Capital Press | Nation/World Capital Press Sat, 19 Apr 2014 05:13:28 -0400 en Capital Press | Nation/World Regional livestock auctions Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:45:09 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.



(Shasta Livestock Auction)

Cottonwood, Calif.

April 11

Current week Last week

1,211 1,444

Compared to April 4: Slaughter cows $4-5 higher, bulls softer. Steers steady to $8 up. Heifers under 550 lbs $5-12 lower than the previous week’s terrific market; heifers 550 lbs. and up $4-6 higher. Off lots and singles $10-30 below top offerings.

Slaughter cows: Breakers $90-97, $98-110 high dress; Boning $80-89; Cutters $70-79.

Bulls 1 and 2: $80-99; $100-110.50 high dress.

Feeder steers: 300-400 lbs. $220-260; 400-450 lbs. $220-258; 450-500 lbs. $200-222.50; 500-550 lbs. $190-220; 550-600 lbs. $180-210; 600-650 lbs. $180-204.50; 650-700 lbs. $180-192; 700-750 lbs. $170-186; 750-800 lbs. $176; 800-900 lbs. $166-169.

Feeder heifers: 300-400 lbs. $200-240; 400-450 lbs. $190-210; 450-500 lbs. $175-192.50;

500-550 lbs. $175-195; 550-600 lbs. $177-191; 600-650 lbs. $174-185; 650-700 lbs. $160-177; 700-750 lbs. $159-175; 800-900 lbs. $148-154.

Calvy cows: Too few to test the market.

Pairs: Too few for market test.



(Treasure Valley Livestock)

April 11

Steers: 200-300 lbs. $200; 300-400 lbs. $170.75; 400-500 lbs. $163; 500-600 lbs. $167.25; 600-700 lbs. $148.25; 700-800 lbs. $160; 800-900 lbs. $153.75; 900-1000 lbs. $129.25; 1000 lbs. and up $105.50.

Heifers: 300-400 lbs. $181; 400-500 lbs. $163.75; 500-600 lbs. $152.75; 600-700 lbs. $128.25; 700-800 lbs. $124; 800-900 lbs. $130.25; 900-1000 lbs. $119.25; 1000 lbs. and up $103.75.

Cows (wt.): 800-900 lbs. $71.75; 900-1000 lbs. $84; 1000-1100 lbs. $87; 1100-1200 lbs. $83.75; 1200-1300 lbs. $87.50; 1300-1400 lbs. $84.50; 1400-1500 lbs. $85.75; 1500-1600 lbs. $87; 1600-1700 lbs. $88.

Bull calves (wt.): 300-400 lbs. $184.25; 400-500 lbs. $157; 500-600 lbs. $143.75; 600-700 lbs. $145.75; 700-800 lbs. $142; 800-900 lbs. $121; 900-1000 lbs. $125; 1000-1100 lbs. $113.25; 1100-1200 lbs. $105.75; 1200-1300 lbs. $106; 1300-1400 lbs. $102; 1400-1500 lbs. $106.25.

Bulls (wt.): 1600-1700 lbs. $105; 1700-1800 lbs. $105; 1800-1900 lbs. $116.50; 2000-2100 lbs. $113.75; 2100-2200 lbs. $116.

Pairs (hd.): 1000 lbs. and up $1425.

Bred heifers (hd.): 800 lbs. and up $1485.

Stock cows (hd.): 800 lbs. and up $1325.

Bull calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $265; 200-300 lbs. $420.

Heifer calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $430; 200-300 lbs. $425; 300-400 lbs. $260.

Steer calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $300; 200-300 lbs. $250; 300-400 lbs. $385; 400-500 lbs. $560.



(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

April 11

This week Last week Last year

1,800 1,845 1,990

Compared to April 4 at the same market: stocker and feeder steers and feeder heifers steady to $4 higher. Stocker heifers less than 600 lbs. steady to $5 lower. Trade active with very good demand. Slaughter cows and bulls $3-5 lower, due in part to a lower meat trade this week. Trade slow to moderate with moderate demand. Slaughter cows 65 percent, Slaughter bulls 10 percent, and feeders 25 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 61 percent steers and 39 percent heifers. Near 59 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $221-240; 500-600 lbs. $195-206; 500-600 lbs. $217-228 thin fleshed; 600-700 lbs. $180-189; 600-700 lbs. $169 full; 600-700 lbs. $198-201 thin fleshed; 700-800 lbs. $169-170; 700-800 lbs. $132 full; 800-900 lbs. $166. Small and Medium 1-2: 300-400 lbs. $234; 500-600 lbs. $186 full. Small and Medium 2-3: 600-700 lbs. $155.

