Capital Press | Nation/World Capital Press Mon, 23 Apr 2018 15:51:37 -0400 en Capital Press | Nation/World Gardnerville ranch on National Register of Historic Places Mon, 23 Apr 2018 15:38:53 -0400 GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (AP) — A northern Nevada ranch has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Wilhelm Lampe Ranch was founded in the Carson Valley near Gardnerville in 1872. The National Park Service added it to the national registry on Friday.

Historians say Lampe raised dairy cattle and sheep on the ranch where he grew mostly alfalfa. He became a prominent leader in the German immigrant community in the valley and later donated land to establish the Lutheran Church’s first building just south of the ranch about 17 miles south of Carson City.

The Park Service says the property includes unique architectural landmarks, including the latest known construction of a Gothic Revival ranch house in Carson Valley.

Jack and Diana Jacobs now operate the Jacobs Family Berry Farm on the former ranch.

After brief relief, forecasts indicate drought will continue Mon, 23 Apr 2018 15:37:00 -0400 KELLY P. KISSEL Dry weather will prolong the wildfire threat through summer in the southwestern United States, even though weekend showers temporarily relieved drought conditions in parts of the area, forecasters said Monday.

The drought is rooted in a dry spell that began in October and is considered “extreme” from southern California to central Kansas. Conditions are even worse in the Four Corners region and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, warranting their description as “exceptional.”

“The proverbial spigot shut off,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. “Drought isn’t necessarily a signal for wildfires, but it can exacerbate the conditions that do take place.”

Climatologists consider the months from October to April to be a “recharge” period, with showers and snow replenishing water supplies in the Southern Plains. However, the most recent significant rain in the area came in early October.

“The memory of that precipitation has long went out the back door,” Fuchs said. Temperatures have largely been above normal over the same period, triggering evaporation that can carry a lot of moisture away before it has a chance to soak into the ground. There is very little snowpack remaining except on the highest peaks.

A map Fuchs presented during a conference call with reporters showed a sharp distinction on either side of a line from near Fort Worth, Texas, to near Chicago. Moist areas of Arkansas and Missouri were within 100 miles of arid conditions in Kansas and Oklahoma.

“Even normal precipitation ... would be helpful,” Fuchs said.

The dry air has likely contributed to some weather anomalies: Several towns in western Oklahoma have seen wild temperature swings, and Oklahoma hasn’t had a tornado yet this year, though a later start to the tornado season doesn’t mean it could be any less troublesome.

“It just takes one tornado to have a disastrous year,” said Todd Lindley, the science and operations officer at the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma.

Gary McManus, Oklahoma’s state climatologist, said the low temperature recorded at a station at Alva on April 17 was 33 degrees — with frost in the area. Hours later, the same station recorded a high of 101. Similar temperature swings were recorded in the Oklahoma Panhandle and could be attributed to the dry air, not any of the station’s proximity to wildfires.

“We are very desert-like,” he said.

Wildfires have scarred many areas of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Oklahoma forestry officials said Monday that the Rhea fire, which had burned 448 square miles was 74 percent contained but not expected to spread beyond existing fire lines because of higher humidity and lighter winds.

Moss Greenhouses bloom from humble roots Mon, 23 Apr 2018 09:27:30 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas JEROME, Idaho — Moss Greenhouses is well known throughout the Intermountain West for its premium plants and hanging baskets.

It is the supplier of choice for area cities wanting to add living color to Main Street and world-renown Sun Valley Resort, which relies on Moss to bring its impressive grounds to life every spring.

Moss is also a mainstay for area gardeners, numerous operators of farmers’ markets and several farmers who supply vegetables to grocery stores and restaurants.

The bulk of its business, however, is wholesale supply to more than 150 retailers — mostly independent garden centers and grocery stores. Its distribution spans seven states, with living product delivered by the company’s fleet of trucks.

The business is dedicated to selecting and producing premium plants for its customers, both wholesale and retail.

“We want to make sure you’re going to succeed,” Jennifer Moss, whose great grandparents started the business in 1952, said.

That success starts onsite, growing regional varieties from five seed suppliers. Plants grown elsewhere and shipped in are not going to be as successful, she said.

The business operates on 13 acres in Jerome with 15 large greenhouses (300,000 square feet) and 3 acres of outside growing area. In addition, the company operates 20 large hoop houses with 2-1/2 acres of growing space in nearby Buhl.

Annual production is about 190,000 flats (18 to 48 plants each), 360,000 containers and 52,000 hanging baskets. The company has 20 to 25 year-round employees and 115 to 120 in the peak season in May.

Over its 66 years, Moss Greenhouses has grown into a $4 million business and has been employee-owned since 2006, Moss said.

But it has humble roots. It started when her great-grandfather, Ed Adams, had a heart attack. Ed and his wife, Ruth, owned a local grocery store. After Ed’s heart attack, his doctor told him the business was too stressful and he should find other work. So he went into farming.

Feeding their passion for orchids, Ed and Ruth built a small hothouse onto the back of their home. Their hobby grew into a business when they began to grow cut flowers, orchids and flowering potted plants for local grocery stores and florists. Their original hothouse expanded to a 5,600-square-foot facility.

In 1973, their daughter, Carolyn, and her husband, Dewitt Moss, returned to Jerome to grow the business and begin construction of a 10,000 square-foot greenhouse for wholesale bedding plants.

Dewitt was a nuclear engineer working for the Atomic Energy Commission in eastern Idaho, but a promotion was going to take him to a big city — a place he and Carolyn didn’t want to bring up their children, Moss said.

Their oldest son, Kevin, and his wife, Dana, came to the operation in 1983 to assist with the spring busy season and help in the construction of another greenhouse expansion project. They bought the company in 1996, and doubled its size.

Their children, Jennifer and Dewey, went off to college with their sights set on careers outside the family business.

“Neither of us ever intended to work for Mom and Dad,” Jennifer Moss said.

After graduating from college, she went into the hospitality business and her brother went into the extreme sports arena. But eventually, both returned to the greenhouses and are now working their way into the business.

One of her dad’s rules is “you can’t take over the business until you know how to do everything,” she said.

Americans told to toss romaine lettuce over E. coli fears Mon, 23 Apr 2018 09:39:23 -0400 TERRY TANG PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. health officials on Friday, April 20, told consumers to throw away any store-bought romaine lettuce they have in their kitchens and warned restaurants not to serve it amid an E. coli outbreak that has sickened more than 50 people in several states.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its warning about tainted romaine from Arizona, saying information from new illnesses led it to caution against eating any forms of the lettuce that may have come from the city of Yuma. Officials have not found the origin of the contaminated vegetables.

Previously, CDC officials had only warned against chopped romaine by itself or as part of salads and salad mixes. But they are now extending the risk to heads or hearts of romaine lettuce.

People at an Alaska correctional facility recently reported feeling ill after eating from whole heads of romaine lettuce. They were traced to lettuce harvested in the Yuma region, according to the CDC.

So far, the outbreak has infected 53 people in 16 states. At least 31 have been hospitalized, including five with kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

The CDC’s updated advisory said consumers nationwide should not buy or eat romaine lettuce from a grocery store or restaurant unless they can get confirmation it did not come from Yuma. People also should toss any romaine they already have at home unless it’s known it didn’t come from the area, the agency said.

Restaurants and retailers were warned not to serve or sell romaine lettuce from Yuma.

Romaine grown in coastal and central California, Florida and central Mexico is not at risk, according to the Produce Marketing Association.

The Yuma region, which is roughly 185 miles southwest of Phoenix and close to the California border, is referred to as the country’s “winter vegetable capital.” It is known for its agriculture and often revels in it with events like a lettuce festival.

Steve Alameda, president of the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association, which represents local growers, said the outbreak has weighed heavily on him and other farmers.

“We want to know what happened,” Alameda said. “We can’t afford to lose consumer confidence. It’s heartbreaking to us. We take this very personally.”

Growers in Yuma typically plant romaine lettuce between September and January. During the peak of the harvest season, which runs from mid-November until the beginning of April, the Yuma region supplies most of the romaine sold in the U.S., Alameda said. The outbreak came as the harvest of romaine was already near its end.

While Alameda has not met with anyone from the CDC, he is reviewing his own business. He is going over food safety practices and auditing operations in the farming fields.

