by: a North Dakota hog farmer who is a member of the North Dakota Sow Center, which owns and operates several hog facilities and has partners in North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa; the North Dakota Pork Council; a North Dakota cattle rancher who wants to expand; and Global Beef Consultants, which provides cattle consulting and export services and also owns two ranches in Kazakhstan.

The new plaintiffs either didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week or referred calls to attorneys. Attorney Claire Smith did not respond to questions other than to say the additional plaintiffs help “demonstrate the negative impacts of the challenged legislation.”

The lawsuit asserts that North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law hurts the agriculture industry by restricting business tools available to farmers, lowering the value of their operations, discriminating against residents of other states and interfering with interstate commerce. It asks a judge to declare the law unconstitutional and bar the state attorney general from enforcing it.

Stenehjem has said the lawsuit is too vague for him to even respond, and he’s asked U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland to order the plaintiffs to more specifically detail why they believe the law is unconstitutional. Stenehjem has said in court filings that the state is “requesting reasonably” that the plaintiffs identify what specific problems they allege in a chapter of law that “consists of over 6,500 words and comprises over 100 individually numbered provisions in the North Dakota Century Code.”

Stenehjem said in court documents filed Wednesday that the addition of four more plaintiffs “exponentially exacerbates the ambiguities and vagueness” of the lawsuit.

“Farm Bureau’s amended complaint fails to separate which specific constitutional claims and counts are attributed to what individual plaintiff, as well as which allegations of fact are intended to support which count or constitutional claim by what plaintiff,” he said.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have said Stenehjem has demonstrated that he understands why the lawsuit is being challenged and that he has enough information to file an initial response.

Hovland has not yet ruled on Stenehjem’s request.

Cloning beef cattle for meat quality sparks debate Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:11:11 -0400 Eric Mortenson Ty Lawrence still talks about it as his “lightbulb” moment. He was in a Texas slaughterhouse in 2010 when two absolutely beautiful beef carcasses rolled by. Each was the pinnacle of USDA grading: “Prime” and “Yield Grade One.”

Only 2 to 5 percent of U.S. beef is graded Prime, and Yield Grade One meant there was lots of it. By Lawrence’s estimate, only 1 in 3,300 beef carcasses will have those two attributes simultaneously. And here went two of them within a couple minutes of each other.

What happened next was either scientific breakthrough or unnecessary genetic fiddling, depending on your perspective. And it poses a conundrum for cattle producers and researchers in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California and beyond.

Lawrence, a professor of meat science at West Texas A&M University, called his department head that night and proposed forming a research team. Here’s what he wanted to do: Clone a herd of superior cattle by working backwards from superior beef.

The team soon formed, found a steer carcass and a cow carcass with the requisite grading qualities, took tissue samples and turned them over to a private Texas company, ViaGen, which specializes in cloning cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs and even cats and dogs.

ViaGen created a bull, named Alpha, from the steer carcass, and three heifers — Gamma One, Gamma Two and Gamma Three — from the cow carcass.

Artificial insemination of the Gammas with semen from Alpha has resulted in 13 calves, the first bovine offspring of two cloned parents.

Seven of the offspring, all steers, were raised in a conventional manner, including finishing time at a grain feedlot, and slaughtered. Lawrence said the results are promising, especially given the small sample size. The offspring tended to produce better grade beef than average, and yield grades were ones and twos. The carcasses had 9 percent larger ribeye steaks than average and 45 percent more marbling, the desirable white specks of intramuscular fat. They had 16 percent less “trim” fat, the waste fat that doesn’t improve taste. The work is continuing.

The idea, of course, is that higher grade beef — raised the same way as regular cattle — would bring a greater return to the rancher.

Lawrence said beef quality is an afterthought in most cattle breeding operations, and West Texas A&M is turning that around.

“It’s kind of a meat science perspective on animal breeding, beginning with the end,” he said.

For critics and some in the industry, however, the West Texas work is a non-starter.

“My first take is that it’s a lot of work for little gain,” said Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C.

Hanson said traditional cattle breeders “keep a real close eye on the genetics of their herd” and produce good quality beef for lower cost than cloning.

He said it’s unclear whether the West Texas A&M animals have encountered problems reported in other clones, such as Large Offspring Syndrome that can make birthing difficult. Achieving the good marbling results with grass fed cattle, without the expense of finishing them at a feedlot, might be of more benefit to producers, he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s whether a farmer can produce a high-quality product that the customer wants, at a price that will keep them in business,” Hanson said.

Cloning has been around since 1996, when Scottish researchers announced the arrival of Dolly the sheep. The discovery touched off speculation about future uses of the technology, but since then cloning has primarily been confined to livestock breeding. It’s used, for example, to build dairy herds or to pass along the genetics of prized rodeo bucking bulls.

A cloned animal is not genetically modified. Rather, it is a duplicate of the donor animal. Advocates often refer to a clone as an identical twin born later. Lawrence, the West Texas A&M meat scientist, calls the result “a very fancy Xerox copy, if you will.”

To achieve it, scientists take an egg from a female animal and replace its gene-containing nucleus with the nucleus of a cell from the animal they want to copy. The egg cell forms an embryo, which is implanted in the uterus of a host female. The surrogate carries the pregnancy to term and delivers a calf.

ViaGen, the Texas company, charges $21,000 to clone a female and $23,000 to clone a bull.

After several years of study, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled in January 2008 that meat or milk from cloned animals or from their offspring was safe for human consumption and didn’t require special labeling. The approval applied to cattle, pigs and goats but not sheep, because there wasn’t enough information available about them, the FDA said.

Since the FDA’s decision, however, cloning animals for food hasn’t taken hold.

Will Homer, chief operations officer for Painted Hills Natural Beef in Fossil, Ore., said his company decided several years ago not to get involved with cloned livestock.

Even though cloned animals are not genetically modified, “You’re somewhat playing with Mother Nature,” he said. “There’s not going to be a very warm reception from the consumer for a cloned animal.

“That is the stone wall right there that they need to be aware of,” Homer said of the West Texas researchers. “The consumer would just blow their top.”

Homer said the volatile economics of the cattle industry in recent years, with falling prices and rising costs, offset herd improvements that might come from cloning.