Feeder Bulls: Small and Medium 1-2: 600-700 lbs. $147.50 full.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $200-223; 400-500 lbs. $228 thin fleshed; 500-600 lbs. $184-190; 600-700 lbs. $178-182.75; 600-700 lbs. $163-170 full; 700-800 lbs. $159-166. Large 1-2: 1000-1100 lbs. $109, Heiferettes. Small and Medium 1-2: 300-400 lbs. $212; 400-500 lbs. $190; 400-500 lbs. $176 full. Small and Medium 2-3: 400-500 lbs. $177.50, Yearlings; 500-600 lbs. $160 yearlings; 600-700 lbs. $136 full.

Heiferettes: Premium White Percent Lean 65-70: 1500-1600 lbs. $101.50-103.50.

Slaughter Cows:

Boning 80-85 percent lean 1400-1900 lbs. $91-98; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1000-1700 lbs. $90-97; Lean 90 percent lean 1000-1350 lbs. $76-83; Light 90 percent lean 800-1250 lbs. $62-68.

Slaughter Bulls: Yield Grade 1-2 1600-2500 lbs. $110-120.

Bred Cows (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: Few Mid-Aged 1000-1400 lbs. $1300 3-6 mos. bred.



(Eugene Livestock Auction)

Junction City, Ore.

April 12

Total head count: 323.

Market conditions compared to last week: Butcher cows up slightly; bulls steady; feeder cattle steady and strong.

Cows: Top cows high dressers $95-109, low dressers $85-95; top 10 $102.20.

Bulls: Top bulls high dressers $98-117.

Feeder Bulls: 300-500 lbs. $154-168; 500-700 lbs. $90-174; 700-900 lbs. $109-115.

Choice steers: medium to large frame No. 1 and No. 2: 300-400 lbs. $175-204; 400-500 lbs. $160-197; 500-600 lbs. $145-193; 600-700 lbs. $164-186.50; 700-800 lbs. $158-182.50; 800-900 lbs. $135-150.

Choice heifers: medium to large frame No. 1 and No. 2: 300-400 lbs. $130-175; 400-500 lbs. $150-180.25; 500-600 lbs. $140-185; 600-700 lbs. $140-166.50; 700-800 lbs. $120-159; 800 lbs. and up $110.

Bred Cows: $800-1400 head.

Head calves (up to 250 lbs.): $165-560 head; dairy $60 head.

Feeder lambs: 50-90 lbs. $140-181; 90-130 lbs. $112-152.

Western hay markets Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:44:06 -0400 Hay prices are dollars per ton or dollars per bale when sold to retail outlets. Basis is current delivery FOB barn or stack, or delivered customer as indicated.

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


Supreme 185+ <27 55.9+ 22+

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

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

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

Utility <130 36+ <50.5 <16


(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

April 11

This week FOB Last week Last year

1,175 1,405 10,210

Compared to April 4: Fair/Good and export Alfalfa steady. Demand remains good. Trade remains slow as new crop supplies still at least two months away. Retail/Feedstore Alfalfa and Orchard Grass and Timothy steady. An interest or so are selling 2-year-old supplies of retail hay. Buyer demand good with light to moderate supplies.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Fair/Good 300 $170

300 $185

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 120 $220-250

Good/Prem. 300 $200

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 125 $250-275

Timothy Grass Small Square Premium 30 $250


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

April 11

This week FOB Last week Last year

656 845 1,781

Compared to April 11: Prices were generally steady with the previous week’s offerings for the same quality. Trading was light during the week. Volume of trading is smaller than last week. Most producers have sold all that they plan to sell for this season.

Tons Price


Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 22 $245

Fescue/Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 60 $275

5 Way Mixed Grass Small Square Premium 5 $275


Alfalfa Small Square Premium 100 $215


Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 25 $250

Premium 231 $200-205

Fair/Good 33 $175

Small Square Supreme 60 $250

Premium 60 $230

30 $220

Oat Large Square Premium 30 $150

HARNEY COUNTY: No new sales confirmed.

