Capital Press | Nation/World Capital Press Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:41:55 -0400 en Capital Press | Nation/World Western Innovator: New way to keep produce fresh Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:33:35 -0400 Tim Hearden SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — James Rogers was driving through the iconic Salinas Valley and listening to a lecture on world hunger when he got an idea.

He was working on his doctorate in material sciences at the University of California-Santa Barbara, and his research involved preserving such materials as steel. His studies led to frequent trips up the coast to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“I was cruising up (Highway) 101 ... and listening to an article on world hunger,” Rogers said. “I just happened to be driving through the Salinas Valley at the time and I saw these lush, green fields.

“The question was on my mind, ‘If we’ve got these magical seeds that we can grow in the ground ... how is it still possible that people are going hungry?’” he said. “It seems in theory that we should be able to feed more people.”

That thought led Rogers, 32, and several of his fellow doctoral students to start a company called Apeel Sciences and invent a product called Edipeel, a natural preservative made from food compounds that shippers or retailers can spray on produce to increase its shelf life.

Edipeel is a powdered mixture of different food molecules from unused or discarded plant materials, such as grape pressings from making wine, that are dissolved in water and sprayed on produce.

When it dries, the resulting thin barrier — which is edible and tasteless — slows the rate at which water can get out and oxygen can get in, which keeps the produce fresh, Rogers explained.

The product has gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use on produce, and the USDA has approved it for use on organic fruits and vegetables.

Apeel says the spray can effectively double the shelf life of produce and reduce the need for refrigeration.

Rogers worked on Edipeel with Jay Ruskey, an organic grower of caviar limes — a rare citrus fruit that only lasts about a week after picking.

“He was a local guy who had a unique challenge related to perishability on his crop,” Rogers said. “We were able to develop a product for him that he now uses commercially.”

A native of Michigan, Rogers spent his early childhood in a suburb of Detroit, where his father was an engineer for a company that made brakes for large trucks and his mother was a substitute teacher. The family later lived near Vancouver, Wash., where Rogers finished high school.

“I was the kid who always wanted to know what everything was made out of and how it worked,” Rogers said.

Rogers earned dual undergraduate degrees in material science and engineering and biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh before advancing to UC-Santa Barbara, where he earned his master’s degree in economics and his doctorate in materials.

Since Apeel was founded in 2012, the company has received $40 million in funding for developing its products, including grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Powerplant Ventures and other philanthropic and private investors.

The company’s stated mission is to end food waste and help growers reduce reliance on chemical pesticides, refrigeration and other techniques used for food preservation in favor of more natural solutions.

For Rogers, the effort required what he described as a “crash course” in agriculture.

“I was never directly on the farm,” Rogers said. “In fact, when I called my mom and told her about my idea to help reduce perishability on the planet, she said, ‘Sweetie, that’s really nice, but you don’t know anything about fruit.’

“We don’t make the fruit any better, we just slow it down from getting worse,” he said.

One of the first things he learned is Americans throw away one-third to half of what is grown, and the developing world discards as much as two-thirds of what is grown, he said.

“I thought, Gee, it doesn’t sound like the problem is on the production side. It sounds like the problem is with the storage ... after it’s harvested,” he said.

Rogers discovered that the leading causes of perishability in fruits and vegetables is water loss and oxidation, he said.

“This started to ring a bell from my undergraduate days at Carnegie Mellon when I studied steel,” he said. In refining metals, a micro-thin oxide or nitride layer acts as a shield against deeper corrosion....

“If people are going hungry not because of lack of production but because of perishability of fresh produce, what’s causing the produce to perish is water loss and oxidation,” Rogers said. “It’s a similar problem that steel had that was solved by a thin barrier around the outside.

“We thought, What if we could take food, find materials we need to create a barrier in food and then reapply it to food?” he said. “How could you argue with that philosophically?”

Rogers believes Edipeel could be particularly useful in some developing nations where access to refrigeration is limited. The company is now researching use of the spray before harvest as an alternative to chemical fungicides and pesticides.

Since fungi and insects use molecular recognition on the surface of the fruit, Rogers and his colleagues are testing whether they can “camouflage” the fruit to avert attack by pests.

Rogers said he doesn’t plan to sell his invention to a major company and do something else.

“There’s no get-rich-quick scheme on our part,” he said. “We’re really committed to sticking around and making this thing happen.”

James Rogers

Age: 32

Residence: Santa Barbara, Calif.

Occupation: Apeel Sciences owner and chief executive officer

Honor: Received the 2012 Frank J. Padden Jr. Award for polymer physics, the premier polymer physics prize in the U.S.


Wildfires scorch portions of the West Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:19:19 -0400 HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A month-old wildfire flared up in western Montana, forcing the evacuation of hundreds more homes and devouring another large chunk of forest as the drought-stricken state struggles with one of its worst wildfire seasons in years.

Fires burning across the West include one threatening 400 homes near an Oregon town within the path of Monday’s total solar eclipse and another near Yosemite National Park.

The glow from the flare-up Wednesday night and early Thursday near the community of Lolo in western Montana was visible from the airport in Missoula, about 20 miles north of the blaze, said fire information officer Jordan Koppen.

Just over 500 homes had been evacuated by Thursday morning, but additional evacuations were ordered in Missoula and Ravalli counties. Officials did not know how many homes the mid-day evacuation order affected.

Ravalli County deputies were going door-to-door and asking people to leave on Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Steve Holton told KGVO-AM.

Hundreds of other residents in areas along U.S. Highway 93 and U.S. Highway 12 had been warned to prepare for evacuation.

The Lolo Peak Fire has burned 23.5 square miles of timber. No homes have been reported burned. A Hot Shot firefighter working on the fire — 29-year-old Brent Witham of California — died on Aug. 2 when he was hit by a falling tree.

A report released Thursday shows drought across the entire state of Montana, with two-thirds of the state in “severe” drought conditions — or worse. Drought conditions in an area around Fort Peck Reservoir of northeastern Montana are rated as exceptional, with crops and livestock languishing under parched conditions.

The 13 largest active fires in Montana have burned nearly 182 square miles of land.

Elsewhere, a fire that started last week near Sisters, Oregon, has expanded to more than 5 square miles and led officials to issue evacuation warnings.

Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act so the Oregon fire marshal can mobilize resources from around the state to protect homes.

“State agencies are already working around the clock and across the state, and as we get closer to the total solar eclipse, we’ll need all resources available to keep communities, visitors, and property safe,” Brown said in a statement.

In California, crews fighting a fire in Yosemite National Park are trying to guide the flames away from the small town of Wawona and into the wilderness. The fire has closed campgrounds and trails in the park but authorities have not ordered anyone to leave. No structures have been damaged.

A fire in Glacier National Park in Montana has closed a trail that provides access to a popular backcountry chalet. The Sperry Chalet has been closed for the season.

National wool and sheep review Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:19:38 -0400 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

Aug. 18

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

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50

In Australia this week, the Eastern Market Indicator was up 64 at 1614 cents per kg clean from the sale a week ago. A total of 39,126 bales were offered with sales of 98.0 percent. The Australian exchange rate was weaker by .0059 at .7936 percent of the U.S. dollar. Australian wool prices are quoted delivered Charleston, S.C. The current freight rate is .15 cents per pound clean.

The Eastern Market Indicator closed up 64 at 1614 cents per kg clean. Australian exchange rate was weaker by .0059 at .7936 percent of the U.S. dollar.


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

Aug. 18

Compared to Aug. 11: Slaughter lambs were mostly lower. Slaughter ewes were steady to 5.00 lower, with the expectation of San Angelo, Texas, which trended 4.00-8.00 higher. Feeder lambs were steady to 10.00 lower.

At San Angelo, 10,708 head sold, with sheep consisting of 5,860 head. In direct trade, feeder lamb trade, no confirmable sales; 7,600 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were 7.00-83.00 lower. 2,580 lamb carcasses sold with all weights no trend due to confidentiality. All sheep sold per hundredweight (cwt) unless otherwise specified.

Slaughter Lambs: Choice and Prime 2-3 90-150 lbs

San Angelo: Shorn and wooled 115-150 lbs 140.00-156.00.

Ft. Collins, Colo.: Wooled 110-120 lbs 196.00.

South Dakota: Shorn and wooled 110-155 lbs 150.00-158.00.