Painted Hills, formed by seven ranching families, walks a tight market line. It delivers grain-finished cattle to a large-scale processor in Pasco, Wash., and takes grass-fed cattle to a specialty processor, Dayton Natural Meats in Dayton, Ore.

In addition to processing Painted Hills’ grass-fed beef, the Dayton facility processes hogs that are non-GMO verified, and organic turkeys and chickens. The facility processes meat for New Seasons markets, a Portland-based chain that caters to customers who prefer and are willing to pay more for locally grown, organic or sustainable food.

“We would stay as far away from clones as possible,” said Reg Keddie, general manager of Dayton Natural Meats.

Keddie said consumers already struggle to understand where their food comes from and would reject beef that had its “inception in a petri dish.” The Texas researchers, he said, are most likely aiming at the conventional meat companies that process thousands of cows a day.

Cory Carman, a Northeast Oregon cattle rancher who has carved out a niche selling grass-fed beef to high-end markets in Portland, said her customers are primarily interested in Carman Ranch’s practices and the nutritional profile and flavor of its meat. They don’t ask about yield and quality grade, she said.

“If our primary request was for more marbling in our meat, we might look into the ethics behind cloning or research the technology, but no one asks for that,” Carman said in an email. “Marbling isn’t the primary driver of meat quality for us.”

Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, said cloning may not be worth the risk of consumer backlash. As with GMOs, he said, science says it’s safe and the benefits are apparent, but social reaction is such that “all of a sudden, the science goes out the window.”

In addition, producers can improve their herds with technical tools already available, Field said. Genetic testing at $18 to $20 a head can help producers select bulls and heifers to breed for beef tenderness, yield and other traits, he said.

“You can move your herd to whatever your consumer is asking for,” Field said.

Lawrence, the West Texas A&M meat scientist, nonetheless believes in the research and what it could mean for herd improvement. Among other things, he thinks the work may uncover another trait potential.

“We may be selecting for better immune systems,” he said. “For an animal to be Prime and Yield Grade One simultaneously, it’s probably had no or very few bad days in its life. So are we selecting for (good health)?

“We’re moving the curve to higher quality and higher yield at the same time,” he said. “I think it’s very viable for the beef industry to find traits that are desirable and to propagate those.”

Christmas tree production down as market stabilizes Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:44:19 -0400 Eric Mortenson Oregon’s 2015 Christmas tree sales were down 26 percent from 2010, but an industry representative said supply and demand appear to be balancing out and he expects 2016 to be a good year.

Oregon growers cut and sold 4.7 million trees in 2015, compared to 6.4 million in 2010, according to a report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in Portland. The 2015 harvest was valued at $84.5 million, down from $91 million in 2010. The number of growers has dropped dramatically as well, from 1,633 in 2010 to 690 in 2015.

Bryan Ostlund, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association in Salem, said the industry went through a growth cycle and reached a “significant oversupply.” Since then, many growers have retired or otherwise gotten out of the business, he said.

Oregon leads the nation in Christmas tree production. North Carolina, the second leading state, also went through growth problems, Ostlund said. More than 90 percent of Northwest trees are sold outside the region, with California the biggest domestic buyer. Export markets include Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Oregon growers ship more than 900,000 trees to Mexico alone.

The drop in production has been met with increased demand. Ostlund said orders are already arriving from tree lots and importers. “A lot of growers, if they wanted to be sold out, they could be sold out,” he said. “The phones are ringing.”

He said the industry probably will ship fewer trees overseas this year, because domestic demand is strong.

Portland daily grain report Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:43:03 -0400 Portland, Ore., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

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 September futures trended 1.75 to three cents per bushel lower compared to Wednesday’s closes.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for August delivery for ordinary protein were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Wednesday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein were not well tested in early trading, but bids were indicated as mixed compared to Wednesday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby.

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

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle

trains during August trended lower compared to Wednesday’s noon bids.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

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

Ordinary protein

Aug 4.7500-4.8175

Sep 4.8000-4.8800

Oct 4.9000-5.0000

Nov 4.9400-5.0800

Dec 4.9400-5.1300

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Aug 4.8000-4.8675

Sep 4.7700-4.8675

Oct 4.9000-4.9900

Nov 4.9900

Dec NA

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

Ordinary protein

Aug 4.8000-4.8200

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Aug 4.8000-4.8675

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


Ordinary protein 4.5475-4.5575

11 pct protein 4.7175-4.9475

11.5 pct protein

Aug 4.7975-5.1475

Sep 4.8475-5.1975

Oct 5.0650-5.4650

Nov 5.0650-5.4650

Dec 5.0650-5.4650

12 pct protein 4.8475-5.2475

13 pct protein 4.9475-5.4475

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 5.4300-5.5300

14 pct protein

Aug 5.7500-6.0000

Sep 5.8500-6.1500

Oct 5.9175-6.2675

Nov 5.9175-6.2675

Dec 5.9175-6.2675

15 pct protein 5.9500-6.2800

16 pct protein 6.0500-6.5600

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Aug 4.4050-4.4550

Sep 4.4050-4.4550

Oct 4.3450-4.3950

Nov 4.2950-4.3450

Dec 4.2950-4.3450

Jan 4.3425-4.3925

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Aug 11.0200

Sep 11.2000

Oct 11.1700

Nov 11.2000

Dec 11.1450-11.1750

Jan 11.1150

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.2650

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Jul 2016

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 5.0700

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 4.6700

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 4.9400

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 5.8200

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, Ore.

FDA: Listeria found in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams kitchen Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:35:40 -0400 COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration says Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is battling listeria again, a problem that disrupted the company’s business last year.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the FDA says in a letter to the company’s CEO that the agency found listeria in a production kitchen after two out of 75 swabs taken in January and February came back positive.

The FDA says the positive swabs came from prep-room and wash room floors and no listeria was found in the Columbus-based company’s products.

Jeni’s says in a blog post that its products remain free of listeria.

Jeni’s shut down twice last year after listeria was found in a pint of ice cream in Nebraska and in Jeni’s kitchen. A second finding on a kitchen floor occurred later that year.

Wildfire doesn’t dampen Yellowstone centennial celebration Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:32:36 -0400 YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Popular tourist areas in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will be open for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service on Thursday, but a wildfire is forcing some visitors to drive a little farther than they expected to get to the celebration.

