Capital Press | Nation/World http://www.capitalpress.com Capital Press Mon, 1 Sep 2014 14:37:42 -0400 en http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Capital Press | Nation/World http://www.capitalpress.com Avocados catch on in Japanese marketplace http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20140901/avocados-catch-on-in-japanese-marketplace http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20140901/avocados-catch-on-in-japanese-marketplace#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:39:11 -0400 RICHARD SMITH http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140909999 TOKYO — Japan’s imports of California avocados have skyrocketed during the past three years, riding the growing popularity of the fruit among consumers.

U.S. avocados are riding a rising consumption trend here and benefiting from a decrease in Mexican exports, said Yutaka Ota, the Japan Fresh Produce Import and Safety Association’s secretary general.

“The main reason (for the overall import surge) is health” benefits consumers feel they get from eating avocados, Ota said.

Ota said restaurants and the food service industry are now widely using avocados. The fruit is used as a pizza topping and widely appears on menus in family restaurants.

“People remember its taste and buy it at supermarkets,” Ota said.

Overall avocado imports rose 58 percent from 37,173 metric tons in 2011 to 58,555 tons the following year. Imports increased 3 percent to 60,458 tons last year, Japan Ministry of Finance figures show.

Imports from California increased from 1,562 tons in 2011 to 4,744 tons in 2012. They rose almost 26 percent last year, to 5,957 tons.

In value, California avocado imports increased from $7.7 million in 2011 to $17.9 million last year.

Most avocados imported to Japan are from Mexico, with imports from other countries, including the U.S., being complementary to the Mexican product, Ota said.

“So mainly, depending on how much volume will come in from Mexico, product from other countries will come in,” Ota said.

Mexican avocado volumes did follow the rising import trend, from 32,633 tons in 2011 to 52,922 tons last year.

The Mexican product’s market share ranged from 87 to nearly 90 percent.

U.S. avocados’ market share increased from 4.2 percent in 2011 to 9.85 percent last year.

Ota said his organization considers avocados a product with a lot of potential. “We think its import will continue to rise,” he said.

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OSU looks at possible remediation for water rule http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20140829/osu-looks-at-possible-remediation-for-water-rule http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20140829/osu-looks-at-possible-remediation-for-water-rule#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:58:39 -0400 Sean Ellis http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829842 ONTARIO, Ore. — Oregon State University researchers here are looking at ways to help onion growers follow possible federal rules that would limit how much bacteria can be present in irrigation water.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a produce safety rule that would limit how much generic E. coli bacteria can be present in irrigation water, require farmers to test their water weekly and stop using it if it exceeds a minimum threshold.

Onion growers say the rules aren’t necessary or scientifically sound and would be costly, with no public safety benefit.

The FDA will release a revised rule before the end of the summer and onion growers are hopeful it will include substantial changes to the part of the rule dealing with allowable bacteria levels in irrigation water.

But OSU researchers are proceeding with their experiments so growers aren’t caught flat-footed if the irrigation water rule isn’t significantly altered.

“There wasn’t any sense delaying the research to wait and see what is going to come out,” OSU cropping systems extension agent Stuart Reitz said. “We want to make sure … we have the information necessary to ensure we can keep growing onions in the valley.”

Reitz and other OSU researchers are looking at three main ways growers could meet the proposed FDA standard for allowable E. coli levels in irrigation water.

One method would involve applying a copper fungicide over the top of onions and researchers are comparing bacteria levels in treated plots vs. untreated plots.

Another possible solution could involve treating ditch water with a copper sulfate compound. Bacteria counts are being measured before and after treatments.

A third possibility is injecting chlorine dioxide through drip irrigation tape to kill off bacteria. Growers already use chlorine to keep drip lines clear of algae.

Reitz said researchers are trying to determine rates that are “low enough to kill off bacteria and economically viable for growers to use.”

He said all those products are already registered for use in onions.

“In Stuart’s research, he’s dealing with products that are already registered on onions,” said Nyssa farmer Reid Saito. “To prove, or disprove, that these products work … would really help us deal with any potential new food safety rules and regulations.”

OSU researchers provided growers and industry representatives an update Aug. 26 on their continuing research on whether E. coli bacteria in irrigation water poses a threat to onions.

This is the second year of the field trials and Clint Shock, director of OSU’s Malheur County experiment station, said they’re important whether or not the FDA revises its proposed rule.

“It’s really important that we have safe produce and our growers are assured they are delivering safe products to the marketplace,” he said.

So far, Shock said, the trials have shown that E. coli contamination is not a risk in furrow- or drip-irrigated bulb onions, regardless of water quality.

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Thai worker settlements with Hawaii farms at risk http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140829/thai-worker-settlements-with-hawaii-farms-at-risk http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140829/thai-worker-settlements-with-hawaii-farms-at-risk#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:53:03 -0400 JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829844 HONOLULU (AP) — A federal judge in Hawaii says she won’t consider approving $2.4 million in settlements for hundreds of Thai farm workers until the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission holds a news conference clarifying that the agreements are still subject to court approval.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi is ordering the agency to provide proof of the news conference by Friday. She said in her order issued last week that the EEOC didn’t follow rules when it filed the proposed agreements.

The EEOC is planning a news conference in Honolulu on Friday to comply with the order.

Kobayashi’s order warns that if the EEOC doesn’t comply, the judge may deny the requests to approve the settlements and reset all claims for trial.

The EEOC “ignored the possibility that this court could reject one or more of the consent decrees,” Kobayashi’s order said. “The EEOC’s disregard of the applicable rules and this court’s express instructions is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The agency apologized for its error in a court filing.

Anna Park, a regional attorney for the agency in Los Angeles, said Thursday that it was procedural oversight. “It was clearly a miscommunication on our end. We hope we can now move on for the judge to consider the decrees in the interest of the claimants in the case,” she said.

The agency announced in June that it had reached settlement agreements with four Hawaii farms over allegations that they exploited workers.

EEOC attorneys disregarded the judge’s instructions on filing the proposed agreements, “apparently so that EEOC officials could announce, during a previously scheduled press conference, that consent decrees had been ‘filed’ in this case,” Kobayashi’s order said.

The EEOC should have waited to do so until she approved the settlements, Kobayashi said. The EEOC gave the misleading impression the settlements were final, according to her order.

Park said reporters were told at the news conference that the agreements were still subject to court approval, but that point was ambiguous in the news release the agency issued.

Kobayashi said she will lodge disciplinary complaints with the State Bar of California against Park and Sue Noh, a Los Angeles EEOC supervisory trial attorney. Park said she and Noh won’t comment on the disciplinary action.

According to the settlement agreements made public in June, Mac Farms of Hawaii would pay $1.6 million, Kelena Farms would pay $275,000, Captain Cook Coffee Co. would pay $100,000 and Kauai Coffee Co. would pay $425,000. Attorneys for the farms couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc. settled for $1.2 million. Kobayashi has already approved that agreement.

All of the $3.6 million will go directly to the workers, Park said in June, in a distribution process that involves determining who worked on the various farms, for how long and the severity of the abuse workers suffered.

The EEOC filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 against California-based labor contractor Global Horizons and six Hawaii farms, with allegations including workers subjected to discrimination, uninhabitable housing, insufficient food, inadequate wages and deportation threats.

Global Horizons was found liable for the discrimination and abuse of the workers. Global Horizons and Maui Pineapple Co., the last farm that hasn’t settled, are scheduled to go to trial.

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USDA seizes more than 1,200 illegal giant snails http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140829/usda-seizes-more-than-1200-illegal-giant-snails http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140829/usda-seizes-more-than-1200-illegal-giant-snails#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:46:41 -0400 MARY CLARE JALONICK http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829845 WASHINGTON (AP) — The giant African snail damages buildings, destroys crops and can cause meningitis in humans. But some people still want to collect, and even eat, the slimy invaders.