KLAMATH BASIN: No new sales confirmed.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

April 11

This week FOB Last week Last year

4150 3,000 4,810

Compared to April 4: New crop contracts firm in a light test. Fair/Good Alfalfa steady in a light test. Trade remains slow for old crop supplies. Trade moderate on new crop contracts. Demand remains good for all classes especially for supplies to go to California. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week. Buyer demand good with light to moderate supplies.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Prem./Sup. 1000 $200

Good/Prem. 1000 $200

Fair/Good 1000 $170

Fair 1000 $170

150 $160


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

April 11

This week FOB Last week Last year

6,435 11,925 13,835

Compared to April 4: Prices traded mostly steady to firm in most areas. Demand remained very good in all regions on moderate to active trading activity. The supply of hay in northern and central valleys of California is very tight. Production in Region 5 and 6 is in full swing. Northern half of state is waiting on more predicted rain this coming week. Trade activity was slow and buyer demand still high. All prices reported FOB at the stack or barn unless otherwise noted.

REGION 1: North Inter-Mountain

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa/Grass Mix Supreme 50 $250

REGION 2: Sacramento Valley

Includes the counties of Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Colusa, Sutter, Yuba, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Solano, Sacramento, No new sales confirmed.

REGION 3: Northern San Joaquin Valley

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

No new sales confirmed.

REGION 4: Central San Joaquin Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 100 $300

500 $340

100 $320

Premium 25 $250

REGION 5: Southern California

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 200 $300

Premium 150 $280

REGION 6: Southeast California

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 2025 $260-265

15 $265

250 $265-275

500 $275

Premium 2130 $255-270

Good 50 $180-200 190

300 $180

Bermuda Grass Supreme 100 $225

Premium 50 $180

Good 400 $150

200 $125

Oat Good 650 $170

Cattle markets Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:44:39 -0400 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

April 11

Compared to April 4: Direct trades on a live basis not established at time of report. Few dressed sales in Nebraska $1 higher. Boxed beef prices April 11 averaged $217.62 down $5.27 from April 4. The Choice/Select spread is $9.31. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through April 11 totaled about 7,500. The previous week’s total head count was 70,955 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers: $241.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls mostly steady. Packer demand remains good.

USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was $199.75 up $.86 from April 4.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

April 11

This week Last week Last year

301,700 279,600 345,000

Compared to April 4: Feeder cattle and calves sold unevenly steady with the majority of sales ranging from $3 higher to $3 lower. Most pressure was seen on heavyweight feeders over 800 lbs. and soft new-crop calves that are progressively making up a larger percentage of receipts. As a whole, offerings are currently less attractive than usual with receipts mostly made up of growing-lot yearlings and fall-born calves, both carrying considerable flesh. True grass-ready stocker cattle (where available) still brought top billing, but these cattle are getting harder to find with every passing day and are rarely plentiful enough to test the market. Perhaps feeder markets have reached the point of topping or even tipping as the word ìlowerî reared its ugly heady on market reports across the country for the first time in months. Nationwide auction receipts were 17 percent lighter than a year ago as available supplies are exhausting right in accordance with most buyer needs being met. However, it would be difficult to call demand any lighter and crowds were reportedly sizeable in the few major auction markets that had a good run this week. One of these was Torrington, WY, where a package of little 288 lb. steer calves brought $3 per lb. and a short load of 699 lb. replacement quality heifers sold for 193 or about $1350 per head. Spring weather has finally reached most corners of our nation and pastures are greening up nicely. Corn planters were rolling across southern edges of the Corn Belt with early-bird farmers gambling an early stand against the threat of rain-out and replanting. Fed cattle trade was very slow to develop this week with packers facing a short-bought position and lower cut-out values at the same time. But, many major population areas are finally looking forward to a weekend with favorable grilling conditions which should support dressed beef values. This weekís reported auction volume included 51 percent over 600 lbs. and 43 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

188,600 198,200 228,500

WASHINGTON 2,800. 62 pct over 600 lbs. 47 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 450-500 lbs. $234.59; 500-550 lbs. $209.88; 550-600 lbs. $ 203.05; 600-650 lbs. $186.42; 650-700 lbs. $183.40; 700-750 lbs. $ 170.91; 750-800 lbs. $170. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 450-500 lbs. $204.77; 500-550 lbs. $186.83; 550-600 lbs. $185.64; 600-650 lbs. $174.82; 650-700 lbs. $172.07; 700-750 lbs. $161.87; 750-800 lbs. $157.19.