Man thankful after Steamboat rallies to save his family barn Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:43:53 -0400 SCOTT FRANZSteamboat Pilot And Today STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Glenn Arnold thought the old barn in Steamboat Springs where he took care of cows as a child and sought shelter from thunderstorms would just fall down someday and fuel a big bonfire.

So there was still a sense of surprise in Arnold’s voice Monday, April 16 after he learned that barn is set to be preserved and become a new iconic landmark guiding tourists to the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

“I’ll be darned,” Arnold, now 84, said from his home in Grand Junction. “I’d never thought anything like that would ever happen.”

He also was surprised to hear the barn might be lit up and showcased at night.

Arnold said he was very appreciative of the work several Steamboat residents have put into preserving the 90-year-old barn, which was the centerpiece of his family’s 160-acre ranch and dairy farm.

“I feel, ya know, guilty that everybody else is doing what we should have been doing,” Arnold said. “We really appreciate all the people and effort and time and money they’ve put into it, and I’m sure that with all the planning they’ve done, they’ll have something that means something and something to show with all their efforts.”

“I think it’s great this is all happening,” he added.

Steamboat’s elected officials recently approved a plan to preserve and relocate the barn.

Arnold said he’s hoping to be in Steamboat when the barn is delicately picked up from its current location near the Meadows Parking Lot and moved up the hill in front of The Steamboat Grand.

At the barn’s new location, interpretive signs will tell the history of the structure.

In its current location, the barn ends up in a muddy, flooded field that visitors and residents can’t access in the spring.

There is a plan to add parking spaces near the barn’s new location at the corner of Mount Werner Circle and Mount Werner Road so residents and tourists can visit it.

Asked what stories he would have for any tourists who will stop to take pictures of the barn, Arnold said the historic structure was more important to his family than the house they slept in.

“The barn was where the money came from,” he said. “I think a lot of farms around the country, they built better barns than houses. That was more important to them.”

Arnold also recalled how he and his brothers often played in the barn and sought shelter there during bad weather.

“We could get outside of the house and go somewhere we weren’t being watched,” he joked.

In an interview last year with Steamboat Today, Glenn and his brother Gerald described what it was like to grow up on a farm at the base of Mount Werner before the ski area developed.

They recalled how their father, Walter Arnold would regularly show up to his family’s breakfast table near what is now the Meadows Parking Lot covered up to his waist with water and ice.

Someone had to chip away at the frozen stream from Fish Creek that the family’s dairy cows would drink from in an old barn.

And Walter’s wife, Mary, would wake up two to three times each winter night and make a trek through the snow to the family’s old wooden dairy barn to check on the lambs.

The boys said any calves that looked like they were shivering and needed help would be brought into the Arnold’s kitchen and placed behind the stove to warm up.

Gerald Arnold passed away in September at age 89.

“One of the nice things about living out on the farm with no electricity and no running water is when the kids would invite us to spend the night in town, where there was running water, a running toilet and electricity, that was always a big treat,” Gerald said when he was interviewed last summer. “I always wondered when we invited those kids to our farm, what they thought.”

“They were probably glad to go home,” Glenn said with a smile.

Information from: Steamboat Pilot & Today,

National wool and sheep review Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:23:16 -0400 Sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News

April 20

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was very active for bidding this week. Close to 1 million pounds of wool were bid on Thursday, though confirmation of sales could not be determined for this report. The results of confirmed sales will be included on the report next week. Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was at a standstill this week. No confirmed trades were reported.


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

April 20

Compared to last week slaughter lambs were 10.00-20.00 lower, instances 20.00-40.00 lower. Slaughter ewes were weak to 5.00 lower, instances 10.00-20.00 lower. Feeder lambs weak in light test. At San Angelo, Texas, 6808 head sold. Equity Electronic Auction sold 1200 slaughter lambs in California. In direct trading slaughter ewes and feeder lambs not tested. 3100 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were steady to 1.00 lower. 2,653 lamb carcasses sold with all weights no trend due to confidentiality. All sheep sold per hundred weight (CWT) unless otherwise specified.

Slaughter Lambs: Choice and Prime 2-3 90-160 lbs:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 110-155 lbs 120.00-134.00, few 138.00-142.00.

VA: wooled 90-110 lbs 188.00.

PA: shorn and wooled 90-110 lbs 270.00-285.00; 110-130 lbs 232.00-275.00; 130-150 lbs 215.00-240.00; 150-200 lbs 190.00-225.00.

Ft. Collins, CO: wooled 145-175 lbs 130.00-160.00.

South Dakota: shorn and wooled 140-155 lbs 141.00-143.00.

Kalona, IA: no test.

Billings, MT: no test.

Missouri: no test.

Equity Elec: shorn 145-165 lbs 143.50.

Slaughter Lambs: Choice and Prime 1-2:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs 208.00-226.00; 60-70 lbs 196.00-222.00; 70-80 lbs 194.00-202.00, few 207.00-210.00; 80-90 lbs 190.00-202.00; 90-110 lbs 180.00-196.00, few 199.00.

Pennsylvania: 40-50 lbs 265.00-287.00; 50-60 lbs 260.00-280.00, few 280.00-295.00; 60-70 lbs 255.00-275.00, few 280.00-290.00; 70-80 lbs 245.00-275.00, few 275.00-285.00; 80-90 lbs 245.00-272.00, few 270.00-290.00.

Kalona, IA: 40-50 lbs 222.50-250.00; 50-60 lbs 220.00-235.00; 60-70 lbs 220.00-235.00; 70-80 lbs 225.00-234.00; 80-90 lbs 224.00-236.00.

Ft. Collins: 40-60 lbs 220.00-250.00; 60-80 lbs 230.00-240.00; 80-90 lbs 235.00-255.00; 100-105 lbs 230.00-232.50.

Missouri: 60-70 lbs 230.00-240.00; 70-105 lbs 200.00-225.00.

Virginia: 30-60 lbs 237.50-240.00; 60-80 lbs 221.00-250.00; 80-110 lbs 189.00-213.00.

South Dakota: 90-100 lbs 143.00-145.00.

Billings, MT: 70-80 lbs 182.00-185.00; 80-90 lbs 177.50-178.00; 107 lbs 161.00.

Direct Trading: (lambs fob with 3-4 percent shrink or equivalent)

3100: Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 134-159 lbs 135.00-158.84 (wtd avg 148.82).

Slaughter Ewes:

San Angelo: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) no test; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 64.00-75.00; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) 76.00-85.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 65.00-75.00; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) 60.00-65.00; Cull 1 (extremely thin) 20.00-59.00.

Pennsylvania: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) 50.00-100.00; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 72.00-135.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 75.00-120.00; Cull 1 no test.

Ft. Collins: Good 3-5 (very fleshy) 77.50-88.50; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 80.00-92.50; Utility 1-2 (thin) 55.00-57.50; Cull 1 (extremely thin) no test.

Billings, MT: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) 48.00-53.00; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 56.00-70.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 54.00-66.00; Cull 1 48.00-58.00.

So Dakota: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) no test; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 45.00-53.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 42.00-54.00; Cull 1 37.00.

Missouri: Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) 50.00-85.00.

Virginia: Good 2-4 80.00-94.00; Utility 1-2 82.00; Cull 1 64.00.

Kalona: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) no test; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 60.00-82.50; Utility and Good 1-2 (medium flesh) 65.00-73.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 58.00-74.00; Cull 1 no test.

Feeder Lambs: Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 50-90 lbs 198.00-226.00; 98 lbs 218.00.

Virginia: no test.

Ft. Collins: no test.

Billings: old crop 87 lbs 180.00; 90-100 lbs 175.00-177.50.

Kalona: 25-30 lbs 255.00-280.00; 30-35 lbs 257.50-270.00.

So Dakota: 40-50 lbs 200.00-222.50; 60-70 lbs 185.00-187.50.

Missouri: no test.

Replacement Ewes: Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: baby tooth hair ewes 136.00-150.00 per head; mixed age hair ewes 80-130 lbs 90.00-135.00 cwt.

Ft. Collins: no test.

Billings: bred baby tooth 187.50 per head; bred baby tooth to solid mouth 175.00 per head; yearlings 125-160 lbs 81.00-100.00 cwt; baby tooth 125-165 lbs 61.00-75.00 cwt.

So Dakota: no test.

Kalona, IA: no test.

Missouri: mixed age hair ewes 80-150 lbs 100.00-125.00 cwt; hair ewes and lambs 65.00-85.00 per head.

