Capital Press | Nation/World Capital Press Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:55:47 -0400 en Capital Press | Nation/World Food security group will offer advice to next president Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:52:35 -0400 Eric Mortenson A Chicago think-tank that often comments on agricultural issues has formed a task force to inform the winner of this year’s presidential election on steps the U.S. government and private sector can take to reduce world hunger.

The Presidential Transition Plan Task Force will be led by former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and former Rep. Douglas Bereuter. They were appointed by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The council considers international food security to be a matter of U.S. national security, and in April 2015 issued a report on that topic.

With the world population projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, “Investing in food security and improved health and nutrition for the world’s people is not simply a humanitarian matter. It is squarely in the interests of the United States,” the report’s authors concluded.

The council recommended the U.S. use its agricultural research and education infrastructure to train the next generation of leaders in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Land-grant universities such as Oregon State University, Washington State University, the University of Idaho and the University of California-Davis “should be at the center of a cooperative international effort to reduce hunger and malnutrition around the world,” the study said.


Previous Capital Press coverage of the issue


Innate spuds withstand boxer’s attack Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:34:02 -0400 BOISE — Holly Holm has won world championship titles in boxing and mixed martial arts, but for all the damage she’s inflicted in the ring, officials with J.R. Simplot Co. say she couldn’t damage their Innate line of genetically modified potatoes.

Holm made a guest appearance Oct. 15 at the Produce Marketing Association’s 2016 Fresh Summit trade show in Orlando, Fla., where she was asked to attempt to bruise a bag of Simplot’s White Russet brand of spuds, Simplot spokesman Doug Cole said.

The potatoes were engineered with Simplot’s trademark Innate technology, which introduces other potato genes to impart a list of improved traits, including up to a 44 percent reduction in bruising, as well as fewer black spots.

Soft durum wheat could replace hard durum wheat Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:20:45 -0400 Matw Weaver PULLMAN, Wash. — Soft durum wheat could ultimately replace conventional hard durum wheat and increase demand, says a USDA researcher.

Durum is a market class of wheat, primarily grown in the Great Plains, used in pasta.

Because of its extremely hard kernels, durum can only be milled into a granular substance called semolina. This limits demand, said Craig Morris, director of the USDA Western Wheat Quality Lab in Pullman, Wash.

Morris works with the genetics of kernel texture. The genes for kernel softness could be moved into durum wheat through breeding, reinventing the wheat class, he said.

“Quinoa’s a niche; this is bigger than a niche,” Morris said.

Durum wheat represents 8-10 percent of roughly 780 million metric tons of wheat grown globally, Morris said.

The lab has converted six commercial durum varieties to soft durum. Morris said they look identical to the parent variety, and pasta is equal or better to regular durum pasta.

Soft durum wheat would not be genetically modified wheat, Morris said.

Durum yields are equal or superior to bread wheat varieties in hotter, more arid locations, with good tolerance of drought heat, Morris said. Durum also generally has good disease resistance.

“Now we basically have completely thrown off the shackles of durum wheat, while in no way losing any of its desirable characteristics,” he said.

Harvest Ridge Organics in Lewiston, Idaho, tested soft durum wheat varieties for growing and milling.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a huge market, but I think there’s certain people that are very interested in the things they can do with this,” said owner Doug McIntosh.

Barkley Seed in Yuma, Ariz., recently received a license from USDA to use the trait in a desert durum variety. The company will plant roughly 80 acres this fall.

President Michael Edgar contacted several overseas companies about soft durum.

“If we have an inquiry from someone interested in at least testing the soft durum, we can supply them currently with a 20-pound or 40-pound sample without a problem,” Edgar said. “But if that individual comes back and says ‘I would like to have a full container,’ we don’t have that quantity.”

Durum is the highest-value wheat crop, Morris said. It’s presently selling at $5.95 per bushel to $6.50 per bushel in Montana grain elevators, compared to soft white wheat at $4.52 per bushel to $4.82 per bushel in Portland.

Morris expects buyers will have to pay at least durum prices, if not more, for soft durum wheat, given the cost of segregating it. He doesn’t expect it to replace soft white wheat.

The USDA sought and received a patent for soft durum wheat. Farmers would apply to grow it. Morris said this ensures no market disruption.

Morris said a company or university breeder would need to take on further development.

Morris believes soft durum wheat will eventually completely replace hard durum wheat in the coming decades and expand production.

“It’s hard to be objective, but at least in terms of durum wheat, I would say it’s something akin to when Orville Vogel brought in the semi-dwarf gene to soft white wheat,” Morris said. “It’s perhaps of that magnitude.”

Parks director: More worker sex harassment cases likely Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:08:46 -0400 KEITH RIDLER BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The outgoing director of the National Park Service says the agency must attract younger and more racially diverse visitors to the areas it manages and will probably uncover more cases of sexual harassment in its workforce.