The Agriculture Department is trying to stop them. Since June, department authorities have seized more than 1,200 live specimens of the large snails, also known as giant African land snails, all of them traced back to one person in Georgia, who was selling them illegally.

The USDA discovered the snails through a tip from social media at the end of June. From that tip, the department seized more than 200 snails from a person on Long Island, New York, who identified the seller in Georgia. The department then interviewed the seller and seized almost 1,000 more snails in Georgia, plus one each in Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York.

Agriculture officials said the investigation was ongoing and they would not identify any of the individuals.

It’s important to capture the snails without delay, authorities say, because they multiply quickly, producing 1,200 or more offspring a year. And the snails, which can grow larger than the size of a fist, have no natural predators in the United States. People are their only threat.

Florida authorities know this all too well. Agriculture officials there are in their third year of trying to eradicate the snails. They were discovered in Miami in September 2011, and they’ve been found on houses, where they eat plaster and stucco to gain calcium for their shells, and in residential gardens, where they tear through plants.

Mark Fagan, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture, said the agency so far has found 141,000 snails in 26 areas of Miami-Dade County. Luckily, he said, they have not yet progressed into any of the state’s rich agricultural areas. The snails eat 500 types of plants, including most row crops and citrus, so keeping them away is an important investment for the state’s $100 billion-a-year farm industry.

Florida first saw the giant snails in the 1960s, when a boy from Miami was believed to have smuggled some of them in from Hawaii. His grandmother eventually released his snails into her garden — starting an infestation that took 10 years to eradicate.

Fagan said state officials don’t know how the latest infestation started. But people have different reasons for importing the snails. Sometimes they arrive accidentally in luggage or cargo. The USDA believes most of the snails it has seized this year were being collected by hobbyists who wanted them as pets. They are also used in some African religious practices and even in some cosmetic procedures. And some people consider the snails a food delicacy.

Consumption was the apparent reason for one person’s attempt to bring 67 live snails into California in July. U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Los Angeles International Airport intercepted the snails, which were declared by a person from Nigeria, as for human consumption and destined for a location in Corona, California. Customs officers said the person appeared not to know that importation of the live snails into the United States was illegal.

Eating or handling them could be dangerous, government officials said. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the snails can carry a parasitic worm that can lead to meningitis.

The Agriculture Department said it wants to warn people about the threat. People may not know the live snails are prohibited in the United States, and if those people report that they have them, they won’t face any penalties. Those who knowingly import them illegally could face fines.

“The more people who know about giant African snails and know that they are illegal in the United States, the better we are in keeping them out,” said Wendolyn Beltz, a director in the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “If they didn’t know and they are reaching out to us to do the right thing, there will be absolutely no penalties for that.”

It is legal to import frozen giant African snails for consumption in the U.S., and live snails are legal and available in some parts of Europe, as well as other foreign countries, so people may not be aware of the U.S. ban. The snails seized by the USDA this summer came from Britain, the department said.

Dr. Jim Young, an entomologist at USDA who identifies snails and other species intercepted in international commerce, said the best bet is just to be careful when you are abroad.

“Don’t play with snails when you are on vacation,” he said.

Online

USDA on giant African snails: http://www.hungrypests.com/the-threat/giant-african-snail.php

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Onion and Potatoes Market Report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20140829/onion-and-potatoes-market-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20140829/onion-and-potatoes-market-report#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:00:25 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829849 Fruit and Vegetable Market News,

Federal - State Market News Service, USDA.

Prices represent open (spot) market sales by first handlers on product of generally good quality and condition unless otherwise stated and may include promotional allowances or other incentives. No consideration is given to after-sale adjustments unless otherwise stated. Brokerage fees paid by the shipper are included in the price reported. Delivered Sales, Shipping Point Basis excludes all charges for freight.

The Following Terms when used by Market News will be interpreted as meaning:

Occasional-1 to 5%, Few-6 to 10%, Some-11 to 25%, Many-26 to 50%,

Mostly-51 to 90%, Generally-91 to 100%

Moses Lake, WA Clear 67/89

Pasco, WA Clear 61/93

Twin Falls, ID Clear 61/89

Ontario, OR Clear 54/93

Stevens Point, WI Overcast 50/72

Antigo, WI Overcast 46/71

Saint Cloud, MN Mostly Cloudy 59/72

BIG LAKE AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA

Sales F.O.B. Shipping Point and/or Delivered Sales, Shipping Point Basis

2014 Season

---POTATOES: DEMAND YELLOW TYPE GOOD, ROUND RED SIZE A FAIRLY GOOD, OTHERS FAIRLY LIGHT.

MARKET ABOUT STEADY. Truck shortage limits movement.

Round Red U.S. One

baled 10 5-lb film bags sz A 8.50-10.00 mostly 9.00

50 lb cartons

sz A 8.75-10.00 mostly 9.00 occas lower

sz B 12.00-15.00 mostly 12.00-13.50 occas higher

Creamers 3/4-1 5/8” 20.00-30.00 mostly 20.00

50 lb sacks

sz A 7.50-8.50 mostly 8.00 occas lower

sz B 11.00-14.00 mostly 12.00 occas higher

tote bags approx 2000 lbs per cwt

sz A 13.00-15.00 mostly 14.00 occas lower

U.S. Two 50 lb sacks

sz A 2.75-4.50 mostly 3.00-4.00 occas higher

sz B 5.00-8.00 mostly 6.00-7.00 occas higher

Yellow Type U.S. One

baled 10 5-lb film bags sz A 11.50-12.50 mostly 12.00 occas lower

50 lb cartons

sz A 11.50-12.50 mostly 12.00 occas lower

sz B 8.50-11.00 mostly 10.00 occas lower

Creamers 3/4-1 5/8” 20.00-25.00 mostly 20.00

tote bags approx 2000 lbs per cwt

sz A 18.00-20.00

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

Sales F.O.B. Shipping Point and/or Delivered Sales, Shipping Point Basis

2014 Season

---POTATOES: DEMAND MODERATE. MARKET RUSSET NORKOTAH BALED AND

ROUND WHITE SACKS SLIGHTLY LOWER, OTHERS ABOUT STEADY. Truck shortage limits movement.

Russet Norkotah U.S. One

baled 5 10-lb film bags sz A 6.50-8.00 mostly 7.00

baled 10 5-lb film bags sz A 7.50-9.00 mostly 8.00

50 lb cartons

40s 10.00-12.00 mostly 11.00-12.00

50s 10.00-12.00 mostly 11.00-12.00

60s 10.00-12.00 mostly 11.00-12.00

70s 10.00-12.00 mostly 11.00-12.00

80s 10.00-12.00 mostly 11.00-12.00

90s 9.00-10.00 mostly 10.00

100s 9.00-10.00 mostly 10.00

Round Red U.S. One

baled 5 10-lb film bags sz A 8.50-10.00 mostly 8.50-9.00 occas higher

baled 10 5-lb film bags sz A 9.50-11.00 mostly 9.50-10.00 occas higher

50 lb cartons

sz A 9.00-10.00 mostly 9.00-9.50

sz B 10.00-14.00 mostly 13.00-13.

50 50 lb sacks

sz A 8.00-9.00 mostly 8.00-8.50

sz B 9.00-13.00 mostly 12.00-12.50

Round White U.S. One 50 lb sacks

sz A 6.50-8.00 mostly 7.00-7.50

Yellow Type U.S. One 50 lb cartons

sz A 11.00-13.00 mostly 12.00

COLUMBIA BASIN WASHINGTON & UMATILLA BASIN OREGON

Sales F.O.B. Shipping Point and/or Delivered Sales, Shipping Point Basis

2014 Season

---ONIONS DRY: DEMAND MODERATE. MARKET ABOUT STEADY.