Virginia: no test.

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 37,000 compared with 38,000 last week and 32,000 last year.

West Coast grain price report Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:12:44 -0400 Grains are stated in dollars per bushel or hundredweight (cwt.) except feed grains traded in dollars per ton. National grain report bids are for rail delivery unless truck indicated.


(USDA Market News)


April 19

Pacific Northwest Market Summary: Cash wheat bids for April delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, April 19, were mixed, mostly lower, compared to week

ago noon bids for April delivery.

May wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, April 19, lower as follows compared to week ago closes: Chicago wheat futures were 4.25 cents lower at 4.7675, Kansas City wheat futures were 12.25 cents lower at 4.9525 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 9.75 cents lower at 6.1325. Chicago May corn futures trended 6.75 cents lower at 3.82 and May soybean futures closed 23.25 cents lower at 10.3725.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during April for ordinary protein trended one to two cents per bushel lower compared to week ago prices for the same delivery period from 5.80-5.90. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

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

One year ago bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for April delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were 4.39-4.75 and bids for White Club Wheat were 4.39-4.80.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: May 5.8175-5.90, June 5.85-5.8775, July 5.75-5.87 and August New Crop


One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: May 4.39-4.75, June 4.4450-4.75, July 4.4450-4.6950 and August New

Crop 4.4850-4.6850.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during April trended steady to two cents per bushel lower than week ago prices for the same delivery period from 5.80-5.90. Some exporters were not issuing bids for

nearby delivery.

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

One year ago bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein for April delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were 4.39-4.75 and bids for White Club Wheat were 4.39-4.79.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: May 5.8175-5.90, June 5.85-5.8775, July 5.75-5.8275 and August New Crop 5.50-5.7850.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: May 4.39-4.75, June and July 4.4450-4.75 and August New Crop 4.4850-4.75.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for April delivery trended 12.25 cents per bushel lower than week ago bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. This week, bids were as follows: April and May 6.4025-6.5525, June 6.4450-6.5950, July 6.3750-6.4450 and August New Crop 6.3350-6.4350.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during April trended 9.75 cents per bushel lower than week ago bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

This week, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: April 7.4825-7.7325, May 7.4325-4.6325, June 7.5925, July 7.4925-7.5925 and August New Crop 7.49-7.54.

Coarse feeding grains: Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for April delivery trended mixed, from 6.75 cents lower to 3.25 cents per bushel higher than week ago bids for the same delivery period at 5.05-5.22.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Forward month corn bids were as follows: May 5.00-5.12, June 5.07-5.11, July 5.03-5.06 and August 5.0550-5.0650. Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for April delivery trended 13.50 to 15.50 cents per bushel lower than week ago bids for the same delivery period from 11.3525-11.3725. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Forward month soybean bids were as follows: May 11.3225, June and July 11.39-11.44 and October 11.3550-11.3850. Bids for US 2 Heavy White Oats for April delivery trended steady at 3.63 per bushel.

Outstanding Export Sales: Outstanding U.S. white wheat export sales can be found at the following link:

Outstanding U.S. barley export sales can be found at the following link:

Pacific Northwest Export News: There were 28 grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, April 19, with five docked compared to 28 last week with seven docked. There were no new confirmed export sales this week from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.

California Weekly

Grain Report

April 19

Only one transaction was reported for the week.

WHEAT Any Class for Feed


Oakdale-Turlock 10.25 Del

California shell egg price report Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:02:01 -0400 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade A and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

April 20

Benchmark prices are unchanged. Asking prices for next week are unchanged for Jumbo, Extra Large and Large and 2 cents higher for Medium and Small. The undertone is steady to about steady. Offerings are mostly moderate. Demand is in a full range of light to fairly good. Supplies are light to moderate. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price $1.27.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 212 Extra large 202

Large 196 Medium 147


Prices to retailers, sales to volume buyers, USDA Grade AA and Grade AA, white eggs in cartons, delivered to store door.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 199-211 Extra large 190-197

Large 184-191 Medium 135-142

Fluid Milk and Cream — Western U.S. Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:56:56 -0400 FLUID MILK AND CREAM


(USDA Market News)

April 19

California milk production is active this week, following typical seasonal output levels for this time of the year. Balancing pressure is slowly declining in response to slight drops in milk volumes produced.

Some milk is still finding its way out of California to meet tight processing deadlines. Class 1 sales as well as the retail sector sales are flat. According to some contacts, water reservoirs in California are beyond the previous year’s levels.

The last winter’s record rain as well as the last snows have brought the reservoirs to 80 percent of normal. Milk production is slowly dropping in Arizona as the state’s climate is warming up and cows are starting to feel the heat. The weather has also been dry and windy to the point where there is a red flag warning for potential fires.

Milk supplies are enough to meet all manufacturing needs. Some processors are doing preventive repairs/maintenance work as well as managing incoming milk loads. Bottling milk intakes have remained steady. Due to aphids and erratic weather conditions, the yields on the first two cuttings of alfalfa hay were low in southern California and in Arizona.

In New Mexico, milk holdovers are increasing again because maintenance and cleaning schedules have disrupted normal processing schedules. Milk production is slightly up.

However, sales are mixed across the Classes of milk. Class I sales are down, but intakes into Class II are up. Class III demand has not changed much from a week ago.

The sales of some dairies in California and in other western states did not have much effect on the alfalfa hay market because of tight supplies. In the West, the acres used to grow alfalfa hay are down by 2 percent. Therefore, some market participants believe this will negatively impact 2018 alfalfa hay production.

Milk production is generally well-balanced with processing needs in the Pacific Northwest. Cow comfort has not been an issue. Even though cool, wet weather covers the region, milk volumes are following seasonal patterns. Bottling demand is steady.

Milk production in the mountain states of Idaho, Utah and Colorado remains strong. Even with the flush at hand in the southern part of the region, loads of milk from surrounding states are finding their way to processors. Milk volumes are climbing steady in the northern areas of the region. Industry contacts are anticipating an early flush. Massive volumes of condensed skim continue to clear into nonfat dry milk.

Western cream demand has ticked up a bit. Cream availability is good, but not as overwhelming as a few weeks ago. Adverse weather conditions are influencing ice cream makers’ intakes of cream. Butter producers are still churning, but some have reduced their churning schedules. Cream multiples for all usages range from 1.03 to 1.24.

According to the DMN National Retail Report-Dairy for the week of April 13-19, the national weighted average advertised price for one gallon of milk is $2.35, down $0.32 from last week, and down $1.43 from a year ago. The weighted average regional price in the Southwest is $2.45 with a price range of $2.29-$2.49. The weighted average regional price in the Northwest is $2.58 with a price range of $1.99-$2.99.

Milk pooled on the Arizona Order 131 totaled 441.6 million pounds in March 2018. Class I utilization accounted for about 25.1 percent of producer milk. The uniform price was $14.02, up $0.11 from last month, but $2.00 below one year ago.

Milk pooled on the Pacific Northwest Order 124 totaled 635.0 million pounds in March 2018. Class I utilization accounted for about 25.3 percent of producer milk. The uniform price was $13.88, up $0.22 from last month, but $2.05 below one year ago.

National feeder and stocker cattle report Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:43:11 -0400 NATIONAL FEEDER


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

April 20

This week Last week 2017

246,000 277,300 265,400

Compared to April 13: Feeder steers and heifers sold steady to 4.00 higher in the North and South Plains while the Southeast sold 3.00 to 6.00 higher.

The North Plains region is starting to dig out from the blizzard over last weekend. Some main transmission lines left many producers without power for days as remnants of the winter storm stretched from Montana through Minnesota, encompassing a vast area that would have just started their calving seasons.

Many Northern-tiered states are content to start their calving seasons later as they are accustomed to having a severe winter blast in the month of March. Occasionally April weather wreaks havoc and brings everyone back to reality and Mother Nature shows who is still in control.

Calving has been challenging for a wide area of producers this spring with temperature fluctuations and excessive moisture being reported. Pens in South Dakota and Nebraska have been reported to be in muddy conditions for the last several weeks and this one was no different. With the extra slogging around the pen a fed steer must do, it just burns up mega-calories that normally goes into gain.

Live Cattle futures are trying to rally back after a continual slide through the month of March.

However, on Thursday of this week, futures were weak despite higher negotiated cash trade. Fed cattle in the Southern Plains sold 2.00 to 4.00 higher at 121.00 to 122.00.