Jon Jarvis is ending his 40-year career in January. His final full year coincides with the park service’s 100th anniversary.

The service this year was rocked with corroborated allegations of sexual harassment in its 22,000-employee workforce.

Some lawmakers called for Jarvis’ resignation.

He says he was due to leave the service in January when a new U.S. president takes office.

He calls the sexual harassment horrible and unacceptable and says he was unaware it had been taking place.

He expects more cases to emerge with the agency actively investigating.

Cold brew sales are hot at Dunkin’ Donuts Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:06:56 -0400 JOSEPH PISANIAP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Hot sales of the new cold-brew coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts helped offset lower customer traffic, the company said Thursday, as quarterly revenue dipped and the company offered a downbeat outlook.

The cold brew drink costs more than the chain’s regular iced coffee. Nigel Travis, CEO of parent company Dunkin’ Brands, said the cold brew has been particularly popular with millennial customers.

“They like the taste profile of it,” Travis said. “It’s certainly in vogue.”

The chain has been adding more specialty coffee offerings over the past several years, such as macchiatos and other espresso drinks, to better compete with rival Starbucks Corp. Travis said the cold brew — made by steeping coffee beans for 12 hours — was its most successful product launch in the last 16 years.

Although less people came to Dunkin’ Donuts shops in the last quarter, those that did spent more money. Buyers of iced drinks are more likely to purchase food or more coffee than those that buy hot drinks, Travis said. Dunkin’ Donuts attributed a 2 percent rise in U.S. stores open at least a year to its iced coffee.

But parent company Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. also said it now expects total revenue for the company to grow less than previously expected, mainly due to its other chain, Baskin-Robbins.

The company now expects full-year revenue growth of about 2 percent, down from a forecast of 3 percent to 5 percent. It blamed lower demand for ice cream at its international Baskin-Robbins stores.

Shares of Dunkin’ Brands fell $1.89, or 3.8 percent, to $49.08 in afternoon trading.

The company earned $52.7 million, or 57 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 24, up from $46.2 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were 60 cents per share, which was 2 cents better than Wall Street had expected, according to analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue slipped 1.3 percent to $207.1 million, well short of analyst projections of $213.3 million. Dunkin’ Brands cited the sale of its remaining company-owned and -operated stores. It said that after the sale, all of its stores are franchised. Dunkin’ Brands, based in Canton, Massachusetts, said there are 12,000 Dunkin’ Donuts locations and 7,700 Baskin-Robbins locations around the world.

Detroit investigating hepatitis A link to Whole Foods store Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:05:01 -0400 NEW YORK (AP) — The Detroit Health Department says it’s investigating if two cases of hepatitis A, the contagious liver disease, are tied to prepared food from a local Whole Foods store.

Whole Foods Market says a store employee has been diagnosed with the disease. The second case involves a Detroit resident who ate at that Whole Foods location’s prepared foods section.

The health agency says it’s not clear how either case was contracted but recommends vaccinations for anyone who ate prepared food from the Whole Foods, which is at 115 Mack Ave. just north of downtown Detroit, from Oct. 6 to 12.

The Austin, Texas-based supermarket chain said Thursday that it is reviewing food logs and safety procedures.

Whole Foods shares slipped 1.5 percent to $28.29 Thursday.

Wal-Mart invests $50M in China’s online grocery business Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:03:25 -0400 NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart is investing $50 million in New Dada, China’s largest online grocery and logistics company, as it moves to strengthen its foothold in the nation’s fiercely competitive food market.

The move, announced late Thursday, is an extension of Wal-Mart’s pact with, China’s no. 2 e-commerce site. New Dada, partly owned by, has more than 25 million registered customers and delivers to more than 300 cities.

China is a key growth market for Wal-Mart — potentially lucrative but challenging. The world’s largest retailer has increased its stake in to 10.8 percent, following an initial deal that gave ownership of its Chinese e-commerce site Yihaodian.

Wal-Mart said earlier this week it will be using New Dada’s network to offer customers two-hour delivery on groceries ordered from Wal-Mart stores.

S. Dakota teen dies in grain bin accident Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:43:17 -0400 WINNER, S.D. (AP) — The town of Winner is mourning a 16-year-old boy who died in a farm accident.

Winner High School junior Taylor Watzel became trapped in a grain bin Tuesday and died the following day, School Superintendent Bruce Carrier told The Daily Republic. Counselors and ministers were made available to students Wednesday and Thursday.

“Why Taylor? Why such a good kid? And honestly, a lot of my staff members are struggling with that same thing,” Principal Gerald Witte said. “Today’s the day where there’s probably a lot more life lessons than academic lessons.”