Yellow Hybrid 50 lb sacks

jbo 7.50-8.50 mostly 8.00-8.50

med 5.00-7.00 mostly 6.00

White 50 lb sacks

jbo 12.00-13.00

med 10.00

Red Globe Type 25 lb sacks

jbo 7.00-8.00 mostly 8.00 occas higher

med 6.00-6.50 mostly 6.00 occas higher

COLUMBIA BASIN WASHINGTON & UMATILLA BASIN OREGON

Sales F.O.B. Shipping Point and/or Delivered Sales, Shipping Point Basis

2014 Season

---POTATOES: DEMAND LIGHT. MARKET ABOUT STEADY.

Russet Norkotah U.S. One 2” or 4-oz Min

baled 5 10-lb film bags

sz A 5.00-5.50

non sz A 3.50-4.50 mostly 4.00

baled 10 5-lb film bags

sz A 6.00-6.50

non sz A 4.50-5.50 mostly 5.00

50 lb cartons

40s 6.00-8.00 mostly 7.00 occas higher & lower

50s 6.00-8.00 mostly 7.00 occas higher & lower

60s 6.00-8.00 mostly 7.00 occas higher & lower

70s 6.00-8.00 mostly 7.00 occas higher & lower

80s 6.00-8.00 mostly 7.00 occas higher & lower

90s 6.00-7.00 occas higher & lower

100s 6.00-7.00 occas higher & lower

U.S. Two 50 lb sacks

10 oz min 4.00-6.00 mostly 4.00-5.00

IDAHO AND MALHEUR COUNTY, OREGON

Sales F.O.B. Shipping Point and/or Delivered Sales, Shipping Point Basis

2014 Season

---ONIONS DRY: DEMAND MODERATE. MARKET STEADY.

Yellow Spanish Hybrid U.S. One 50 lb sacks

Super Col 12.00-13.00 mostly 12.00 occas lower

col 9.00-10.00 mostly 10.00 occas higher

jbo 8.00-9.00 mostly 8.00

med 5.50-7.00 mostly 6.00

White 50 lb sacks

jbo 12.00-13.00 occas higher

med 10.00-12.00 mostly 10.00 occas higher

Red Globe Type U.S. One 25 lb sacks

jbo 8.00-9.00 mostly 9.00

med 7.00-8.00 mostly 7.00 occas lower

UPPER VALLEY, TWIN FALLS-BURLEY DISTRICT IDAHO

Sales F.O.B. Shipping Point and/or Delivered Sales, Shipping Point Basis

2014 Season

---POTATOES: DEMAND BALED & CARTON 80-100S FAIRLY LIGHT, OTHERS GOOD. MARKET ABOUT STEADY.

Russet Norkotah U.S. One 2” or 4-oz Min

baled 5 10-lb mesh sacks non sz A 40% 5-oz min 4.25-5.00 mostly 4.50 occas higher

baled 5 10-lb film bags non sz A 40% 5-oz min 3.50-4.50 mostly 4.00

baled 10 5-lb mesh sacks non sz A 40% 5-oz min 5.25-6.00 mostly 5.50 occas higher

baled 10 5-lb film bags non sz A 40% 5-oz min 4.50-5.50 mostly 5.00

50 lb cartons

40s 7.00-8.00 mostly 7.00-7.50

50s 7.00-8.00 mostly 7.00-7.50

60s 7.00-8.00 mostly 7.00-7.50 occas lower

70s 7.00-8.00 mostly 7.00-7.50

80s 6.50-8.00 mostly 7.00-7.50

90s 6.00-7.00

100s 6.00-7.00

U.S. Two 50 lb sacks

6 oz min 5.50-6.00 mostly 6.00

10 oz min 7.00

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Intermountain Grain & Livestock Report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20140829/intermountain-grain-livestock-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20140829/intermountain-grain-livestock-report#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:57:51 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829850 POCATELLO — Wednesday Prices: White wheat 5.80 (steady); hard red winter 6.22 (up 8); 14 percent spring 6.30 (down 2); hard white 6.22 (up 8);

BURLEY — White wheat no quote; 11.5 percent winter no quote; 14 percent spring no quote; hard white no quote; barley no quote;

OGDEN — White wheat 6.16 (up 9); 11.5 percent winter 6.30 (up 12); 14 percent spring 6.87 (up 12); barley 6.10 (steady); corn 8.20 (up 11);

PORTLAND—— Soft white 7.06 (up 6); hard red winter 7.40-7.45 (up 6 ? 17); 14 percent spring 8.16 (up 20); white club 9.06 (steady); oats 290.00 (steady);

NAMPA— Soft white 10.42 (up 12) cwt or 6.25 (up 7) bushel. ———

LIVESTOCK AUCTION —— Idaho Livestock in Idaho Falls on August 27. Breaker and boner cows 100.00-115.00; cutter and canner 82.00-102.00; heiferettes 140.00-160.00; feeding cows 94.00-104.00; slaughter bulls 118.00-130.00; feeding and cutting bulls 110.00-140.00; steers: heavy 183.00-210.00, light 225.00-240.00, stocker 240.00-310.00; heifers: heavy no test, light 190.00-208.00, stocker 210.00-270.00; holstein steers: no test. Remarks: cows and bulls lower, feeders steady.

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Feds jail ginseng poacher as wild plants face risk http://www.capitalpress.com/Stocks/20140829/feds-jail-ginseng-poacher-as-wild-plants-face-risk http://www.capitalpress.com/Stocks/20140829/feds-jail-ginseng-poacher-as-wild-plants-face-risk#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:45:53 -0400 MITCH WEISS http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829852 ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Broke and down on his luck, Billy Joe Hurley turned to the only way he knew how to make a living: poaching ginseng.

But after his latest in a long string of arrests, federal prosecutors had enough.

They told a U.S. magistrate Thursday that poaching by Hurley and others in the national forests in western North Carolina has dramatically reduced the numbers of wild ginseng — a humble looking plant whose roots can fetch more than $900 a pound.

Prosecutor David Thorne said they needed to send a message: Illegal ginseng harvesting won’t be tolerated.

Hurley, 46, of Bryson City, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 5½ months in jail — the fifth time in a decade that Hurley has been sentenced for illegal possession or harvesting of ginseng. He could have received up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

But Magistrate Dennis Howell said he didn’t fine Hurley because he knew he couldn’t pay it.

Hurley’s legal troubles illustrate a larger problem: As prices continue to skyrocket, more people are traipsing through national forests, state parks and even private property to hunt ginseng, leaving the plant’s survival in doubt.

“We only catch a small fraction of what’s going on here,” said Wes Mullins, a National Park Service ranger who arrested Hurley on June 28. “Most of them are woodsmen and they know the mountains better than we do.”

He said poachers often camp out deep in the hardwood forest, digging up the slow-growing plant for its two- and three-prong roots. They can get up to $200 for fresh roots. Dried roots can go for more than $900 because of the strong demand, mostly from eastern Asian markets.

“We just have to keep trying. Otherwise, the plant will go extinct,” he said.

Digging ginseng — or ‘sang, as some still call it — has been an Appalachian tradition for generations. And it’s not illegal to harvest ginseng on your own property.

The Chinese have used ginseng for thousands of years as everything from an aphrodisiac to an elixir of longevity. But Asian ginseng has become virtually extinct due in part to overharvesting.

Some large-scale farms in China, the United States and other countries grow ginseng, said Jim Hamilton, the Watauga County extension director.

But wild American ginseng is the most desired and fetches the most money because of its potency. And it only grows in selected cool climates, such as the Appalachian Mountains. It flourishes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.

Each September, the U.S. Forest Service sets a legal harvesting period for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, issuing permits that limit how much can be gathered.

This year, the agency has issued just 136 permits through a lottery system. Each permit holder can gather up to 3 pounds.

But the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is off limits for ginseng harvesting.

And that’s where wildlife officials have been working to save ginseng, one plant at a time.