This week Last week Last year

57,900 76,700 57,500

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 1,500. No cattle over 600 lbs. 17 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 FOB Current 585 lbs. $220; April-May 550 lbs. $220. Holsteins: Large 3 August 300 lbs. $191 del. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 FOB April-May 530 lbs. $210.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 800. 53 pct over 600 lbs. 50 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Future Delivery FOB Price 550-600 lbs. $196 for November Idaho; 650-700 lbs. $180 calves for October-November Washington. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Future Delivery FOB Price 550-600 lbs. $186 for October-November Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $172 calves for October-November Washington.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

April 11

This week Last week Last year

800 5,500 3,150

Compared to April 4: Not enough stocker or feeder cattle reported this week for accurate trends. Trade near standstill this week as most interests gave their attention to the video sale held Thursday. Demand remains good. The feeder supply included 50 percent steers and 50 percent heifers. Near 53 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 3-6 cent slide on yearlings.

Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Future Delivery FOB Price: 550-600 lbs. $196 for November Idaho; 650-700 lbs. $180 calves for October-November Washington.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Future Delivery FOB Price: 550-600 lbs. $186 for October-November Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $172 calves for October-November Washington.

Egg markets Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:44:23 -0400 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

April 11

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are 9 cents lower for Medium and Small and unchanged on the balance of sizes. Trade sentiment is lower. Retail demand had improved by the end of the week and is currently reported as moderate to good, better into areas with ads in place. Wholesale demand is for immediate needs only as buyers await market corrections. Offerings are moderate to instances heavy. Supplies are moderate to at times light. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price $1.67.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 187 Extra large 210

Large 208 Medium 187


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

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 169-181 Extra large 188-200

Large 185-197 Medium 167-175

Sheep and wool markets Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:43:52 -0400 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

April 11

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was moderate this week. There were no confirmed trades this week and demand was moderate.

Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was moderate this week. There were no confirmed trades this week.


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

April 11

Compared to last week slaughter lambs were mostly steady to $10 higher. Slaughter ewes were mostly steady to $5 higher. Feeder lambs were steady to $10 higher. At San Angelo, Texas, 4,409 head sold in a one-day sale. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading slaughter ewes not tested; feeder lambs were steady. 5,700 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were $7-9 lower and 10,100 head of formula sales of carcasses under 65 lbs. were not well tested; 65-75 lbs. were $14-15 lower; 75-85 lbs. were $4-5 lower; 85-95 lbs. were $3-4 lower and over 95 lbs. were not well tested. 6,783 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs. and down $64.64 higher; 45-55 lbs. $9.80 higher; 55-65 lbs. $2.22 higher; 65-85 lbs. $.34-.55 higher and 85 lbs. and up $.03 lower.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 120-175 lbs. $144-160.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $178-186; 60-70 lbs. $168-180; 70-80 lbs. $168-174; 80-90 lbs. $160-176; 90-115 lbs. $164-170.

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

5,700 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 110-169 lbs. $142-182 (wtd avg $156.04); 172-206 lbs. $142-160 (wtd avg 150.13).


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $55-62; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $62-70, high yielding $74; Utility 1-2 (thin) $56-62; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $50-54; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $24-41.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 50-60 lbs. new crop $190-198; 60-80 lbs. new crop $190-205; 80-100 lbs. new crop $194-200; 90-115 lbs. old crop $148-168.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: hair ewe lambs 105-110 lbs. $162 cwt; baby tooth hair ewes 103 lbs. $120 cwt.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. down $520.63

45-55 lbs. $390.79

55-65 lbs. $340.41

65-75 lbs. $319.90

75-85 lbs. $305.02

85 lbs. and up $291.36

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 46,000 compared with 40,000 last week and 38,000 last year.

Potato markets Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:43:01 -0400 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)

April 12

Market commentary: Markets remained relatively stable this week, in spite of heavy shipments in the lead up to Easter.