Watzel was a lineman and linebacker on the high school football team. The team displayed his No. 66 jersey on the sideline during a Thursday win over Jones County/White River. Fans also signed a large poster in his memory, and a moment of silence was held before kickoff.

“This is a really big win for us, considering what has happened here the last couple days,” senior Cameron Kuil said. “It has been hard on all of us, hard on the community. We just looked forward to coming out here tonight.”

Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Monday in the Winner Armory, according to Mason Funeral Home.

Portland daily grain report Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:45:40 -0400 Portland, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 20, 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 December futures trended 0.25 of a cent 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 October delivery for ordinary protein were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as steady to 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 available as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby.

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

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

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during October were not well tested in early trading but bids were indicated as lower compared to Wednesday’s noon bids. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

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

Oct 4.5200-4.7725

Nov 4.5725-4.8000

Dec 4.6725-4.8450

Jan 4.9275-4.9775

Feb 4.9275-4.9900

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Oct NA

Nov 4.5725-4.8225

Dec 4.6725-4.8225

Jan 4.9275-5.0275

Feb 4.9275-5.0275

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

Ordinary protein

Oct 4.8200-5.0225

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Oct NA

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


Ordinary protein 4.1875-4.2875

11 pct protein 4.7875-4.8875

11.5 pct protein

Oct 5.0875-5.1875

Nov 5.0875-5.1875

Dec 5.0875-5.1875

Jan 4.9875-5.1375

Feb 5.1600-5.3100

12 pct protein 5.2375-5.3375

13 pct protein 5.5375-5.6375

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 5.8250-5.9750

14 pct protein

Oct 6.3050-6.4550

Nov 6.2550-6.4550

Dec 6.3050-6.4550

Jan 6.3300-6.4800

Feb 6.3300-6.5100

15 pct protein 6.5450-6.6950

16 pct protein 6.7850-6.9350

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Oct 4.1225-4.2725

Nov 4.1525-4.2525

Dec 4.2825-4.3225

Jan 4.3225-4.3625

Feb 4.3625-4.3725

Mar 4.3625-4.3725

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Oct 10.5950

Nov 10.6450

Dec 10.6825-10.7025

Jan 10.6525-10.6825

Feb 10.5825

Mar NA

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.2650

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Sep 2016

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 4.7800

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 4.4100

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 5.0000

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 5.9800

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Bear killed in Wyoming after repeated human interactions Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:43:17 -0400 CODY, Wyo. (AP) — A grizzly bear that has been menacing humans in Park County has been removed and killed.

The Cody Enterprise reports that the 519-pound bear was captured Saturday after previously being relocated in 2004 and 2011 due to prior human encounters.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks officials estimate the bear was 18 years old.

Park County Commissioner Joe Tilden says the bear was prowling his ranch beginning in late September. The bear ultimately had to be removed after it killed some of Tilden’s animals.

Nestle sales edge up 1 percent despite soft market Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:18:02 -0400 GENEVA (AP) — Nestle has reported its sales for the first nine months of 2016 rose 1 percent, as the Swiss food and drinks giant focuses on volume growth at a time of soft pricing.

The Vevey, Switzerland-based company behind Lean Cuisine, Stouffer’s and Nespresso said sales rose to 65.5 billion Swiss francs ($66.2 billion), despite negative impacts from currency exchange and the net results of divestments and acquisitions.

CEO Paul Bulcke hailed “broad-based growth,” and said Nestle is working to become “leaner.”

Chief Financial Officer Francois-Xavier Roger said China remains “rather challenging.” Nestle said the greatest organic growth, which excludes the impact of acquisitions, was in the Americas region at 4.8 percent.

It said overall organic growth was 3.5 percent in the period and expects that rate for the full year.

California calls for more water for fish in key river hub Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:39:12 -0400 ELLEN KNICKMEYERand SCOTT SMITH California should leave more water in the state’s most vital river delta to save crashing populations of native fish, state regulators said Wednesday in findings that could cut the amounts that cities and farms can take from the Sacramento and San Joaquin waterways.

The draft findings from the state Water Resources Control Board also could complicate Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal for building $15.7 billion giant water tunnels to carry water from the Delta.

The state currently takes about half of the Delta’s normal flow for agriculture and cities each year. The new state report says current management of the Delta has caused the decline of almost all native species there.

It recommends the state leave more water in the river system and Delta for at least three seasons of the year.

The Delta provides water used by two-thirds of California’s people and at least 3 million acres of California farmland.

Connecting to the San Francisco Bay, the Delta also is part of the West Coast’s largest estuary. Native salmon in the waterway are an anchor species on the West Coast, supporting life forms ranging from Northern California forests to orca whales in the Pacific Ocean.