Slaughter Lambs: Choice and Prime 1-2

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs 190.00-220.00; 60-70 lbs 188.00-206.00; 70-80 lbs 180.00-202.00, few 200.00-2047.00; 80-90 lbs 175.00-198.00, few 200.00-214.00; 90-110 lbs 170.00-200.00, few up to 226.00.

Ft. Collins: Few 40-50 lbs. 205.00-210.00; few 60-80 lbs 200.00; pkg 95 lbs 207.50.

Billings, MT: 76 lbs 176.50.

Slaughter Ewes:

San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) 70.00-78.00; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) 76.00-88.00, few 90.00-94.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 62.00-76.00; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) 55.00-60.00; Cull 1 20.00-52.00.

Ft. Collins: Good 2-3 (fleshy) 67.50-79.00; Utility 1-2 (thin) 39.00-47.50.

Billings, Mont.: Good 3-4 (very fleshy) 43.00-50.00; Good 2-3 (fleshy) 47.00-52.50; Utility 1-2 (thin) 48.00-52.00; Utility and Cull 1-2 47.00-52.00; Cull 1 43.00-46.00.

Feeder Lambs: Medium and Large 1-2

San Angelo: 40-70 lbs 180.00-188.00; 70-90 lbs 170.00-174.00; 99 lbs 164.00; 106 lbs 163.00.

Ft. Collins: Few 45-80 lbs 195.00-210.00; 90-110 lbs 185.00-195.00.

Billings: 49 lbs 185.00; 50-60 lbs 183.00-185.00; 60-70 lbs 180.00-186.50; 70-80 lbs 172.00-179.00; 80-90 lbs 164.00-175.00; 90-100 lbs 160.00-170.50, few 172.00; 100-110 lbs 156.00-165.00; 110-130 lbs 151.00-159.50, few 162.50.

Replacement Ewes: Medium and Large 1-2

San Angelo: Hair ewe lambs 45-80 lbs 190.00-214.00 cwt, 90-105 lbs 130.00-180.00 per head; yearling hair ewes 175.00-188.00 per head; baby tooth hair ewes 165.00-195.00 per head; solid mouth hair ewes 120.00-130.00 per head; mixed age hair ewes 80-135 lbs 85.00-150.00 cwt.

Ft. Collins: Pkg hair sheep 140.00 lbs 100.00 cwt.

Billings: Baby tooth wool 170 lbs 63.00 cwt; solid mouth 215 lbs 52.00 cwt.

National Weekly Lamb Carcass Report:

Weight Wtd. Avg.

45 lbs. down Price not reported

due to confidentiality

45-55 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

55-65 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

65-75 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

75-85 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

85 lbs. up Price not reported

due to confidentiality

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 36,000 compared to 36,000 last week and 37,000 last year.

West Coast grain price report Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:38:53 -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)


Aug. 17

Pacific Northwest Market Summary

Cash wheat bids for August delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, Aug. 17, steady to lower compared to week ago noon bids for August delivery.

September wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, Aug. 17, lower as follows compared to week ago closes: Chicago wheat futures were 26.50 cents lower at 4.14, Kansas City wheat futures were 34 cents lower at 4.1425 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 33 cents lower at 6.7025. Chicago September corn futures trended 6.75 cents lower at 3.5050 and August soybean futures closed 2.25 cents higher at 9.33.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during August for ordinary protein trended 26.50 to 35.00 cents per bushel lower compared to week ago prices for the same delivery period from 4.89 to 5.25.

Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

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

One year ago bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for August delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were 5.05-5.14 and bids for White Club Wheat were 5.06-5.24. Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: September 4.94-5.25, October, November and December 5.00-5.35.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: September 5.06-5.18, October 5.15-5.23, November 5.13-5.28 and December 5.13-5.31.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during August trended steady to 26.50 cents per bushel lower than week ago prices for the same delivery period from 5.1550 to 5.25.

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 August delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were 5.01-5.11 and bids for White Club Wheat were 5.01-5.11.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: September 4.89-5.25, October, November and December 5.00-5.35.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: September 5.06-5.11 and October and November 5.13-5.18.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for August delivery were 34.00 cents per bushel lower compared to week ago noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. This week, bids were as follows: August 4.7925-5.1425, September 4.9925-5.1925, October 5.27-5.42, November and December 5.32-5.42.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during August were 33 cents per bushel lower than week ago noon 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: August 7.5025-7.8025, September 7.6025-7.8025, October 7.9425-7.9925, November 7.9425-8.0425 and December 7.9425-8.0925.

Coarse feeding grains

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for August delivery trended mixed, from 6.75 cents lower to 0.25 of a cent higher from 4.0150-4.1550.

Forward month corn bids were as follows: October and November and December 4.2625-4.3225.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for August delivery were not available as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: September 10.11-10.15, October 10.13-10.17 and November 10.11-10.17. Bids for US 2 Heavy White Oats for August delivery trended steady at 3.1200 per bushel.

Pacific Northwest Export News: There were 11 grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, Aug. 17, with four docked compared to seven last week with three docked. There were no new confirmed export sales this week from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 17

Prices in dollars per cwt., bulk Inc.= including; Nom.= nominal; Ltd.= limited; Ind.= indicated; NYE=Not fully estimated.


BARLEY US No 2 (46 lbs. per bushel)

Truck Petaluma-

Santa Rosa 9.65


Oakdale-Turlock 10.00

CORN US No 2 Yellow

FOB 6.85

Turlock/Tulare 8.10

Rail Los Angeles-

Chino Valley 8.28

Truck Stockton-Modesto-

Oakdale-Turlock 8.40


Fresno Counties 8.40

Glenn County NA

Kern County NA

SORGHUM US No 2 Yellow (Milo)

Rail Los Angeles-

Chino Valley 8.95

California shell egg price report Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:19:49 -0400 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 18

Benchmark prices are unchanged. Asking prices for next week are 9 cents lower for Jumbo and Extra Large, 7 cents lower for Large and 4 cents higher for Medium and Small. Trade sentiment is steady. Demand ranges light to fairly good, mostly light to moderate and better into retail accounts. Offerings are fully adequate for the larger sizes and light to moderate for Medium. Floor stocks are usually light. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price 67 cents.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 142 Extra large 131

Large 124 Medium 87


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

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 129-142 Extra large 117-121

Large 109-118 Medium 68-79

Fluid milk and cream review — West Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:13:53 -0400 FLUID MILK AND CREAM REVIEW – WEST

(USDA Market News)

AUG. 17

Warmer weather conditions continue to negatively affect farm milk production in California. Outputs are lower this week.

However, milk is still available for most processing needs and is moving well within contracts. Spot loads are harder to find.

Bottled milk demand is strong due to schools being back in session in most parts of the state.

Arizona milk output is still following a downward trend. Nevertheless, balancing plants are working at or near full capacities processing milk. Class I demand is steady. Demand for Class II is active as ice cream processors continue taking on more loads of milk.

Recent rains in the state have resulted in new forage production. Topsoil and subsoil moistures are both rated 97 percent adequate to surplus.

Milk production in New Mexico is slightly down. Class I sales are higher as most schools started to reopen. Class II requests are down. Due to repair/maintenance projects at some plants, cheese manufacturers have reduced their orders by a few loads.

However, demand for Class III remains stronger this week as other Class III plants take on additional loads. Topsoil moisture across the state is 82 percent adequate to surplus compared to 74 percent last week. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is 92 percent complete, while the fourth and fifth cutting are, respectively, 58 and 21 percent complete.

In the Pacific Northwest, cows are producing more than sufficient milk to meet all manufacturing needs. The heat present in the area is not depressing milk yields as cooler nights are helping cows recharge.

Furthermore, pasture and rangeland conditions are good to excellent for dairy herds’ productivity. Class I processors continue pulling heavy milk supplies to cover large bottled milk requests from schools and retailers.

Farm milk output throughout the mountain states of Idaho, Utah, and Colorado is very active and processors are getting enough milk intakes to meet most manufacturing needs. Demands for Class I and Class II are fair to good. Some distressed milk loads are still available at $4 under market, according to some processors.

Western condensed skim continues to move strongly in the Western region. Inventories are steady compared to last week. Contacts in the West report that ice cream makers are buying cream at higher multiples while butter producers are taking theirs at the lowest multiples. Most low multiples seem to be for a few distressed loads of cream.