Shipping Area

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

Idaho Burbank

$13.14 $0.04 $5.67 $0.02 $19.50 $0 $9 $0

Columbia Basin

$15.66 -$0.60 $7.48 -$0.37 $19.50 $0 $11 -$1.50

Klamath Basin

$17.48 $0 $8.32 $0 $21.50 $0 $13.50 $0

Capital Press calendar of events Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:57:32 -0400 To submit items to the calendar, send an email with information to



April 26 — Tree School East, at Baker City High School, Baker County Extension office, registration required by April 11, 541-523-6418

April 26-27 — Oregon Ag Fest, Oregon State Fairgrounds, 503-535-9353,

April 29 — Oregon Blueberry Commission Budget Hearing, noon, Room 210, 4001 Winema Place, Salem, 503-364-2944

April 29 — Outdoor Business Workshop, agritourism or outdoor recreational, Oregon State University Extension and NRE of Mississippi State University, 541-776-7371 or


April 25-26 — Our Land: A Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century, Wheeler Hall, University of California-Berkeley and the David Brower Center,

April 25-27 — California Antique Farm Equipment Show, International Agri-Center, Tulare,


April 25-26 — Lambing Management School, WSU Wahkiakum County Extension, register by April 15, 360-795-3278

April 26 — Hand-, tractor- and horse-powered equipment workshop, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at the Klesick Family Farm Distribution Center, 18826 Marine Drive, Warm Beach, 425-357-6039 or

April 28 — Farm Walk, Stockhouse’s Farm, 11:45 a.m., 59 West Birnie Slough Road, Cathlamet, Tilth Producers of Washington,, 206-632-7506



May 14-15 — 18th Annual Distillers Grains Symposium, Omni Mandalay Hotel, Las Colinas, Texas,


May 2-3 — Northwest Solar Summit, Woodinville,

May 10 — Northeast Washington Haygrowers’ Association spring field day, 8 a.m., Hawk Farm, 6 1/2 miles north of Deer Park on Sherman Road, 509-725-4171,

May 15-17 — FFA state leadership conference, Washington State University, Pullman,


May 6-8 — Practical Food Safety and HACCP workshop, University of Idaho Extension, Hilton Garden Inn, Idaho Falls,


May 2-3 — Forest Landowners of California annual meeting and field day, Mount Shasta,


May 4 — Lelia Berry Memorial “Feather Boa Fuzzy” Dairy Goat Show, 8:30 a.m., Josephine County Fairgrounds, Grants Pass,

May 24-25 — Open Alpaca Barn, Sherwood, 503-628-2023,

May 31 — North Coast Junior Classic livestock stock, Clatsop County Livestock Association, Clatsop County Fairgrounds, Astoria, 503-325-0527,



June 3-5 — Smallwood Conference, Kahler Grand Hotel, Rochester Minn.,


June 9-13 — “Basics of Forest Land and Timber Appraisal,” Oregon State University, Corvallis, 888-722-9416

June 27-29 — SolWest Fair, Union County Fairgrounds, La Grande, 541-975-2411 ext. 5 or


June 16-27 — Postharvest Technology Short Course, University of California-Davis, one-week intensive study plus optional one-week field tour,

June 21 — Forest Landowners of California Hells Hollow Tree Farm field day,

June 24-25 — Produce Research Symposium, Center for Produce Safety, Newport Beach, 530-757-5777,


June 14-15 — Glenwood “Ketchum Kalf” Rodeo, 1 p.m. each day, Glenwood,, 509-364-3371


June 14 — Sheep in the Foothills, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Boise Foothills Learning Center, Boise, 208-344-2271,



July 14 — Idaho Ram Sale, Twin Falls County Fairgrounds, Filer,, 208-344-2271


July 19 — Forest Landowners of California Maple Creek Ranch field day,


July 28-31 — The Bread Lab, Washington State University-Mount Vernon Research Center, class size limited to 10,, 207-620-0697



Aug. 21-23 — The Grain Gathering, Washington State University Mount Vernon Agriculture Research & Extension Center, 16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon, (360) 848-6120,



Sept. 1-3 — Agrifoodtec, Nairobi, Kenya,


Sept. 23-25 — Fresh-Cut Products: Maintaining Quality and Safety Workshop, University of California-Davis,



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



Nov. 3-5 — Produce Safety: A Science-based Framework Workshop, University of California-Davis,

USDA awards $197 million in marketing funds Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:39:55 -0400 John O’Connell The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has awarded nearly $197 million in 2014 Farm Bill funds to help agricultural organizations develop international markets through the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program.