The fire in Grand Teton National Park has shut down a route leading to Yellowstone’s South Entrance, so visitors coming from the south through Wyoming will have to take an hourlong detour into Idaho. Firefighters are hoping cooler weather will help slow the flames Thursday, when U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is set to visit Yellowstone to mark the centennial celebration.

“Yellowstone National Park is open for business,” and no changes have been made to Jewell’s plans because of the blaze, fire spokesman Bill Swartley said Wednesday.

The wildfire in Grand Teton has burned about 11 square miles since lightning sparked it last month, forcing about 50 people to flee a lodge and cabin operation and several campgrounds. Thirty horses also were taken out of the area.

Meanwhile, four fires were burning inside Yellowstone, but all major visitor areas and roads were open.

Julie Guardado of Sacramento, California, and her boyfriend were visiting Yellowstone as part of a cross-country trip but decided to leave a day early over fears of road closures.

“When we were driving around Yellowstone, we could just see fire around the mountains,” she said Wednesday. “Our car still smells like smoke.”

The wildfires may have cut short Guardado’s trip, but she said they didn’t ruin it.

“Even with the smoke, it was still pretty amazing,” she said.

The largest blaze spans about 42 square miles between the community of West Yellowstone, Montana, and Madison Junction, an area in the park with a campground, visitor facilities and staff housing. Lightning ignited it Aug. 8.

Swartley said the fires were mostly being allowed to burn because they were not threatening major tourist areas.

“These fires are being managed as basically a good fire for the ecology and then, of course, if there’s anything getting close to cultural resources or public resources, structures, the fire is being engaged,” he said.

A 10-mile stretch of U.S. 89/191/287 has been closed since Monday after flames leaped across it, and they were still burning near the highway. The prospects for reopening the route are “not good in the near future” because the fire was close to the highway, fire spokeswoman Karen Miranda said.

Travelers coming from the south via the Jackson Hole area can still access Yellowstone through Idaho and the West Entrance. The detour adds a little over an hour to the drive to Old Faithful.

Grand Teton park and the Wyoming Department of Transportation have posted signs warning drivers of the closure. Grand Teton also is handing out notices and maps of the detour to Yellowstone.

The fire is burning on both sides of the northern portion of Jackson Lake, but no buildings have been lost. More than 100 firefighters, supported by helicopters, are battling the flames near the closed highway.

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity were expected over the next couple of days and should help firefighters, Miranda said.

Missouri lawmakers to hold hearing on illegal herbicide Thu, 25 Aug 2016 08:29:35 -0400 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — State lawmakers say they’ll hold a hearing to talk about damage caused from the illegal spraying of the dicamba herbicide on crops in southeastern Missouri.

Republican state Rep. Don Rone requested that the House Select Committee on Agriculture hold the meeting, citing a recent report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that there’ve been more than 100 complaints filed with the Department of Agriculture about pesticide drift.

A legislative news release says some farmers planted a soybean variety resistant to dicamba, and a new herbicide meant to be applied to that variety hasn’t been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The news release says farmers have been using older illegal dicamba products, which are drifting into neighboring fields and damaging crops.

Committee chairman Rep. Bill Reiboldt said the EPA should testify.

Reiboldt said in the news release that “The situation is, the way I understand it, they released the seed but did not release the chemical, and so some of the farmers used the old chemical and that’s what created the problem.”

Rone said he plans to file legislation that would impose tougher penalties for applying older dicamba products and other illegal products.

“I’m going to make the penalties harsher. I’m going to add some things into that bill that are not presently there to safeguard the gardener, the person in the town, the peach tree man, the non-typical row crop,” said Rone. “That will be my first order of business when we go back in January is to get that bill passed before the new season, so we’ll have to have it before April.”

A date for the hearing hasn’t been set.

Speakers say unlocking biochar’s potential will aid agriculture Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:28:04 -0400 Eric Mortenson CORVALLIS, Ore. — Biochar, as multiple speakers said during a four-day conference at Oregon State University Aug. 22-25, has shown potential to improve soil pH, retain moisture, sequester carbon, filter water and clean up polluted mining and industrial sites.

Its application to agriculture is promising, especially in areas afflicted by drought and swaths of dead trees in public forests, said one of the speakers, Raymond Baltar, biochar senior project manager with Sonoma Ecology Center, a non-profit based in Eldridge, Calif.

“This should be a no-brainer, but it’s not,” Baltar said.

Government bureaucracy, lack of focused research funding and “siloed” work by science, policy and environmental organizations all hamper biochar advances, he said.

Biochar is made by heating wood waste or other plant material with little or no oxygen present, a process called pyrolysis. The result is a porous charcoal that locks carbon and moisture into the soil.

California’s water crisis could be eased by biochar technology, Baltar said. Agriculture accounts for 80 percent of the state’s water used by humans, and even a 5 percent to 10 percent reduction — accomplished by biochar’s ability to hold moisture in the soil — represents millions of dollars in savings, Baltar said.

“If they decrease water use, farmers could save a small fortune,” he said.

The state has an estimated 66 million dead trees in its public forest, much of which could be logged, removed and become a ready source of the “feed stock” needed to produce biochar.

“Go after the low-hanging fruit, and there’s a lot of that,” Baltar said. “There’s no shortage of material to support a biochar industry.”

Baltar said existing biomass plants, built in an attempt to provide alternative fuels, should be kept open and converted to produce biochar. Meanwhile, technology funding should be directed to make smaller, mobile burners that can operate closer to where dead trees are located. Some orchards and vineyards have invested in their own low-tech systems for burning pruning waste, and apply the biochar to their trees and vines, Baltar said.

“We should go after the low-hanging fruit” of solution options, he said, “and there’s lots of that.”

California’s problems of dead trees, drought and the “Big Kahuna” – climate change – should be seen as interrelated problems, he said.

“Rapid use of biochar by agriculture could buy us time,” he said.

Other conference speakers described on-going biochar research projects across the country. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is looking into biochar’s ability to remove pollutants from mining sites, and multiple university researchers are testing biochar applications on crops.

In the Pacific Northwest, Oregon State University agronomist Stephen Machado is in the third year of testing biochar’s application on wheat and pea crops. A single application in 2013 continues to produce good results in test plots, he said, with wheat yield increases ranging from 20 to 33 percent and similar improvement in peas.

At the conference, Machado said some farmers view biochar as a costly capital expense. He suggested they should consider the long-term gain provided by improved crop results.