This week cream multiples for all usages remain steady at 1.07-1.27. According to the DMN National Retail Report-Dairy for the week of Aug. 11-17, the national weighted average advertised price for one gallon of milk is $3.22, up $0.62 from last week, and $0.73 higher from a year ago.

The weighted average regional price in the Southwest is $2.25, with a price range of $1.99-$2.39. This week, no advertised dairy ads were reported in the Northwest.

According to CDFA, September 2017 Class 1 prices in California are $18.65 in the North and $18.92 in the South. The statewide average Class 1 price based on production is $18.66. This price is up $0.32 from the previous month, and $0.53 higher than a year ago.

National feeder and stocker cattle report Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:59:27 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Aug. 18

This week Last week Last year

190,400 404,200 192,900

Compared to Aug. 11: Feeder steers and heifers began the week with trends mostly 5.00 to 10.00 lower. Early-week markets had to play catch-up with the lower markets observed late last week.

However, as the week progressed, sales became mixed from 3.00 lower to 5.00 higher.

In the Southeast region, feeder markets were 1.00 to 5.00 lower. Trade and demand was moderate, with instances of good demand reported in a few auction barns on yearling cattle as feed yards are in need of cattle to fill pen space.

There has been a larger volume of un-weaned and short weaned calves reported, with many seeing heavy discounts.

Tuesday’s CME live and feeder cattle futures put optimism into the market, encouraging feeder buyers to purchase cattle at higher prices.

However, the confidence faded as the board saw declines thereafter and cash trade for slaughter cattle saw lower prices.

Compared to last Friday, August live cattle futures ended the week 3.37 lower at 106.38 and October 1.50 lower at 105.90.

Feeder cattle futures for August were 1.27 lower at 140.50 and 2.19 lower at 140.03 for September.

There were still noteworthy sales in the field, with the Sheridan Livestock Auction Co. in Rushville, Neb., seeing several good strings of yearling steers, with several loads of steers weighing 890 pounds selling at an average price of 150.85. There were also several loads of 918-pound yearling steers coming off grass that sold at an average price of 145.30.

On Monday, Iowa traded live slaughter cattle at 110.00, setting the tone for the week. On Wednesday, direct slaughter cattle trade broke out in Nebraska. Dressed purchases were 8.00 to 10.00 lower from 175.00-177.00.

On Thursday, more trade occurred with dressed purchases steady with Wednesday at 175.00. Live sales were 6.00 to 7.00 lower compared to last week from 109.00-110.00, with a few up to 110.50.

In Kansas and the Texas Panhandle, trade has been inactive on light demand.

In the Southern Plains, live purchases were 5.00 lower at 110.00.

Weather has played a factor throughout many regions this week, with the Northern and Southern Plains seeing heavy rainfall and unseasonable lower temperatures. This curtailed receipts throughout both regions.

In central Nebraska, adverse weather was reported as well, with some areas receiving extensive damage from hail.

The Corn Belt may find the rain showers beneficial for their soybeans, as they are in a critical development stage. The soybean crop rating declined 1 point, with 59 percent in the good or excellent category and 79 percent of the crop has pods set.

The corn crop rating improved 2 points, now with 62 percent rated in the good or excellent category and only 16 percent dented.

Compared to last Friday, Choice boxed-beef closed 5.31 lower at 194.29 and Select boxed-beef closed at 192.50, down 3.62. Today’s Choice-Select spread is at 1.79.

Auction volume this week included 55 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.

National Slaughter Cattle Summary

(USDA Market News)

Aug 18

Slaughter cattle on a live basis sold 4.00-5.00 lower, dressed 8.00-9.00 lower. Boxed Beef prices as of Friday afternoon averaged 197.86 down 2.60 from last Friday. The Choice/Select spread is 3.48. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Friday afternoon totaled about 75,500 head. Last week’s total head count was 73,890 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: 109.00-110.50. Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers 173.00-175.00.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 109.00-110.00. Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls sold mostly 2.00-3.00 lower this week.

Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value Friday was 181.48, down 0.21 from last Friday.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Aug. 18

This Week Last Week Last Year

180 1,050 1,364

Compared to Aug. 11: Not enough comparable trades for a market test. The feeder supply included 0 percent steers and 100 percent heifers. Near 100 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs. Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 3-8 cent slide on yearlings. Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Feeder Steers: No test.

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1: Current FOB Price: 835 lbs 124.19.

Western hay price report Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:41:31 -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)

Aug. 18

This week FOB Last week Last year

11,017 6207 4770

Compared to Aug. 11: Premium and good Alfalfa were steady to slightly higher. Timothy Grass prices were firm with a greater variety of bale sizes available. Prices for Alfalfa Straw were steady.

This week FOB Last week Last year

Alfalfa Mid Square

Premium 4344 162.69

Good 1888 142.85

Alfalfa Small Square

Premium 2381 196.71

Orchard Grass Mid Square

Fair 350 145.00

Timothy Grass Mid Square

Premium 600 245.00

Good 424 215.00

Timothy Grass Small Square

Premium 20 240.00

Alfalfa Straw Mid Square

Utility 1000 60.00

Wheat Straw Small Square

Utility 10 100.00


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 18

Compared to Aug 11: Prices trended generally steady. All prices reported are 2017 crop, unless otherwise noted. Most producers are done with first cutting and out in the field working on second cutting. Extreme heat in some of the growing areas has slowed movement. Some rain and thunderstorms have diminished quality of hay. Retail/Stable type hay remains the largest demanded hay.

All prices are in dollars per ton and FOB unless otherwise stated.

This week FOB Last week Last year

2729 5921 6904

Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Wasco Counties

Tons Price

Alfalfa Small Square

Prem Retail/Stable 30 210.00

Orchard Grass Small Square

Premium 24 240.00

Eastern Oregon

Alfalfa Large Square

Premium 28 160.00

Good 28 130.00

Mid Square

Premium 300 155.00

Alfalfa/Grass Mix Sm Square

Premium 270 173.52

Harney County

Grass Small Square

Good 30 90.00

Klamath Basin

Oat Large Square

Good 300 90.00

Lake County

Alfalfa Large Square

Supreme 1234 200.41

Prem Rain Damage 200 180.00

Small Square

Good/Premium 85 185.00

Triticale Large Square

Premium 200 110.00


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 18

This week FOB Last week Last year

17,857 1800 700

Compared to Aug. 11: An increase in the variety of hay was available this week. The ready availability of both Alfalfa and Timothy Grass may have contributed to lower prices that were reported for the week.

Alfalfa Large Square

Good 500 120.00

Alfalfa Mid Square

Supreme 3500 152.50

Premium 3615 136.61

Good 5550 124.51

Export 500 125.00

Fair 4100 100.00

Timothy Grass Mid Square

Fair 92 165.00


(USDA Market News)

Aug. 18

This week FOB Last week Last year

8858 10,016 43,550

Compared to Aug. 11: All classes traded steady with moderate demand. According to the NASS crop progress report Aug. 13, Alfalfa fields were being irrigated, cut, and baled. Black-eyed beans continued to be irrigated and cultivated. Corn was being harvested for silage. Cotton was blooming and forming bolls, and continued to be irrigated. Sorghum for silage continued to be cultivated and irrigated.


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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supr Organic 150 325.00

Prem Organic 25 260.00

Retail/Stable 25 220.00

Orchard Grass Premium

Retail/Stable 25 300.00


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

Alfalfa Premium 382 226.44

Good 150 170.00

Oat Premium 125 135.00

Good 175 115.00


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

Alfalfa Supreme Del 80 265.00

Premium 1600 204.69

Retail/Stable 500 220.00

Del 100 220.00

Del Ret/Stable 200 225.00

Good/Premium 425 200.00

Good 400 165.00

Grassy 170 83.00

Del 450 165.00

Fair Del Rain Dam 100 160.00

Orchard Grass Good 800 214.00

Oat Good Del 200 125.00

Corn Silage Good Contr 1 40.00

Wheat Straw Good Del 600 105.00


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


Premium 150 200.00

Retail/Stable 125 220.00

Forage Mix-Three Way

Premium 75 180.00


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


Prem Ret/Stable 50 180.00

Good/Premium 175 152.86

Good 250 125.00

Export 500 140.00

Fair 750 110.00

Bermuda Grass

Prem Ret/Stable 100 185.00

Organic Valley butter plant opens in W. Oregon Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:13:13 -0400 Aliya Hall McMINNVILLE, Ore. — Organic Valley celebrated the grand opening of its new butter plant in McMinnville on Aug. 12 after buying the old Farmers Cooperative Creamery last year.