FAS will also accept applications for 2015 funding for those programs — as well as Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops, the Quality Samples Program and the Emerging Markets Program —  until May 19.

“This reflects (Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s) commitment and all of us at USDA to implementing these programs as quickly and transparently as possible,” FAS Administrator Phil Karsting told Capital Press.

The 2014 awards for TASC, QSP and EMP haven’t yet been announced. TASC, formerly available only for phytosanitary issues, has been broadened to include general technical trade barriers, such as packaging problems.

Karsting said the past five years have been the strongest in history for U.S. agricultural exports, setting a record at $140.9 billion in 2013 and projected to reach $142.6 billion this year.

The new farm bill holds FAS program funding at 2008 farm bill levels, factoring in a 7.2 percent sequester reduction.

For 2014, FAS has awarded $171.8 million to 62 MAP recipients. The program shares costs of overseas marketing with nonprofit organizations and cooperatives, emphasizing consumer promotions of U.S. commodities.

Another $24.6 million was awarded to 22 trade organizations through FMD, which builds long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural goods.

Some of the significant awards affecting Pacific Northwest crops include:

• $3,647,000 from MAP for the National Potato Promotion Board.

• $310,000 from MAP for Hop Growers of America.

• $4,085,000 from MAP and $442,000 from FMD for the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

• $421,000 from MAP and $124,000 from FMD for the American Sheep Industry Association.

• $2,927,000 from MAP for Pear Bureau Northwest.

• $713,000 from MAP for the U.S. Apple Export Council.

• $1,148,000 from MAP and $100,000 from FMD for the U.S. Dry Beans Council.

• $6,732,000 from MAP and $2,440,000 from FMD for the U.S. Grains Council.

• $988,000 from MAP for the Northwest Wine Promotion Coalition.

• $125,000 from FMD for the Almond Board of California.

• $4,177,000 from FMD for U.S. Wheat Associates.

FAS program funds are normally announced at the start of the fiscal year in October, with recipients receiving FMD at the start of each fiscal year and MAP at the start of the calendar year. For a third consecutive year, however, farm bill delays have complicated matters. U.S. Wheat Associates spokesman Steve Mercer credited FAS for finding unallocated dollars from previous years to help organizations maintain their foreign offices and programs despite the delays. He said state governments also helped with temporary funding.

Mercer said studies show every dollar invested in trade promotion generates $35 in economic benefits, with the return even greater for wheat.

“When you look at a 35 to 1 return on investment for export markets for agriculture, we see it as one of most successful public-private partnerships with federal government,” Mercer said.

Mercer said U.S. Wheat will use some FAS funding to partner with almond, cranberry and blueberry groups on a healthy foods promotion in China. His organization also plans to use funds from several Northwestern states and FAS to host a wheat marketing conference for North Asian buyers this October in Hawaii.

Farmers test Internet &#x2018;crowdfunding&#x2019; market Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:44:43 -0400 Brenna Wiegand Some growers are adding a new word to their vocabulary in an attempt to obtain financial backing for their farms.

“Crowdfunding” emerged three years ago as a way for people to present their story on the Internet and raise funds for nearly any type of endeavor.

GeerCrest Farm and Historical Society, east of Salem, Ore., is in the midst of a campaign that ends May 1. The aim: to raise $24,000 toward the expansion of its Farm Life Experience program that teaches children the basics of growing food, raising animals and taking care of the land, said Jim Toler of GeerCrest. As of April 16 they’d raised $4,151.

For years the nonprofit has operated on a shoestring while the number of kids taught at the farm keeps growing.

“Farming is being recognized as a missing element in our educational system and the demand is growing,” Toler said.

In September, Farm Manager Alyssa Burgé’s husband, Michael Turner, ran a wildly successful campaign for a filmmaking project, so the farm decided to give it a try.

Last year, Rob and Linda Cordtz of Eagle Creek Orchard in Richland, Ore., raised more than $30,000 in six weeks to put in a frost protection system after freezing temperatures struck down 90 percent of their stone fruit crop.