The conference, called “Biochar 2016” and focused on biochar’s connection to ecology, soil, food and energy, was hosted by OSU’s College of Forestry.

Road to Yellowstone National Park entrance closed by fire Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:42:51 -0400 YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — More firefighters headed Tuesday to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, where large, growing wildfires have closed or are threatening key roads and forced the evacuation of several campgrounds during one of the busiest times of the summer tourist season.

A fire in Grand Teton park made a 5-mile run on Monday, forcing the closure of a 10-mile stretch of road leading into Yellowstone’s South Entrance. More than 4,000 vehicles a day, on average, pass through the South Entrance this time of year, heading into and out of the park.

“It’s the main thoroughfare between Jackson and Yellowstone National Park, and this is the 100-year centennial of the National Park Service, so there’s a lot of celebrations going on,” fire spokesman Brian Lawatch said Tuesday. “So it’s definitely that tourist season where there’s a lot of people who won’t be able to go through for now.”

The road remained closed Tuesday as firefighters cleared debris and any burned trees that might pose a hazard, he said.

Travelers coming from the south can still access Yellowstone through Idaho by heading west from Jackson and entering through the West Entrance.

The main fire had burned over and past the road and toward a wilderness area, Lawatch said. It grew by about 7 square miles on Monday and has now burned about 10 square miles since it was started by lightning last month.

“We’re suppressing it where necessary, such as along the roads, to protect structures, things like that. But when it comes to burning toward the wilderness it’s mostly being allowed to just burn,” he said.

In addition, about 50 people were evacuated from several campgrounds and a lodge that rents cabins in the area.

In neighboring Yellowstone, a fire burning near the West Entrance Road grew Monday and a new team of fire managers was being brought in to help, although the fire was not being actively suppressed yet.

All roads and major tourist areas in Yellowstone remain open, but firefighters are thinning trees and underbrush near the road and the Madison Junction area as the fire grows. The fire was less than 3 miles from Madison Junction, an area that includes a campground, visitor facilities and staff housing.

The fire has burned about 42 square miles since was ignited by lightning on Aug. 8.

Cooler temperatures and lighter winds were expected Wednesday, fire spokeswoman Sarah Gracey said.

Farm safety top priority with farm tourism on the rise Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:28:25 -0400 SUSAN HAIGH HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — With the growth of agritourism and more people visiting local farms, Connecticut officials are joining other states in educating farmers about how to mitigate health risks for their new visitors.

Connecticut’s latest push comes after dozens of young children and adults were infected with E. coli in March after visiting a Lebanon goat dairy farm. Ten of the 41 confirmed cases required hospitalization.

While subsequent investigations showed no evidence the milk, cheeses, caramels or other products sold by Oak Leaf Dairy were the cause of the outbreak, officials believe visitors were sickened after coming in close contact with goats. Dr. Bruce Sherman, director the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Inspection and Regulation, said people were petting the animals. Some purchased kid goats and brought them home. Meanwhile, E. coli was found on gates, a concrete floor and even a bale of hay where children sat, holding the kid goats.

“A lot of farmers aren’t aware of the risk, because they’re so sporadic,” Sherman said of such outbreaks. “The public isn’t aware of the risk.”

On Wednesday, both state and federal experts are scheduled to meet with Connecticut farmers at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to discuss ways they can better protect public health, animal health and their businesses as they open up their farms to the public. Topics range from preventing outbreaks to safely preparing food on the farm.

According to the latest Census of Agriculture, popularity is growing for agritourism, a broad term that can refer to anything from corn mazes to pick-your-own strawberries. The number of U.S. farms reporting income from agritourism operations grew about 42 percent from 2007 to 2012. In Connecticut, it grew nearly 135 percent over those same years. There are nearly 6,000 farms in the state, the majority of which are very small.

As interest has blossomed, Ohio and other states have sought to help shield farmers with agritourism operations from being sued over inherent risks, such as a horse kicking a visitor. The hope is to make it easier for farmers to purchase affordable insurance.

Joe Tisbert, president of the Vermont Farm Bureau Board of Trustees, said agritourism is very important to farmers in his state, where there are regular classes on food and visitor safety, as well as resources on marketing and risk management

Tisbert, who grows organic produce on his Cambridge, Vermont farm, knows firsthand the importance of agritourism. His wife persuaded him four years ago to hold farm-to-table dinners. The couple now hires licensed chefs who come to the farm weekly and cook meals for hungry visitors.

“I love it,” he said. “I’ve eaten dinner with people from all over the world.”

Henry Talmage, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, said his organization is working with farmers to help them take advantage of the trend toward more direct-to-consumer sales at the farms, whether it’s offering community supported agriculture or CSA farm shares, selling fresh apple pies at an orchard or hosting wedding receptions.

“There are certainly consequences of going down the road of agritourism,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that farmers are unaware of this. It adds complexity, there’s no question.”

Immigration a longstanding political problem, experts say Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:23:33 -0400 ALICIA A. CALDWELL WASHINGTON (AP) — For more than a decade, lawmakers have been pointing at their counterparts to take the blame for what just about everyone agrees is a broken immigration system.

Republicans say President Barack Obama’s immigration enforcement policies encourage more people to sneak into the country. Democrats blame Republicans for blocking legislation that would allow people already here to gain legal status and create a path for future, legal immigration.

But whatever specific policies are being fought over now, immigration experts say the problem took root at least 30 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan signed a 1986 immigration law that has become known as the “Reagan Amnesty” and allowed roughly 3 million people in the country illegally to gain legal status.

The 1986 law was intended to create a new era of enforcement, including strict enforcement of the new law that barred employers from hiring workers who don’t have permission to work in the United States. But that never fully materialized.

Immigration laws were overhauled again in 1990 under Republican President George H.W. Bush and again in 1996 under Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Obama has tried in his eight years in office to overhaul them once again, but nothing has passed.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he will fix the system, build a wall along the border with Mexico and perhaps deport many of the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally. But this week he has indicated he may back off from that idea.

“We’re going to build the wall, and we’re going to stop it. It’s going to end,” Trump said earlier this year. “We’re going to have a big, beautiful wall.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has pledged to push comprehensive immigration reform and to act on her own, as Obama has, if Congress doesn’t approve such a measure.