The plant is the co-op’s first brick-and-mortar facility outside Wisconsin, Hans Eisenbeis, director of Organic Valley public relations, said.

Organic Valley is the nation’s largest cooperative of organic farmers, with 2,013 members, 77 of whom are in Oregon and Washington. After Wisconsin, Oregon produces the next largest volume of milk in the Organic Valley supply chain. The co-op’s sales have topped $1.1 billion, and in 2016 it saw a 15 percent growth in membership and 5.8 percent growth in sales, according to the co-op.

The plant will produce butter and skim milk powder, but in the future could expand to making buttermilk powder and other products.

The creamery has 37 full-time employees on two shifts, Monday through Friday.

Organic Valley’s renovation of the former FCC plant was one of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s business development reserve fund investments to support small business growth, according to her office. The facility received a $350,000 check that Chris Cummings, deputy director of Business Oregon, presented during the opening ceremony.

“Organic Valley knew pretty quickly that McMinnville is the place to do business,” he said.

The event included a tour of Dan Bansen’s dairy in Dayton, Forest Glen Jerseys.

Bansen estimated he had about 800 guests at the farm that morning, according to Sasha Bernstein, a company spokeswoman.

Forest Glen Jerseys was the first farm in Western Oregon to join the co-op with 300 its cows, and is one of the bigger dairies associated with Organic Valley, Bansen said. He has followed organic practices for 24 years.

In Oregon, about 20 percent of the dairies are organic, said co-op member Steve Pierson of Sar-Ben Farms.

At the end of the event, official remarks were made by George Siemon, Organic Valley CEO; Lisa Hanson, deputy director of Oregon Department of Agriculture; Scott Hill, mayor of McMinnville; Pierson; and Cummings.

Siemon thanked FCC for giving them the opportunity to take over the plant, and said that McMinnville was the “strongest regions for the Organic Valley brand.”

Eisenbeis said earlier that Organic Valley had “a cultural fit” in McMinnville — a city that Hill dubbed unique because of its heritage.

“This is a historic building, we’ve seen it for many years,” Hill said of the plant, “but in partnering with Organic Valley we will be taken into the future to produce the best butter in America.”

Wildfire threatens buildings in Central Oregon; shelter opens Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:31:37 -0400 SISTERS, Ore. (AP) — With the solar eclipse just days away, a wildfire raging within Oregon’s path of totality threatened more than 650 structures Thursday and led officials to issue evacuation warnings.

Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act so the Oregon fire marshal can mobilize resources from around the state to protect homes.

“State agencies are already working around the clock and across the state, and as we get closer to the total solar eclipse, we’ll need all resources available to keep communities, visitors, and property safe,” Brown said in a statement.

The wildfire was burning in the center of the state near the town of Sisters in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. The blaze started last week and stayed relatively small and tame for days. It expanded Wednesday to more than 5 square miles, charring dead timber in the scar of a 2006 wildfire.

More than 200 firefighters were working to establish containment lines.

The homes where people were told to prepare to evacuate lie west of Sisters, the Western-themed town where eclipse observers will see 34 seconds of totality on Monday. The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Sisters Middle School for those who choose to leave.

Late Thursday, Oregon Department of Transportation officials closed McKenzie Pass Highway, also known as Highway 242, west of Sisters. Campers and hikers were being escorted from the area, the agency said.

Other wildfires are burning in what is typically Oregon’s busiest month for wildland firefighters. The state after a very wet winter and spring has so far been spared the kind of wildfire that destroys neighborhoods and burns areas the size of Rhode Island.

Eclipse traffic already heavy in central Oregon Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:40:05 -0400


Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Traffic is already a headache in central Oregon as thousands of people arrive before Monday’s total solar eclipse.

Traffic was backed up about 15 miles at one point on Thursday on U.S. Highway 26 near of Prineville, the last town before the turnoff for an eclipse-themed festival that’s expected to attract 35,000 people in a remote area with narrow, one-lane roads. Drivers then had to contend with another 14 miles of traffic on local roads to the venue.

A handful of gas stations in Bend and Prineville also ran out of fuel Wednesday before getting restocked.

The scene echoed one on Wednesday night, when eclipse traffic first began to swell. Traffic backed up for 12 miles on the same stretch of road, doubling the drive time between the towns of Redmond and Prineville as an estimated 8,000 cars passed through.

“The numbers of people who were coming in, we are beyond capacity really on that highway. Traffic is moving — it’s not stopped — but it’s taking a long time,” said Peter Murphy, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation in central Oregon.

Traffic officials reprogramed traffic lights to provide more time on green lights on east-west routes. The Prineville police also closed the eastbound lane of the highway for a time Thursday and diverted traffic onto local roads so the crush could clear.

In Madras, to the north, traffic also picked up Thursday. Gas stations were still stocked, said Joe Krenowicz, executive director of the Jefferson County-Madras Chamber of Commerce.

The town of about 6,000 is considered one of the best viewing locations in the nation and is expecting at least 100,000 people over the next four days.

“We know that we will run out of gas at some times, but they will refuel. There will be some inconveniences,” he said.

“We’re encouraging people to come into Madras with a full tank of gas if they possibly can.”

Traffic elsewhere in the state was still normal, officials said, but more visitors were expected into the weekend.

“When it comes, it will come as a rush,” said Dave Thompson, chief ODOT spokesman.

About 1 million people are expected to visit Oregon in the coming days — and up to 200,000 to Central Oregon — in the coming days to see the rare celestial event. It’s the first total, coast-to-coast solar eclipse in the U.S. in 99 years and totality — when the moon’s shadow blocks the sun and casts a shadow on Earth — first makes landfall in Oregon, making the state a top destination for eclipse watchers.

State officials are urging travelers to log onto before they leave or call 211, an information number about the eclipse set up for the public.

Vegas lawyers confidents laws will follow pot evolution Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:27:15 -0400 CHRIS KUDIALISVegas INC LAS VEGAS (AP) — Just over two years after filling out tens of thousands of sheets of paperwork for their medical marijuana licenses, Nevada weed entrepreneurs didn’t have it as bad this time around, according to lawyers in the new recreational industry.

While first-time marijuana business owners scrambled to meet state demands for obtaining their licenses back in 2015 — which included long applications, large amounts of cash, hiring and security — the process of entering the recreational business has been a matter of “fine-tuning,” as more experienced license-holders are now looking more for clarification on individual regulations in 2017.

“The questions are more specific. Before it was, ‘How do we do this, how do we operate?’?” said Las Vegas attorney Riana Durrett, who serves as executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association. “Now, the owners are very familiar with the laws, and it’s specific questions and fine-tuning.”

Durrett, who earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is one of several practicing attorneys in the valley working to help business operators understand Nevada’s new recreational marijuana laws. Those laws allow adults 21 and older to use and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana flower or 1/8 ounce of the THC equivalent of concentrates, such as shatter, wax and carbon dioxide oil.

This year, the Legislature and the Nevada Department of Taxation cleared the way for “early start” sales of the plant to begin July 1.

The turnaround of less than nine months from the time the ballot question passed to the kickoff of recreational sales made Nevada the first of four states that legalized adult-use weed in last year’s election to have its new industry up and running. That timeline resulted in a flurry of questions for lawyers — regarding both business and criminal law — as purveyors and consumers scrambled to keep pace with the evolving legal landscape.

Durrett, whose advocacy organization represents more than 80 percent of pot dispensaries across Nevada, said among questions she received the most from license holders was how to apply new packaging and labeling regulations for the recreational industry. Senate Bill 344, passed this session, mandated that edible products don’t resemble candy or other substances marketed to children, and that all packages be labeled “This is a marijuana product” in bold print. Language from the bill was later adopted in an emergency regulation on edibles by the industry’s regulating body, the Department of Taxation.

Employees of marijuana businesses in Nevada are now allowed to use their state-issued marijuana agent cards to work at any of the state’s 60 marijuana dispensaries, 88 cultivation facilities, 57 production facilities or 11 testing laboratories. Previous regulations in the medical marijuana industry forced weed workers to apply for a new agent card each time they moved to a new position — a process that took four to six weeks, even when the employee was moving between dispensaries.

“It has made life much easier for employers and their employees,” Durrett said of the recently passed Assembly Bill 422, which paved the way for the streamlined agent card process. “It’s helped us avoid having to reinvent the wheel.”