Five years of drought on top of decades of water withdrawals from the Delta have cut the numbers of native salmon and brought other species, such as the Delta smelt, close to extinction.

The state water board is now slated to consider altering or adopting recommendations in the report.

Wednesday’s findings make no recommendation on how much normal flow to leave in the Sacramento River watershed, including the Delta. Instead, board members will analyze the outcomes of the state letting anywhere from 35 percent to 75 percent of the water flow out to the Pacific Ocean.

The report’s recommendations could threaten the twin-tunnels proposal, which would send water around the delta to be delivered to south, because the tunnels project is based on maintaining the current level of water withdrawals from the waterways.

Kate Poole, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which supports leaving more water in the rivers system, called it a “safe bet” that the recommendation for restoration of more natural flow would cut deliveries of water for people.

California farm groups adamantly oppose any such water cuts to agriculture.

“They tell you if we put more water in the river it’ll be better for the fish,” said Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. “I don’t buy that for a second.”

Trade talk in presidential race worries Minnesota workers Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:36:32 -0400 MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — The presidential race’s tough talk on trade deals might be playing well in industrial states, but it’s cultivating worry in Minnesota, where agriculture and other businesses generally have benefited from lower tariffs and the easing of such rules.

Kevin Paap, a farmer near Mankato, tells MPR News that 95 percent of his customers are international and that trade is crucial in his industry.

University of Minnesota economics professor Robert Kudrle says that even if a country benefits from trade overall, it often hurts workers in specific industries. He says the focus should be on helping those workers, not punishing other countries that want to sell things here.

Trade deals haven’t been this important in a presidential race since 1992, when former President Bill Clinton won the election and later signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law.

Groups file suit for Pacific fisher protection Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:19:33 -0400 MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Conservation groups have sued the federal government in an attempt to force threatened species protection for Pacific fishers.

The Mail Tribune reports Ashland-based Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and others filed the suit Tuesday in San Francisco against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The agency recommended threatened species status for fishers in 2014, but reversed that position earlier this year. The groups say the government chose politics over science. The Fish and Wildlife Service has yet to comment on the suit.

Fishers belong to a family of mammals that includes weasels, mink, martens and otters. Anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 fishers live in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Agency too slow on H-2A applications, farm labor director says Wed, 19 Oct 2016 14:19:42 -0400 Dan Wheat OLYMPIA — A federal agency involved in processing H-2A visas for foreign farmworkers to harvest U.S. crops remains uncooperative in making that process work, the director of a farm labor organization says.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) “was unable to substantively answer questions” and only provided a generic department email address at an Oct. 12 conference in Dallas, Texas, said Dan Fazio, director and CEO of WAFLA, formerly the Washington Farm Labor Association.

The conference was offered by the departments of State, Labor and Homeland Security, all involved in approving and issuing H-2A visas. USCIS is part of Homeland Security.

Capital Press did not get a reply from USCIS when asked for a comment.

A State Department official pledged to make H-2A work smoothly. Labor and Customs and Border Protection explained what they do and provided contact information, but three USCIS officials refused to provide any contact information other than the generic email address, Fazio said.

He said he presented a letter outlining the agency’s inability to process H-2A applications and asked for the name of someone with whom to follow up. He was given no name.

In his Oct. 3 letter to USCIS officials Donald Neufeld and Maria Odom, Fazio requests a Dec. 5 or 6 meeting with them and said in past years the agency was able to process H-2A applications on time and with few errors.

That changed this year with delays of more than six weeks, Requests for Evidence (RFE) issued in error and no response to inquiries from applicants or members of Congress, Fazio said.

The most serious problem, he wrote, is the agency won’t communicate by email or telephone, only by regular mail.

H-2A workers were delayed for a blueberry grower by an RFE questioning whether blueberry harvest is seasonal work, Fazio said. The grower, “one of the largest blueberry producers in the world,” was aided by his access to a “powerful” lobbyist but average employers lack that access, he said.

The “saddest” case was an Oregon grower who lost millions of dollars in high-value fruit because USCIS would not approve the transfer of H-2A workers from Washington in a timely manner, Fazio said.

He did not identify either grower.

WAFLA helped approximately 200 employers hire 9,000 H-2A workers this year. They were mostly in Washington but also in Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada and Michigan.

Obtaining the visas requires working with four federal agencies and, in Washington, two state agencies.

Delays also occurred in 2015, when the State Department said it had computer problems printing visas.

The Department of Labor is required by regulation to decide H-2A applications at least 30 days before the applicant’s date of need but there is no similar requirement for USCIS, Fazio said.

USCIS has a two-week goal but in many cases with WAFLA it took four weeks or more, guaranteeing workers would be late, he said.

The government should want to make H-2A work as an alternative and deterrent to illegal immigration, Fazio said. Employers and workers have to make decisions counting on certainty of work dates, he said.