Jim Corbin, a plant protection specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, has developed a way to track ginseng. Each August, he and a group of volunteers spend a week trudging up steep hillsides in the park. When they find a ginseng plant, they push aside the dirt and sprinkle yellow powered dye to mark the roots.

Ginseng dealers are alerted not to buy plants with dyed roots.

Corbin said his team usually marks more than 2,000 plants during the week.

But with ginseng roots fetching so much money, he says it’s hard to stop poachers.

Just ask 42-year-old James Williamson, who faces ginseng poaching charges.

People in western North Carolina are struggling to get by, Williamson told the Associated Press.

“There aren’t many jobs around here. Logging is gone. Mills are gone. It’s easy to go out in the woods and walk,” he said. “I’m not a bad guy. I just need the money.”

“This was something fathers taught their sons,” he added. “People used to go digging just to get extra money for Christmas. Now they need the money to live.”

That’s one reason Hurley has been poaching ginseng for years, said his attorney, Corey Atkins. He said Hurley was “destitute,” living with his parents. He had no money, no job prospects.

“He is sorry,” Atkins said, adding, “It is something that he has developed a skill for — identifying the plants.”

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West Nile Virus found in Michigan horse, turkeys http://www.capitalpress.com/Horses/20140829/west-nile-virus-found-in-michigan-horse-turkeys http://www.capitalpress.com/Horses/20140829/west-nile-virus-found-in-michigan-horse-turkeys#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:43:39 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829853 TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials have confirmed the West Nile Virus has been found in a northern Michigan horse and a mid-Michigan turkey flock.

The state Agriculture and Community Health departments said Thursday an 8-year-old horse from Grand Traverse County tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus this month. It was euthanized after it didn’t respond to treatment.

The disease affects humans and animals. Symptoms in horses include stumbling, tremors, facial paralysis, impaired vision and seizures.

Officials say there hasn’t been a human case of the virus this season.

They say turkeys in a small flock in Ingham County were infected with the disease and were dying at a high rate.

A state veterinarian says people should be diligent about vaccinating horses, using bug repellent and keeping water troughs clean.

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Highest number of North Dakota bee colonies ever http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140829/highest-number-of-north-dakota-bee-colonies-ever http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140829/highest-number-of-north-dakota-bee-colonies-ever#Comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:39:07 -0400 BLAKE NICHOLSON http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829855 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The number of bee colonies in the nation’s leading honey-producing state is on the rise, as is landowner acceptance of the boxlike colonies.

State and industry officials in North Dakota credit more beekeepers, a more concerted attempt to register colonies and a unique effort to help beekeepers and landowners live in harmony.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said 221 beekeepers have registered 510,000 colonies this year, compared to 205 beekeepers registering 482,500 colonies last year. More than 12,200 hive locations have been registered, compared to 11,000 last year.

Goehring said there has been a spike in registration compliance because of education and outreach done by his department’s apiary staff. There also are more colonies because drought elsewhere has steered more beekeepers to North Dakota, said Will Nissen, a longtime Minot beekeeper and president of the North Dakota Beekeepers Association.

While other states, such as Montana and South Dakota, have strict limits on space between colonies, “North Dakota is kind of a ‘bring-’em-on-in’ state,” he said.

Goehring also said complaints about bee colonies are on the decline. One reason might be the state’s Pollinator Plan.

North Dakota last year became the first state to heed the call of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to develop a plan to help beekeepers and landowners resolve differences while protecting honeybees, in the hope of reversing the effects of colony collapse disorder. A federal report blames a combination of factors including a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and pesticides for the loss of as much as one-third of the nation’s bees each winter since 2006.

“The pollinator plan was developed in response to a growing need for a balanced public policy that mitigates risk to honey bees, while minimizing the impact of that mitigation on production agriculture to prevent unintended consequences,” Goehring said.

North Dakota’s eight-page plan was based on information gathered at meetings of beekeepers, growers, pesticide applicators, crop consultants and others.

“A lot of this is simple — getting to know what a beekeeper needs, and what a farmer needs,” Nissen said, adding that efforts to improve relations and improve the industry are “heading in the right direction.”

North Dakota has led the nation in honey production for the past decade, and last year produced more than 33 million pounds of honey, 22 percent of the national total.

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Capital Press calendar of events http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20140829/capital-press-calendar-of-events http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20140829/capital-press-calendar-of-events#Comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:20:35 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829882 To submit items to the calendar, send an email with information to calendar@capitalpress.com

AUGUST

OREGON

Aug. 29 — Turf Grass Field Day, 8 a.m., Lewis-Brown Farm, 33329 Peoria Road, Corvallis, Alec Kowalewski, 541-737-5449

IDAHO

Aug. 30-Sept. 6 — Eastern Idaho State Fair, 97 Park St., Blackfoot, (208) 785-2480, http://www.funatthefair.com

SEPTEMBER

INTERNATIONAL

Sept. 1-3 — Agrifoodtec, Nairobi, Kenya, www.agrifoodteceastafrica.com

Sept. 7-10 — Saudi Agriculture 2014, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, www.recexpo.com

OREGON

Through Sept. 1 — Oregon State Fair, Salem, http://oregonstatefair.org

Sept. 5-6 — 56th Annual Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association Tree Fair and Trade Show, Red Lion on the River, Jantzen Beach, Portland, (503) 364-2942

Sept. 6 — Third Annual Small Farm School, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Clackamas Community College, http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/node/175835

Sept. 15 — Willamette Valley Oilseed Producers Association Annual Meeting, 7:30-10:30 a.m., Polk County Fairgrounds, Rickreall, www.wvopa.org

Sept. 26-27 — Geothermal Workshop: Lease, Units and Water Use Legal Issues and Hydrothermal Resources and Geothermal Exploration, Oregon Convention Center, Portland, www.geothermal.org or 530-758-2360

Sept. 28-Oct. 1 — Geothermal Resource Council Annual Meeting and Expo, Oregon Convention Center, Portland. Register by Aug. 30 for $100 discount, www.geothermal.org or 530-758-2360

WASHINGTON

Sept. 5-21 — Washington State Fair, Puyallup, http://www.thefair.com

Sept. 13 — Farmer Consumer Awareness Day festival, Quincy, www.quincyfarmerconsumer.com

CALIFORNIA

Sept. 18-19 — California Poultry Federation annual conference, Monterey Plaza Hotel, 400 Cannery Road, Monterey, www.cpif.org

Sept. 23-25 — Fresh-Cut Products: Maintaining Quality and Safety Workshop, University of California-Davis, http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/Education/FreshCut/

IDAHO

Through Sept. 6 — Eastern Idaho State Fair, 97 Park St., Blackfoot, (208) 785-2480, http://www.funatthefair.com

Sept.3 — Increasing habitat for pollinators workshop, sponsored by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Peaceful Belly Farm, Dry Creek Valley north of Boise, www.pesticide.org or jmiller@pesticide.org or (208) 850-6504

OCTOBER

NATIONAL

Oct. 1-3 — North American Blueberry Council and U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council fall meeting, Hyatt Rosemont Hotel, Rosemont, Ill., (847) 518-1234 or (916) 983-0111.

Oct. 20-22 — National Farmland, Food And Livable Communities Conference, American Farmland Trust, Lexington, Ky., www.farmland.org

OREGON

Oct. 18 — Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation Fall Harvest Dinner and Auction, Oregon State University, Corvallis, (541)737-8629 or http://aitc.oregonstate.edu

IDAHO

Oct. 2 — Introduction to Food Safety and HAACP Workshop, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn Idaho Falls, www.techhelp.org

WASHINGTON

Oct. 24-25 — Washington State Sheep Producers annual convention, Leavenworth, www.wssp.org

NOVEMBER

OREGON

Nov. 7 — Denim and Diamonds annual dinner auction, Agri-Business Council of Oregon, 5 p.m., Portland Marriott Hotel, www.aglink.org/

CALIFORNIA

Nov. 3-5 — Produce Safety: A Science-based Framework Workshop, University of California-Davis, http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/Education/Produce-Safety/

WASHINGTON

Nov. 10-11 — Dairy Industry Annual Meeting, Heathman Lodge, Vancouver, http://wastatedairy.com

Nov. 7-9 — Tilth Producers of Washington 40th anniversary conference, Vancouver Hilton, http://tilthproducers.org/programs/conference-2/.