Analysts are expecting the fed cattle prices to have downward pressure in the coming months as calf-feds make their way to the packing plant. The winter wheat pasture grazing programs that backgrounders had relied on for years was virtually nonexistent due to drought in the Southern Plains this year. The marketing pattern of those cattle has yet to be determined; however, those cattle probably were on a finishing ration sooner than normal due to lower cost feed ingredients.

With all those factors to take into consideration the Southern Plains feedlots will probably see a rise in marketings in the next month or so. Calf prices are still lofty in the country this week.

On Monday at the Russell Livestock Market in Russell Iowa, a package of 708 lb steers sold at 166.50.

On Tuesday at Lolli Brothers Livestock in Macon, Mo., three small packages that combined to make a half load weighing 702-706 lbs sold for a weighted average of 170.73. The bigger brothers there weighing 758 lbs sold at 158.50.

On Wednesday at Green City Livestock Auction in Green City, Mo., a package of 560 lb thin steers sold at 199.00, while the St Joseph, Mo., Stockyards sold a half load of 815 lb steers at 154.00.

On Thursday at Pratt Livestock in Pratt, Kan., a half load of 751 lb steers brought 152.00, while a load of 861 lb steers at Valentine Livestock in Valentine Neb., sold at 142.25.

Top quality heifers are still in demand with breeding season getting closer every day. On Monday at Tri-State Livestock in McCook, Neb., a load of 736 lb replacement heifers sold at 150.50.

On Thursday in Valentine Neb., a short load of 517 lb heifers sold at 187.00 while another short load of their thinner, bigger sisters weighing 685 lb sold at 157.25.

The Cattle-on-Feed for April 1 released today were all within industry guesses and would be viewed as a neutral report. On Feed reported at 107 percent of a year ago; Placements at 91 percent and Marketings at 96 percent.

Auction volume this week included 53 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.

National Slaughter

Cattle Summary

April 20

Slaughter cattle traded mostly 3.00-4.00 higher for live in Texas and Kansas while Nebraska was mostly steady live, dressed trades where up to 5.00 higher. Boxed Beef prices as of Friday at afternoon averaged 206.06 down 0.20 from last Friday. The Choice/Select spread is 11.85.

Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Friday afternoon totaled 99,346 head. Last week’s total head count was 55,023.

Midwest Direct Markets:

Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: 120.00-122.00.

Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers: 190.00-195.00.

South Plains Direct Markets:

Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 120.00-122.00.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices):

Slaughter cows 2.00-5.00 lower, slaughter bulls sold steady to 3.00 lower. Packer demand moderate to good. Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value on Friday 172.47.

Northwest Weighted

Direct Feeder Cattle

April 20

This week Last week 2017

1,532 1,352 3,150

Compared to last week: Feeder steers and heifers had no FOB current trades to compare. The feeder supply included 100 percent over 600 lbs and 47 percent heifers. Unless otherwise stated prices are FOB weighting points with 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent and a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 4-12 cent slide on yearlings from base weights. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Feeder Steers Medium and Large 1:

Head Wt Range Avg Wt Price Range Avg Price Delivery

175 Head: Avg Wt 775 lbs; Avg Price 138.00; Current Del

292 Head: Avg Wt 822 lbs; Avg Price 140.18; Current Del

220 Head: Avg Wt 868 lbs; Avg Price 129.45; Current Del

120 Head: Avg Wt 900 lbs; Avg Price 129.00; Current Del

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1:

165 Head: Avg Wt 750 lbs; Avg Price 127.21; Current Del

440 Head: Avg Wt 820 lbs; Avg Price 127.18; Current Del

120 Head: Avg Wt 850 lbs; Avg Price 124.00; Current Del

Western hay price report Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:30:48 -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)

April 20

This week FOB Last week Last year

50,199 775 4065 tons

Compared to April 13: Export and feeder Alfalfa firm in a light test. Feeder hay supplies remain tight. More interest was noted this week for contracting new crop export Alfalfa. Most new crop contracts are for all cuttings with minimum RFV values and 20 percent down or scheduled payments. Trade very active on new crop contracts, slow on domestic feeder hay due to low supplies. Demand remains very good for all classes. Most feeder hay buyers are looking for large volumes to purchase. Retail/Feedstore not tested.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square

Good/Prem/New 22,833 165.00

Fair/Good/Exp 400 145.00

New 22,833 145.00

Util/Fair/New 2833 125.00

Tarped 1000 160.00

Timothy Grass Mid Square

Good/Exp 300 135.00


(USDA Market News)

April 20

Compared to April 13: Prices trended generally steady in an extremely limited test. Retail/Stable type hay remains the most demanded hay. Most hay producers are sold out for the growing year.

This week FOB Last week Last year

276 360 1436 tons

Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Wasco Counties

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square

Good 100 140.00

Alfalfa Small Square

Prem/Ret/Stab 15 220.00

Orchard Grass Small Square

Prem/Ret/Stab 35 234.00

Eastern Oregon:

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square

Prem/Ret/Stab 35 185.00

Klamath Basin:

Alfalfa Small Square

Good 15 170.00

Orchard Grass Small Square

Good 8 170.00

Lake County:

Alfalfa Large Square

Supreme 68 215.00

Harney County: No New Sales Confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

April 20

This week FOB Last week Last year

950 325 700

Compared to April 13: Alfalfa feeder hay firm in a light test. No new contracts for new crop reported this week. Trade slow with good demand. Most interests are waiting for new crop. Old crop feeder hay is still available in the trade area. Retail/Feedstore not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square

Fair/Org 100 190.00

Tarped 200 105.00

Util/Rain Dam 600 85.00

Alfalfa/Grass Mix Mid Square

Fair/ Tarped 50 160.00


(USDA Market News)

April 20

Compared to April 13: All classes traded steady with very good demand. The warm temperatures and recent precipitation helped winter forage crops’ maturation. Alfalfa cutting began in the Central Valley. Corn fields were prepared and planted as weather and soil conditions permitted. Ground preparation continued for spring forage.

This week FOB Last week Last year

6075 8905 8400 tons


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

No New Sales Confirmed


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

Alfalfa Premium

Retail/Stable 25 280.00

Fair 2500 215.00

Rye Grass Good 1000 125.00

Rice Straw Good/Del 200 115.00


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

Alfalfa Supr/Del 425 297.00

Grass Good/Org 100 145.00

Region 4: Central San Joaquin Valley

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

No New Sales Confirmed.


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

No New Sales Confirmed.


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

Alfalfa Supreme 50 233.00

Prem/Supr 1450 222.57

Export 75 230.00

Prem/Ret/Stab 200 230.00

Bermuda Grass Prem/Ret/Stab 50 220.00

Selected regional livestock auctions Fri, 20 Apr 2018 11:28:24 -0400 Oregon


(Lebanon Auction Yard)

April 19

Total receipts: 312

Butcher Cows:

Conventional: Top Cow, $74.00; Top 10 Cows, $71.19; Top 50 Cows, $67.36; Top 100 Cows, $59.71.

Organic: Top Cow, $95.00; Top 10 Organic, $92.75; Avg. All Organic, $71.42.

Bulls: Conventional: Top Bull, $96.00; Avg. All Bulls, $85.24.

