Capital Press | Nation/World Capital Press Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:53:27 -0500 en Capital Press | Nation/World Farm labor keeps tightening, industry says Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:16:13 -0500 Dan Wheat It’s usually hard to quantify the shortage of seasonal agricultural workers, but it’s a problem on the West Coast and nationally that isn’t getting any better, ag industry labor observers say.

Improving economic conditions in Mexico, a tighter border and immigrants here, legally or illegally, being attracted to better jobs, all keep restricting seasonal farmworker supply, said Lee Wicker, deputy director of the North Carolina Growers Association, Vass, N.C.

North Carolina leads the nation in use of H-2A visa foreign guestworkers for agriculture at 14,500 and without it would be in a world of hurt as the farm labor market is “bad and deteriorating rapidly,” Wicker said.

Even with fewer acres planted because of the drought in California, commodity groups there are 15 to 20 percent short of the workers they need, said Tom Nassif, president of Western Growers Association in Irvine. It’s higher in strawberries, he said.

“Labor is extremely tight in California and getting tighter every year because it’s harder for people to cross the border,” said April Mackie, director of food safety and regulatory compliance at Ramco Enterprises in Salinas.

The company produces strawberries, lettuce and vegetables and is a labor contractor of 12,000 farmworkers.

Growers who produce only a few months a year are having the hardest time keeping workers and growers in some areas are losing workers to the oil industry that pays well, she said.

In Washington state, where apple harvest alone depends on 45,000 to 55,000 seasonal workers annually, labor was “very tight” with the harvest of a huge 155-million-box crop, said Mike Gempler, executive director of Washington Growers League in Yakima.

“Not everyone had all the people they needed when they needed them. It was the classic situation of a labor market that’s too tight,” Gempler said.

Labor was good for Washington cherries in June and July because more workers came from California after a light crop there, industry officials said at that time.

But Quincy Foods scrambled to find workers in August to keep its vegetable processing line running in August. It made it using temporary workers, Chris Scott, general manager, said.

During pear and apple harvest, some Washington grower-shippers said they were okay on labor while others said they were tight.

Washington Fruit & Produce Co., Yakima, did well and was doing real well by Oct. 21 when Dan Plath, orchard manager, said the company had a lot of pickers and was able to harvest when it wanted to instead of when it had to. The company was never behind but would have been without 400 H-2A workers, he said.

“It has not been a great year on labor but we’ve been getting it done,” Roger Pepperl, marketing director of Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, said Oct. 22. He said labor is costing more and that some people were managing the situation better than others.

Short supply controlled more decisions of significant numbers of growers on what was harvested when, Gempler said.

“As the season wore on, we were able to get pretty much everything in but there are economic impacts of leaving fruit on trees to get fruit of higher value,” he said.

There was more sharing and moving of pickers and without those efficiencies and more H-2A workers, the situation would have been worse, he said.

Shortage of pickers has been pretty much the same since McDougall & Sons Inc., Wenatchee, used prison labor in 2011 to get all its apples picked, Gempler said.

The shortage of labor at landscape nurseries in Oregon has been getting worse for a number of years, said Jeff Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries in Wilsonville.

“We took a pretty good hit in the last (economic) downturn. One third of the nurseries in Oregon went away,” he said. “For us the lack of labor puts an economic cap on regrowth of the industry.”

Oregon nurseries ship about $800 million worth of product annually and if the state lost its estimated 97,500 undocumented workers another 76,000 legal workers would lose their jobs and the state’s total economic output would be reduced 6 percent or by $17.7 billion, according to a study by Coalition for a Working Oregon.

Irrigation-clogging weed cleared for removal Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:28:03 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski Federal authorities have approved the removal of an irrigation canal-clogging weed from the Columbia River, but the aquatic plants won’t be yanked until next year.

Flowering rush, which was found growing in August at several new sites near Umatilla, Ore., grows so thickly that it can hinder the flow of water in canals and block irrigation intakes. The invasive species also provides habitat for introduced fish that eat threatened salmon.

However, the weed could not be immediately removed because it grows within the Columbia River, which falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and three federal statutes.

Most recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cleared the weed for removal after reviewing the proposal under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers previously approved the weed’s removal under the National Environmental Policy Act, but the proposal hasn’t entirely passed muster under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act.

One patch of flowering rush was determined to be growing at a sensitive area for cultural resources and thus cannot be pulled at this point, but no regulations stand in the way of removing the weed from the other sites.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers soon plans to cover the flowering rush patches on the Oregon side of the river with mats and sandbags, then contract with divers for “suction-assisted aquatic plant removal” next year, said Bruce Henrickson, public affairs specialist for the agency.

However, the agency cannot cover the patches on the Washington side of the river because it doesn’t have precise global positioning system information and the weed has gone into dormancy and sunk beneath the water’s surface, Henrickson said. Those sites will be treated once they resuming growing and become visible in spring.

Flowering rush is already problematic for irrigators in other parts of the Northwest, but it was never found growing in Oregon until this summer.

The weed spreads when buds break off from its roots and travel downstream, and the Oregon patches likely grew from buds that originated along the Yakima River in Washington.

Curtailed negotiations may prolong port congestion Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:16:15 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski Agricultural exporters fear a prolonged disruption to shipping at West Coast ports as the longshoremen’s union has curtailed labor contract negotiations with container terminal operators.

The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the terminals, has reported work slowdowns by longshoremen along the West Coast throughout November as negotiations continued. Longshoremen have worked without a contract since a previous agreement expired in July.

Now the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has walked out on “big table” negotiations until December, effectively stalling the prospects of striking a deal, according to PMA.

The interruption in negotiations means that an agreement probably won’t be reached before early 2015, which will have profound impacts on companies that import and export products, said Eric Schinfeld, president of the Washington Council on International Trade.

“Every day is costing millions of dollars,” he said. “There are people who are going to lose their entire year’s income because of this.”

Even if a new contract is signed and intentional slowdowns end, port congestion will continue to be severe due to excess inventory in container yards, Schinfeld said.

“At this point, there’s so much backup, it’s going to take months to get everything back to full speed,” he said.

The longshoremen’s union, on the other hand, does not see the curtailed negotiations as a stalling tactic.

The ILWU has simply pared down the size of the negotiating committee to focus on specialized topics within the contract, said Craig Merrilees, communications director for the union.

“A smaller committee can be more agile and move more quickly than a large committee,” he said.

Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, said the ILWU is being disingenuous when it claims not to be impeding negotiations, just as it claimed not to be staging work slowdowns.

“If you believe that, then I’d like to sell you a bridge,” he said.

The situation is particularly dire since the Obama administration has signaled that it won’t intervene in the dispute and get ports working at full capacity, Friedmann said.

“It’s looking horrible,” he said. “It’s destroying not just in the short term, but in the long term, West Coast ports,” he said.

Importers are already looking to divert containers away from the West Coast by receiving Asian products through ports in Canada and Mexico, Friedmann said. They can also ship straight to the East Coast by sending goods through the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal in Egypt.

This diversion affects agricultural exporters, as it reduces the number of containers available to send farm products back to Asia, he said.

Impacts from the current dispute will be long-lasting, Friedmann said. “These longshoremen are destroying the future of their own children.”

It’s baffling that the Pacific Maritime Association won’t just impose its final contract offer, as allowed under labor law, said Jim Tessier, a labor consultant who’s critical of some ILWU officials and previously worked for PMA.

The PMA’s stance shows that it’s willing to endure the status quo as its customers suffer, Tessier said.

Wade Gates, spokesperson for PMA, said the negotiations are still fluid and haven’t reached a level where the terminal operators have a final offer.

“We’re not to that point yet,” he said.

The fact that ILWU is withdrawing a portion of its negotiating team makes a timely resolution effectively impossible, Gates said.

“Subcommittees have a role, but they’re limited in scope,” he said. “Essentially, it means we’re not going to have progress on the main body of the contract.”

New bird flu cluster identified in Netherlands Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:14:02 -0500 AMSTERDAM (AP) — Dutch authorities Friday said they will slaughter poultry at a cluster of three farms after new cases of bird flu were found in the town of Kamperveen, in the third outbreak in the Netherlands this week.