IDAHO

Nov. 4-6 — Practical Food Safety and HACCP Workshop, Riverside Hotel, Boise, www.techhelp.org

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Vancouver port taps North Dakota for new customer http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140828/vancouver-portxa0taps-north-dakota-for-new-customer http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140828/vancouver-portxa0taps-north-dakota-for-new-customer#Comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:00:15 -0400 Don Jenkins http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829858 VANCOUVER, Wash. — Railcars dispatched from the Port of Vancouver with supplies for North Dakota’s energy fields will return with farm commodities, according to an agreement between the port and North Dakota agriculture officials.

Right now, some of those railcars rumble back to the West empty. Meanwhile, North Dakota farmers and shippers are struggling to move food to Asia and Latin America, the state’s agriculture commissioner, Doug Goerhring, said Thursday.

“Everybody is experiencing problems with rail service,” he said. “It’s crucial we find modes of transportation.”

Goerhring and Port CEO Todd Coleman signed the agreement Wednesday in Fargo, N.D.

The port will supply the railcars, put the commodities on ships and coordinate rail service with Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

North Dakota officials will publicize the service among the state’s farmers and shippers.

Goehring said he hoped the shipments of soybeans, peas, lentils, dry beans and other commodities will start arriving as early as mid-September.

The idea originated with the Columbia River port, a daily launching point for railcars carrying supplies such as steel pipes and bauxite for North Dakota’s coal, oil and gas fields.

The port approached North Dakota officials about filling those railcars for the return journey more than a year ago.

The port is already a leading West Coast handler of bulk commodities. Some 16 percent of the wheat grown in the U.S. flows through Vancouver, according to port officials.

The port will obtain and control a supply of railcars by leasing them for $625 each per month. Initially, the port will lease 50 railcars. Port commissioners have authorized leasing up to 180 railcars.

The port’s return on its investment will depend on interest shown by North Dakota farmers and shippers.

Port spokeswoman Abbi Russell said the port expects to at least break even, but does not have revenue projections.

The agreement calls on the port to make upgrades to its handling facilities if necessary. No improvements are planned for now, Russell said.

The port began a $275 million project in 2007 to improve rail access to the port. The port expects to complete the project in 2017.

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Judge rules against county GMO regulations http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20140828/judge-rules-against-county-gmo-regulations http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20140828/judge-rules-against-county-gmo-regulations#Comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:17:29 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829864 A federal judge has invalidated a Hawaiian county’s regulations for genetically modified organisms, but has affirmed that states can require growers to disclose information about GMO crops without running afoul of federal laws.

That finding provides some consolation for critics of biotech crops in what’s otherwise a defeat.

While the decision is certainly a victory for proponents of biotechnology, it also rejects some of their key legal arguments against Kauai County’s regulation of genetically engineered crops.

Significantly, the ruling held that requiring farmers to disclose the type and location of transgenic crops is not preempted by federal law.

“It seems to be not all bad news for the losers and not all good news for the winners,” said Daniel Cole, an environmental law and economics professor at Indiana University.

Last year, the Kauai County Council approved an ordinance that requires biotech farmers to submit an annual report to government agencies about the GMO crops they’re growing.

The ordinance also includes no-spray buffer zones and notification requirements for pesticides, among other measures.

Syngenta Seeds and other biotech proponents filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ordinance, which they claimed was barred by several state and federal laws and violated their due process rights.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren has agreed with the plaintiffs on a crucial point: the local ordinance is preempted by Hawaii state rules for pesticides, plant quarantines, seed quality and noxious weeds.

However, he ruled that the county’s regulations are not preempted by federal laws and regulations governing pesticides, biotechnology and plant protection.

Biotech proponents would have prevailed more resoundingly in the lawsuit if the ordinance was struck down on grounds of federal preemption, said Cole.

“If they won on federal preemption, that’s the best, because it’s so hard to change,” he said.

From the legal perspective, other federal courts could potentially be influenced by the ruling, Cole said.

The opinion indicates that a state can preempt its counties from requiring GMO disclosure, but the state itself can implement such a requirement without running afoul of federal law, he said.

The ruling could be relevant in other states if they pass similar GMO disclosure requirements, said Drew Kershen, an agricultural biotechnology law professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Many farmers are leery of such a possibility, he said. “The reason they’re worried about being pin-pointed is vandalism, because it’s happened.”

However, the opinion won’t directly bear on the legality of labeling foods containing GMOs, since questions of federal preemption are very fact-specific, said Kershen. “I think they’re going to be quite distinctive issues.”

In practical terms, the ruling also means that counties could still enact GMO and pesticide rules if Hawaii’s legislature makes clear that they’re not preempted by state law, said Cole.

It would be tough for GMO critics to convince state lawmakers to pass such a bill, but not nearly as difficult as getting the U.S. Congress to sign off on it, he said.

The Center for Food Safety, a non-profit that supported the ordinance, believes the judge made the right decision about the lack of federal preemption but is “extremely disappointed” that the Kauai regulations were overturned.

The group and other ordinance supporters are considering an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and other options, said George Kimbrell, its attorney. “The battle is far from over.”

Stan Abramson, an attorney who advises the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said he’s encouraged by the judge’s reasoning regarding state preemption.

Farmers in the Hawaiian Islands are dealing with the aftermath of a tropical hurricane and shouldn’t be expected to shoulder additional regulatory burdens, he said.

The ruling about Kauai’s regulations may also have implications for litigation over an even more controversial ordinance in Hawaii County that actually prohibits GMOs — particularly since the same judge is presiding over both lawsuits.

“If the judge has ruled that an annual (GMO disclosure) report is preempted, that seems to hint that the judge would rule that a ban, which is a more serious impediment, is preempted,” said Kershen.

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Portland Daily Grain Report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20140828/portland-daily-grain-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20140828/portland-daily-grain-report#Comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:33:11 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829869 Portland, Ore., Thursday, Aug 28

USDA Market News

Bids for grains delivered to Portland, Oregon during August 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 August delivery. Bids for corn are for 30 day delivery.

In early trading September wheat futures trended 11.75 to 14.00 cents per bushel higher than Wednesday’s close.

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

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for August 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 Kansas City September futures supported cash.

Bids for 14 percent protein non-guaranteed US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for August delivery were not fully established in early trading but were indicated as higher compared to Wednesday’s noon bids. The higher Minneapolis September 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

Aug NC mostly 7.1125, ranging 7.0000-7.1650

Sep 7.0300-7.1650

Oct 7.0600-7.2150

Nov 7.0900-7.2150

Dec 7.1200-7.2150

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

Aug NC mostly 9.1125, ranging 8.6650-9.8650

Not fully established and limited.

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

better)

Ordinary protein 7.4075-7.4575

10 pct protein 7.4075-7.4575

11 pct protein 7.4875-7.5375

11.5 pct protein

Aug NC 7.5275-7.5775

12 pct protein 7.5275-7.5775

13 pct protein 7.5275-7.5775

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 7.6775-8.0075

14 pct protein

Aug NC 8.1075-8.4075

15 pct protein 8.3075-8.6075

16 pct protein 8.5075-8.8075

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 14.5000

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Jul 2014

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 6.6900

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 7.3100

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 7.4200

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 8.1800

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Robert Eaton 503-326-2237 Portland.LPGMNams.usda.gov

24 Hour Market Report 503-326-2022

www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/jo—gr110.txt

www.ams.usda.gov/lpsmarketnewspage

8:48 P re

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Rural Colorado county approves first hemp greenhouse http://www.capitalpress.com/Research/20140828/rural-colorado-county-approves-first-hemp-greenhouse http://www.capitalpress.com/Research/20140828/rural-colorado-county-approves-first-hemp-greenhouse#Comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:30:25 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829870 STERLING, Colo. (AP) — Commissioners in rural Logan County in northeast Colorado have approved an application for an industrial hemp research and development processing facility, as well as a 2-acre greenhouse.