Trump and Clinton have laid the blame for the current state of immigration — and the estimated 11 million people living and, in many cases, working illegally in the United States — on the other party.

But experts disagree.

“I think there’s a lot of blame to go around and spread around for decades,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director for the conservative Center For Immigration Studies. “There isn’t one person responsible.”

Instead, he said, the problem lies in how the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986 was implemented. He described the passage of the bill as something of a “con-job” that allowed millions of immigrants in the country illegally to have legal status with a promise of workplace enforcement and other measures to curb future illegal immigration.

But that didn’t happen, he said. And there was little incentive to follow through on promises of strict workplace enforcement, he said, once millions of people were legalized.

“I definitely view this as the 30-year problem,” said Doris Meissner, who headed the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service under Bill Clinton and is now a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington.

Meissner said the 1986 bill was intended to “clear the decks” of most people living in the country illegally while curtailing future illegal immigration.

But 30 years after the amnesty bill became law the stringent workplace enforcement many expected, and mandated use of the government’s E-Verify system for employers to check the legal work status of prospective hires, is still being debated by lawmakers and the business community. Multiple iterations of federal legislation to require employment verification have been defeated in Congress.

Meissner said the ability of people in the country illegally to continue to find work during the economic boom of the 1990s was a significant incentive for more to come.

And while an average of about 1.3 million people a year were caught crossing the border illegally over the decade of the 1990s, the Border Patrol was relatively small, not growing above a force of 10,000 until 2002.

Meissner says part of the problem was the two immigration laws that followed in 1990 and 1996 that she said did very little to create a legal path to the United States for low-skilled workers. The government does have a pair of visa programs for seasonal agriculture workers and others who are considered seasonal, nonagricultural workers, but Meissner and other critics of the program argue that it is not sufficient.

“There is no line to get into,” Meissner said. “This is why at the end of the day we need updated laws, we need immigration reform.”

Instead, she said, the focus was on enforcement and making it easier to deport immigrants in the country illegally.

As that happened, the estimated population of people living in the country illegally rose from a few million in the late 1980s and early 1990s to today’s estimated 11 million people.

The focus on enforcement may also have created an inadvertent incentive for immigrants in the U.S. illegally to stay in the country for fear that it would be harder if not impossible to get back in if they left, said Stuart Anderson, executive director at the non-partisan National Foundation for American Policy.

Many people made the decision to stay and try to avoid federal law enforcement as long as they could, he said.

“I don’t think anyone would say that policy was successful,” Anderson said.

In recent years the immigration debate has focused on enforcement versus what to do with the millions of people already living here illegally.

Seattle grain exporter to pay $699,000 to settle lawsuit Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:17:58 -0400 Don Jenkins A Dutch corporation that exports grain from the Port of Seattle has agreed to pay $699,000 to settle allegations by an environmental group that the company violated the Clean Water Act by spilling grain into Elliott Bay.

The Louis Dreyfus Co. also will modify its pier and conveyance system to prevent spills while unloading rail cars and loading vessels, according to a consent decree that must be approved by a federal judge.

The settlement would be the second-largest ever won by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, which filed the citizen lawsuit in 2014.

Chris Wilke, the group’s executive director, said the amount of grain spilled can’t be measured, but maintained it was enough to cause damage.

“It was not a trace by any means,” he said. “We believe the environmental impact is quite significant.”

The company declined to comment.

Puget Soundkeeper alleged the company’s lack of record-keeping deprived the environmental group’s members of having enough information to advance their mission of protecting and improving water quality.

After the suit was filed, an attorney for Puget Soundkeeper obtained from the company surveillance video of the grain terminal. In a key pre-trial ruling in June, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones found that the evidence showed grain had been spilled into the bay nine times since 2014.

The company also failed to regularly vacuum paved surfaces at the terminal, a violation of its pollution-control permit with state, the judge ruled.

Shortly after the ruling, Dreyfus and Puget Soundkeeper agreed to the out-of-court settlement. Dreyfus denies any wrongdoing.

“The summary judgment was quite substantial and definitely enough to get the attention of the defendants,” Wilke said. “The Clean Water Act is clear — foreign substances are generally considered pollutants.”

Dreyfus also agreed to pay Puget Soundkeeper $403,000 in legal fees and other litigation expenses.

If approved by the judge, the $699,000 will go into a privately managed fund for Puget Sound environmental projects. The fund was started with a $1.5 million settlement in 2011 between Puget Soundkeeper and BNSF Railway. A grant-making charity, the Rose Foundation in Oakland, Calif., oversees the fund.

Puget Soundkeeper has filed citizen lawsuits and settled with several other companies, including Trident Foods in Tacoma, and Total Terminals International and SSA Terminals, both at the Port of Seattle.

Organic seed supply lags demand as industry grows Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:18:50 -0400 Sean Ellis The state of the U.S. organic seed industry has improved over the past five years and more organic farmers are using organic seed.

But major seed supply gaps remain and most organic farmers still use conventional seed, according to the State of Organic Seed 2016 report.

The 111-page report was recently released by the Organic Seed Alliance, which surveyed 1,364 organic farmers in 47 states in 2014.

Organic certifiers and other industry stakeholders were also surveyed and it was the first five-year update of the initial State of Organic Seed report, which measures progress in meeting the organic seed needs of farmers.

The National Organic Program requires organic farmers to use organic seed when commercially available.

According to the 2016 report, 27 percent of farmers who responded to the survey use 100 percent organic seed, up from 20 percent in 2009.

It also showed that private and public investment in organic seed plant breeding and other research has increased significantly since the last report.

However, the report found that most organic farmers still use conventional seed and overall investment in breeding and other organic seed research is woefully lacking when compared with the conventional seed industry.

“We have made a lot of progress over the last five years. The findings are encouraging,” said Kristina Hubbard, who co-authored the report and is OSA’s director of advocacy and communications.

However, she added, a lot of work remains to be done.

For example, while $22 million has been invested in public and private organic seed research in the past five years — from 1996 to 2010, only $9 million was invested — that number pales in comparison with funding for conventional seed research, Hubbard said.

The report, which can be viewed online at, also found there is a lack of experienced organic seed producers and most large organic farms still use comparatively little organic seed.

The report offers 30 recommendations to further improve the organic seed industry.