A new infection was detected Friday morning at a chicken farm in Kamperveen, roughly a hundred kilometers (60 miles) away from the previous infections, the Economic Affairs Ministry said. During a check of nearby farms, one farm was found with birds showing signs of illness.

At least 25,000 chickens and ducks are being slaughtered on the farms and the ministry said it has also ordered birds slaughtered at a third farm as a precaution, given its location within a kilometer (mile) radius of the first two.

The ministry said tests to determine the exact strain of the virus are being conducted. The earlier Dutch cases and another this week at a duck farm in England were confirmed as H5N8, which British officials said poses a very low public health risk.

The government has banned the transport of poultry and eggs nationwide.

Although damages have been limited so far, the chairman of the country’s Poultry Farmers’ Union said Friday the outbreak in the new location is worrying, given there are 34 more poultry farms within a 10 kilometer radius.

In 2003 a major outbreak of bird flu in the Netherlands caused an estimated 300 million euros in damages.

Boehner: ‘We will not stand idle’ on immigration Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:48:22 -0500 ERICA WERNER WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner declared Friday that President Barack Obama was “damaging the presidency” with his unilateral action on immigration. He said the Republican-run House will not stand by, but gave no hint of what the response would be.

“I will say to you, the House will, in fact, act,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference the morning after Obama announced plans to offer deportation relief and work permits to 5 million immigrants who are in the country illegally.

“We will listen to the American people, we will work with our members and we will work to protect the Constitution of the United States,” Boehner said.

But Republicans have few good options as they scramble for a solution that satisfies irate conservatives without alienating moderates, Hispanics and other voters who will be crucial for the 2016 presidential election. Possibilities include suing Obama or trying to fight his moves through the budget process.

The situation poses a major challenge for Boehner and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., barely two weeks after midterm election victories that handed Republicans control of the Senate and increased the party’s majority in the House.

Obama’s move forces them to inaugurate their newly minted congressional majorities amid frantic GOP infighting that party leaders wanted to avoid. With Republicans seething over Obama’s go-it-alone approach on such a contentious issue, it’s an open question whether Boehner and McConnell will be able to rein in the tea party faction in Congress that forced a politically damaging government shutdown a year ago over the president’s health care law.

The answer will have major implications in determining whether the GOP can hang onto its newfound control of Congress and hope to win the White House in two years.

“What did the president do? He pulled the pin on the grenade two weeks after the election,” said Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, a Boehner ally. “I don’t think anybody knows or can predict what happens and the carnage that this creates quite frankly for the legislative process.”

Boehner took issue with Obama’s claim that he had to act because House Republicans never moved on the bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate last year. That measure offered a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million immigrants here illegally, going further than Obama can on his own.

Boehner said it was Obama’s fault because lawmakers didn’t trust him after earlier unilateral moves on health care.

“He created an environment where the members would not trust him, and trying to find a way to work together was virtually impossible,” Boehner said. “I warned the president over and over that his actions were making it impossible for me to do what he wanted me to do.”

Conservative lawmakers are pushing to insert language in upcoming must-pass spending bills to block Obama’s order. Party leaders warn that could lead to a government shutdown.

The chairman of the House Appropriations Chairman, Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., also argues it is impossible to “defund” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services because it pays for itself based on application fees.

Rogers is pushing for a yearlong spending bill to get spending fights out of the way, and then finding some other way to respond to Obama.

That’s angered some conservatives who argued that establishment Republicans were just looking for a way out of a necessary confrontation with the president.

“They’re contriving red herring arguments to get to the point where enough members will walk out of this Congress and go home for Thanksgiving and say, ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do,”’ said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who was among a small group of conservatives arguing impeachment should be on the table as a last resort.

Yum approves $1B stock buyback plan Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:38:36 -0500 NEW YORK (AP) — Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, said Thursday that its board approved a $1 billion stock buyback plan.

The buyback program runs through May 2016. Yum also said it has bought 9.4 million shares, worth $691 million, this year.

Buying back stock can help a company boost its earnings per share.

Yum shares edged up 24 cents in aftermarket trading, after closing up $1.54, or 2.1 percent, at $75.71.

Yum Brands Inc. last month cut its profit forecast for the year, citing the latest food scare in China that pummeled sales at KFC, its flagship chain in the country. Yum gets 35 percent of its operating profit from China.

In the U.S., performance has been mixed for Yum’s three chains. Taco Bell’s sales rose 3 percent at established locations in the latest quarter, with the launch of a national breakfast menu lifting results. The figure rose 2 percent at KFC and fell 2 percent at Pizza Hut, which has been struggling for several quarters.

The pizza chain recently announced a menu overhaul executives are hoping will help boost performance.

Yum, based in Louisville, Kentucky, has more than 40,000 restaurants around the world.

Portland daily grain report Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:22:37 -0500 Portland, Ore., Friday, Nov. 21

USDA Market News

Bids for grains delivered to Portland, Oregon during November by unit trains and barges, in dollars per bushel, except oats, corn and barley, in dollars per cwt. Bids for soft white wheat are for delivery periods as specified. Hard red winter wheat and dark northern spring wheat bids are for full November delivery. Bids for corn are for 30 day delivery.

In early trading December wheat futures trended 2.25 to 4.50 cents per bushel higher than Thursday’s closes.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat for November delivery in unit trains or barges were not fully established in early trading but bids were indicated as steady to higher compared to Thursday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. The higher Chicago December wheat futures supported cash bids.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for November delivery were not fully established in early trading but were indicated as higher compared to Thursday’s noon bids. The higher Kansas City December wheat futures supported cash bids. Some exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 14 percent protein non-guaranteed US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for November delivery were not fully established in early trading but were indicated as higher compared to Thursday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. The higher Minneapolis December wheat futures supported cash bids.

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered to Portland and the Yakima Valley were not available.

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

Nov mostly 7.0300, ranging 6.7500-7.3675

Dec 6.7500-7.3675

Jan 6.8000-7.5200

Feb 6.8000-7.5200

Mar 6.8000-7.5200

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

Nov mostly 9.3950, ranging 9.3500-9.4700

Not fully established and limited.

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


Ordinary protein 7.2775-7.4475

10 pct protein 7.2775-7.4475

11 pct protein 7.3575-7.5475

11.5 pct protein

Nov 7.3975-7.5975

12 pct protein 7.3975-7.6475

13 pct protein 7.3975-7.7475

Not fully established and limited.

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 8.0675-8.2675

14 pct protein

Nov 9.4675-9.6675

15 pct protein 10.2675-10.4675

16 pct protein 11.0675-11.4675

Not fully established and limited.

US 2 Yellow Corn in dollars per CWT

Domestic-single rail cars

Delivered full coast-BN NA

Delivered to Portland NA

Rail and Truck del to Willamette Vly NA

Rail del to Yakima Valley NA

Truck del to Yakima Valley NA

US 2 Heavy White Oats in dollars per CWT 13.2500

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Oct 2014

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 6.7900

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 7.3200

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 7.4400

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 8.9600

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

GOP must act on immigration, Nassif says Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:11:40 -0500 Dan Wheat The new Republican majority in Congress must seize the moment for meaningful immigration reform when it takes office in January, says a key negotiator of the agricultural component of the Senate immigration bill of 2013.

“I know there are some who would like to retaliate against the president (for his executive action), but that doesn’t get us any closer to solving the problem,” said Tom Nassif, president of Western Growers Association in Irvine, Calif.

The association’s growers provide half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables, including one-third of the fresh organic produce, from farms in California and Arizona.

Nassif and Arturo Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers, negotiated the agricultural part of the 2013 Senate bill. The bill died in the House. Nassif represented a coalition of agricultural producers. He said that coalition likely will come together again now to push for action.

Rodriguez met with President Barack Obama before Obama’s Nov. 20 speech and commended the president for his action that he said will help at least 250,000 farmworkers, including 125,000 in California.

In a move highly questioned for its legality, Obama deferred deportation for millions of illegal aliens if they have been in the U.S. more than five years, have children who are legal residents, are clean of crimes and willing to pay taxes.