“It is cruel to routinely cause a very poor farmworker to wait, without a job, when he or she could be earning substantial sums of money to support their family,” Fazio wrote in the letter.

Presidential campaigns differ on government’s helpfulness Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:31:18 -0400 Don Jenkins A farm forum in Washington, D.C., featuring surrogates for presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Wednesday highlighted the campaigns’ differing views on promoting a healthy agricultural economy.

Trump’s campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis said federal agencies need to be restrained, particularly in the West. He said the new Waters of the U.S rule “may be the poster child of overreach.”

Clinton supporter Kathleen Merrigan, former deputy agriculture secretary in the Obama administration, said government needs to communicate better. She said concerns about WOTUS are overblown. “In most cases, these are worries that are bogeyman worries,” she said

On the morning of the third and final Clinton-Trump debate, the Farm Foundation hosted a two-hour session at the National Press Club featuring Clovis, an economics professor at Morningside College in Iowa, and Merrigan, director of sustainability at George Washington University.

Clovis repeatedly turned to regulations during his opening remarks and a question-and-answer session that followed.

He said federal policies erect barriers to entering and staying in business, particularly for small farmers and ranchers.

“They feel the government is not trying to protect them, trying to help them, and they’re wondering how they’re going to stay in business,” Clovis said.

He said a Trump administration would support regional regulations to take into consideration different climates, geography, land uses and ownership.

“Those 13 states in the Western part of the United States probably ought to have their own rules because so much land is owned by the federal government,” he said.

Merrigan said regulations put businesses on equal footing and protect the public. She cited organic standards and marketing orders as examples of farmer-driven rules.

“I think this anti-regulatory drumbeat is not helpful,” she said.

Said Clovis: “I can’t let that go.

“The fact is we have a burdensome regulatory regime that imposes itself, particularly on smaller enterprises because they do not have the wherewithal to find the compliance staff,” he said.

Merrigan said farmers can ensure their survival by participating in government conservation programs.

“Do everything that good science is saying on the farm, cost-share. And then say to them, ‘And now you’re not going to be regulated out of business because you’ve done everything that we’ve asked of you,” Merrigan said.

Clinton and Trump both condemn the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving the surrogates little room to distinguish their candidates.

On immigration, Clovis said the H2-A visa program could be streamlined to supply agriculture with workers.

“If they want a legal workforce, we can work with them to make it legal,” Clovis said.

Merrigan said agriculture would be better served by immigration reform than building a wall. Clinton “is ready to lead us past the current political impasse, which is crippling the agricultural industry,” Merrigan said.

Clovis stressed that the next president will have the opportunity to appoint at least one U.S. Supreme Court justice, maybe more. He also said Trump wants to lower corporate tax rates.

Merrigan listed several government initiatives favored by Clinton, including installing solar panels in rural areas, bringing high-speed internet connections to rural homes and supporting a new generation of farmers, particularly women and veterans. “We can’t afford to ignore any tools in our toolbox,” she said.

Portland daily grain report Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:31:14 -0400 Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 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 December futures trended mixed, from 3.25 cents lower to 1.25 cents per bushel higher compared to Tuesday’s closes, with the greatest decline in Chicago soft red winter wheat and the advance in Minneapolis dark northern spring wheat.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for October delivery for ordinary protein were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as steady to lower compared to Tuesday’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 available as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby.

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

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

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during October were not well tested in early trading but bids were indicated as higher compared to Tuesday’s noon bids. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during October trended higher compared to Tuesday’s noon bids.

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

Ordinary protein

Oct 4.5200-4.7675

Nov 4.5675-4.8000

Dec 4.6675-4.8500

Jan 4.8750-4.9750

Feb 4.8750-4.9900

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Oct NA

Nov 4.5675-4.8175

Dec 4.6675-4.8175

Jan 4.8750-5.0250

Feb 4.8750-5.0250

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

Ordinary protein

Oct 4.8200-5.0175

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Oct NA

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


Ordinary protein 4.1625-4.2625

11 pct protein 4.7625-4.8625

11.5 pct protein

Oct 5.0625-5.1625

Nov 5.0625-5.1625

Dec 5.0625-5.1625

Jan 4.9625-5.1125

Feb 5.1350-5.2850

12 pct protein 5.2125-5.3125

13 pct protein 5.5125-5.6125

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 5.8100-5.9600

14 pct protein

Oct 6.2900-6.4400

Nov 6.2400-6.4400

Dec 6.2900-6.4400

Jan 6.3150-6.4650

Feb 6.3150-6.4950

15 pct protein 6.5300-6.6800

16 pct protein 6.7700-6.9200

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Oct 4.1550-4.3050

Nov 4.1850-4.3050

Dec 4.2850-4.3150

Jan 4.3525-4.3925

Feb 4.3925-4.4025

Mar 4.3925-4.4025

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Oct 10.6100

Nov 10.6600

Dec 10.7050-10.7250

Jan 10.6950-10.7050

Feb 10.6050

Mar NA

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.2650

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Sep 2016

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 4.7800

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 4.4100

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 5.0000

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 5.9800

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Attorney: Corporate farming suit about issues, not parties Wed, 19 Oct 2016 08:34:59 -0400 BLAKE NICHOLSON BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Farmers Union’s potential intervention in a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the state’s anti-corporate farming law isn’t likely to affect the outcome, an attorney for North Dakota Farm Bureau says.