The top three include investing more public and private dollars in organic seed research, training more organic farmers in seed production and working with the NOP and organic certifiers to advocate for organic seed.

Dale Coke, an organic farmer in Aromas, Calif., said the report contains promising news but also showed there is a lot of room for improvement to ensure organic farmers have access to a reliable source of quality seed.

“The quality of organic seed remains a mix,” he said. “Some of it is really good and some of it is less (desirable) than you would hope for. All in all, it’s moving in the right direction. It’s just a slow process.”

Idaho organic seed producer Beth Rasgorshek said providing better access to quality organic seed is one of the biggest developments that could help organic farmers succeed.

“For organic farmers to use organic seed is just a perfect mix because that seed is adapted for organic systems,” she said. “I think we have to do a better job of letting organic farmers know that there are seed options. And if that seed is not the right option for that farm business or that farm system, we need to figure out what we can do as breeders and growers to create those traits that (they need).”

Portland daily grain report Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:17:56 -0400

Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

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 September futures trended five to 8.75 cents per bushel lower compared to Monday’s closes.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for August delivery for ordinary protein were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Monday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Bids for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein were not well tested in early trading, but bids were indicated as lower compared to Monday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby.

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

Bids for 14 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for August delivery were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Monday’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 August trended lower compared to Monday’s noon bids.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during August trended lower compared to Monday’s noon bids.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

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

Ordinary protein

Aug 4.8500-4.9500

Sep 4.8875-5.0200

Oct 4.9800-5.0700

Nov 4.9800-5.1200

Dec 4.9800-5.1700

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Aug 4.7875-4.9500

Sep 4.9375-4.9500

Oct 5.0000-5.0300

Nov 5.0300

Dec NA

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

Ordinary protein

Aug 4.8875-4.9500

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Aug 4.8375-4.9500

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


Ordinary protein 4.5875-4.7975

11 pct protein 4.7875-4.9875

11.5 pct protein

Aug 4.8875-5.1875

Sep 4.8875-5.2375

Oct 5.0950-5.4950

Nov 5.0950-5.4950

Dec 5.0950-5.4950

12 pct protein 4.9375-5.2875

13 pct protein 5.0375-5.4875

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 5.7525-5.8625

14 pct protein

Aug 6.0825-6.2325

Sep 6.0825-6.3825

Oct 6.0400-6.3900

Nov 6.0400-6.3900

Dec 6.0400-6.3900

15 pct protein 6.2425-6.5125

16 pct protein 6.4025-6.7925

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Aug 4.2225-4.4725

Sep 4.2225-4.2725

Oct 4.3575-4.3775

Nov 4.3075-4.3575

Dec 4.3075-4.3575

Jan 4.3575-4.4075

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Aug 11.3200

Sep 11.4700-11.4800

Oct 11.4700

Nov 11.4800-11.4900

Dec 11.4200-11.4500

Jan 11.3900

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.2650

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Jul 2016

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 5.0700

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 4.6700

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 4.9400

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 5.8200

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Trump vows ‘fair, but firm’ approach to illegal immigration Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:23:09 -0400 JILL COLVINand JONATHAN LEMIRE AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Republican Donald Trump promised Monday to be “fair, but firm” toward the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally, a shift in tone that raised questions on whether he’s backtracking from previous pledges to push for mass deportations.

The billionaire businessman, whose hard-line approach to immigration and fierce rhetoric propelled him to the GOP presidential nomination, insisted that he’s not “flip-flopping” on the divisive issue as he works to broaden his support 2 1/2 months before the general election.

But in a meeting with Hispanic activists Saturday, Trump indicated he was open to considering allowing those who have not committed crimes, beyond their immigration offenses, to obtain some form of legal status — though attendees stressed Trump has yet to make up his mind.

“The impression I got was that the campaign is working on substantive policy to help the undocumented that are here, including some type of status so they would not be deported,” said Pastor Mario Bramnick, president of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition, who was in attendance.

Any walk-back would mark a dramatic reversal for Trump. During the GOP primary, Trump vowed to use a “deportation force” to round up and deport the millions of people living in the country illegally — a proposal that excited many of his core supporters, but alienated Hispanic voters who could be pivotal in key states.

Trump said in an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Monday that he was “working with a lot of people in the Hispanic community to try and come up with an answer.”

“We want to come up with a really fair, but firm answer. It has to be very firm. But we want to come up with something fair,” he said.

Later, he told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, “I just want to follow the law.”

“The first thing we’re gonna do, if and when I win, is we’re gonna get rid of all of the bad ones. We’ve got gang members, we have killers, we have a lot of bad people that have to get out of this country. We’re gonna get them out,” he said.

“As far as everybody else, we’re going to go through the process,” he said, citing the policies of President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush as examples.

Asked whether Trump’s plan still included a deportation force, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday it was “to be determined.”

“Even Sen. Jeff Sessions,” a hard-liner on immigration, “he doesn’t deport 11 million people in his plan,” Conway said on CNBC Monday.

Trump had been scheduled to deliver a speech on the topic Thursday in Colorado, but has postponed it.

There have been signs for weeks now that Trump was shifting course. Hispanic business and religious leaders who would like to see Trump move in a more inclusive direction have reported closed-door conversations with Trump in which they say he has signaled possibly embracing a less punitive immigration policy that focuses on “compassion” along with the rule of law.

At last month’s GOP convention, the Republican National Committee’s director of Hispanic communications, Helen Aguirre Ferre, told reporters at a Spanish-language briefing that Trump had already said he “will not do massive deportations” — despite the fact that Trump had never said so publicly.

Instead, Aguirre Ferre said, “he will focus on removing the violent undocumented who have criminal records and live in the country.”

Indeed, Trump’s first television ad of the general election specifically singles out illegal immigrants with criminal records, claiming that, if Clinton is elected, “Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay.”

Trump’s campaign has pushed back on the notion that he’s reversing course. “Mr. Trump said nothing today that he hasn’t said many times before, including in his convention speech,” rapid response director Steven Cheung said after the meeting.

At a rally in Akron, Ohio, Monday evening, many Trump supporters seemed unfazed by Trump’s potential shift.

“Mr. Trump is a smart man who uses common sense,” said Jennifer Carter, a small business owner from Barberton, Ohio. “He knows he can’t break up families and round up people on buses to kick them out.”