The hemp greenhouse will be Colorado’s first and could eventually employ between 15 and 25 people, said hemp activist Jason Lauve of Broomfield, who spoke in favor of the application, The (Sterling) Journal-Advocate reported Wednesday.

“The hemp project to me is really important, because it’s going to start to give us the ability to demonstrate that we can utilize industrial hemp for specific purposes such as building, textile purposes, adhesives,” he said.

The goal of the greenhouse will be to develop a stock of hemp seed suited to growing in Colorado.

Colorado has a few dozen industrial hemp plots under cultivation, but seeds are expensive and illegal to import from other countries.

“The ultimate goal of the project is to really create a seed stock and product that are both commercially viable,” said Mark Spoone, of Castle Rock, one of Bornhoft’s partners.

The challenge will be creating seeds that reliably produce hemp with little THC, the intoxicating chemical in hemp’s cousin marijuana, Spoone said.

“We’re looking for a seed stock that will create essentially three key things: food, fiber and fuel,” he explained, adding that the project will also “allow us the ability to develop technologies and processes for growing stuff, understand how we lower those THC levels, how we can increase the other components.”

County Commissioner Rocky Samber asked about the protocol for making sure there aren’t plants with THC levels that are very high. Lauve said the state will test part of their field, plus they will have private testing done to monitor THC levels and he said the operation will be transparent about what is found in those tests.

Plants with .3 to 1 percent THC levels can’t be sold, but they can be used for research and anything with above 1 percent has to be destroyed.

“I think the key to all of this is to keep everybody in the loop. It’s a new project, it’s a new plant for not only the state, but the country,” Lauve said.

Tom McClain, from Broomfield, whose great-grandfather planted hemp, stressed the “incredible importance I think Sterling plays in helping re-establish hemp as an agricultural product in this region of the United States.”

McClain predicted the development would be noticed in nearby states.

“You guys have the opportunity to help demonstrate to Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, the viability of this product,” McClain said.

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Michigan peach crop suffers after harsh winte http://www.capitalpress.com/Orchards/20140828/michigan-peach-crop-suffers-after-harsh-winte http://www.capitalpress.com/Orchards/20140828/michigan-peach-crop-suffers-after-harsh-winte#Comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:43:39 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829875 DETROIT (AP) — Michigan peach farmers are harvesting a significantly smaller crop than usual this year after an especially severe winter.

The U.S. Agriculture Department forecasts that the state’s crop will be down about 50 percent from last year, the Detroit Free Press reported. Extreme cold wiped out most peach buds in Macomb, Oakland and Lapeer counties, southeast Michigan’s choice peach-producing regions, last winter.

Bob Tritten, a Michigan State University Extension fruit educator, said it’s been decades since the losses were so bad.

“We have about 60 peach growers in southeast Michigan, and there is not one grower with one peach,” he said.

Tritten said the younger peach trees did better, but cold weather killed many of the trees. He said flower buds on the trees, and the trees themselves, typically can’t handle temperatures more than 13 below.

Abby Jacobson, who co-owns Westview Orchards with her sister, said they only saw four peaches out of more than 35 acres of peach trees on their farm.

“Ten to 14 years is the lifespan of peach trees,” Jacobson said. “Our younger blocks of trees, they survived; the block that was 10 years old didn’t.”

Bill Verellen, who owns Verellen Orchards and Cider Mill in Romeo, said most tree fruit crops were also damaged by unusual weather in 2012. But he said this winter was the worst.

“We have about 12 acres of peaches and we completely lost five acres of trees,” Verellen said. “But we have young ones coming on, and we will probably put some new ones in next year.”

The state harvested 41 million pounds of peaches in 2013. The USDA projects Michigan will drop from the fourth to the eighth state in the nation for peach farming this year, with 20 million pounds of the fruit.

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Agco laying off employees in Hesston http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140828/agco-laying-off-employees-in-hesston http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140828/agco-laying-off-employees-in-hesston#Comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:41:41 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829876 HESSTON, Kan. (AP) — Agco, an agriculture machinery manufacturer, is laying off 24 hourly workers at its plant in Hesston and more cuts are expected.

The plant’s human resources manager, Tom Nutting, says the layoffs will involve the plant’s machining, fabrication and laser operations. The plant also is dropping from three shifts to two. The first layoffs will be effective Tuesday, with more layoffs next month.

The Wichita Eagle reports Danny Hawkins, treasurer for United Steelworkers 11228, said Wednesday the union had been told about 80 production workers and 6 percent of the plant’s management and administrative staff will eventually be laid off. He says employees also are being asked to work fewer hours.

The company blamed the layoffs on a reduced demand for agricultural machinery, caused by lower farm incomes.

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Edible insects a boon to Thailand’s farmers http://www.capitalpress.com/Profit/20140828/edible-insects-a-boon-to-thailands-farmers http://www.capitalpress.com/Profit/20140828/edible-insects-a-boon-to-thailands-farmers#Comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:39:52 -0400 DENIS D. GRAY http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829877 THANON NANG KLARN, Thailand (AP) — Depending solely on the rains to either yield a good rice crop or leave their fields dry and barren, farmers in this village in northeastern Thailand, the country’s poorest region, led a precarious and back-breaking existence. Then they discovered bugs.

At Boontham Puthachat’s home, six concrete pens seethe with crickets munching on chicken feed, pumpkins and other vegetables — treats to fatten them before they are harvested and sold to hungry humans increasingly eager for a different type of dining experience.

“We haven’t become rich, but now we have enough to better take care of our families,” Boontham says proudly. “We are self-sufficient.”

Boontham’s family is one of 30 in this village raising mounds of the profitable crisp and crunchy critters in their backyards, satisfying a big domestic appetite for edible insects, and a slowly emerging international one in countries where most diners would rather starve than sample fried grasshoppers or omelets studded with red ant eggs.

Replicated across the country, these enterprises have spawned a multimillion-dollar industry with more than 20,000 registered farms, most of them small-scale household operations, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Averaging an annual output of 7,500 tons in recent years, Thailand leads the world in producing insects for the dining table.

While it may still seem exotic, if not outright repulsive, to many in the Western world, the FAO points out that insects have long been an integral part of human diets in nearly 100 countries, particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, with more than 1,600 species consumed.

In China, the use of insects for food and medicine goes back more than 5,000 years. In recent times, cockroach farming has flourished, with some entrepreneurs getting rich by selling dried cockroaches to companies producing cosmetics and traditional medicines.

Besides generating extra income, insects have proven nutritious and farming them is easy on the environment, according to a 2013 FAO report.

“Eating a few insects is like taking a multivitamin,” says Patrick B. Durst, a senior FAO official who co-authored a study on Thailand’s edible insect industry. A 6-ounce serving of crickets, for example, has 60 percent less saturated fat and twice as much vitamin B-12 as the same amount of ground beef. Farmers don’t use antibiotics or growth hormones and — unlike crabs and lobsters — edible insects don’t feed on dead animals.

Six-legged livestock, as the agency calls them, are also kinder to the environment than their lesser-legged counterparts. It takes 2,900 gallons of water, 25 pounds of feed and extensive acreage to produce one pound of beef and just one gallon of water, two pounds of feed and a small cubicle to produce a pound of crickets.

And when one suppresses any psychological and cultural biases, many insects taste just fine. This reporter found crickets nicely crisp and nutty (a cross between shrimp and almond), and fried bamboo worms not unlike unsalted potato chips. Palm weevils, to some palates, are likened to bacon soup with a chewy, sweet finish, while insect larvae are rich and buttery. “Mushroomy” is another frequently-used description for some species.