Criminal defense lawyer Nicholas Wooldridge of LV Criminal Defense has represented Las Vegas clients since moving back to the valley from New York City in 2014. Wooldridge, who also graduated from UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, said the number of criminal clients his office serves for marijuana-related offenses has decreased drastically since 2015. Once representing more than a dozen clients at a given time for weed crimes, Wooldridge can now count the marijuana offenders he represents on one hand.

“Prior to the law, it was common to see people charged with having some weed on them, but it’s not too often now unless you’re dealing pot,” he said. “I don’t think cops are looking to get into people’s houses to see if they have over an ounce of weed.”

Wooldridge said cases of most low-level marijuana offenders “haven’t been taken seriously” in court since Ballot Question 2 passed in November, and many marijuana cases that would have been prosecuted prior to this year are now being dismissed. Those most at risk are motorists driving under the influence of weed.

Wooldridge questioned legislation that classifies marijuana users whose blood contains two or more nanograms of marijuana or five or more nanograms of marijuana metabolites per milliliter of blood as impaired and subject to DUI charges. He calls that protocol “flawed,” arguing that samples from people who frequently use the plant could test above the legal limit days after last using pot, even though they’re not high at the time of their arrest. Metro Police spokesman Officer Larry Hadfield confirmed that valley police were “always on the lookout” for impaired drivers and said those who failed a field sobriety test would be arrested.

“People who smoke pot have to be really careful not to get pulled over,” Wooldridge said. “Or at least if you do get pulled over, be in a state where they don’t suspect that you could possibly be stoned.”

Attorney Amanda Connor of Connor & Connor PLC, perhaps the most well-known lawyer representing pot industry licensees in Nevada, said the recreational industry’s long-term success would revolve primarily around its ability to resolve an ongoing wholesale distribution dispute and its capacity to develop reliable permanent regulations once the current early start regulations expire Jan. 1.

Connor said permanent regulations for the industry should “work themselves out” as a combination of tweaks from the early start regulations and recommendations from Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recreational marijuana task force, appointed this year. Connor added that progress — including a determination for how the Department of Taxation quantifies the amount of distribution sufficient to run the industry — still must be made on the ongoing wholesale dispute with licensed alcohol distributors before the weed industry can feel confident about its ability to legally supply dispensaries.

“A lot still has to play out, but there’s reason to believe the industry will stabilize and develop,” Connor said. “I think Nevada will have big numbers going forward.”

Deere 3Q profit up, construction equipment market improves Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:14:44 -0400 MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Deere’s fiscal third-quarter profit topped analysts’ estimates, buoyed by improving farm and construction equipment markets. But its adjusted revenue missed Wall Street’s view.

Shares tumbled 5 percent in Friday premarket trading.

The agricultural equipment maker earned $641.8 million, or $1.97 per share, for the period ended July 30. A year ago the Moline, Illinois-based company earned $488.8 million, or $1.55 per share.

The results beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were looking for earnings of $1.93 per share.

Revenue rose to $7.81 billion from $6.72 billion. Its adjusted revenue was $6.83 billion, which was short of the $6.88 billion that analysts polled by Zacks expected.

Going forward, Deere & Co. foresees fiscal 2017 net income of about $2.08 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet predict net income of $2.06 billion.

Idaho growers report lower yields in early Norkotah harvest Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:50:12 -0400 John O’Connell RUPERT, Idaho — Potato industry officials report yields are down significantly as Western Idaho growers commence with their early harvest of Russet Norkotahs for the fresh market.

Growers statewide anticipate having more average production during their general harvest in a few weeks, as the crop will have time to continue progressing, though they don’t expect to approach last year’s record volumes.

They expect tuber quality will vary dramatically from field to field, based on site-specific conditions during a prolonged heatwave this summer.

But growers also say they’re optimistic about strengthening prices, given Idaho farmers planted 15,000 fewer potato acres this season and should have a reasonable-sized crop to market.

“Yields are down, price is up, and (tuber size) is pretty good,” Mountain Home grower Jeff Harper said amid his early harvest.

Jeff Miller, a crop scientist at Rupert-based Miller Research, explained during an Aug. 17 field day at his potato research plots that the 2017 crop got off to a slow start. Potato planting was delayed by wet fields, and cool spring weather delayed crop emergence.

Miller said an “almost unheard of” two-week period of temperatures that peaked above 95 degrees may also lead to more tuber quality problems, such as hollow heart. Miller expects tuber quality of individual fields could vary widely, depending on the growth stage when the hot weather hit.

“People aren’t sure what it’s going to do to quality,” Miller said. “We’ve done some test digs and some looked horrible while some looked great.”

In Eastern Idaho, Ritchie Toevs, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, anticipates his yields will be down by about 60 hundredweight per acre from last season. Toevs, of Aberdeen, plans to start harvest on Sept. 20 and has been pleasantly surprised by tuber quality in his test digs. He believes a bad wildfire season has contributed to reduced yields.

“I don’t know if smoky weather might have taken some off of the crop in August,” Toevs said, noting smoke blocks solar radiation. “We didn’t see the mountains for two weeks.”

Marty Kearl, farm manager with a Jentzsch-Kearl Farms unit in Bliss, agrees early harvest yields are low, but he believes there’s still time for the rest of the crop to catch up. He added that growers have also had little trouble with diseases.

“The tubers are smaller than they were last year at this time, but the vines are looking better,” Kearl said.

Mike Larsen, with Rupert-based Mart Produce, believes hot weather has hurt Norkotahs, especially in sandy soils, and some growers who are now supplying his business with new crop have struggled with poor size and yields. He expects the “size will be off a little bit” with Russet Burbanks, and he worries about potential tuber defects related to the heat.

“What’s really unknown is what kind of quality we’re going to get from the Burbank crop,” Larsen said.

But Larsen admits the market outlook is rosier than it’s been in recent years.

“It seems like demand is good, especially from the processors,” Larsen said.

Randy Hardy, with Sun Valley Potatoes in Oakley, said grower returns on Norkotahs are up to roughly $8 per carton, compared to about $5 on Aug. 7, before the new crop came in. Hardy expects his company’s Burbanks will be smaller, average yielding and good quality.

Record cherry crop reaching finish line Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:52:41 -0400 Dan Wheat YAKIMA, Wash. — The Pacific Northwest is closing in on the end of a sweet cherry harvest memorable for record volume, great weather and quality and likely one of the longest.

Picking began June 6 in Mattawa, Wash., and will finish about the end of August in high-elevation orchards near Hood River, Ore., and Wenatchee, Chelan and Brewster, Wash. It will be an 80- to 90-day season.

Through Aug. 3, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana shipped 25.5 million, 20-pound boxes of cherries, eclipsing the previous record of 23.2 million in 2014, according to Northwest Cherry Growers, the industry’s promotions arm in Yakima.

Washington typically grows 80 to 85 percent of the five-state crop and more than 60 percent of the national crop. Washington’s crop value was $471 million in 2016, according to USDA.

An Aug. 11 NCG email newsletter indicates the Northwest could finish at 27.5 million boxes since 2.4 million had been picked in August with likely another 2 million to go. A record 15.2 million boxes were shipped in July. Shipments averaged 500,000 boxes or more per day for more than 30 days.

NCG’s promotions and retail ads were big going into the Fourth of July and have continued through summer, which has been important to compete with heavy volumes of other fruits, said James Michael, NCG vice president of promotions.

“It was critical for us to have the volume and the No. 1 advertised item in fruit for about a month,” Michael said.

“It’s been an interesting year. Phenomenal volume, which caused a lot of price pressure, but that’s how to build new markets. We went deeper into a lot of export markets in Asia, making investments on price to grow those markets,” said Tim Evans, general sales manager of Chelan Fresh Marketing in Chelan, a large cherry sales desk.

“A lot of people around the globe don’t buy fresh cherries so there’s a lot of room for growth,” he said.

The large crop also led to fruit size not being as large as last year. Many packers decided not to pack 11.5-row cherries and smaller. Size is the number of cherries in one row of a 20-pound box.

“This year was heavy to 10 and 10.5-row and last year 55 percent of our fruit was 9.5-row and larger,” Evans said.

Wholesale prices sagged into the mid to upper $20s per box in July from the heavy volume, which was “very tough on growers,” Evans said. Prices rebounded “quite well” to $35 to $50 in August, he said.