Obama said it does not apply to anyone who has come recently or who may come illegally in the future, and it does not grant citizenship.

The U.S. Apple Association issued a statement saying the president’s action does little to change uncertainty apple growers face as they depend on labor to plant, harvest and ship apples.

Labor shortages cause growers to leave some apples unpicked every year, the H-2A visa guestworker program is expensive and difficult and a new, market-based visa program is needed to meet future labor needs, the association said.

Republican leaders in both houses will have to appeal to a certain number of Democrats to get the majorities they need, Nassif said. There have been efforts in the House, by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., and others that appeal to a lot of Democrats, Nassif said.

Reform must give the existing workers incentive to continue working in agriculture until there’s a better visa program, he said.

“We will oppose any piecemeal legislative package that fails to put the agriculture industry at the front of the line. Our industry is in jeopardy. We expect no less than specific solutions that address problems unique to our industry,” Nassif said.

There must be a path to legal status for existing workers and effective border security with ongoing commitment, he said. “While we need effective metrics for demonstrating progress, there is no ‘completion date’ for securing the border,” he said. “Holding immigration reform hostage to arbitrary and momentary assessments of the border situation should be rejected.”

Washington agriculture exports rise again Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:05:57 -0500 Don Jenkins OLYMPIA — Agricultural products exported from Washington ports increased by nearly 30 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to last year, the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reported Nov. 19.

It was the fourth straight quarter the council has reported an increase in agricultural exports, which includes food raised or grown in other states. For its report, the council relies on trade data provided by a private company.

The categories driving the increased exports were grains and oilseeds, and fruits and nuts, the council’s director, Steve Lerch, said.

Agricultural exports and Boeing Co. jetliners allowed the state to post a 9 percent gain in total exports, according to the council.

The council nudged up slightly the tax revenue the state expects to receive during the current two-year budget cycle to $33.44 billion. Lerch cautioned that slowing economies in China, Japan and Europe could drag down expectations.

Agricultural exports posted a 62 percent increase in the second quarter of 2014.

Exports figures are prone to large swings. Washington’s agricultural exports declined in 2013 by 50 percent in the second quarter and 43 percent in the third quarter. Since then, exports have been rising.

The Washington Department of Agriculture’s international marketing manager, Joe Bippert, said global developments that open and close markets can cause exports to fluctuate.

He attributed the yearlong trend toward higher exports to the reputation of U.S. food producers.

“The people in overseas markets are really trending toward products they can rely on for high quality and safety,” he said.

Other factors pushing exports up include the Obama administration’s trade initiatives and large harvests, he said.

“It helps to have more food to supply the world,” Bippert said.

For the third quarter, corn helped drive up Washington’s export totals.

Washington’s largest commodity, wheat, saw a decline in exports over the year before, but other state-grown crops such as cherries, lentils, apples, peas and chickpeas had increased exports.

U.S. agricultural exports have increased by 41 percent over the past five years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Exports reached a record $152 billion for the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, breaking the previous record of $141 billion set the year before.

Real immigration reform must come from Congress, Farm Bureau official says Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:51:55 -0500 Dan Wheat YAKIMA, Wash. — The American Farm Bureau Federation is glad the president is focusing on immigration reform but believes real solutions can come only from Congress, a federation staffer says.

“We are grateful to the president that he is keeping this issue to the forefront of his agenda, but at the end of the day our position is we need real solutions that can only come from congressional action,” said Kristi Boswell, director of congressional relations of the AFBF, at the Washington Farm Bureau annual meeting on Nov. 19.

Such congressional action is what AFBF will continue to work toward regardless of what President Barack Obama announces on Nov. 20, Boswell said.

“We hope Republicans don’t shut down government. There even is some crazy talk of impeachment. Hopefully that is put aside,” she said.

Boswell said while she believes the White House is working not to overstep its legal boundaries in any executive order, that “outspoken people on the far right” are railing against his action, that it certainly will be challenged and it makes tricky politics even trickier.

AFBF has no position on whether an executive order is legal but hopes it is a catalyst for Republicans to act on immigration, she said.

The AFBF’s position is that U.S. agriculture faces a critical shortage of workers every year, that citizens are largely unwilling to do the work and that guestworker programs are inadequate. It makes American farms and ranches less competitive with foreign farmers and less reliable for American consumers, an AFBF position paper states.

“Securing a reliable and competent workforce for our nation’s farms and ranches is essential to agriculture and the U.S. economy,” AFBF states.

The nation needs 1.5 million agricultural workers and 50 to 70 percent of people filling that need now are not here legally, Boswell said.

AFBF has called for giving them legal work status and a new, uncapped, market-based guestworker visa program with longer visas administered by USDA.

“We had momentum earlier this year for several bills, including a guestworker bill,” Boswell said.

Momentum stopped, she said, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., lost his primary election in which immigration was an issue and when children from outside the country began crossing the U.S.-Mexican border en masse.

Meanwhile, the president has been under pressure from the base of his political party to act, she said.

Obama: Plan will shield 250,000 farmworkers Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:16:27 -0500 JERRY HAGSTROM WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama told United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez Wednesday that his immigration executive order will protect 250,000 farmworkers, half of them from California, Rodriguez said in a news release.

“We were pleased to learn from the president today that at least 250,000 farm workers (and at least 125,000 California farm workers) will be eligible for deportation relief under his executive action,” Rodriguez said in a news release.

“The president committed to working with UFW to do everything possible to make sure that every farm worker who qualifies for the program gets enrolled, and we are prepared to work with him and Congress to finish the job by passing legislation that fully addresses this issue once and for all,” Rodriguez added.

Obama is scheduled to address the nation today at 8 p.m. EST. and on Friday travel to Las Vegas to promote the plan.

Rodriguez and Obama met after Rodriguez held a mock Thanksgiving feast in front of the White House, in which farmworkers from across the country presented an array of food items harvested and processed by immigrant workers — and urged Obama to issue an executive action on immigration that would be broadly inclusive of farm workers.

Obama’s promised executive action should be as “the most inclusive executive action possible,” Rodriguez said as he stood behind a table arrayed with fruits and vegetables picked by undocumented workers, and turkeys processed by them.

In an interview, Rodriguez said that the number of farmworkers who find relief from the threat of deportation will depend on how long undocumented workers will have to have been living in the United States to qualify for the program Obama announces.

Farmworkers are often recent arrivals, he noted, which means that the UFW favors a short residency qualifying period.

Rodriguez said it’s likely that some farmworkers would qualify for relief if Obama includes a provision that would allow the parents of children born in the United States to remain in this country. He noted that many children of farm workers qualified under the program that allows the students known as “Dreamers” to stay in the United States.

Rodriguez said Thanksgiving food “will come to American tables” through the labor and exploitation of farmworkers. He also noted that much American wine comes from grapes picked by undocumented farmworkers.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said that he is tired of being interviewed on television by journalists who leave the set and drink Chardonnay made from grapes picked by the undocumented workers.

Undocumented farmworkers are found in the most remote parts of the country working in slaughterhouses “because they found a place to work,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said his message to Obama is “don’t forget the farmworkers. Be bold, be generous and be quick.”

Farm employers have expressed dissatisfaction with Congress over the lack of congressional action on immigration reform, but they are divided over whether to support executive action, The Wall Street Journal reported this week.

Sheep and wool Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:15:38 -0500 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

Nov. 14

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was slow this week. There 131,500 lbs. of confirmed trades. A few clean up sales are being held this month. These sales are carryover from last spring and fall shorn clips. Demand good and trade activity moderate for this time of year.

Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was slow this week. There were 260,600 lbs. of confirmed trades this week. All trades reported on a weighted average. All of these trades are either short or tender and a combination thereof.

Ewe wool: Fleece States: 22 micron $1.70; 23 micron $1.60. Territory States: 23 micron $1.52; 28 micron $1.13. Lamb Wool: Fleece States: 22 micron $1.31; 23 micron $1.28. Territory States: 24 micron $1.12; 29 micron $.86. Short bellies 23 micron $.75.