“It’s a great alternative so that people can get funding when the banks are holding onto all their assets,” Linda Cordtz said.

Crowdfunding involves asking the public to donate money online toward a specific project. Potential contributors “shop” online and pledge money. Campaigns don’t typically last longer than 60 days. As do most such websites, Kickstarter coaches applicants through the process of setting goals and timelines, making an informational video and supplies strategies for success. Kickstarter doesn’t get its 5 percent fee unless the dollar goal is reached. With Indiegogo, pledges — and the fee — are honored whether the goal is reached or not.

Cordtz said they would have gotten nowhere without decades of connections, their family and their community, all of whom were galvanized through the experience.

“There were people who gave us hugs or money or food,” Cordtz said. “Everybody stepped up in whatever way they felt they could help us.”

GeerCrest and Eagle Creek Orchards consider their farms a community resource.

“We put a face on farming for our students — and their parents,” Toler said.

“After a week here, kids start to recognize what they’re capable of in a real tangible way,” GeerCrest’s Adam McKinley said.

However good the intention, Cordtz said crowdfunding is not for the faint of heart.

“You work for every donation,” Cordtz said. “It’s very much an emotional roller coaster to go through. It’s not for everybody. It’s a way for your community to invest in your endeavor.”

NAWG supports GMO&#xa0;labeling proposal Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:22:14 -0400 Matw Weaver Legislation to establish a voluntary labeling standard for foods and beverages made with genetically modified ingredients will provide clarity for consumers who have GMO concerns, a National Association of Wheat Growers official says.

No commercialized GMO wheat is available, but many products that wheat goes into do contain GMOs, said Will Stafford, director of government affairs for trade, transportation and commodity markets for the association.

“We think this helps provide clarity and helps inform customers that may have concerns about GMOs,” Stafford said. “It also provides consistency throughout the entire country by establishing the FDA standard for labeling.”

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act was recently proposed by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.

NAWG is part of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, which includes 35 member organizations.

According to the coalition, the proposal would establish the Food and Drug Administration as the sole authority on food safety and labeling requirements, avoiding “an expensive and confusing patchwork” of state-by-state labeling laws.

The act would require the FDA to approve all genetically modified ingredients before they are brought to market and set a federal standard for the labeling definition of “natural” foods, the coalition says.

“As a coalition, we’re trying to be very open and transparent through this process,” Stafford said.

The wheat industry is committed to biotechnology as a potential tool for farmers in the future, Stafford said.

The act could help increase support for GMOs, Stafford said.

“It advances food safety,” he said. “It helps consumers make sense of GMO labeling claims.”

Stafford expects the bill to go before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in hearings this summer.

“I think it’s definitely got a good shot,” he said, pointing to bipartisan support in Congress and from food and agriculture companies and organizations.

Frulact to begin construction in Idaho Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:46:48 -0400 Fruit-preparation company to start on 200,000-square-foot plant

By Carol Ryan Dumas

Capital Press

RUPERT, Idaho — Frulact Group, a Portugal-based fruit-preparation company, is expected to begin construction of a 200,000-square foot processing plant — its first in the U.S. — in Rupert in May.

Last week, the Rupert Urban Renewal Agency and Frulact finalized the development agreement. This week, the agency closed on the real estate Frulact needs to build the plant and will deed the land to Frulact, said Rupert City Administrator Kelly Anthon.

“Everything is going smoothly” and has been finalized, he said.

Closing on the real estate, a fairly complicated land transaction that involved a family trust, culminated negotiations that have been ongoing since October 2013, he said.

Frulact’s capital investment of an estimated $30 million could go higher once its plans are finalized and contracts are bid out, he said.

Tax increment money from property taxes paid by Frulact and state grant money will cover the cost of infrastructure improvements in excess of $4 million to get the site ready for construction. Frulact is contributing $1 million to obtain access to the city’s excess wastewater capacity so ratepayers wouldn’t feel the impact, Anthon said.

“This is really good for the residents of Rupert,” he said.

With processing plants in Portugal, France, Morocco and South Africa, the company produces fruit-based preparations for food labels in the dairy, ice cream, pastry and beverage markets throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

In October, Frulact announced its plans to break ground on the plant, stating it would hire about 100 workers when it starts operations during the fourth quarter of 2014, with more jobs added as growth warrants.