But Robin Luich, 52, a stay-at-home mother from Medina, Ohio, said those who’ve broken the law should be permanently barred. “There can be no exceptions. If you are here illegally, you have to stay out.” she said.

When asked how she would feel if Trump softened his stance to allow some illegal immigrants to remain, she said: “That would be a disappointment. That’s not what he is supposed to be about.”

And amid talk of a shift, Trump made clear he had no interest in compromising another piece of his immigration plan — a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We’re going to build the wall, folks,” Trump said at the rally. “That wall will go up so fast your head will spin. You’re going to say ‘He meant it!”’

Clinton, meanwhile, is spending the next three days fundraising across California. She’ll stop by the home of actors Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in Los Angeles, address donors with NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson in Beverly Hills and join Apple CEO Tim Cook and other business leaders in Silicon Valley.

But Clinton’s email scandal continues to haunt her. In the latest revelations, the State Department said Monday it is reviewing nearly 15,000 previously undisclosed emails. They were recovered as part of the FBI’s now-closed investigation into the handling of sensitive information that flowed through Clinton’s private home server during her time as secretary of state.

Lawyers for the department said they anticipate releasing the first batch of these new emails in mid-October, raising the prospect new messages sent or received by Democratic nominee could become public just before Election Day.

Storms damage trees in Mexican monarch butterfly reserve Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:43:58 -0400 MARK STEVENSON MEXICO CITY (AP) — Storms caused a big spike in the number of trees blown down or severely damaged in forests where migrating monarch butterflies spend the winter in central Mexico, experts reported Tuesday.

The March tempests caused the loss of 133 acres of pine and fir trees in the forests west of Mexico City, more than four times the amount lost to illegal logging. It was the biggest storm-related loss since the winter of 2009-10, when unusually heavy rainstorms and mudslides caused the destruction of 262 acres of trees.

“Never had we observed such a combination of high winds, rain and freezing temperatures,” monarch expert Lincoln Brower said of the storms of March 8-9.

Two big storm losses within five years may suggest changes in the climatic conditions that have allowed the survival of patches of mountaintop forests. An additional 16 acres of trees were lost to drought this year.

“This points up just how fragile these forests are, and how fragile the monarchs are, and it makes clear the importance of reforestation efforts,” said Omar Vidal, director of the conservation group World Wildlife Fund Mexico.

The monarchs depend on finding relatively well-preserved forests, where millions of orange-and-black butterflies hang in clumps from the boughs. The trees, and the clumping, help protect the butterflies from cold rains and steep drops in temperature.

That is why illegal logging in the 33,484-acre nucleus of the reserve is so damaging. Conservationists have tried to convince the largely impoverished farm and mountain communities that actually own most of the land that the forest is worth more to them in terms of tourism when left standing than when it is cut down for logs.

In April, Mexico’s government announced it would create a special national police squad to patrol nature reserves and fight environmental crimes. While the force has not yet formally deployed, illegal logging in the monarch reserve dropped this year, from almost 49.4 acres in 2015 to about 29.6 acres .

Unlike in past years, when most logging was done in the farming communities, about three-quarters of the tree-cutting this year occurred on public lands in the reserve’s core area — precisely the kind of terrain that environmental police could most effectively protect.

“This is why we insist that illegal logging in the reserve has to be eliminated, and that the destruction of (the butterfly’s) milkweed habitat in the United States has to be stopped, so that the monarchs have the ability to better respond to these extreme climate events” like the March storms, Vidal said.

Brower criticized authorities’ decision to quickly approve “salvage” logging of trees downed by the storms, suggesting it strengthened logging interests and disturbs the forests chances for natural regrowth.

He wrote that the “decision to authorize the very extensive salvage logging was possibly the worst management mistake that could have been made.”

“The photos I have seen of hundreds of logs on trucks coming out of the reserve, and of huge stacks of piled carefully cut logs below (the butterfly reserve of) Rosario, are atrocious.”

The damage comes after a rebound for the monarch. The area covered by the butterflies this winter was more than 3 1/2 times that of a year earlier. They clump so densely in the pine and fir forests that they are counted by the area they cover rather than by individual insects.

The number of monarchs making the 3,400-mile migration from the United States and Canada had been declining steadily before recovering in 2014. This winter was even better. In December, the butterflies covered 10 acres, compared to 2.8 acres in 2014 and a record low of 1.66 acres in 2013. That’s still well become the 44 acres the covered 20 years ago.

China may exempt some U.S. farm exports from Zika rules Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:55:21 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski U.S. farm exports from regions unaffected by the Zika virus may eventually be excluded from China’s new rules requiring mosquito treatments for incoming goods.

For now, however, agricultural exporters have to treat outgoing shipping containers with pesticides to kill mosquitoes, which spread the birth defect-causing virus.

Within the U.S., local transmission of Zika through mosquitoes has only occurred in Florida, but China has imposed its shipping regulations on all U.S. shipments, creating the potential for trade disruption.

China’s Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, or AQSIQ, will conduct a risk assessment “to determine whether to apply a regional approach in its Zika response,” according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

At this point, there’s no timeline for when Chinese trade officials will decide, the agency said.

“We’re hoping that could be a potential work-around,” said Abigail Struxness, program manager for the Agriculture Transportation Coalition. “We’re very encouraged Chinese customs (officials) are looking at a regionalization approach.”

It’s heartening that refrigerated containers kept below 59 degrees Fahrenheit are exempt from the regulations, unless they’re found to have mosquitoes or larvae, she said.

Containers and vessels that were ocean-bound before Aug. 5 also aren’t subject to the rules.

Exporters have several options for treating containers. Aside from fumigation, they will be allowed to perform less-expensive fogging treatments or other operations to kill mosquitoes.

While it’s unlikely adult mosquitoes could survive the journey from the U.S. to China on an ocean-bound vessel, their larvae could withstand such a journey, Struxness said.

Chinese authorities have offered to arrange treatments for incoming shipments at a cost of roughly $30-60 per container, depending on its size.

Though treatments within the U.S. will probably be more expensive, most exporters will likely choose to treat containers before they leave for China, Struxness said.

That way, they’ll have more control over timing and the chemicals used, she said.

China will require that containers treated in the U.S. be certified as mosquito-free, but this can be verified by a third party — such as a pest control company — rather than the U.S. government.