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

Nov. 14

Compared to Nov. 7: Compared to last week slaughter lambs were mostly steady to $3 lower and $30-40 lower at New Holland, Pa. Slaughter ewes were steady to $5 higher. Feeder lambs were steady. At San Angelo, Texas, 2,203 head sold in a one-day sale. Equity Electronic Auction sold 630 slaughter lambs in North Dakota and Nebraska. In direct trading slaughter ewes and feeder lambs were not tested. 7,800 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were steady and 8,500 head of formula sales of carcasses under 65 lbs. were not well tested; 65-75 lbs. were $3-4 lower; 75-85 lbs. were $2 higher and over 85 lbs. were not well tested. 7,462 lamb carcasses sold with 55 lbs. and down $4.76-5.99 lower and 55 lbs. and up $.25-1.29 higher.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 100-170 lbs. $150-172.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $232-240; 60-70 lbs. $210-218; 70-80 lbs. $202-220; 80-90 lbs. $188-198, few $202; 90-110 lbs. $180-192.

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

7,800 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 133-169 lbs. $156.21-174.11 (wtd avg $164.78); 171-190 lbs. $155-164 (wtd avg $162.10).


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) no test; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $74-78; Utility 1-2 (thin) $62-68; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) 47-52; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $31-36.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 52-60 lbs. $220.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: no test.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. down $430.80

45-55 lbs. $384.12

55-65 lbs. $352.03

65-75 lbs. $343.08

75-85 lbs. $333.11

85 lbs. and up $323.23

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 40,000 compared with 39,000 last week and 42,000 last year.

egg markets Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:15:17 -0500 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

Nov. 14

Benchmark prices are 28 cents higher for Jumbo, 31 cents higher for Extra Large, 29 cents higher for Large and 2 cents higher for Medium and Small. The undertone is sharply higher on all sizes. Offerings are light and confidently held. Retail demand is very good with food service movement moderate. Supplies are light to instances moderate. Market activity is moderate to active. Small benchmark price $1.27.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 200 Extra large 203

Large 196 Medium 147

hay markets Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:14:51 -0500 Hay prices are dollars per ton or dollars per bale when sold to retail outlets. Basis is current delivery FOB barn or stack, or delivered customer as indicated.

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


Supreme 185+ <27 55.9+ 22+

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

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

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

Utility <130 36+ <50.5 <16


(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 14

This week FOB Last week Last year

1,560 6,985 5,306

Compared to Nov. 7: Alfalfa for domestic use steady in a light test, as dairies use other feed stuffs for rations. Export hay not tested this week as exporters face the second week of port slowdown. Also some exporters turning back Alfalfa that has tested positive for GMO. Trade slow this week as the first polar vortex of the year hit the trade area. Export Timothy not tested this week. Retail/Feedstore hay steady.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 100 $250

Fair/Good 200 $190

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 175 $260-270

Good/Prem. 110 $230-260

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 125 $250-275

Timothy Grass Small Square Premium 100 $235

Wheat Straw Large Square Fair/Good 750 $60-70


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

Nov. 7

This week FOB Last week Last year

1,314 6,889 6,377

Compared to Nov. 7: Prices trended generally steady compared with last week’s offerings for the same quality. Trading was slow during the week. Volume of trading was much lower this week. Several producers have sold all that they plan to sell for this season. Some producers are having difficulty finding overseas buyers due to China refusing all hay that tests positive to GMOs. All prices are in dollars per ton and FOB unless otherwise stated. Many producers were unavailable or had no sales this week due to them travelling to the annual Hay King Contest that is put on by the Oregon Hay Growers Association.

Tons Price


Alfalfa Small Square Premium 25 $250

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square Premium 67 $275-325

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 50 $240

7 $325

Meadow Grass Small Square Premium 25 $230

Grass Mix-Five Way Small Square Premium 25 $290

Good/Prem. 15 $275


Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 500 $235-240

Mid Square Premium 20 $190


Barley Straw Large Square Fair 75 $100


Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 148 $250-260

Good/Prem. 80 $220

Good 65 $185

Small Square Supreme 150 $265

Oat Large Square Good/Prem. 30 $150

Forage Mix-Three Way Large Square Fair 32 $150

EASTERN OREGON: No new sales confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 14

This week FOB Last week Last year

9,000 4,850 6,125

Compared to Nov. 7: Premium and Supreme testing Alfalfa steady. Trade moderate this week as more Organic hay was reported with good demand for non-rained on high testing supplies. Demand light for heavy rained on supplies. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 2100 $240

5000 $280

Prem./Sup. 600 $205

Good 600 $155

Utility 700 $120


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 14

This week FOB Last week Last year

4,050 10,745 11,227

Compared to Nov. 7: All classes traded steady on very light demand. Test hay had a firm undertone. Rain came this week leaving a half inch to an inch in areas throughout the state.

REGION 1: North Inter-Mountain

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Premium 500 $260-270

REGION 2: Sacramento Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Premium 50 $300

Fair/Good 150 $200

Fair 575 $180

225 $275

REGION 3: Northern San Joaquin Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Good 100 $240

Fair 800 $180

75 $170

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Premium 50 $310

REGION 4: Central San Joaquin Valley

No new sales confirmed.

REGION 5: Southern California

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

No new sales confirmed.

REGION 6: Southeast California

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Prem./Sup. 25 $250

Premium 300 $225

250 $240-250

Good 300 $220

75 $200

Fair 500 $150-160

Bermuda Grass Premium 50 $240

Good 25 $220

grain markets Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:14:33 -0500 Grains are stated in dollars per bushel or hundredweight (cwt.) except feed grains traded in dollars per ton. National grain report bids are for rail delivery unless truck indicated.


(USDA Market News)


Nov. 14


Cash wheat bids for November delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, Nov. 13, higher compared to the previous week’s November bids.

December wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, Nov. 13, mixed as follows compared to Nov. 6 closes: Chicago 33.50 cents higher at $5.5375, Kansas City 26.25 cents higher at $6.0525 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 30.25 cents higher at $5.8525. Chicago December corn futures trended 15 cents higher at $3.8625 while November soybean futures closed 19.50 cents higher at $10.5050.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during November were 12.75 to 67.75 cents per bushel higher, from $6.78-7.5375, mostly $7.11. Bids for Nov. 6 for November delivery were $6.6525-6.86, mostly $6.78. White club wheat premiums for this week were $2 to $2.75, mostly $2.46 while last week’s premiums were also $2 to $2.75, mostly $2.46 over soft white wheat bids. One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat for October delivered by unit trains and barges to Portland were $6.9350-6.9550, mostly $6.9450 and bids for White Club Wheat were $6.9350-7.4550, mostly $7.1950. Nearby bids for U.S. 1 Soft White wheat began the reporting week on Nov. 6 at mostly $6.8475 then rose each day to mostly $6.8750 on Nov. 10, mostly $6.9150 on Nov. 11 and mostly $7.0275 on Nov. 12. Nov. 13, the bids moved to the weekly high of mostly $7.11, in response to the higher Chicago December wheat futures. Forward month bids for soft white wheat were as follows: December $6.78-7.5875, January, February and March were $6.85-7.61. One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat were December $6.9350-7.15, January $7.0550-7.1550, February and March $7.1550-7.25.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein U.S. 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for November delivery trended 21.25 cents per bushel higher compared to the previous week’s bids for November delivery. Higher Kansas City December wheat futures supported cash bids during the week. On Nov. 13, bids were as follows: November $7.4525-7.6025, mostly $7.5325; December $7.4525-7.6025; January and February $7.41-7.61 and March $7.46-7.61.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein U.S. 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery for November delivery trended 30.25 to 40.25 cents per bushel higher compared to the previous week’s bids for the same time period. Bids were supported by the higher Minneapolis December wheat futures for the week. On Thursday, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: November $9.2425-9.4425, mostly $9.3225; December $9.2425-9.4425; January and February $9.2275-9.5275; and March $9.1775-9.5275.


Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn delivered to Portland in single rail cars were not available. Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn truck delivered to the inland feeding areas of Yakima, Wash., and Hermiston, Ore., were also not available. Bids for U.S. 2 Heavy White Oats for November delivery held steady at $265.