Chelan Fruit Cooperative, which markets through Chelan Fresh, was one of few packers in the state still packing cherries on Aug. 16. Evans said the industry still shipped 112,838 boxes on Aug. 15 and would wind down to finish around Aug. 26.

Cherries were still on ad in more than 16,000 stores in the U.S. and with 400 demos set for the weekend of Aug. 12-13, Northwest Cherry Growers said. That’s unusual for that time of year.

Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, finished its harvest at the 3,400-foot elevation Halverson Ranch Orchard south of Wenatchee on Aug. 14.

It’s one of the highest elevation orchards in the state but matured earlier than expected due to warm weather, said Scott Marboe, Oneonta marketing director.

He said the season surpassed his highest expectations and that several of Oneonta’s retail customers hit record sales in volume and dollars.

“The cherries were very well received and retail displays were fantastic,” Marboe said, adding that export demand also was strong.

He also credited high-tech optical sizing and sorting equipment, now prevalent throughout the industry, for improving packing speed and product quality.

North Dakota cattle, corn groups launch drought aid efforts Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:07:14 -0400 BLAKE NICHOLSON BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s largest livestock group and its biggest corn organizations have launched efforts to help ranchers devastated by a summer of drought.

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and its foundation have established the Hope for the Heartland Drought Relief Fund. Donations will be distributed early next year, with applications being accepted through the end of this year.

“Cattle-ranching families work for generations to build their herds, and we want to do all that we can to help them keep them together and work through a challenging time,” said Bowman-area rancher and Stockmen’s Foundation President Steve Brooks.

The North Dakota Corn Growers Association and Corn Utilization Council are urging farmers to provide free or low-cost corn grazing or corn stalk bales to ranchers. Association board members have already contributed hundreds of acres and tons of bales.

“When your crop fails as a corn farmer, you just have to move on and hope next year’s crop turns out better. For our fellow ranchers who have no feed and have to sell off their herds, this drought is a whole different situation,” said Oakes farmer Scott German, chairman of the Corn Utilization Council.

Many North Dakota ranchers are selling off cattle they can’t afford to feed, while others are searching for affordable hay, with demand pushing prices to as much as double the normal cost.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows 82 percent of North Dakota in some stage of drought. Much of the state’s prime ranching country is in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories.

Nearly three-fourths of pastures in the state and nearly three-fourths of the alfalfa hay crop are rated in poor or very poor condition by the U.S. Agriculture Department. North Dakota’s Agriculture Department, North Dakota State University and the Michigan-based nonprofit Ag Community Relief this month announced a program to accept hay donations at a site near the Fargo campus and distribute it to needy producers through a lottery drawing next month.

The USDA this summer declared numerous North Dakota counties to be disaster areas, and Gov. Doug Burgum also has declared a drought disaster. Federal aid includes emergency loans, forage disaster payments and emergency haying and grazing of land enrolled in conservation and wetland programs. State efforts include adding more money to the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply cost-share program and relaxing commercial driving and weight limit restrictions to help with the transport of livestock, water and hay.

Huge Montana wildlife reserve buys 46,000-acre ranch Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:02:24 -0400 BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A sprawling central Montana nature reserve has purchased a 46,000-acre ranch bordering a federal refuge as it advances toward its goal of establishing a Connecticut-sized park where bison and other wildlife can roam freely.

The American Prairie Reserve announced Wednesday it had purchased the Two Crow Ranch about an hour north of Lewistown for an undisclosed sum.

The deal brings the amount of land under the group’s control to more than 399,000 acres. That includes private and leased land to the north and south of the Missouri River.

Cattle grazing will continue at the Two Crow Ranch for at least the 18 months, Reserve President Sean Garrity said. There will be public access for camping, biking, horseback riding and other recreational activities, he said.

The Two Crow Ranch borders the 1.1 million acre Charles M. Russel National Wildlife Refuge, which includes Fort Peck Reservoir.

Since 2001, the Bozeman-based American Prairie Reserve has raised more than $100 million to pursue its goal of stitching together millions of acres of contiguous public and private land to create a vast wildlife preserve.

Some surrounding landowners have raised objections that the reserve is taking land out of food production and altering the rural, agriculture-based economies of surrounding areas of central Montana.

The reserve has roughly 1,000 bison and has said it plans to increase that herd to more than 10,000 animals by late next decade. However, Garrity said it would be “a few years at least” before bison are brought to the Two Crow land.

The reserve plans to offer maps in coming months depicting how the public can access the Two Crow Ranch, Garrity said.

LA confirms cannabis czar to regulate legal pot industry Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:59:01 -0400 LOS ANGELES (AP) — With recreational marijuana use just months away from being legal in California, Los Angeles has appointed a so-called cannabis czar tasked with regulating the local pot industry.

The Daily News reports the City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to confirm Cat Packer as executive director for the newly created Department of Cannabis Regulation.

Packer, a nominee of Mayor Eric Garcetti, recently served as a director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which lobbies for changes to cannabis laws at the state level.

Californians will be able to legally use recreational marijuana starting Jan. 1.

Los Angeles is weighing proposed regulations to allow dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers and other types of cannabis-related businesses to operate.

Crews try to push Yosemite wildfire away from small town Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:56:19 -0400 YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Crews fighting a fire in Yosemite National Park are attempting to guide the flames deeper into the wilderness and away from a small community.

The fire is burning about 1 mile east of Wawona, a tiny community near the park’s south entrance that swells this time of year with up to 2,000 visitors attending a church camp and renting cabins.

It has burned 3.5 square miles of wilderness and pine forests 65 miles north of Fresno. The fire is 5 percent contained. The fire has closed campgrounds and trails in the park, but authorities have not ordered anyone to leave Wawona.

Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman says a lightning strike in recent weeks may be to blame for the blaze that erupted into a wildfire on Aug. 13. No structures have been damaged.

1,000 animals found at illegal boarding facility Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:54:17 -0400 SOLEDAD, Calif. (AP) — An animal welfare organization says it has rescued more than 1,000 llamas, horses, cows, goats, chickens and other animals from an illegal boarding facility in Northern California where many of them were being mistreated.

Salinas television station KSBW reports Wednesday that a calf and a steer had to be euthanized and that another calf died later at the SPCA in Monterey County, where it was taken to be treated for emaciation.

Monterey County officials ordered the owner of Metz Road ranch in Soledad to shut down his facility.

The unidentified owner is being fined $1,000 dollars a day by county officials until he complies. He has also been ordered to provide food, water and medical care for the remaining animals while they are still on the property.

Biodynamic: A different kind of farming Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:14:35 -0400 Biodynamic agriculture involves unusual practices, but producers stand by their results

By John O’Connell

Capital Press

VICTOR, Idaho — “Auntie Em!”

A small, Brown Swiss cow grazing in sight of the Teton Range raised her head upon hearing Mike Reid’s call. She trotted to her master’s side and licked his face.

“My cows are pets,” explained Reid, owner of Paradise Springs Farm, a 30-cow dairy where the livestock have names and are celebrated for their unique personalities. “Some people have cats and dogs; I have cows.”

Paradise Springs is part of a cluster of small farms employing biodynamic agricultural practices in this small, Eastern Idaho town. The quirky, management-intensive system arrived in the U.S. in the early 1990s. In recent years, domestic biodynamic production, though still tiny compared to conventional farming, has grown by 10 to 15 percent a year. But it’s long been popular in Europe and traces back to the 1920s, when German philosopher-scientist Rudolf Steiner gave lectures on an approach to food production that regarded a farm as a self-sufficient “organism,” shunning chemical fertilizers and farm inputs and promoting a variety of esoteric production practices designed to help crops and livestock better capture “cosmic” energy.

“It is a method of organic agriculture that predates the national organic program by 70 years,” said Jim Fullmer, executive director of Junction City, Ore.-based Demeter USA, the nation’s biodynamic certification authority. “This is like the grandmother of all of it.”

Fullmer said public awareness of the system has surged in the U.S. during the past decade, based on its growing popularity among West Coast wineries seeking to differentiate their products — and claim massive price premiums.

Fullmer and the Victor producers believe the nation is on the cusp of yet another “foundational” biodynamic trend.

Demeter has been flooded in recent months with calls from marijuana growers. Though recreational pot use has been legalized in many states, including Oregon and Washington, it’s still not legal federally, leaving growers without the option of seeking federal organic certification. Medical pot use is allowed in California, which is scheduled to legalize pot for recreational purposes starting next year.