Although a decade ago, insect eating was largely a gimmick - such as a bug embedded in a lollipop - experts say a recent increase in interest in the West is being driven by health and environmental concerns.

Energy bars made from ground-up crickets are now found in some health food stores in the United States, and the first cricket farm opened in Youngstown, Ohio, this year. In San Francisco, the Don Bugito Prehispanic Snackeria can whip up a five-course, all-insect dinner including ice cream with mealworms. A bar in Paris serves insect tapas and a London start-up, Eat Ento, features honey caterpillar and vegetable wraps.

“When I was growing up in the United States, most people would turn up their noses at sushi. Now, it’s very chic. People’s eating habits do change, so who knows? In 10 to 15 years, eating insects may take off and be regarded as good and cool,” says Durst, whose favorites include fried wasp and some crickets with his beer. Creating such a buzz, he says, may involve a celebrity chef putting some palm weevil larvae or giant water bugs on a menu “with someone like Tom Hanks eating them. And then people will say, ‘If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.”’

Durst is cautious about predictions that edible insects will stave off hunger in parts of the world, but believes that as a supplement, it could become an important component of food security. In countries as far apart as Laos and Ghana, projects are underway to combat malnutrition with insect farming. And there is major growth in the breeding of insects for feed at fish and poultry farms and for bio-security through the release of some species to combat pests.

In Thailand, many people — not just the rural poor — simply enjoy eating some of the 200 different species on offer. Large quantities must be imported from Cambodia, China, Laos and Myanmar and domestically often fetch higher prices than chicken, beef or pork.

This is all good news for farmers like 47-year-old Boontham, who started his business four years ago with a modest capital investment, relatively low-cost input such as cricket feed and little physical labor. He now reaps an annual profit of about $3,000. A neighbor, Chalong Prajitr, says she was able to send her son to university thanks to the extra annual income of $5,000, a considerable sum in northeast Thailand, where annual per capita income is estimated at about $2,200.

“In the past, people depended on rice farming for their source of income. But we get only one harvest a year, while you can harvest crickets once every two months,” says Boontham.

And without an irrigation system in the area, a year of drought could spell disaster for farmers. “Crickets,” he says, “are less risky.”

To boost their business, the village cricket farmers have formed a loose cooperative to share information and facilitate marketing. They also receive help from local authorities and Khon Kaen University, a major center for research on edible insects and efforts to export them, developing products like crickets with Mediterranean herbs and bamboo worms flavored with sour cream.

British businessman Graeme Lee Rose and his Thai wife have seen their own export business to Europe, the U.S. and Australia grow in recent years, especially for cricket powder used in energy bars and biscuits. Still, best sellers for his JR Unique Foods remain novelty items like chocolate-covered scorpions and four-bug kebabs.

“There’s been quite a bit of interest and we see a lot of potential but it’s not something people are going to be throwing on the barbecue,” he says. “It’s not going to replace steaks.”

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Port of Vancouver to lease railcars for crops http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140828/port-of-vancouver-to-lease-railcars-for-crops http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140828/port-of-vancouver-to-lease-railcars-for-crops#Comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:20:32 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829880 VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Port of Vancouver has signed a deal to start hauling agricultural goods from North Dakota to the West Coast in rail cars that otherwise would come back empty after transporting supplies for the oil industry.

The port signed an agreement Wednesday with North Dakota’s Agriculture commissioner.

The deal is meant to help North Dakota farmers get their wheat and other crops to Asian and Latin American markets.

The first rail cars with agricultural products will roll into Vancouver in September.

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Portland Daily Grain Report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20140827/portland-daily-grain-report http://www.capitalpress.com/Markets/20140827/portland-daily-grain-report#Comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:27:47 -0400 USDA Market News http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829889 Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Aug. 27

Bids for grains delivered to Portland, Oregon during August 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 August delivery. Bids for corn are for 30 day delivery.

In early trading September wheat futures trended mixed with Chicago and Minneapolis September wheat futures 1.75 to 5.75 cents per bushel lower than Tuesday’s close and Kansas City September wheat futures 0.75 of a cent per bushel higher than Tuesday’s closes.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat for August delivery in unit trains or barges were not fully established in early trading but bids were indicated as steady to lower compared to Tuesday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. The lower Chicago September wheat futures pressured cash bids.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for August delivery were not fully established in early trading, but were indicated as higher compared to Tuesday’s noon bids for the same delivery period.

The lower Kansas City September futures pressured cash bids but were offset by a higher basis bid by some exporters.

Bids for 14 percent protein non-guaranteed US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for August delivery were not fully established in early trading but were indicated mixed compared to Tuesday’s noon bids. The lower Minneapolis September wheat futures pressured cash bids however a higher basis bid by some exporters offered support.

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

Aug NC mostly 6.9500, ranging 6.8975-7.0000

Sep 6.8975-7.0300

Oct 7.0050-7.0600

Nov 7.0050-7.0900

Dec 7.0050-7.1200

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

Aug NC mostly 9.0125, ranging 8.4475-9.8975

Not fully established and limited.

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

better)

Ordinary protein 7.0675-7.2475

10 pct protein 7.0675-7.2475

11 pct protein 7.1675-7.3275

11.5 pct protein

Aug NC 7.2175-7.3675

12 pct protein 7.2175-7.3675

13 pct protein 7.2175-7.3675

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 7.3700-7.8400

14 pct protein

Aug NC 7.6700-8.2400

15 pct protein 7.7900-8.4400

16 pct protein 7.9100-8.6400

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 14.5000

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Jul 2014

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 6.6900

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 7.3100

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 7.4200

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 8.1800

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Robert Eaton 503-326-2237 Portland.LPGMNams.usda.gov

24 Hour Market Report 503-326-2022

www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/jo—gr110.txt

www.ams.usda.gov/lpsmarketnewspage

8:53 P re

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‘Threatened’ status sought for monarch butterfly http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140827/threatened-status-sought-for-monarch-butterfly http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140827/threatened-status-sought-for-monarch-butterfly#Comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:10:43 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829893 WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Three conservation groups and a butterfly expert are asking the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the monarch butterfly as a threatened species.

The News-Journal of Wilmington, Del., reports the petitioners blamed farming practices Tuesday for a loss of milkweed, a plant the butterflies rely on for feeding and breeding.

The petitioners are the Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, the Washington-based Center for Food Safety, the Xerces Society of Portland, Oregon, and monarch scientist Lincoln Brower of Sweet Briar College in Virginia.

Threatened-species status would allow federal officials more latitude to help the populations rebuild, but would not be as restrictive as endangered species status.

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California firm recalls Caesar salad kits http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140827/california-firm-recalls-caesar-salad-kits http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140827/california-firm-recalls-caesar-salad-kits#Comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:31:15 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829896 CORONA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California food company has recalled nearly 93,000 pounds of fully cooked chicken Caesar salad kits sold at Sam’s Club stores over concerns of possible listeria contamination.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says the Daily Chef salad kits were shipped to the warehouse chain for sale in its in-store cafes nationwide.

The affected products by Corona’s APPA Fine Foods come in 11-ounce clear plastic containers with use-by dates through Sept. 17.

The USDA and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.

People who consume food contaminated with listeria are at risk of getting listeriosis, which can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion and convulsions.

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PETA files complaints against alligator, turtle farm http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140827/peta-files-complaints-against-alligator-turtle-farm http://www.capitalpress.com/AP_Nation_World/20140827/peta-files-complaints-against-alligator-turtle-farm#Comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:29:05 -0400 JANET McCONNAUGHEY http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829897 NEW ORLEANS (AP) — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed six complaints against a Hammond turtle and alligator farm.

One claims the family is abusing a 6-year-old boy by teaching him to handle alligators at Harvey Kliebert Turtle and Alligator Farm and Tours.