There were 18 grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, Nov. 13, with six docked compared to 13 Nov. 6 with five docked. There were no new confirmed export sales from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) this week.


(USDA Market News)


Nov. 13

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


Mode Destination Price per cwt.

BARLEY - U.S. No. 2 (46-lbs. per bushel)

Rail Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Tulare County NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa $11.75

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $11.75

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Kern County NA

Glenn County NA

Colusa County $11

CORN - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

FOB Turlock $9.22

Rail Single Car Units via BNSF

Chino Valley-Los Angeles $10.33

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.52

Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

SORGHUM - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley

via BNSF Single $10.65

Truck Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

OATS - U.S. No. 1 White

Truck Los Angeles-Chino Valley $15.75

OATS - U.S. No. 2 White

Truck Petaluma NA

Rail Petaluma NA

WHEAT - U.S. No. 2 or better - Hard Red Winter

(Domestic Values for Flour Milling)

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein $14.25

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein $15.75

Truck/Rail Los Angeles 11-12 percent Protein

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein $13.75

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

WHEAT - U.S. Durum Wheat

Truck Imperial County NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

WHEAT - Any Class for Feed

FOB Tulare NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley $13-14.25

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

King-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Merced County NA

Colusa County NA

Kern County NA

Prices paid to California farmers, seven-day reporting period ending Nov. 13:

No confirmed sales.

cattle markets Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:14:12 -0500 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

Oklahoma City-Des Moines

Nov. 14

Compared to Nov. 7: No slaughter cattle sales reported at time of report. Boxed beef prices Nov. 14 averaged $245.61, which is $2.02 higher than Nov. 7. The Choice/Select spread is $14.52. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Nov. 14 totaled about 3,869 head. The previous week’s total head count was 66,516 head.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls steady to $3 higher.

USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value early Nov. 14 was $233.83 up $2.64 from Nov. 7.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Nov. 14

This week Last week Last year

320,700 334,000 374,900

Compared to Nov. 7: Steer and heifer calves sold steady to $5 higher with many instances $10 higher on steer calves throughout the Southern Plains. In the Southeast calves traded unevenly. In the Northern Plains calves traded very unevenly, selling in wide price ranges throughout many of the auctions and several auctions from mid-week on sold calves $5-10 higher. The feeder market is fully entrenched in the fall run with heavy supplies of spring born calves weighing from 400-750 lbs as available yearlings sold steady to instances $5 higher.

A strong Artic blast moved across the Northern Plains dropping temperatures to the single digits with wind chills well below zero. This strong cold front moved down across most of the country this week and most major cattle production areas have now experienced a hard freeze. This will stunt most annual forage growth, but should help to improve the health of calves by wiping out many airborne illnesses currently plaguing new purchases. Flesh conditions especially in the Northern Plains were a little more attractive as there were some lighter fleshed calves making their way to the auction this week and order buyers have really backed off from those calves that carry too much flesh condition. There were many high quality calves offered this week, with very good demand for light calves suitable to head south to the wheat fields to graze or to graze as yearlings next year. The market remains most active on yearlings, as yearling buyers can drop their guard and hedge that aged feeders have been on their own for long time and if they were going to unexpectedly perish it would have already happened. These cattle will go straight to the feed bunk and keep on growing requiring much less management than a calf. In El Reno, Okla., on Nov. 12 sold 365 head of yearling steers averaging 819 lbs sold with a weighted average price of $240.82. Farther north the same day at the Hub City Livestock Auction in Aberdeen, S.D., a pot load of steers weighing 808 lbs sold at $258.50. Wide price spreads remain on steer and heifer calves mostly weighing under 600 lbs as price differences run mostly $30-40 per cwt difference between steers and heifers. A lot of this is due to the performance difference between them as breakeven prices are high this year and cattle feeders want cattle to reach weights as heavy as possible. Also on Nov. 12 in Bassett, Neb., the gavel dropped on 160 head of fancy steers weighing 640 lbs at $292.75. With plenty of forage in the Northern Plains, Montana and Wyoming are seeing a large run of cows coming to market with very few cows going to slaughter. Weigh-up cow offerings this time of year are very large causing auctions to begin early in the morning and running late into the night and even carrying into the next day. The demand for cows of all ages and flesh conditions to feed is very good as there continues to be many buyers in the stands bidding on and buying weigh-up cows to put them on feed or put them back in the breeding herd. It is also worth noting that many thin and poor conditioned cows are being bought to be turned out and fed. Fed cattle trade started sizzling in the Arctic cold mid-afternoon on Nov. 14 as negotiated cash live sales in Nebraska soared to all-time record highs. So far, live sales are being quoted at$171 to $172 in the North and the Southern Plains also coming in at the record level for their region at $170-171. This weekís auction volume included 40 percent over 600 lbs and 37 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

266,300 276,700 318,500

WASHINGTON 3,700. 53 pct over 600 lbs. 47 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 350-380 lbs. $301.82; 400-445 lbs. $288.96; 450-500 lbs. $275.59, full 470-500 lbs. $271.21; 540-550 lbs. $250.61, thin fleshed 500-540 lbs. $264.22; 560-595 lbs. $247.10, full 575-580 lbs. $235.08; calves 600-650 lbs. $243.51, full 605-650 lbs. $234.86; calves 650-700 lbs. $243.40; 700-750 lbs. $242.14, full 720-745 lbs. $223.15; 750-780 lbs. $230, full 755-800 lbs. $222.37; 805-840 lbs. $225.45. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 360-395 lbs. $264.79; 400-445 lbs. $260.65, thin fleshed 431 lbs. $279; 450-495 lbs. $263.34; 505-550 lbs. $245.82; 550-600 lbs. $246.75; calves 600-650 lbs. $240.68, thin fleshed 615-635 lbs. $252.04; calves 650-700 lbs. $239.07; 705-735 lbs. $222.32; 750-795 lbs. $222.56.


This week Last week Last year

26,900 54,300 32,900

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 1,100. No cattle over 600 lbs. No heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 275 lb 300 Dec Del; 300 lbs. $300 Current Del; 300 lbs. $323 March Del; 325 lbs. $291 Current del.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 1600. 61 pct over 600 lbs. 14 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Delivery: 550-600 lbs. $270 Idaho; 650 lbs. 245 calves Oregon; 900 lbs. $210 Oregon. Future Delivery FOB Price: 850-900 lbs. $225 for February-March Washington-Oregon. Holstein Steers: Large 2-3: Current FOB Delivery: 300-350 lbs. $295 value added Washington. Heifers: Large 1-2: Current FOB Delivery: 500-550 lbs. $260 Idaho.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 14

This week Last week Last year

1,600 3,700 1,450

Compared to Nov. 7: Feeder cattle firm in a light test. Trade slow as feedlots try to cope with a reported 15-20 percent death loss on newly arriving calves. Demand remains good. The feeder supply included 86 percent steers and 14 percent heifers. Near 61 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs. Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 3-7 cent slide on yearlings.

Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Delivery: 550-600 lbs. $270 Idaho; 650 lbs. $245 calves Oregon; 900 lbs. $210 Oregon. Future Delivery FOB Price: 850-900 lbs. $225 for February-March Washington-Oregon.

Holstein Steers: Large 2-3: Current FOB Delivery: 300-350 lbs. $295 value added Washington.

Heifers: Large 1-2: Current FOB Delivery: 500-550 lbs. $260 Idaho.

Auctions Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:13:55 -0500 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.



(Shasta Livestock Auction)

Cottonwood, Calif.

Nov. 14

Current week Last week

1,470 4,689

Compared to Nov. 7: Slaughter cows steady to $1 higher. Cattle under 450 lbs. in huge demand $10 higher on heifers and up to $40 higher on lighter steers. Above 450 lbs. anywhere from steady to $12 lower depending on type & condition. Off lots and singles $30-75 lower.

Slaughter cows: Breakers $102-111, $112-122 high dress; Boning $93-101; Cutters $80-91.

Bulls 1 and 2: $100-119; $120-128 high dress.