Biodynamic farming is a closed-loop system, with animals at its heart. The animals provide compost for crops and are in turn supported by farm-raised forage.

By promoting diverse insect and soil microbial life, biodynamic farmers keep pests and diseases in balance without chemicals, explained Ken Michael, who runs Victor-based Teton Full Circle Farm with his wife, Erika Eschholz.

“It’s pretty much self-sustaining,” Michael said. “Water and sunlight are the main inputs.”

Certified growers must meet the baseline requirements of organic farming. In addition, they must spend at least a year demonstrating their mastery of nine required homeopathic treatments, which are many times ridiculed by those in mainstream agriculture.

One treatment, for example, entails burying manure in a cow horn, thereby “amplifying” natural energy to accelerate its conversion to humus, which is used to inoculate compost with beneficial microbes. Another treatment involves burying a horn with pulverized quartz, which is added in small doses to water and sprayed on foliage to stimulate photosynthesis.

Some producers, such as Michael, base crop decisions on a celestial planting calendar, which he explained “follows the moon through the various constellations” and “makes sure we’re in the rhythm that the plants are following.”

The Victor farmers explain the homeopathic treatments are complex and aren’t fully understood by science, making them difficult to explain to the public. They contend farmers must experience the benefits of the treatments to believe them. Clusters of biodynamic farms often develop as workers versed in the system leave to start their own operations nearby.

Demeter USA had certified 15 farms in 1993. Today, 300 farms are certified biodynamic. Biodynamic farmers pay Demeter a $420 annual renewal fee, plus half a cent for every dollar in earnings, and are subjected to an annual audit.

Reid speaks of his favorite cow, Glenda Goodwitch, to prove his system’s effectiveness.

Goodwitch, mother to Auntie Em, is 14 years old and remains the top milk producer on his dairy. The geriatric cow is pregnant with another calf.

Reid, who holds the first raw milk permit issued in Idaho, was recently recognized as having one of the 10 best organic dairies in the U.S. by the Cornucopia Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes organic agriculture.

“If you treat your cows as well as you treat your pet dog, they’ll return just as much love, and even better, a lot of good milk,” said Reid, who has trained his cows not to defecate inside the barn.

Reid acknowledges his yields can’t compare with conventional dairies, but his customers pay a considerable premium for milk they believe delivers better nutrition and “energy.” Local families who subscribe to his delivery service pay $12 to $15 per gallon for his raw milk, and up to $35 per pound for his raw cheese.

The Teton Valley’s first biodynamic farm, Cosmic Apple Gardens, opened in 1996. Founder Jed Restuccia and his wife, Dale Sharkey, raise vegetables, beef, poultry and eggs on their 50-acre farm, selling food directly to customers through a community supported agriculture arrangement. Cosmic Apple animal products, however, are labeled only as organic, since the farm imports too much outside feed for them to meet biodynamic specifications.

“It’s healing the Earth through agriculture, and that’s what we want to do,” Sharkey said.

Full Circle Farm sprang out of Cosmic Apple, where Eschholz worked for 11 years, starting as a volunteer. Full Circle employs one worker and two interns and offers 20 CSA “work shares” for supplemental labor. People who put in several hours per week of weeding, harvesting and other chores get free produce.

Most vineyards seek to plant “every square inch” of their property in grape vines, explained Jeffrey Landolt, vineyard and estate director at Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen, Calif.

About 20 years ago, however, Benziger commenced with tearing out vines, as it started on the path toward becoming biodynamic.

In addition to grapes, the 90-acre farm is now also home to about 1,000 olive trees, a fruit orchard and flower gardens, which promote a diversity of insects to keep harmful pests in check. Bird boxes are scattered throughout the property — habitat for blue birds that also play a role in insect control.

And though the industry has long valued bare soil to avoid competition with vines, Benziger plants specialized blends of cover crops — plant species raised primarily to benefit soil health — beneath the grapes. Benziger maintains a flock of 80 sheep to graze the cover crops and add manure to the system. Bedding, manure and spent grape skins are also composted together for additional fertility.

The percentage of organic matter in the farm’s soil has grown from 1 to 3 percent under the biodynamic system. Landolt explained that Benziger is “pushing the envelope” of biodynamics, having developed some of its own homeopathic treatments. For example, the farm has experimented with different minerals to use in the preparation intended to stimulate photosynthesis.

Benziger’s biodynamic wines sell for $60 to $100 per bottle, containing a “unique and a wider swath of the potential flavor and aroma profile.”

“I think we’re about to explode in biodynamic agriculture (production) in general,” Landolt said.

Fullmer, the biodynamic certifier, said 70 vineyards, mostly on the West Coast, are currently certified biodynamic.

“What initially brought biodynamics to the U.S. consumer’s mind was wine,” Fullmer said. “Wine is a great ambassador.”

In the near future, Fullmer anticipates many marijuana growers who call themselves “farmers” will have to earn the title — at least if they hope to receive his association’s certification.

Biodynamic pot growers are expected to raise livestock to generate compost for their high-value crops. They’ll also have to implement diverse crop rotations. But the payoff is considerable for those willing to make the investment. One grower reported selling biodynamic pot for $60 per eighth-ounce, compared to about $35 for a standard variety raised under natural light.

“They’ve been lab technicians up until now, but cannabis producers are becoming farmers, which is a beautiful thing,” Fullmer said.

Under Oregon’s industrial hemp license, Fullmer raises a medicinal cannabis variety with several “healing compounds” but without the psychoactive ingredient, THC. His own crop rotation includes medicinal herbs, such as yarrow and red clover blossom. He also has a herd of Scottish Highland cows.

Fullmer has fielded calls from processors throughout the country seeking a certified biodynamic marijuana supply for oil extract production. Only eight growers are now certified or in the process of becoming certified.

Alicia Rose, founder of HerbaBuena in Northern California, makes medicinal marijuana extracts and topical products. She was the first to inquire with Demeter about certification for marijuana. Familiar with biodynamics as a consultant to high-end wineries, Rose figured the system represented a good alternative to pot farmers who are excluded from seeking federal organic status.

Rose helped a Sonoma fruit and olive farmer become the first Demeter-certified pot grower and now has six biodynamic suppliers.

“A lot of people buy it only because it has the word ‘certified’ on there,” Rose said. “In some ways, we’re lucky we live in Northern California and there’s been a considerable biodynamic movement here, especially because of the wine growers.”

Rupert, Idaho, crop scientist Jeff Miller recalled a period about 15 years when compost teas enjoyed short-lived popularity among many local potato farmers.

In his own trials, Miller noticed no benefit from the teas — compost concentrates mixed with water and applied to soil to boost beneficial organisms.

However, a grower who attended his field day swore she had success with them. A year later, the grower acknowledged she’d switched back to conventional methods, and that her promising results were likely based on her own desire for compost teas to work.

Miller sees parallels between that grower and those who report successes with some of the more unusual biodynamic practices.

“Let’s say I do five things to my crop and three work and two don’t,” Miller said. “Without properly controlled scientific studies, it’s hard to know what things are giving you the benefit.”

Washington State University soil science professor John Reganold is among a small group of researchers who have studied biodynamic farming in depth.

Colleagues have suggested that Reganold is “out of his mind” to give the system any consideration, he said.

“I say, ‘No, they’re farmers, and they’re good farmers. They’ve got good soil, and they’re making money,” Reganold said.

Reganold emphasizes the system generally preaches sound farming fundamentals, such as good care for animals, crop diversity, building soil health and sustainability. Reganold’s research has confirmed a slight increase in compost temperature, as well as improved respiration of soil organisms, following the addition of manure from a buried cow horn.

He’s seen no evidence to support claims that any of the homeopathic preparations directly result in production gains. Indirectly, however, he’s certain biodynamic farmers benefit from the preparations because they’re forced to spend more time observing their fields.

“Organic is getting bigger and bigger, and now people are saying, ‘We want a different edge,’” Reganold said.

Southeast Asia wheat buyers tour Pacific Northwest Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:59:40 -0400 Matw Weaver High level executives from the major wheat purchasing and flour producing operations of Wilmar International, and its operations in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, toured the region Aug. 9-16. Wilmar is Asia’s leading agribusiness group.

The tour included meeting with farmers, grain elevators, traders and researchers in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana.