Struxness advised agricultural exporters to consult with their shipping logistics providers on the most effective options for treatment and certification.

It’s likely that Chinese customs officials will apply the regulations somewhat differently in each port, so the situation bears further monitoring, she said.

National wool and sheep report Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:06:38 -0400 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

Aug. 19

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

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

Aug. 19

Compared to last week: Slaughter lambs were mostly steady to $5 higher, except steady to $10 lower at Ft. Collins, Colo. Slaughter ewes were mostly steady, instances $6-10 higher. Feeder lambs were steady.

At San Angelo, Texas, 5,125 head sold. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading slaughter ewes and feeder lambs were not tested. 7,500 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were steady. 8,900 head of formula sales had no trend due to confidentiality. 4,189 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs. and down $7.61 lower; 45-75 lbs. no trend due to confidentiality; 75-85 lbs $2.69 higher and 85 lbs. and up $3.75 higher.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 100-140 lbs. $130-148.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $220-242; 60-70 lbs. $190-220, few $220-234; 70-80 lbs. $166-190, few $190-198; 80-90 lbs. $160-180, few $188-194; 90-110 lbs. $152-172.

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

7,500 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 127-163 lbs. $140-175 (wtd avg $162.81).


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $49-58; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $60-70; Utility 1-2 (thin) $48-60; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $40-50; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $25-36.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 60-70 lbs. $186-196; 70-90 lbs. $176-192; 90-100 lbs. $171-186.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: hair ewe lambs 60-70 lbs. $216-234; 70-90 lbs. $178-214 cwt; mixed age hair ewes 90-150 lbs. $85-135 cwt.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. Down $488.05

45-55 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

55-65 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

65-75 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

75-85 lbs. $326.65

85 lbs. and up $313.29

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 38,000 compared with 37,000 last week and 37,000 last year.

Selected Western hay prices Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:03:00 -0400 Hay prices are dollars per ton or dollars per bale when sold to retail outlets. Basis is current delivery FOB barn or stack, or delivered customer as indicated.

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


Supreme 185+ <27 55.9+ 22+

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

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

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

Utility <130 36+ <50.5 <16


(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Aug. 19

This week FOB Last week Last year

4,770 11,393 6,720

Compared to Aug. 11: All grades of export Alfalfa steady. Domestic Alfalfa not well tested this week. Export buyers are looking for negative GMO, 160 or better RFV test and 1,000 or less on the nitrate levels. Trade light with light to good demand. Retail/Feedstore steady in a light test. Demand remains good.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 100 $155

Premium 400 160

Good 500 $125

250 $130

400 $155

Fair 30 $100

1500 $95

Alfalfa Small Square Good 280 $150-160

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square Premium 50 $210

Good/Prem. 30 $160

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 130 $225

Wheat Straw Large Square Utility 1100 $60-65


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

Aug. 19

This week FOB Last week Last year

6,904 13,539 6,386

Compared to Aug 12: Prices trended generally steady compared to week ago prices. Most demand lays with the retail/stable hay. Many hay producers are selling or have already sold most of their first and second cutting hay, and are working on later cutting(s) resulting in higher volumes of hay moving.

Tons Price


Alfalfa Small Square Good 10 $205

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 29 $230-250

Good 50 $220

Prairie Grass Small Square Good 25 $215

Oat Small Square Good 25 $160


Alfalfa Large Square Premium 600 $120

Good/Prem. 600 $100


Alfalfa Small Square Prem./Sup. 25 $200

Prairie Grass Small Square Premium 25 $200

Wheat Small Square Premium 25 $170


Alfalfa Large Square Premium 550 170

Good/Prem. 4500 $165

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 60 $190-200

Good 30 $200

Triticale Large Square Good 350 $80

HARNEY COUNTY: No new sales confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Aug. 19

This week FOB Last week Last year

700 1,235 670

Compared to Aug. 12: All grades of Alfalfa steady. Trade near standstill on Alfalfa with light demand as exporters and dairies quit buying. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 200 $180

Premium 500 $110-125


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Aug. 19

This week FOB Last week Last year

43,550 26,962 7,405

Compared to Aug. 12: All classes traded steady. Demand moderate. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, this is the dry season for the West Coast, so changes are rare this time of year. Demand picking up in Region 2. Oat hay and forage mix traded activity slow in Region 3. Corn Silage getting chopped in Region 3.

Tons Price


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

Alfalfa Supreme 900 $165-172

Premium 900 $155

930 $325-335

325 $160-180

Good 1100 $100-110

785 $220-235

150 $120-140

Fair 400 $95

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Premium 25 $220

Orchard Grass Premium 350 $180-300

Oat Premium 300 $100


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

Alfalfa Premium 289 $160-170

Good 270 $110-130

Fair 125 $100

Utility 315 $90

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Premium 50 $240

Oat Premium 200 $110

Fair/Good 200 $80

Fair 25 $75

Wheat Premium 150 $110

Triticale Premium 25 $80


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

Alfalfa Supreme 1008 $170-210

Premium 930 $160-200

75 $180

50 $215

Good/Prem. 300 $150

Good 200 $140

Fair/Good 500 $120

Fair 2400 $90-110

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Premium 25 $200

Orchard Grass Premium 50 $200

Sudan Premium 100 $130


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

Corn Standing Good 24,000 $40


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

Alfalfa Premium 75 $200

Good 100 $140-180

Fair 948 $105-115

Forage Mix-Three Way Premium 100 $180


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

Alfalfa Supreme 250 $225

Premium 100 $165

125 $155-180

Good/Prem. 75 $145

Good 500 $137

Fair 1000 $85

1500 $130-140

Utility 800 $85

50 $80

Bermuda Grass Premium 225 $160-180

Bermuda Straw Good 250 $26

California shell egg report Mon, 22 Aug 2016 11:53:10 -0400 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

Aug. 19

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are 17 cents higher for Jumbo, 14 cents higher for Extra Large, 17 cents higher for Large and 13 cents higher for Medium and Small. The undertone is steady. Offerings are light for Jumbo and light to moderate on the balance of sizes. Retail demand is fairly good to good with food service sales moderate to fairly good. Supplies are light to moderate. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price 57 cents.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 156 Extra large 133

Large 120 Medium 77


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 128-138 Extra large 96-106

Large 91-100 Medium 42-47