Feeder steers: 300-400 lbs. $325-415; 400-450 lbs. $325-406; 450-500 lbs. $270-307.50; 500-550 lbs. $240-279; 550-600 lbs. $243-266; 600-650 lbs. $230-249; 650-700 lbs. $228-239; 700-750 lbs. $225-232; 800-900 lbs. $212-222.

Feeder heifers: 300-400 lbs. $300-335; 400-450 lbs. $285-327.50; 450-500 lbs. $260-290; 500-550 lbs. $241-264; 550-600 lbs. $220-241; 600-650 lbs. $221-245; 650-700 lbs. $221-234

Calvy cows: Few full mouth $2000-2550; broken mouth $1475-1900.

Pairs: Few $2300-2925.



(Treasure Valley Livestock)

Nov. 7

Steers: 200-300 lbs. $297.50; 300-400 lbs. $240.50; 400-500 lbs. $200.75; 500-600 lbs. $215.25; 600-700 lbs. $193.25; 700-800 lbs. $185.50; 800-900 lbs. $167.50; 900-1000 lbs. $160.75; 1000 lbs. and up $113.50.

Heifers: 200-300 lbs. $275: 300-400 lbs. $239.25; 400-500 lbs. $233.25; 500-600 lbs. $211.50; 600-700 lbs. $188.75; 700-800 lbs. $171.25; 800-900 lbs. $170.50; 900-1000 lbs. $163.25; 1000 lbs. and up $128.

Cows (wt.): 700-800 lbs. $80; 800-900 lbs. $67.25; 900-1000 lbs. $89.25; 1000-1100 lbs. $102.75; 1100-1200 lbs. $101.75; 1200-1300 lbs. $100; 1300-1400 lbs. $99.25; 1400-1500 lbs. $100.50; 1500-1600 lbs. $101.25; 1600-1700 lbs. $106.50; 1700-1800 lbs. $107.50; 1900-2000 lbs. $109.

Bull calves (wt.): 300-400 lbs. $285; 400-500 lbs. $200; 500-600 lbs. $188.75; 600-700 lbs. $147.50; 700-800 lbs. $137.50; 1000-1100 lbs. $97; 1100-1200 lbs. $110; 1300-1400 lbs. $120.75.

Bulls (wt.): 1600-1700 lbs. $126; 1900-2000 lbs. $127.

Pairs (hd.): 1000 lbs. and up $2325.

Bred heifers (hd.): 800 lbs. and up $1500.

Stock cows (hd.): 800 lbs. and up $1380.

Bull calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $415; 200-300 lbs. $400; 300-400 lbs. $900.

Heifer calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $155; 200-300 lbs. $325; 300-400 lbs. $375.

Steer calves (hd.): 200-300 lbs. $465; 300-400 lbs. $300.



(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 14

This week Last week Last year

1,800 1,750 1,700

Compared to Nov. 7 at the same sale: Stocker steers less than 600 lbs. steady to weak. Feeder steers more than 600 lbs. firm. Stocker and feeder heifers steady in a light test. Trade moderate with moderate to good demand. Slaughter cows $1-2 higher. Slaughter bulls steady. Trade moderate to active with good demand. Slaughter cows 67 percent, Slaughter bulls 5 percent, and feeders 28 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 57 percent steers and 43 percent heifers. Near 51 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs. The first polar vortex arrived here Nov. 4 plunging temps below the freezing point.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $265-271; 500-600 lbs. $234-245; 500-600 lbs. $260, Value Added; 600-700 lbs. $228-236, Calves; 600-700 lbs. $222-224, Full; 700-800 lbs. $216; 800-900 lbs. $208.50-210.50. Small and Medium 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $235; 600-700 lbs. $210, Full. Small and Medium 2-3: 500-600 lbs. $131, Brahman X.

Feeder Holstein Steers: Large 2-3: 200-300 lbs. $320, Per Head; 500-600 lbs. $205; 600-700 lbs. $189; 800-900 lbs. $171.

Feeder Bulls: Large 1-2: 1300-1400 lbs. $108. Small 4: 500-600 lbs. $155, Brahman X.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 200-300 lbs. $425, Per Head; 300-400 lbs. $261; 400-500 lbs. $235-240; 500-600 lbs. $240-245; 600-700 lbs. $230, Calves; 700-800 lbs. $210; 800-900 lbs. $197.50. Medium and Large 4: 900-1000 lbs. $137; 900-1000 lbs. $121, Full. Large 1-2: 1000-1100 lbs. $180; 1100-1200 lbs. $125, Heiferettes. Small and Medium 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $210; 500-600 lbs. $228. Small and Medium 4: 800-900 lbs. $135.50.

Slaughter Cows:

Boning 80-85 percent lean 1400-2100 lbs. $106-112; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1100-1700 lbs. $105-111; Lean 90 percent lean 1000-1500 lbs. $92-97; Light Lean 90 percent lean 900-1200 lbs. $72-84.

Slaughter Bulls: Yield Grade 1-2 1300-2200 lbs. $119-129.50.

Bred Heifers (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: 1350-1400 lbs. 2300 3-6 mos. bred.

Bred Cows (Per Head): Small and Medium 2-3: Aged (9-11 yrs. old) 750-1000 lbs. 1125-1300 3-6 mos. bred.



(Producers Livestock Market)

Nov. 12

Total receipts: 1,791 head.

Market comment: Good demand still this week with good buyer participation.

Steer calves: 300-400 lbs. $335-384; 400-500 lbs. $287-332; 500-600 lbs. $251-285.

Heifer calves: 300-400 lbs. $307-327; 400-500 lbs. $251-309; 500-600 lbs. $229-262.

Yearling steers : 600-700 lbs. $221-249; 700-800 lbs. $203-220; 800-900 lbs. $197-211; 900-1000 lbs. $188-209.

Yearling heifers: 600-700 lbs. $196-226; 800-900 lbs. $161-187.

Heavy Holstein steers (600 lbs. and under): $157-169.

Stock cows (young): NA; Stock cows (B.M.): $1225-1700.

Butcher cows: $91-111.

Thin shelly cows: $77-89.

Younger heiferettes: $117-140.

Butcher bulls: $85-115.


(Central Oregon Livestock Auction)

Nov. 10

Total head: 2550.

Steers: 200-300 lbs. $330-350; 300-400 lbs. $320-340; 400-500 lbs. $290-330; 500-600 lbs. $260-289; 600-700 lbs. $235-259; 700-800 lbs. $220-235; 800-900 lbs. $185-220.

Bulls: High yield. $125; mostly $120; thinner $115.

Heifers: 200-300 lbs. $280-300; 300-400 lbs. $275-290; 400-500 lbs. $260-275; 500-600 lbs. $235-260; 600-700 lbs. $220-235; 700-800 lbs. $195-220.

Heiferettes: 850-1000 lbs. $175-195.

Cows: Heiferettes $150; Feeder cows $112; high-yield $112; medium-yield $105; low yield $85.

potato market Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:13:35 -0500 Prices are weekly averages of daily prices. All prices are in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.). FWA is a weighted average of shipping point prices or common packs in each area. Weights differ by area. GRI is the Grower Returns Index for each individual area.


(North American Potato Market News)

(USDA Market News)

Nov. 15

Market Commentary: Russet table potato prices continue to advance, as the industry gears up for peak Thanksgiving demand.

Shipping Area

FWA Chg GRI Chg 70 ct Chg 10 lb. Film Chg

Idaho Burbanks

$14.09 $0.63 $6.36 $0.38 $24 $1.50 $8 $0.50

Idaho Norkotah

$13.26 $0.46 $6.21 $0.35 $23.50 $1.50 $7.50 $0

Columbia Basin

$11.90 $1.10 $4.87 $0.68 $15 $1 $8 $0.50

Klamath Basin

$14.02 -$0.25 $5.87 -$0.18 $20 $0 $8.50 -$0.50

NOAA: Globe sets 5th hottest-month record of 2014 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:59:34 -0500 SETH BORENSTEINAP Science Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. meteorologists say the world in October continued to set heat records. They say despite a bitter U.S. cold snap, the globe is rushing toward its warmest year on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that last month was the hottest October on record. The 58.43 degrees Fahrenheit (14.74 Celsius) beat out October 2003.