Genesee, Idaho, farmer Joe Anderson, a board member of the Idaho Wheat Commission, said he hoped to show the team the quality of the region’s wheat crop.

“Every time we bring (existing and potential customers) out here on a tour, it helps us educate them as to the production and transportation system that feeds their market,” Anderson said. “I think we show them a pretty impressive distribution and marketing chain that helps them realize there’s a lot of quality product to be had out here.”

During a summary session, Wilmar executives told U.S. Wheat Associates representatives the area’s wheat breeding programs and facilities are impressive, including the farmer investment in developing new wheat varieties.

“They said, ‘Now we understand how and why you have high-quality wheat,’” said Steve Wirsching, director of the West Coast office for U.S. Wheat in Portland. “It’s not just a slogan and it doesn’t happen by accident.”

Southeast Asia represents 40 percent of the market for wheat exports produced in the Pacific Northwest, Wirsching said.

“We see good economic growth overall, and solid population growth — two factors that lead on to some positive growth for wheat imports,” Wirsching said. “Ten to 20 years from now, they’ll be the big markets for our products.”

Anderson learned from tour members that Vietnam is not able to directly import wheat from the U.S., but can import flour. They must run the wheat through a flour mill in China, Indonesia or other locations, he said.

“There’s a real good chance that will change shortly,” he said. “This may help them be more efficient and cost-effective in their marketplace, if they can bring in our wheat directly.”

Wirsching said recent problems related to fumigation and trade have occurred in Vietnam, but are close to being resolved. Teams and groups like the Wilmar tour raise awareness and create internal pressure to resolve problems in a business-like manner, he said.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us, and I appreciate the fact that the farmers, during their harvest, during their busy time, went out to meet them,” Wirsching said of the tour.

Members of the tour rode a combine on Anderson’s farm. He saved a field for harvest for the visit.

Anderson also joined the tour for several dinners during their time visiting Idaho.

“I think it’s easier to do business with people that we’re comfortable with on a social level, as well as on the business side,” Anderson said.

Thirteen trade teams are scheduled to visit in 2017, and 11 have or will go through one or more of the Pacific Northwest states, according to U.S. Wheat Associates. Teams are typically in the U.S. for one to two weeks, and visit two to five states.

Selected Western livestock auctions Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:57:20 -0400 California


(Turlock Livestock Auction Yard)

Aug. 15

Receipts: 1629 HD.

Compared to a week ago: Light test on choice cattle. Strong test on dairy steers and heifers bringing 5-10 cents better compared to a week ago. Weigh cows and bulls 1-2 cents softer compared to a week ago.

No. 1 Med. & Large Frame Steers: 400-499 lbs. $150-162.50; 500-599 lbs. $150-160; 600-699 lbs. $138-156.50; 700-799 lbs. $122-130; 800-899 lbs. $120-129

No. 2 Med. & Large Frame Steers: 300-399 lbs. $100-165; 400-499 lbs. $105-149; 500-599 lbs. $100-149; 600-699 lbs. $95-137; 700-799 lbs. $90-121; 800-899 lbs. $75-119

No. 1 Med. & Large Frame Heifers: 400-499 lbs. $130-145; 500-599 lbs. $128-141; 600-699 lbs. $125-140; 700-799 lbs. $118-125; 800-899 lbs. $113-123

No. 2 Med. & Large Frame Heifers: 300-399 lbs. $110-153; 400-499 lbs. $107-129; 500-599 lbs. $105-127; 600-699 lbs. $100-124; 700-799 lbs. $95-117; 800-899 lbs. $92-112

No. 1 Holstein Steers: 300-399 lbs. $75-110; 400-499 lbs. $70-105; 500-599 lbs. $85-103; 600-699 lbs. $80-101.25; 700-799 lbs. $80-100; 800-899 lbs. $75-100; 900-999 lbs. $75-100

Holstein Barren Heifers;: $65 94

Weigh Beef Cows: High Yielding $73-$82.50; Med Yielding $55-$72; Low Yielding $40-$54

Weigh Dairy Cows: High Yielding $72-$80; Med Yielding $62-$71; Low Yielding $35-$61

Weigh Bulls: High Yielding $85-$100; Med Yielding $75-$84; Low Yielding $58-$74



(Woodburn Livestock Exchange)

Aug. 14-15

Total Receipts: 1102, 517 Cattle

Top 10 Slaughter Cows A/P: 76.43 cwt

Top 50 Slaughter Cows A/P: 72.24 cwt

Top 100 Slaughter Cows A/P: 68.86 cwt

Back To The Country Cows: 70 cwt

Certified Cows: 80-140 cwt

Top Certified Organic Cattle: NT

All Slaughter Bulls: $52-104 cwt

Top Beef Steers: 200-300 lbs. $100-130 cwt; 300-400 lbs. $125-141 cwt; 400-500 lbs. $120-139 cwt; 500-600 lbs. $120-128.50 cwt; 600-700 lbs. $110-126.50 cwt; 700-800 lbs. $105-119 cwt; 800-900 lbs. $102-117.50 cwt; 900-1000 lbs. NT

Top Beef Heifers: 200-300 lbs. $NT; 300-400 lbs. $120-136 cwt; 400-500 lbs. $115-130 cwt; 500-600 lbs. $100-121.50 cwt; 600-700 lbs. $100-118 cwt; 700-800 lbs. $95-105 cwt; 800-900 lbs. NT; 900-1000 lbs. NT

Cow/Calf Pairs: NT

Bred Cows: NT

Lambs: 40-70 lbs. $160-187.50 cwt; 75-150 lbs. $155-185 cwt

Thin Ewes: $43-152.50 cwt

Fleshy Ewes: $42-100 cwt

Ewe/Lamb Pairs: NT

Goats: 10-39 lbs. $10-67.50 HD; 40-69 lbs. $17.50-142.50 HD; 70-79 lbs. $92.50-185 HD; 80-89 lbs. $90-220 HD; 90-99 lbs. $90-220 HD; 100-199 lbs. $130-282.50 HD; 200-300 lbs. $200-220 HD


(Lebanon Auction Yard)

Aug. 17

Total receipts: 468

Butcher Cows: Conventional: Top Cow, $83.50; Top 10 Cows, $80.36; Top 50 Cows, $77.95; Top 100 Cows, $75.97; Organic: Top Cow, $101; Top 10, $97.23; Avg. All Organic: $73.05.

Bulls: Conventional: Top Bull, $94.50; Avg. All Bulls, $83.42.

Feeder Steers: 300-400 lbs. $131.50 cwt; 700-800 lbs. $113-120 cwt.

Feeder Heifers: 300-400 lbs. $95-126 cwt; 900-1000 lbs. $93-105 cwt.

Goats: $15-150 head.

Lambs: $82.50-173 cwt.

Analysis recommends smokejumper base remain in Methow Valley Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:27:13 -0400 WINTHROP, Wash. (AP) — A new analysis is recommending that Washington’s only smokejumper base remain in the Methow Valley, considered the birthplace of smokejumping.

A group advising the U.S. Forest Service says the North Cascades Smokejumper Base near Winthrop should stay where it has been for nearly 80 years.

The first experimental jumps were made there in 1939. It’s one of seven in the Forest Service’s smokejumping program where wildland firefighters parachute often into remote wilderness to fight wildfires.

The base uses the Methow Valley Airport, which is federally funded but run by the state. Three buildings on site don’t comply with federal standards, jeopardizing federal money for the airport and prompting the need for changes.

A preliminary analysis explored a range of options and factors. It recommended the existing location, which would require about $5.2 million in construction money.

Wenatchee was a close second. Yakima was also an option but won’t be considered further.

Oregon National Guard heads to wildfire near Crater Lake Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:24:56 -0400 ANDREW SELSKY SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Over 100 Oregon National Guard members are deploying to southern Oregon to fight a fire near Crater Lake as the state endures peak wildfire season, less than a week before the eclipse.

Lt. Col. Martin Balakas said on Tuesday as the soldiers took refresher training on fighting wilderness fires that they will take a bus Wednesday to battle a blaze near Oregon’s iconic Crater Lake.

They are among about 375 Oregon National Guard members who were activated in 2015 to fight fires, including the Canyon Creek Fire near John Day that destroyed 43 homes and nearly 100 barns, workshops and other structures.

The part-time soldiers were wearing yellow hardhats Tuesday as they used tools to cut and move brush into piles where they were doused with a hose.