Cow/Calf Pairs: $1375.00-1710.00


(Woodburn Livestock Exchange)

April 17

Total Receipts: 377, 372 Cattle

Top 10 Slaughter Cows A/P: 73.75 cwt

Top 50 Slaughter Cows A/P: 69.05 cwt

Top 100 Slaughter Cows A/P: 64.64 cwt

Back To The Country Cows: 70.00 cwt

Certified Cows: 80.00-140.00 cwt

Top Certified Organic Cattle: 60.00-81.00 cwt

All Slaughter Bulls: 74.50-95.50 cwt

Top Beef Steers: 200-300 lbs 145.00-165.00 cwt; 300-400 lbs 150.00-180.00 cwt; 400-500 lbs 143.00-180.00 cwt; 500-600 lbs 130.00-175.00 cwt; 600-700 lbs 120.00-165.00 cwt; 700-800 lbs NT; 800-900 lbs 120.00-150.00 cwt

Top Beef Heifers: 200-300 lbs NT; 300-400 lbs 140.00-165.00 cwt; 400-500 lbs 130.00-155.00 cwt; 500-600 lbs 128.00-145.00 cwt; 600-700 lbs 120.00-140.00 cwt; 700-800 lbs 100.00-137.00 cwt; 800-900 lbs NT

Cow/Calf Pairs: 735.00-1280.00 Hd

Bred Cows: 685.00-1000.00 Hd

Day Old Beef Cross Calves: 95.00-190.00 Hd

Day Old Dairy Calves: 10.00-52.50 Hd

Block Hogs: 41.00-74.00 cwt

Feeder Pigs: 50.00-115.00 Hd

Sows: 10.00-54.00 cwt

Weaner Pigs: NT

Lambs: 40-70 lbs 150.00-192.50 cwt; 75-150 lbs 140.00-185.00 cwt

Thin Ewes: 52.00-97.50 cwt

Fleshy Ewes: 69.00-78.00 cwt

Ewe/Lamb Pairs: 50.00-112.50 Hd

Goats: 10-39 lbs 17.50-55.00 Hd; 40-69 lbs 52.50-157.50 Hd; 70-79 lbs 142.50-180.00 Hd; 80-89 lbs 165.00-190.00 Hd; 90-99 lbs 170.00-202.50 Hd; 100-199 lbs 115.00-222.50 Hd; 200-300 lbs NT



(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

April 19

Receipts: 1150 Hd

Compared to April 12 at the same market: Stocker and feeder cattle steady in a light test, due in part to small lots and singles being offered today. Trade active with good demand for small producers to fill small pasture needs. Slaughter cows 5.00-6.00 lower, most pressure on Holstein cows. Slaughter bulls steady in a light test. Trade active with good demand. Slaughter cows 69 percent, slaughter bulls 5 percent, and feeders 29 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 49 percent steers and 51 percent heifers. Near 70 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 400-500 lbs 182.00-183.00; 500-600 lbs 180.00; 600-700 lbs 154.50; 800-900 lbs 139.00Value Added. Medium and Large 2-3 700-800 lbs 125.50. Steers Large 2-3 600-700 lbs 88.00-90.00.

Holstein Steers: Medium and Large 2-3 1000-1100 lbs 106.00.

Feeder Bulls: Medium and Large 1-2 600-700 lbs 127.50.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 400-500 lbs 149.50-160.00; 500-600 lbs 145.00-147.00; 600-700 lbs 131.50-140.00; 700-800 lbs 139.00 Replacement; 800-900 lbs 114.00. Medium and Large 2-3 700-800 lbs 124.75. Large 2-3 600-700 lbs 85.00; 700-800 lbs 84.50; 1300-1400 lbs 85.50. Small and Medium 2-3 400-500 lbs 146.00.

Slaughter Cows:

Boners: 80-85 Pct. Lean; 1500-2000 lbs; Avg Dressing 65.00-70.00; High Dressing; 70.75-78.75; Low Dressing 60.00-65.00

Lean: 85-90 Pct. Lean; 1200-1700 lbs; Avg Dressing 64.00-69.00; Low Dressing 59.00-64.00

Lean: 90 Pct. Lean; 900-1450 lbs; Avg Dressing 56.00-59.00; Low Dressing 49.00-56.00

Slaughter Bulls:

Yield Grade 1-2: 1400-2200 lbs; Avg Dressing 98.00-102.75; Low Dressing 85.00-98.00

Passing motorist rescues woman trapped in Montana flood Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:54:23 -0400 GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A passing motorist rescued a woman trapped on top of a vehicle nearly submerged by the frigid floodwaters that have covered roads and threatened homes and farms across northern Montana, a witness said Thursday.

Blake Wombold told the Great Falls Tribune he was driving along U.S. Highway 2 near Dunkirk, about 100 miles north of Great Falls, on Tuesday night when the truck ahead of him stopped along the roadway partially covered with water. He heard yelling in the distance and turned to see a woman standing on top of her vehicle off the highway, with the water rushing all around.

“Then I saw the guy in the passenger seat (of the truck) start stripping off his clothes and taking his wallet and phone out of this pocket,” Wombold said.

The man reached the woman, but she was initially afraid to swim in the cold water.

“The other guy in the water convinced her she needed to get to safety and put her in front of them and they swam across the water,” he said.

A video posted on Facebook by Kalispell resident Matt McCollam shows the rescue. McCollam said in his post that his brother Seth rescued the woman and gave her a blanket to warm herself, before driving her up the highway to meet her husband.

Neither Matt nor Seth McCollam immediately responded to email requests for comment.

A Montana Highway Patrol call log on the incident described the woman as 61 years old and said her sport utility vehicle had gone about 40 feet off the highway. A law enforcement officer arrived on the scene after the woman and her rescuer already left, according to the report, which was released to The Associated Press after a public records request.

Officers later located the woman at a Chester residence a half hour east of the rescue and described her as “uninjured but very cold,” according to the report.

Rapidly melting snow after a winter of nearly record snowfall is swelling streams and causing flooding across much of the U.S. Highway 2 corridor near the U.S.-Canada border.

Gov. Steve Bullock declared a flooding emergency in seven counties, the Fort Belknap Reservation and the town of Chester. Several homes have been evacuated 100 miles east of Chester in the town of Harlem.

The Milk River, which runs parallel to the highway, is expected to be in flood stage until early May, according to the National Weather Service.

Immigration raid: Guatemalan worker arrested on dairy farm Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:51:03 -0400 ROME, N.Y. (AP) — A dairy farmer says seven federal immigration officers came onto his property without permission, arrested a Guatemalan worker without producing a warrant and handcuffed the farmer when he video-recorded their actions.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, tweeted that she was “deeply troubled” by what happened and called for an immediate investigation.

Farmer John Collins said officers handcuffed worker Marcial de Leon Aguilar in his milk house in central New York on Wednesday morning. Aguilar lives on the farm with his wife and children. Collins said Aguilar has proper documentation to work there and has taxes withheld from his paychecks.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement Thursday saying Aguilar was lawfully arrested by deportation officers under an “administrative arrest warrant for immigration violations.” ICE said it has removed Aguilar from the U.S. three times, most recently in January 2014.

Officials said Aguilar has criminal convictions for reckless aggravated assault and illegal re-entry.

Collins said Aguilar’s pregnant wife recently was caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally with the couple’s four children and has been meeting with ICE officers as she seeks asylum because of violence in Guatemala. Guatemala, which is in Central America just south of Mexico, has been ravaged by shootings and gang brutality in recent years.

Collins said he tried to take photos and video as Aguilar was led to a vehicle but officers grabbed his phone, threw it in the road and handcuffed him, threatening to arrest him for hindering a federal investigation. He said they released him before driving off with Aguilar.

“This was something you see on TV,” Collins told the Syracuse Post-Standard. “You don’t expect it to be here.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, said he’s concerned with a “dramatic increase” in ICE raids and “overly aggressive tactics.” He didn’t specifically reference Aguilar’s arrest.

Cuomo said this year’s state budget allocates $10 million to the Liberty Defense Fund, a program launched last year to provide legal assistance for immigrants targeted by ICE raids.

Ramaswamy to oversee Northwest colleges, universities Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:38:36 -0400 Matw Weaver Capital Press

Sonny Ramaswamy will return to the Pacific Northwest after his role as director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture ends next month.

Ramaswamy’s six-year term with NIFA ends May 5. President Barack Obama appointed him in 2012. He formerly was dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

In July, he will become president and CEO of the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, and reside in Seattle.

“It is in the world of education,” Ramaswamy told the Capital Press.

The commission provides oversight and holds universities accountable, Ramawasamy said. He will oversee 162 colleges and universities, including public and land-grant universities, community colleges, private nonprofit and private for-profit schools.

“The intent is to make sure students that attend these institutions do get their education,” Ramaswamy said. “Once they’re educated, that they have the skills and knowledge to become contributing members of society. There’s some very critical expectations that society has.”

As an accrediting body, the commission evaluates the institutions, Ramaswamy said.

“Institutions could certainly be in trouble if they don’t make sure they’re offering the kind of educational opportunity, including research experiences and experiential education,” he said.

The new job will allow Ramaswamy to continue to advocate for agriculture. He told the commission board he needed to remain a proponent, he said, serving on boards or testifying at congressional hearings about food, agriculture and forestry if the opportunity arises.

Ramaswamy declined to comment whether the Trump administration would have asked him to be continue with NIFA or not.