Five of the last six months have set monthly global heat records. July is the only exception. NASA and Japan’s weather agency also called it the hottest October on record.

NOAA says with only two months left in the year, 2014 has now surged ahead as the warmest year so far, beating 2010 and 1998. So far this year the world is averaging 58.62 degrees (14.78 degrees Celsius).

Environmental groups to sue over Gunnison grouse Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:51:43 -0500 DENVER (AP) — Two environmental groups plan to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision to list the Gunnison sage grouse as a threatened species instead of giving it the more protective endangered status.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project filed a formal notice Thursday, the first step toward filing a suit.

They say threatened status leaves too many loopholes for oil and gas wells and other development that could harm the birds.

The state of Colorado has also threatened to sue, but for the opposite reason. Gov. John Hickenlooper has said federal officials should have given state and local conservation efforts a chance before listing the birds as threatened.

A dwindling population of about 5,000 Gunnison grouse remain, only in Colorado and Utah.

Portland daily grain report Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:42:57 -0500 Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 20

USDA Market News

Bids for grains delivered to Portland, Oregon during November by unit trains and barges, in dollars per bushel, except oats, corn and barley, in dollars per cwt. Bids for soft white wheat are for delivery periods as specified. Hard red winter wheat and dark northern spring wheat bids are for full November delivery. Bids for corn are for 30 day delivery.

In early trading December wheat futures trended 6.50 to 10.25 cents per bushel higher than Wednesday’s closes.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat for November delivery in unit trains or barges were not fully established in early trading but bids were indicated as mixed compared to Wednesday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. The higher Chicago December wheat futures supported cash bids however a lower basis bid by some exporters pressured cash bids.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for November delivery were not fully established in early trading, but were indicated as higher compared to Wednesday’s noon bids. The higher Kansas City December wheat futures supported cash bids. Some exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 14 percent protein non-guaranteed US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for November delivery were not fully established in early trading but were indicated as higher compared to Wednesday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. The higher Minneapolis December wheat futures supported cash bids.

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered to Portland and the Yakima Valley were not available.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

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

Nov mostly 6.9775, ranging 6.7500-7.2425

Dec 6.7500-7.3425

Jan 6.8000-7.4375

Feb 6.8000-7.4875

Mar 6.8000-7.4875

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

Nov mostly 9.3425, ranging 9.2425-9.4375

Not fully established and limited.

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


Ordinary protein 7.1950-7.3650

10 pct protein 7.1950-7.3650

11 pct protein 7.2750-7.4650

11.5 pct protein

Nov 7.3150-7.5150

12 pct protein 7.3150-7.5650

13 pct protein 7.3150-7.6650

Not fully established and limited.

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 7.9925-8.1925

14 pct protein

Nov 9.3925-9.5925

15 pct protein 10.1925-10.3925

16 pct protein 10.9925-11.1925

Not fully established and limited.

US 2 Yellow Corn in dollars per CWT

Domestic-single rail cars

Delivered full coast-BN NA

Delivered to Portland NA

Rail and Truck del to Willamette Vly NA

Rail del to Yakima Valley NA

Truck del to Yakima Valley NA

US 2 Heavy White Oats in dollars per CWT 13.2500

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Oct 2014

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 6.7900

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 7.3200

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 7.4400

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 8.9600

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Country of origin label for meat cuts endangered Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:25:11 -0500 MARY CLARE JALONICK WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is running out of options in its effort to tell consumers where fresh cuts of meat originated after a successful challenge to package labeling by Canada and Mexico.

A 2008 farm law requires that packages of steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat identify where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. A label might say the meat was “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States” or “born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

The World Trade Organization agreed more than once with Canada and Mexico that the labels give the U.S. livestock industry an advantage. In a ruling Oct. 20, the WTO said the labeling requirement forced meatpackers to segregate and keep detailed records on imported livestock, giving them an incentive to favor U.S. livestock.

The trade organization ruled in 2011 that an earlier version of the labels was discriminatory. That ruling was upheld in 2012 after a U.S. appeal.

A spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the United States has not decided whether it will appeal the latest WTO decision. If that ruling stands, Canada and Mexico could retaliate against the United States with other trade sanctions if the labels aren’t changed or scrapped.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he believes Congress either needs to change the law or Mexico and Canada need to negotiate a settlement with the United States.

“There is no apparent regulatory solution available that could make this rule compliant with the WTO’s recent decision and also uphold the law Congress passed,” Vilsack said in a statement.

Canada and Mexico need to tell the U.S. “more clearly and more specifically, what, if any, variation of this will work for them,” the agriculture secretary said last week at an event in Kansas City, Missouri.

The embattled labeling rules have support from consumer groups and some farm groups. U.S. ranchers who raise cattle near the northern border and compete with Canadian ranchers have pushed hardest for the labeling law, which Congress originally wrote in 2002 and revised in 2008 after years of haggling with the meat industry. Ranchers and meatpackers in the Southwest who do a lot of business with Mexico have traditionally opposed it.

It’s unclear what lawmakers will do, but the new Republican Congress is expected to be friendly to the meat industry, which has called for repeal of the country-of-origin labeling law, saying it is burdensome. Meatpackers have sued the government to block it, so far unsuccessfully.

Farm-state lawmakers said earlier this year that they didn’t have the votes for repeal. But Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, the incoming chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., expected to head the Senate agriculture panel, are both from cattle-heavy states and have championed the meat industry.

After the ruling was issued, more than 100 meat, agriculture and food industry groups concerned about sanctions down the road called on Congress to immediately repeal parts of the rule.

“Given the negative impact on the U.S. manufacturing and agriculture economies, we respectfully submit that it would be intolerable for the United States to maintain, even briefly, a rule that has been deemed non-compliant by the WTO,” the industry groups wrote.

Canada is also calling for congressional action.

“The onus is now on the United States to put forward a solution acceptable to all parties that removes the unfair segregation and discrimination against Canadian cattle and hogs,” Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a statement to The Associated Press. He said Canada “will take whatever steps may be necessary, including retaliation, to achieve a fair resolution.”

Cost of Thanksgiving is going up, but not by much Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:21:16 -0500 J.M. HIRSCHAP Food Editor Giving thanks will be a little costlier this year, but — and here’s something you can be truly thankful for — it probably won’t empty your wallet.

The price for putting Thanksgiving dinner on the table for 10 people is expected to rise slightly this year, clocking in at $49.41. That’s 37 cents higher than in 2013. For that, you can blame dairy products, coffee and that all-important marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, according to the annual informal survey of consumer grocery prices performed by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The group found that the price of dairy — as in milk for the mashed potatoes and whipped cream for the pies — collectively jumped 25 cents over last year. Miscellaneous ingredients, such as coffee, sugar and eggs, account for another 28 cents, while 3 pounds of sweet potatoes jumped 20 cents.

The good news is that a drop in fuel prices won’t just make it cheaper to drive to Grandma’s house for the big meal, it also helped keep down the cost of some ingredients. Flour-based foods, such as stuffing mix, pie shells and dinner rolls, will run about 21 cents less than last year, likely due to energy cost savings by the processors, says John Anderson, the Farm Bureau’s deputy chief economist.

The group estimates the cost of Thanksgiving dinner by averaging non-sale food prices around the country based on feeding 10 people a meal of turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk. And yes, their estimates account for needing leftovers.

And here’s something to consider: Though this year’s cost is up, it’s still 7 cents lower than in 2012.

News earlier this week that turkey production is at its lowest level in nearly three decades and wholesale prices are at an all-time high briefly spooked some folks. But most consumers won’t see that reflected on their grocery bills. Retailers aren’t likely to pass on to consumer much if any price hike that they are paying for the big birds, and the Farm Bureau actually expects the cost of a 16-pound turkey to drop by 11 cents this year.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to spend more this Thanksgiving. Upgrade that 16-pound conventional bird to an organic, free-range model and suddenly the Farm Bureau’s $21.65 estimate can jump to $100 or more at specialty online retailers. Not into baking? Instead of spending about $3 on a homemade pie, you can spend $25 or more on high-end mail order versions.