According to news reports, photographs, and video footage, the boy’s parents let him “‘wrangle’ dangerous alligators and crocodiles, placing him at risk of virulent infection and serious injury from bites, scratches, head butts, and thrashing,” according to that complaint.

Every generation at the farm began learning the work as children, said Melody Kliebert, who married into the family and is not the boy’s mother.

“It’s been in the family for seven decades now. The whole Kliebert family has been through this,” she said Tuesday. She compared learning to safely handle alligators to learning to ride a bicycle. “If he’s not controlling the bike, he’ll be hurt.”

Children handle either tiny baby alligators or animals with their mouths taped shut, Kliebert said.

“Baby alligators are born with teeth but it’s a stickerbush kind of thing,” she said.

Kliebert said that with the alligator season just beginning, owners would be setting lines in the swamp Wednesday and probably would be unavailable for comment.

The child abuse allegation was sent to the Tangipahoa Parish district attorney and the state child welfare office in the parish.

The Department of Children and Family Services cannot comment, spokeswoman Lindsey deBlieux said. State law specifically bars the department from releasing the identity of anyone who files a child abuse complaint, she said.

District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said the complaint will be forwarded to appropriate agencies for investigation.

Other complaints were sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control.

They claim the business mistreats animals, endangers employees and has an endangered Siamese crocodile in an inadequate pen.

Complaints to Wildlife and Fisheries and USDA claim that a large animal was “tormented” by being used as a photographic prop, with people encouraged to get onto its back and jerk its taped snout up so that it pointed skyward.

“We take all complaints seriously and look into the allegations that are made to determine whether there are any Animal Welfare Act noncompliances,” said Lindsay Cole, spokeswoman for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The complaint to OSHA alleges that the business apparently is violating numerous OSHA rulings by requiring employees to handle the animals directly rather than using holding areas or “shifting cages” to feed them, clean cages or move them. The agency has repeatedly ruled against requiring workers to manage apex predators without barriers between them and the animals, according to the complaint.

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U.S. imposed duties on Mexican sugar http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20140826/us-imposed-duties-on-mexican-sugar http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20140826/us-imposed-duties-on-mexican-sugar#Comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:48:14 -0400 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829900 Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Commerce has placed tariffs on Mexican sugar, ruling that government subsidies have given Mexican sugar growers an unfair trade advantage.

The decision on Aug. 26 means duty deposits will be collected beginning immediately, pending the outcome of further investigation. DOC is also scheduled to make another preliminary ruling in October on allegations that Mexico has illegally dumped sugar onto the U.S. market.

U.S. sugar producers filed petitions on March 28 alleging the illegal dumping of subsidized Mexican sugar has depressed domestic prices. A 17.01 percent duty has been imposed on sugar imported from mills owned by the Mexican government, representing about 20 percent of the country’s production. The tariff will be 2.99 percent on the Mexican sugar company GAM and 14.87 percent on all other Mexican sugar.

The tariffs may still be overturned or amended when DOC makes its final ruling early next year, which could lead to a five-year period of tariffs followed by a review of the duty. DOC’s final determination is due Jan. 7 but could be pushed back until March 9, said Amalgamated Sugar Co. President Vic Jaro.

Final approval by the U.S. International Trade Commission, which made a preliminary ruling in May that evidence exists that Mexican dumping and subsidization have hurt U.S. interests, would follow DOC’s final action.

The American Sugar Association anticipates DOC will ultimately impose duties that are even higher, according to a press release.

“One reason for our confidence about the final determination is that the DOC is now investigating new information about Mexican subsidies,” ASA spokesman Phillip Hayes said in the press release.

Sugar producers represented by ASA content inefficient Mexican producers have benefited from “export subsidies, preferential government loans coupled with debt forgiveness, government cash infusions to cover operating shortfalls and government grant programs to finance inventory, exports and inputs,” according to the press release.

ASA further alleges that Mexican sugar producers have increased shipments to the U.S. by 1 million tons in the past year, selling well below the fair price in Mexico.

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Amalgamated expects strong beet crop http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140826/amalgamated-expects-strong-beet-crop http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140826/amalgamated-expects-strong-beet-crop#Comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:33:48 -0400 John O’Connell http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829905 BOISE, Idaho — Amalgamated Sugar officials expect an outstanding sugar beet crop that should nearly rival last year’s record yields, but with a higher average sugar content.

The company intends to start early harvest on Sept. 9, a week ahead of schedule, in Magic Valley and Eastern Idaho, with factory operations commencing two days later, and on Sept. 30 in Treasure Valley, with factory operations starting Oct. 2.

Amalgamated President Vic Jaro said the early harvest is planned because processing of last season’s crop dragged into April, causing sugar content and beet quality to deteriorate and elevating processing costs. This season, he hopes an earlier start to harvest will enable the company to finish processing the crop in March.

John Schorr, the company’s corporate director of agriculture, said cool weather throughout much of Amalgamated’s territory this August may slow bulking but should stimulate sugar development.

“I think (yield) will be close to last year, which was a record. I don’t think it will surpass it, but it will be close,” Schorr said.

Last season, despite widespread replants in Magic Valley and east due to frost, the company was pleasantly surprised by a record average yield of 36.3 tons per acre. However, sugar content averaged 15.87 percent, which Jaro said was the lowest level in more than two decades. Jaro expects this year’s sugar content will be at least equal to the five-year average of 17 percent, and ideal conditions could drive it higher. Amalgamated intends to conduct its first testing of the season for sugar levels soon.

The company’s crop size, at 178,000 acres, is down 4,000 acres from last season, mostly in Western Idaho around Owyhee Reservoir, where growers faced irrigation shortages and planted more water-efficient crops.

American Falls, Idaho, grower Alex Tiede said his beets established a healthy stand this spring.

“Most of the beet crop seems like you make it early, and we had a nice spring that cooperated with us and not a lot of frost and replants,” Tiede said.

Tiede said his farm, like many others in his area, switched to a Midwestern beet variety that tends to yield a bit lower but is known for producing high sugar levels. He said the company pays an incentive for high-sugar beets, which yield more finished sugar with less processing.

Given the extremely wet August weather in Southern Idaho, Tiede said some growers in his area have been spraying beets for mold recently.

On the whole, Jaro said fields appear clean, and depressed sugar prices have begun to rise a bit since the industry sought to address the alleged dumping of Mexican sugar on the U.S. market.

In futures trading, the October 2014 price for a pound of sugar on ICE Futures U.S. rose from 15.4 cents to 15.65 cents and was trading at 17.6 cents per pound for March 2015 Tuesday morning after Reuters published news of the U.S. government’s preliminary decision to impose subsidies on Mexican sugar. An official announcement was expected later in the day.

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RMA announces fall canola projected prices http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140826/rma-announces-fall-canola-projected-prices http://www.capitalpress.com/Business/20140826/rma-announces-fall-canola-projected-prices#Comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:12:40 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014140829903 The USDA Risk Management Agency has announced its projected prices for fall canola.

Fall canola growers have until Sept. 2 to contact their crop insurance agent to obtain revenue coverage, said Jo Lynne Seufer, risk management specialist for the USDA Risk Management Agency office in Spokane.

The 2015 crop year projected price for fall canola is $0.178 per pound. The projected price for fall rapeseed is $0.216 per pound.

Farmers who obtain the insurance are guaranteed to receive at least the projected prices for their fall canola and rapeseed. Farmers use the price to evaluate their crop insurance coverage options.

Revenue coverage provides a risk management tool in addition to yield coverage, Seufer said.

The agency will determine spring projected prices in February 2015 and announce them by March 4, Seufer said.

Growers are advised to contact their multi-peril crop insurance agent for complete crop insurance details.

The agency will announce the rest of its fall projected prices, including wheat and fall barley, by Sept. 5, for a Sept. 30 sales closing date, Seufer said.

Online

http://www.rma.usda.gov

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