“It’s not my call,” he said. “At the end of the day, it is the Trump administration’s call and Secretary (Sonny) Perdue’s call.”

He is proudest of the recognition for NIFA as a science agency that’s deeply interested in protecting the interests of farmers and ranchers, he said.

“I continually reminded folks at and outside of NIFA, it’s not just productivity of our farming system — you’ve got to worry about the profitability as well,” he said. “Anything and everything we can do from a scientific and extension perspective to put a few more dollars in the pockets of our producers.”

He expects that priority to continue at NIFA after he departs.

“Absolutely,” he said. “These priorities are not any different from anybody else.”

A registered independent, Ramaswamy said he approached problems as a scientist. Addressing climate change, and continuing water challenges are all part of that, he said.

“We may disagree on the cause of (climate change), but we know, farmers know that’s happening, and it’s an existential threat,” he said. “Look at the droughts that are happening right now, snowpack in the Cascades and other places — these are really highly concerning. We have to do everything we can, and I guarantee you Secretary Sonny Perdue’s focus is on it.”

NIFA has also been heavily invested in addressing America’s opioid crisis, Ramaswamy said.

“The really cool thing about this whole gig that I’ve really loved is, it doesn’t matter what one’s political affiliations are,” he said. “Everybody agrees we’ve got to protect the interests of our food systems.”

Wildfire scorches hundreds of acres in eastern California Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:36:12 -0400 LONE PINE, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire has scorched hundreds of acres in the Owens Valley below the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada and disrupted traffic on U.S. 395.

Cal Fire says the blaze erupted near Lone Pine late Thursday morning and grew to 1.6 square miles by evening, when fire activity lessened but winds remained a concern.

For a time, Caltrans had to close the highway from Manzanar to Lone Pine and no detour was available. Traffic flow resumed under California Highway Patrol escort until the route was reopened after 5 p.m.

In northern Los Angeles County, firefighters stopped a wildfire that spread over 8 acres in the western Antelope Valley.

Farm groups divided over House farm bill Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:06:05 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas The House Agriculture Committee is moving its draft for the next farm bill to the floor after a 26-20 vote on Wednesday, reflecting the deep division between Republicans and Democrats over changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Those changes would require able-bodied adults to work at least 20 hours a week or be engaged in a state worker-training program to participate. While SNAP would remain budget-neutral, the bill would give more than $9 billion in funding to states to develop those training programs in what the committee’s ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., calls entirely untested mandates.

While a food-assistance component in the farm bill is needed to secure the urban vote in Congress and many commodity groups realize SNAP helps move their crops, most are more concerned with the farm programs in the bill.

On that front, the bill has won the support of most major producer groups, which want to see the farm bill reauthorized before the existing bill expires and urge the House and Senate to work in a bipartisan effort.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement the committee’s passage is great news for farmers and ranchers.

It “takes us one step closer to bringing certainty to families who face the toughest economy in more than a decade,” he said. “We look forward to working with members of both the House and Senate to complete work on a bipartisan, bicameral bill that can be signed into law by the president before the current law expires.”

Wheat, corn, soybean, beef, pork and dairy producer groups have echoed that sentiment. While all want more funding and additional improvements as the process moves forward, they support the House draft as a good first step.

Their support of the bill includes funding for export programs, provisions to maintain a strong crop insurance program, improvements to risk-management programs, the establishment of a vaccine bank for foot and mouth disease, conservation incentives and research initiatives.

Other groups, however, contend the bill falls far short on many fronts.

“This bill is wholly inadequate for providing family farmers with the resources they need to endure the worst decline in the farm economy in decades,” Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president, said in a press release.

It lacks needed improvements to farm and consumer safety nets, upends programs that improve sustainability and removes programs that aid the growth of fair and diverse markets for farmers, he said.

It doesn’t adjust reference prices for payouts on producer losses in commodity markets that have been under water for years and doesn’t include a mechanism that manages the nation’s oversupply of milk, he said.

It also doesn’t increase USDA loan authority, cuts funding for conservation, eliminates the Conservation Stewardship Program and cuts funding for access to local, regional and specialty markets, he said.

It also does nothing to promote competition in the marketplace, enhance antitrust enforcement and provide protections from unfair and deceptive practices in the contract poultry and livestock sectors, he said.

It also fails to restore funding for energy programs and cuts funding for SNAP benefits and creates bureaucracy for SNAP recipients, he said.

“We cannot support a bill that does so little to improve the farm safety net and that guts important conservation and market-access programs,” he said.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Association, National Young Farmers Coalition and Center for Rural Affairs are voicing similar concerns regarding conservation and market-access programs.

Asparagus farmers balance bigger yields, higher costs Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:51:24 -0400 Matw Weaver PASCO, Wash. — If you want to make an asparagus farmer wince, ask for the skinny stuff.

Some celebrity chefs have incorrectly called it “baby asparagus,” but the size of the asparagus has nothing to do with age, said farmer Gary Larsen.

“If you want the flavor of asparagus, get the bigger, the fatter ones,” he said. “For the ultimate eating pleasure, go with the bigger ones.”

Farmers also receive less for skinnier spears.

“All of us asparagus growers just cringe when people say you want the skinny stuff,” he said. “I send it in, but I get very little for it and you see the stores selling it for $3.99.”

Based near Pasco, Larsen is one of roughly 45 to 60 farmers in Washington raising asparagus on a total of 4,000 to 4,500 acres. He is chairman of the Washington Asparagus Commission.

Larsen started harvesting on his 325 acres about April 8, a typical start, but later than some seasons when he’s been able to start the last week of March, he said. Harvest will continue until about June 1.

About 120 workers were in Larsen’s fields. At the height of the season, the number will peak at 150 workers.

Labor is more than 55 percent of Larsen’s expenses, he said. The industry won’t feel the full effects of a requirement to provide paid sick leave until next year, he said.

Cutters typically arrive on Larsen’s farm for the day at 2 a.m., and finish about 10 or 11 a.m. They wear headlights while they work. The workers set the hours, Larsen said.

“If they’re not here by five o’clock, that’s late,” he said.

The industry has discussed mechanization, but is still searching for options, Larsen said. A nearby company’s mechanical harvester shows promise, but hasn’t entered the marketplace.

Such machinery would cost $500,000, he estimated. Larsen said he would need three, plus a spare.

“With asparagus, you’ve got to cut it every day,” he said.

Asparagus is a perennial crop. Fields can go for 12 to 13 years, but have reached 18 years, Larsen said.

The plant can grow several inches per day, Larsen said, and 10 inches in hotter weather.

Asparagus seed costs roughly $1,000 per pound. The tiny, BB-like seed is planted 9-10 inches deep. It costs roughly $2,500 per acre just for seed, Larsen said.

The year is off to a slow start due to weather, but should pick up, said Hector M. Lopez, foreman at Larsen’s farm. Insect and disease pressure could increase with hotter weather in May.

Larsen typically yields more than 10,000 pounds per acre, but hopes to reach 15,000 pounds per acre this year.

“We’re going to try,” Lopez said.

Newer varieties make it possible, Larsen said. When he first started raising asparagus in 1985, good yields were 3,000 pounds an acre and farmers hoped to reach 6,000 pounds. That yield wouldn’t fly economically today with higher minimum wage for workers to cut the spears.

Mexican asparagus in grocery stores goes for roughly $4.99 per pound in Seattle and $3.99 per pound in Pasco. Purple asparagus — a sweeter option that turns green when cooked — was $9 per pound in Seattle, Larsen said. He has about an acre of purple asparagus.

For farmers to break even, they need to receive about 80 cents per pound, Larsen says. How much they receive depends on whether they pack the asparagus themselves or sell it to a shipper-packer.

Larsen’s son, Tanner, 22, hopes to take over the operation by the time he’s 25 or 26. He grades the crop and works as a mechanic on the farm’s trucks.

Tanner doesn’t foresee doing things much differently from his father.

“Eventually, you do have to make changes,” he said. “But right now, what we’re doing works. There’s no point in changing anything.”

Potato stocks on par with previous year Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:45:39 -0400 Brad Carlson As farmers begin to plant the 2018 potato crop, about one-third of last year’s crop remains in storage, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reports. That percentage is on par with last year.

Last season, farmers grew fewer acres of potatoes than the previous year, Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir said.