Or maybe you don’t want to cook at all. A complete and fully cooked Thanksgiving dinner for 12 people from Whole Foods Market will cost around $170.

Then again, maybe you want to spend less. Shop smart at a bargain retailer and you could shave more than a third off the Farm Bureau’s total. Using the same menu for 10 people, Wal-Mart estimates that shopping for Thanksgiving dinner at one of its stores will cost just $32.64.

But maybe you got off the hook this year and aren’t hosting Thanksgiving. If instead of cooking you’ll be traveling by car, you’ll see savings at the pump. Gasoline is running about 33 cents less per gallon than it was a year ago, with a national average of $2.88, according to travel tracker AAA. And it doesn’t matter where you’re driving. Gas can be found for less than $3 a gallon in every state in the continental U.S.

Don’t want to drive? If you’re traveling by train, you’ll pay a bit more. Amtrak says its ticket prices have increased an average of 2 percent over last year. Same goes for flying. The average price of an airline ticket for travel this Thanksgiving is $307.52, not including an average $51 in taxes and fees, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp., which processes ticket transactions for airlines and travel agencies. That’s up 1.1 percent from last year.

President could act in event of port shutdown Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:07:29 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski If the escalating dispute between longshoremen and container terminal operators leads to a shutdown of West Coast ports, the federal government has the power to temporarily re-open them.

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 gives the president emergency authority to order union workers and employers back to work for 80 days during a strike or lockout.

Under the statute, workers can also be prohibited from staging a slowdown, which is effectively a “disguised work stoppage,” said Michael LeRoy, a labor law professor at the University of Illinois who has consulted the federal government in a previous dispute between the longshoremen’s union and terminal operators.

Before President Barack Obama could impose such an order, he would have to appoint a board of inquiry to find that a national emergency is imminent, LeRoy said. He would then present those findings to a federal judge and ask for an injunction.

Federal judges generally agree to such injunction requests, though some have been rejected in the past, he said.

Longshoremen and terminal operators would be unlikely to ignore such an injunction, LeRoy said.

“People do not mess around with a national emergency order,” he said, noting that disobedience would result in a contempt of court finding and civil or criminal penalties. “They go to jail.”

Unions tend to dislike the national emergency provision, as it precludes them from activities that put pressure on employers during negotiations, LeRoy said.

For the same reason, a Democrat like Obama may dislike invoking the provision and irritating organized labor — however, the provision has been used as frequently by Democrats as Republicans, he said.

Once the 80-day injunction expires, the president cannot re-impose it without emergency legislation passing Congress, LeRoy said.

Such injunctions have been issued more than 30 times, though, and only once did a union go to striking, he said. Generally, both parties reach a settlement before the injunction expires.

President George W. Bush invoked the emergency provision in 2002, when terminal operators locked out longshoremen for 10 days in response to a slowdown.

In that case, the injunction helped the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators, win key concessions, LeRoy said.

For example, the agreement allowed containers to be tracked with bar codes instead of pen and paper, which was longshoremen saw as a threat to jobs, he said.

Obama immigration order sets up battle with GOP Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:39:00 -0500 JIM KUHNHENN and ERICA WERNER WASHINGTON (AP) — As broadly as President Barack Obama may push the limits of his authority to shield from deportation millions of immigrants illegally in the United States, the fate of millions more will still be left unresolved.

Obama is preparing to flex his executive powers today, using an 8 p.m. EST address to announce that he is sidestepping Congress and ordering his own federal action on immigration. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Thursday to thwart his plan.

The reaction from congressional Republicans had been swift and fierce even before McConnell took to the Senate floor, hours before the president’s speech, to warn that “Congress will act” to stop him.

Obama’s measures could make as many as 5 million people eligible for work permits, with the broadest action likely aimed at extending deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, as long as those parents have been in the country for five years.

Other potential winners under Obama’s actions would be young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children but do not now qualify under a 2012 directive from the president.

With more than 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally, Obama’s actions would still leave millions unprotected even though their chances of getting deported if they have not committed a crime are low.

“What I’m going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system better, even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem,” Obama said in a video posted Wednesday on Facebook.

McConnell pushed back hard on Thursday morning.

“We’re considering a variety of options,” he told Senate colleagues. “But make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.”

“The president will come to regret the chapter history writes if he does move forward,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Obama nevertheless was ready to sidestep Congress and order his own federal action.

The president is expected to extend temporary relief from deportation, along with work permits, to as many as 5 million immigrants now in the country illegally. The action would affect nearly half the around 11 million who are here illegally, and would apply to those who’ve been in the country at least five years and have close family ties to U.S. citizens.

But the vehement reaction of Republicans, who will have complete control of Congress come January, made clear that Obama was courting what could be one of the most pitched partisan confrontations of his presidency.

How Republicans will respond remained uncertain, and the party was divided. But a major battle on Capitol Hill looked inevitable.

Some on the right pushed for using must-pass spending legislation to try to shut-down Obama’s move. One lawmaker— two-term Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama — raised the specter of impeachment Wednesday.

Party leaders warned against such talk and sought to avoid spending-bill tactics that could lead to a government shutdown. They said such moves could backfire, alienating Hispanic voters and others.

In a closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans, McConnell urged restraint. Still, there were concerns among some Republicans that the potential 2016 presidential candidates in the Senate would use the announcement to elevate their standing, challenging Obama directly. Conservatives in the House could be even harder to control

Obama was poised to announce an executive action that would make parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents eligible for work permits would affect about 3.3 million immigrants if it requires that they have lived in the U.S. for five years, according to the Migration Policy Institute. If the action includes spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the number of eligible immigrants rises to 3.8 million.

The president also is likely to expand his 2-year-old program that allowed immigrants under 31 who had arrived before June 2007 to apply for a reprieve from deportation and a work permit — a program that to date has shielded more than 600,000 young immigrants from deportation. One option under consideration would remove the upper age limit so applicants don’t have to be under 31.

Obama’s steps, however, would not include the parents of those young immigrants — a move many advocates had vigorously encouraged him to take. He also was not including special protections for farm workers sought by the United Farm Workers, though the provisions in his plan would allow up to 250,000 farm workers to be eligible for work permits, according to Giev Kashkooli, the UFW’s national political legislative director.

As far-reaching as Obama’s steps would be, they fall far short of what a comprehensive immigration overhaul passed by the Senate last year would have accomplished. The House never voted on that legislation. It would have set tougher border security standards, increased caps for visas for foreign high-skilled workers and allowed the 11 million immigrants illegally in the country to obtain work permits and begin a 10-year path toward a green card and, ultimately, citizenship.

“This is not the way we want to proceed. It will not solve the problem permanently,” White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri said Thursday on MSNBC.

None of those affected by Obama’s actions would have a path to citizenship, and the actions could be reversed by a new president after Obama leaves office. Moreover, officials said the eligible immigrants would not be entitled to federal benefits — including health care tax credits — under Obama’s plan.

Some immigrant advocates worried that even though Obama’s actions would make millions eligible for work permits, not all would participate out of fear that Republicans or a new president would reverse Obama’s actions.

“If the reaction to this is that the Republicans are going to do everything they can to tear this apart, to make it unworkable, the big interesting question will be will our folks sign up knowing that there is this cloud hanging over it,” said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza.

Still, Democrats battered by election losses two weeks ago welcomed Obama’s steps.

“The last two weeks haven’t been great weeks for us,” said Rep. Joe Crowley of New York, one of 18 congressional Democrats who had dinner Wednesday night with Obama. “The president is about to change that.”

Among the tools available to Republicans, who will have majorities in the House and Senate at the start of the year, are spending bills. A current spending measure to keep the government running expires next month and one option was to approve another short-term spending bill until February, when Republicans are in full control of Congress.

“We’re looking at what our levers are, and that’s clearly the funding power,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the Senate Republican leadership. He added, however, “None of us want any unnecessary drama associated with the funding process.”


Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Donna Cassata and Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report.