“The issues and the law remain the same regardless of which parties are involved in the lawsuit,” attorney Claire Smith told The Associated Press.

The farmers union asked a federal judge last week for permission to help defend the law that aims to protect the state’s family farming heritage, which the union says “is the envy of other states and the backbone of our economy.” If U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland agrees, it will set up a showdown between the state’s two largest general farm groups, which together represent 72,000 farm families.

The lawsuit was filed by the Farm Bureau and other plaintiffs in June, arguing that the law passed by voters in 1932 hurts the agriculture industry by limiting farmers’ business options and interferes with interstate commerce because it bars out-of-state corporations from owning farming operations.

The state is defending the law. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem maintains it is not discriminatory, and he’s asked Hovland to dismiss the case.

The farmers union’s motion says it led the fight to create the corporate farming law, and that “from the beginning, NDFU members knew such a statute must comply with the U.S. Constitution.” The group also says it has records dealing with the law’s creation that might “support judicial economy in the resolution of this action.”

Smith believes the plaintiffs will prevail on the merits of their case, given that courts struck down similar laws in South Dakota and Nebraska in the early and mid-2000s. North Dakota is among only nine states that restrict corporate farming.

“All of the issues to be decided by the court are legal issues which have previously been addressed,” Smith said.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit in addition to Farm Bureau are: a Wisconsin dairy farmer and a Wisconsin dairy company seeking to expand into North Dakota; 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 Dakota Resource Council environmental group also is seeking Hovland’s permission to help defend the law.

Officials plan to cull swine at Arizona wildlife refuge Wed, 19 Oct 2016 08:32:02 -0400 LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has submitted a plan to eliminate feral pigs at a wildlife refuge near the Arizona-California border.

The agency said the hogs within Havasu National Wildlife Refuge threaten native wildlife, natural habitats and public safety, Today’s News-Herald reported.

“Feral hogs create extensive damage to habitat by rooting for food,” Brenda Zaun, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, said in a statement. “Our biggest concern is for public safety. These invasive swine carry a host of diseases including leptospirosis, salmonella and E. coli, which could pose threats to human health when the feral hogs stray into our gardens and agricultural fields.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service plan says feral swine destroy nests and pose a significant threat to marsh birds, including Yuma’s Ridgeway’s rail and the California black rail. The agency is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has authority over feral pigs throughout the country.

Officials will target areas with the highest density of swine, including marshes, forests and islands within Topock Marsh and Topock Gorge, according to the plan. The swine will be culled by aerial shooting from a helicopter, ground shooting and trapping.

The agencies will locate the pigs using motion-sensor trail cameras and night vision and infrared equipment. They also plan to use “Judas pigs” — that is, wild hogs captured and fitted with radio transmitters before being released back into the refuge. The Judas pigs will lead USDA and Fish and Wildlife Service agents to larger groups of feral swine.

The Fish and Wildlife Service will accept written comments on the plan until Nov. 10.

EU grab of common cheese names worries U.S. dairy industry Tue, 18 Oct 2016 17:05:22 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas The European Union’s attempt to “confiscate” common cheese names would cost the U.S. dairy industry billions of dollars if trade negotiators don’t hold the line, according to a new study.

Many cheese names such as Feta, which originated in Greece, are identified with a specific location but have been commonly used to identify that type of cheese, no matter where it is made.

The EU now wants to “confiscate” those generic names for the benefit of its farmers and processors, said Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president of trade policy for the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation.

“The problem is not with the well-defined (geographic identity),” she said. “The problem is with attempting to extend GI protection to many food names that have on one hand little to no geographic identity or on the other hand have become generic names, in some cases for centuries.”

An analysis of the economic impact on the U.S. dairy industry by Informa Economics shows the policy would slash domestic cheese sales and reduce dairy farmer revenue and the national herd.

The issue is part of the negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a new trade treaty between the European Union and the U.S.

The policy would put more than half of U.S. cheese production at risk, requiring manufacturers to stop marketing cheese under protected names, said Joe Somers, Informa senior consultant.