Idaho, which produces nearly one-third of the nation’s potatoes, grew 131.3 million hundredweight last year, down from 2016 production of 139.3 million hundredweight. About 38 percent of the 2017 crop remains in storage.

Washington, the second-largest potato producer, had a crop of 99.0 million hundredweight and has 30 percent of its crop remaining.

Oregon grew 21.4 million hundredweight and has one-third of its crop remaining.

Overall, NASS said the 13 major potato-production states held 133.6 million hundredweight in storage April 1, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Potato disappearance, at 266 million hundredweight, was down 3 percent. Season-to-date shrink and loss, at 19 million hundredweight, was down 8 percent.

In the eight largest potato-processing states, processors had used 146 million hundredweight for the season as of April 1, up 1 percent from a year earlier, NASS reported.

In Idaho and in Malheur County, Ore., processors had used 54.1 million hundredweight for the season as of April 1, down 1 percent from a year earlier.

In other Oregon counties and the state of Washington combined, processors used 61.8 million hundredweight for the season, also down slightly.

Dehydrated usage accounted for 25.8 million hundredweight of the total processed, down 3 percent.

In Wilder, Idaho, Doug Gross grows potatoes for the fresh market and for processing. He expected to start planting April 19.

“We are right on schedule with a normal year,” he said, referring to his potato plantings. He sees good planting conditions on his southwest Idaho farm, including soil temperatures on track with 10-year averages.

Gross said adequate water bodes well for production, but final 2018 results will depend largely on summer growing conditions and weather.

“We just have to see what the weather brings,” he said.

Looming trade issue opens doors for Oregon hazelnuts Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:06:34 -0400 Mitch Lies At least one agricultural industry is utilizing the possibility of Chinese tariffs as an opportunity.

The Oregon hazelnut industry is hoping that an unexpected communication from the Consulate General Office of China will lead to reduction or elimination of a prohibitive tariff that for years has stripped the industry of direct sales opportunities in China.

“They did not commit or promise anything,” said Terry Ross of the Hazelnut Growers Bargaining Association after meeting with Chinese officials. “They just said the door is open, the dialogue has been created, that they look forward to working with us in the future and that they would send a message back to Beijing on our behalf.”

The connection between the Chinese Consulate Office in San Francisco and the Oregon hazelnut industry started inadvertently enough after a news report aired on Portland television station KATU on April 3 about the effects of additional tariffs on Oregon hazelnut shipments to China.

Ross told KATU reporter Joe Douglass that he viewed the short-term trade situation as an opportunity for cooperation. While the Oregon hazelnut industry ships roughly half of its hazelnuts to Asia, the industry for several years has been shut out from selling directly to China because of a 25 percent tariff on its hazelnuts.

“For us the potential for new tariffs was of less concern, because we were already at a real disadvantage to other nuts in China anyway,” Ross said. He added that Chinese tariffs on California pistachios, which directly compete with Oregon hazelnuts in China, are 5 percent, and Chilean hazelnuts enter China duty-free.

Ross told KATU that he viewed the current situation as an opportunity to shine a light on the Oregon hazelnut industry’s disadvantage in China and stress the need for cooperation and communication.

The tactic worked better than probably even Ross expected. The day after the KATU report, Ross received an email from the Consulate General Office of China in San Francisco.

“They said, ‘We saw your comments and would like to talk further and listen to your opinions and advice on the topic,’” Ross said.

The office invited Ross and hazelnut processor Larry George, of George Packing Co. in Newberg, Ore., to meet with Deputy Consul General Ren Faqiang and the Vice Consul from Economic and Commercial Office Zhang Taiming.

“Needless to say, we jumped at the opportunity and agreed to make the trip there Monday (April 9),” Ross said. “The China/Oregon ties are historically very strong, so dialogue and communication can only help in lowering the tariffs that put Oregon hazelnuts at a huge disadvantage to other U.S. and Chilean nuts in the Chinese market.”

Ross said the two-hour meeting went well.

“It was a very positive meeting. We are excited to continue these discussions and look forward to any future advancement on this issue,” he said.

“We also want to thank the Deputy Consul General of China Mr. Ren Faqiang and the Vice Consul Zhang Taiming for inviting us to meet with them,” he said.

Snowmelt floods roads, fields in much of northern Montana Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:23:33 -0400 MATT VOLZ HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Runoff from a winter that approached or exceeded record snowfall across much of Montana is washing out roads, flooding fields and spilling rivers and streams over their banks much of the northern part of the state.

The spring runoff and recent rain has caused the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings and advisories and city and county leaders are warning residents to prepare for the rising waters. The mayor of Harlem, a town of 800 people near the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, ordered the evacuation of several homes threatened by water overflowing from a nearby creek.

“Right now, there’s water totally around some of the homes,” said Mayor K.M. Hansen. “I just wanted people to have the opportunity to get out while they can.”

Gov. Steve Bullock declared a flooding emergency Wednesday in seven counties, the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and the town of Chester. The declaration will allow the use of state government services and equipment, and let the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers help protect infrastructure.

“We are doing everything necessary at the state level to protect health and safety, and to preserve lives, property, and resources,” Bullock said in a statement.

Chinook Mayor Keith Hanson told residents Tuesday night to prepare for major flooding in and around that city of about 1,200 residents. Commissioners in Chinook’s Blaine County and neighboring Hill County have issued their own disaster declarations with multiple roads washed out and farmland covered by water.

Blaine County emergency officials said in a Facebook post that residents should be ready to evacuate on short notice and that they should move livestock immediately.

Larry Johnson, a 66-year-old farmer from the tiny community of Kremlin, said the roads are so damaged by floodwaters that it may take years to fix them. He and other farmers are concerned all the water will delay spring planting of wheat in May, he said.

“I’ve never seen anything approach this in my lifetime,” Johnson said.

The flooding isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. Swollen tributaries are gushing into the Milk River, which is expected to be in flood stage in most locations until the beginning of May, weather service forecasters said.

The Milk River was flooding in the town of Dodson and in the community of Tampico and was expected to flood on Wednesday downstream near the town of Saco and the city of Glasgow.

The Montana Department of Transportation reported that water covered several stretches of U.S. Highway 2, forcing drivers to slow down.

Near the city of Havre, the Big Sandy Creek has crested but major flooding was still expected on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Some residents saw an opportunity to explore their changed landscape in a different way.

“It’s a great time, if you can, to break out a canoe or kayak and take advantage for a couple of days,” Josh Danreuther told KULR-TV .

House panel moves to curb food stamps, renew farm subsidies Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:19:42 -0400 ANDREW TAYLOR WASHINGTON (AP) — A bitterly-divided House panel Wednesday approved new work and job training requirements for food stamps as part of a five-year renewal of federal farm and nutrition policy.

The GOP-run Agriculture Committee approved the measure strictly along party lines after a contentious, five-hour hearing in which Democrats blasted the legislation, charging it would toss up to 2 million people off of food stamps and warning that it will never pass Congress.

The hard-fought food stamp provisions would tighten existing work requirements and expand funding for state training programs, though not by enough to cover everybody subject to the new work and training requirements.

Agriculture panel chair Michael Conaway said the provisions would offer food stamp beneficiaries “the hope of a job and a skill and a better future for themselves and their families.”

At issue is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which provides food aid for more than 40 million people, with benefits averaging about $450 a month for a family of four.

The food stamp cuts are part of a “workforce development” agenda promised by GOP leaders such as Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., though other elements of the agenda have been slow to develop.

“The timing is just perfect, given the fact that we have more than five million jobs that are open and available,” said Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., who said the GOP provisions would cement “a pathway to opportunity” for the poor and “give them better access to skills-based education.”

But Democrats said the provisions would drive up to two million people off of the program, force food stamp recipients to keep up with extensive record keeping rules, and create bulky state bureaucracies to keep track of it all — while not providing enough money to provide job training to all those who would require it.

“This legislation would create giant, untested bureaucracies at the state level. It cuts more than $9 billion in benefits and rolls those savings into state slush funds where they can use the money to operate other aspects of SNAP,” said Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, top Democrat on the panel. “Let me be clear: this bill, as currently written, kicks people off the SNAP program.”

Currently, adults 18-59 are required to work part-time or agree to accept a job if they’re offered one. Stricter rules apply to able-bodied adults without dependents between the ages of 18 and 49, who are subject to a three-month limit of benefits unless they meet a work requirement of 80 hours per month.

Under the new bill, that requirement would be expanded to apply to all work-capable adults, mandating that they either work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week with the exception of seniors, pregnant women, caretakers of children under the age of six, or people with disabilities.

In addition to food stamps, the measure would renew farm safety-net programs such as subsidies for crop insurance, farm credit, and land conservation. Those subsidies for farm country traditionally form the backbone of support for the measure among Republicans, while urban Democrats support food aid for the poor.

The legislation has traditionally been bipartisan, blending support from urban Democrats supporting nutrition programs with farm state lawmakers supporting farm programs.

The measure mostly tinkers with those programs, adding provisions aimed at helping rural America obtain high-speed internet access, assist beginning farmers, and ease regulations on producers.

“When you step away from the social nutrition policy much of this is a refinement of the 2014 farm bill. So we’re not reinventing the wheel. That makes it dramatically simpler,” said Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., a former chairman of the committee. “Most folks are generally satisfied with the fundamentals of the farm safety net.”

That satisfaction has helped fuel speculation that this year’s renewal of food and farm programs will fail because just a short-term renewal of current policies would satisfy many lawmakers. The Senate is taking a more traditional bipartisan approach that’s sure to avoid big changes to food stamps.

The House measure also would cut funding for land conservation programs long championed by Democrats, prompting criticism from environmental groups. At the same time, it contains a proposal backed by pesticide manufacturers such as the Dow Chemical Company that would streamline the process for approving pesticides by allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to skip reviews required under the Endangered Species Act.

The panel adopted by voice vote a proposal by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., to prohibit the slaughter, trade or import or export of dogs and cats for human consumption in the United States.

US sorghum growers fear China tariffs could cost them dearly Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:14:08 -0400 JOSH FUNKAP Business Writer OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — American sorghum farmers fear they will lose their largest export market if China follows through with a tariff on their crop.

China imposed preliminary anti-dumping tariffs of 178.6 percent on U.S. sorghum this week as part of its ongoing trade dispute with the U.S.

President Donald Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese goods to counteract what he says are that country’s unfair trade policies.

Sorghum farmers like Don Bloss in southeast Nebraska are caught in the crossfire. Bloss said the tariff news isn’t enough for him to change what he plants this year, but farmers will have to adjust if the tariff is enacted.

“We can’t make real quick decision,” he said.

It won’t be easy replacing the Chinese market. Last year, Chinese buyers purchased more than 90 percent of the 245 million bushels of sorghum America exported.

“Basically, this will shut off grain sorghum exports to China for the United States,” said Mark Welch, an agricultural economist at Texas A&M University.

Sorghum, which is used primarily as animal feed and in liquor distilling, is grown in crop rotations with corn and in areas where conditions are dry because it is drought tolerant. But it is a smaller U.S. crop, grown on about 6 million acres compared to corn and soybeans, which will each be planted on nearly 90 million acres this year.

Both U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and the National Sorghum Producers association said they may challenge the tariff.

“Our sorghum producers are the most competitive in the world and we do not believe there is any basis in fact for these actions,” Perdue said.

A spokeswoman for the sorghum producers trade group said sorghum prices fell 20 to 25 percent after China announced in February it was launching an investigation into the sorghum trade. Prices declined again this week.

In the long run, Bloss said he believes farmers will find a new market for their sorghum, whether that’s other export markets or ethanol producers. Having lived through the effects U.S. tariffs on Russia had on grain markets in the 1980s helps give the 69-year-old Bloss confidence.

“There’s going to be market opportunities out there,” he said.

High court grills Washington lawyers on tribal treaty rights Thu, 19 Apr 2018 10:05:07 -0400 Don Jenkins Washington’s solicitor general faced tough questioning Wednesday from Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who said he was “struggling” to accept that other interests can outweigh the treaty rights of 21 Western Washington tribes.

Gorsuch said Washington’s appeal of a court order to replace more than 800 fish-impeding culverts “boils down” to whether the state can affect tribal fishing in the pursuit of public benefits. He said he didn’t see anything in the treaties that says tribal fishing rights “may be completely eliminated, if necessary, to meet other domestic needs.”

“Which is,” Gorsuch told the state’s attorney, Noah Purcell, “the position you’re taking, I think, before this court.”

The questioning came during oral arguments in the latest phase of litigation the Justice Department started in 1970 against the state on behalf of the tribes that signed the Stevens treaties in 1854 and 1855.

A previous phase allocated up to half the fish to tribes. Although the case before the Supreme Court stems from a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals order to replace culverts, the larger question is to what extent the treaties obligate Washington to protect salmon habitat.

Washington argues that the order to remove culverts makes every “significant human activity” a potential treaty violation, a concern echoed by farm groups and some other states, including Idaho, that have treaty tribes.

Eight justices are deciding the case. Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a swing vote, recused himself because he participated in a 1985 circuit court ruling regarding the treaties. Gorsuch may play a pivotal role in whether the court reaches a decision or deadlocks. Native American groups endorsed his appointment by President Donald Trump based on his record on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

At the outset, Purcell acknowledged the state made a mistake when it told the circuit court that it had the right to completely block every salmon-bearing stream. He said the state could not cause a “large decline.”

Justices pressed Purcell to quantify “large decline.”

“I think that a decline of half or anything approaching half would obviously be a large decline,” Purcell said.

The state estimates that the culverts reduce fish runs by 1 to 5 percent. “I don’t think 5 percent should suffice,” Purcell said.

Justice Department lawyer Allon Kedem and the tribes’ attorney, William Jay, also did not provide a definite percentage. Jay said the species of fish and time of year would have to be taken into consideration. “I don’t think it means a hard-and-fast number,” he said.

Justice Samuel Alito told Kedem that he had read that dams cause more damage to fish than anything else. “Do the dams that the federal government has built on the lower Snake River and lower Columbia River violate the treaty?” he asked.

Kedem said some dams have fish ladders and that in other cases the federal government has compensated tribes for damage to fish. “We have taken extraordinary efforts to remediate some of the problems that have been caused by some of these federal dams,” he said.

Purcell told justices that Washington has spent billions of dollars on salmon recovery.

Alito asked Jay whether the tribes agreed that federal dams do not violate treaties.

Jay said a dam could be violation, but that would have to be litigated dam by dam, and that was not part of this case.

Purcell sparred with Kedem and Jay over how to frame the question the court is being asked to decide.

Purcell said the question was whether the treaties guaranteed tribes a “moderate living” from fishing. Jay said the treaties should prohibit obstructing and degrading the fishery.

“So if we were to write an opinion in this case, you would have no objection if it said that there is no moderate living standard at issue here?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked.

“We would have no objection to that at all,” Jay said.

Trump tweet appears to back away from rejoining TPP Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:36:19 -0400 Carl Sampson President Donald Trump this week appeared to extinguish the glimmer of hope he offered U.S. farmers last week over rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty.

After meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida, Trump suggested there was one area where they would have to agree to disagree: the TPP, which Trump pulled the U.S. out of days after his inauguration, but has recently said he might be open to rejoining.

“While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States,” Trump tweeted following a dinner with Abe and their wives. “Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers.”

South Korea is not part of TPP.

The negotiations would aim at reducing tariffs the 11 TPP nations levy on U.S. goods. TPP members include Japan, Mexico, Canada, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Brunei and Singapore.

Trump last week directed Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, and Robert Lighthizer, U.S. trade representative, to “negotiate U.S. entry into TPP,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said.

Japan is a major purchaser of U.S. wheat. U.S. farmers estimate they would lose roughly $500 million a year in wheat sales in Japan if the U.S. stays out of TPP. About 90 percent of the wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest is exported, much of it to Japan.

Following Trump’s tweet, representatives of the wheat industry reiterated the importance of obtaining a trade treaty with Japan and said they remain hopeful of rejoining TPP or negotiating a new agreement.

Should the administration move toward re-entering TPP or a bilateral agreement with Japan, U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers “look forward to providing any information and support needed to avoid the potential loss of such an important market as Japan that is at risk with the United States outside the TPP agreement,” the organizations said in a statement.

“The wheat industry has been consistent on the importance of having a level playing field in Japan,” said Glen Squires, chief executive officer of the Washington Grain Commission. Whether that means re-entering TPP or a bilateral treaty, “We just need to be part of an agreement,” he said.

Squires remains optimistic.

“I think there are efforts underway to gain an agreement,” he said.

“But,” he said, “there could be another tweet tomorrow.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.