Manufacturers would have to abandon markets for those cheeses or rename them. Domestic cheese consumption could fall by as much as 21 percent over 10 years, resulting in a $5.2 billion loss in sales, he said.

It’s throwing up protectionist barriers to competition, and the U.S. cannot allow it, said Tom Suber, president of the USDEC.

The analysis also found that surrendering common cheese names would reduce milk prices by $1.77 per hundredweight and push dairy farmers below breakeven in up to six out of 10 years, costing farmers a cumulative $59 billion in revenue and reducing the dairy herd by 9 percent.

The harm would not be limited to the dairy industry, as the impact would ripple through allied industries. The U.S. economy could lose 175,000 jobs, and consumers would face higher prices and fewer choices, according to the analysis.

Stipulations in EU trade agreements with other countries have already harmed U.S. cheese exports, and common food names should not be held hostage or used as pawns in TTIP negotiations, said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of National Milk.

“The financial stakes going forward are huge,” he said.

What’s in a name?

These cheeses would be subject to immediate European geographic indicator protections:










These would be subject to delayed restrictions:












Source: Informa Economics

Christmas tree promotions available to farmers Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:44:43 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski Christmas tree growers have a host of promotional materials at their disposal this year through the national checkoff program.

The Christmas Tree Promotion Board is making available free downloads of banners, bumper stickers, digital logos and other online files that feature the signature slogan, “It’s Christmas. Keep it real.”

“We will have a whole lot of digital tools for the industry to pick up and use,” said Tim O’Connor, the board’s executive director.

Checkoff fees of 15 cents per tree were first collected from the 2015 crop, generating $1.8 million, but this year marks the first time the board will run a full promotional campaign designed by the Concept Farm advertising agency.

The goal of making promotional material available to farmers is to boost their advertising efforts while extending the campaign’s overall reach, O’Connor said.

Growers can direct their local print shop to create banners from the files, or they can simply use the logos on their websites and social media sites, he said.

The campaign must find clever ways of increasing its exposure, since running national television commercials would prohibitively expensive, O’Connor said.

“That’s not the way you do it today, particularly with a smaller budget,” he said.

The campaign website will adopt a similar strategy to an Advent calendar, with a new promotional video or other online promotional tool being featured daily.

These items will be promoted through social media, while traditional consumer media organizations will receive real trees and press kits.

The campaign will also try to generate word of mouth among popular “mommy bloggers” — women who write online about family issues — by bringing them to farms and retail lots to pick real trees.

Such bloggers are effectively media personalities that have a lot of credibility among their audiences, O’Connor said. “It will garner us a lot of eyeballs.”

Christmas trees will also be unveiled at “Ronald McDonald Houses” for ill children during events featuring musicians from Island Records.

The holiday season is the “loudest media part of the year,” so the campaign must find ways of gaining attention from related events, such as the delivery of a Christmas tree to the White House and the annual airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” O’Connor said.

“We’ll pick up their promotions and connect with those,” he said.

As the various videos and other promotional items are released, the campaign will track what elicits the most response — humor or sentiment, he said.

“We can be very much in the moment of measuring views, and adapt as we go,” O’Connor said.

The campaign will begin rolling out in mid-November and hit its full stride after Thanksgiving, so as not to annoy consumers with messages too early.

“We’re trying to find the right timing,” he said.

Domino’s Pizza’s profit soars 25 percent Tue, 18 Oct 2016 08:46:47 -0400 ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Domino’s Pizza said Tuesday that its profit jumped 25 percent as sales at the pizza chain rose.

The results easily beat Wall Street expectations and its shares rose before the stock market open.

The company said sales at U.S. stores open at least a year, considered an important measure of a retailer’s health, rose 13 percent in the last quarter from the year before. Domino’s, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has nearly 5,300 U.S. stores.

It reported net profit of $47.2 million, or 96 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 11. That compares with a net profit of $37.8 million, or 67 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 90 cents per share.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $566.7 million in the period, also surpassing Street forecasts. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $543 million.

Shares of Domino’s Pizza Inc. rose $4.26, or 2.8 percent, to $156.27 in premarket trading Tuesday. Its shares are up about 44 percent in the last 12 months.

Charge dropped against mechanic in fatal hayride crash case Tue, 18 Oct 2016 08:29:20 -0400 AUBURN, Maine (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped a criminal charge against a mechanic who worked at a Maine farm at the time of a fatal hayride crash in exchange for his testimony against the business.

The Oct. 11, 2014, crash at Harvest Hill Farm in Mechanic Falls killed 17-year-old Cassidy Charette and injured several other people.

The Sun Journal reports that the Androscoggin County District Attorney’s Office had charged 39-year-old Philip Theberge of Norway with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor. Prosecutors dropped the case against Theberge on Friday.

Prosecutors also dismissed two of four criminal charges against the farm.

Theberge’s attorney says prosecutors had told him they planned to offer his client immunity in exchange for testifying at the trial of Harvest Hill Farm, which is scheduled for next month in Wiscasset.

Deere claims rival sparked antitrust fight Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:17:55 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski Deere & Co. claims the federal government wants to block its acquisition of a seed technology firm at the behest of a competing equipment manufacturer.

In August, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Deere of unlawful anti-competitive behavior due to its plan to buy Precision Planting, a subsidiary of the Monsanto Co., for $190 million.

According to the government’s complaint, the merger would allow Deere to control 86 percent of the high-speed planters that allow farmers to double the speed at which they plant seeds.

Deere has now responded by claiming that the Department of Justice initially cleared the merger, “only to change its mind and bring this lawsuit when a Deere competitor protested.”

“However, it is a fundamental maxim that antitrust laws are meant to protect competition, not competitors,” according to Deere’s answer. “Growers deserve the benefits of this transaction and the increased innovation, competition, and consumer choice that a combination of Deere and Precision Planting will create.”

Deere is also asking a federal judge to provide confidential information used by DOJ to file its complaint to attorneys from Deere and Monsanto.

DOJ’s complaint is based on “investigative material” that was largely provided by CNH Industrial, a rival farm machinery company that leases Precision Planting technology, according to Deere’s response.

“In this case, the Deere competitors, especially CNH, are the driving force behind the government’s investigation,” the document said.

Before the merger, Precision Planting licensed its high-speed planting technology and sold retrofit kits to farmers, who could then install the equipment on existing planters.

Deere denies the government’s accusation that the merger reduces competition, arguing that the deal will give more farmers access to Precision Planting technology due to its extensive network of retail outlets.

“In short, the transaction will increase competition and promote consumer freedom by increasing the total number of market players,” Deere said. “Restraining this vibrant competition and greater consumer choice in the narrow interest of a particular competitor is not in the public’s interest.”

CNH, meanwhile, has asked to intervene in the lawsuit and opposes the release of confidential information gathered by DOJ.

Organic produce sales soar double digits in second quarter Mon, 17 Oct 2016 15:43:29 -0400 Sean Ellis BOISE — Organic fruit and vegetable sales saw large increases, both in dollars and volume, in the second quarter of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

According to United Fresh Produce Association’s FreshFacts on Retail report, non-organic produce sales were also up during the second quarter and value-added fruit and vegetable sales continued to grow.

But organic sales were particularly strong.

According to the report, organic produce sales were up 15 percent in dollar value and climbed past $1 billion in the second quarter. Volume increased at the same rate, “which indicates the growth is more than a reflection of higher prices,” the report’s authors said.

United Fresh represents every segment of the fresh produce industry, including growers, shippers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, food-service operators and fresh cut processors.

The report’s data was based on sales at more than 18,000 stores.

Nine percent of all produce sales during the second quarter were for organic products, according to the report.

Weekly dollar sales per store for organic vegetables were up 13.6 percent and weekly volume sales per store increased 13 percent despite a 0.51 percent increase in the average retail price.

For organic fruit, dollar sales increased 18.8 percent and volume was up 17.9 percent despite a 0.73 percent increase in average retail price.

Weekly dollar sales per store for organic apples were up 6.2 percent but volume was down 7.8 percent due to a 15.2 percent increase in average retail price.

On the non-organic side, the report showed strong second quarter growth for many commodities, including apples, avocados, berries, citrus, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Bananas, grapes, cherries and melons all experienced sales and volume decreases.

Highlights of the report include:

Weekly dollars sales of apples per store were up 13.3 percent and volume was up 0.1 percent despite a 13.2 percent increase in average retail price.

Weekly dollar sales for avocados were up 2.8 percent, volume was up 5.6 percent and price was down 2.7 percent.

For potatoes, average weekly dollar sales per store were up 3.5 percent because of a 5 percent increase in price but volume was down 1.5 percent.

Onions showed strong growth with 9.5 percent growth in dollar sales and 8.8 percent growth in volume despite a price increase of 0.6 percent.

Dollar sales for stone fruits were down 2.8 percent but volume increased 1.3 percent while the average retail price was down 4 percent.

The report also shows that value-added fruit and vegetable sales increased 3 percent and 8 percent, “which reiterates the shopper’s demand for more convenient options.”

According to separate report by the Organic Trade Association, the U.S. organic industry experienced its largest dollar gain ever last year, adding $4.2 billion in sales, pushing total organic food sales to $39.7 billion, an 11 percent increase over 2014.

Produce sales in this country have increased more than 25 percent since 2011, according to OTA, but organic fruit and vegetable sales have increased 123 percent and 92 percent, respectively, during that period.