Frulact first vetted Southern Idaho in April 2013, while also considering locating in Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. Like most recruitments, the process involved several site visits and negotiations. Rupert competed head-to-head, said Jan Rogers, executive director of Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization, in an earlier interview.

“The city of Rupert is superbly located for the Frulact facility and therefore is ideal to serve our key customers throughout the United States,” Frulact’s CEO and co-founder Joao Miranda said in an earlier press release. “We look forward to operating in Rupert and getting established in the U.S. production and distribution market.”

The company chose to locate in Rupert because of its sense of community and its guarantee that construction can start immediately, he said.

North Carolina apple growers optimistic about cold Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:02:09 -0400 HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The colder than usual winter may have helped save the apple crop in western North Carolina.

Officials say the crop appears to have avoided serious damage when temperatures dropped into the 20s.

Agriculture experts say the colder weather this winter meant that apple blooms were not as far along as they were two years ago, when an April cold snap devastated the crop.

County Extension Director Marvin Owings Jr. said Thursday growers appeared to be in pretty good shape. But he says it’s still too early to determine what a frost Wednesday night might have done.

Farmer Cotton Dalton has an orchard on Sugarloaf Mountain and said he was surprised that his apples did not suffer more damage. He said it was 25 degrees on his farm Wednesday morning.

China says one-fifth of its farmland is polluted Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:59:35 -0400 BEIJING (AP) — Nearly one-fifth of China’s farmland is polluted, mostly from years-long accumulations of toxins from factories, mining and agriculture, the government said, raising sharp concerns about the country’s food safety after years of unbridled industrialization.

Results of a nationwide survey of soil samples taken from 2005 through last year, and announced late Thursday, showed contamination in 16.1 percent of the country’s soil overall and 19.4 percent of its arable land.

More than 80 percent of the pollution is the result of inorganic toxins, with the top three contaminants identified as cadmium, nickel and arsenic, according results of the investigation jointly announced by China’s Environmental Protection Ministry and its Land and Resources Ministry.

“The overall condition of the Chinese soil allows no optimism,” said the report, posted on the environment ministry website. “Some regions suffer serious soil pollution underscored by worrying farm land quality and prominent problems with deserted industrial and mining land.”

The report confirms widespread concerns about the safety of China’s soil following decades of explosive growth in the country’s industry, the overuse of farm chemicals and lax environmental enforcement which have left vast swaths of the countryside tainted.

The worst pollution centers around the country’s most industrialized regions, the Yangtse and Pearl River deltas in southern China and heavily industrial portions of the northeast, the report said.

China’s leaders have expressed resolve in tackling the country’s pollution problem, although the threat to the country’s food-producing soil has so far been overshadowed by public alarm at smog and water contamination.

However, recent scandals of tainted rice and crops have begun to shift attention to soil.

A key concern among scientists is cadmium, a carcinogenic metal that can cause kidney damage and other health problems and is absorbed by rice, the country’s staple grain. Last May, authorities launched an investigation of rice mills in southern China after tests found almost half of the supplies sold in Guangzhou, a major city, were contaminated with cadmium.

In early 2013, the newspaper Nanfang Daily reported that tens of thousands of tons of cadmium-tainted rice had been sold to noodle makers in southern China since 2009. It said government inspectors declared it fit only for production of non-food goods such as industrial alcohol but a trader sold most of the rice to food processors anyway.

Donor funds teaching ranch in her will Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:56:28 -0400 MEAD GRUVER CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The will of a wealthy Denver philanthropist who has died contains a large financial incentive for the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University to use a ranch for agricultural education rather than sell the property, the executor of her estate said Thursday.

Amy Davis died Wednesday. She was 86.

Davis’ will allows for a “considerable amount” of her estate to support a renewed effort by the universities to use the more than 50,000-acre Y Cross Ranch between Cheyenne and Laramie as a location to teach their agriculture students, estate executor Tyson Dines said Thursday.

He declined to specify the proposed amount.

“It is a serious effort and is made in the hope that there can be a good outcome relating to this remarkable ranch,” Dines said.

University of Wyoming spokesman Chad Baldwin said university officials were saddened by Davis’ death but had no comment on the proposal.

Davis donated her family’s southeast Wyoming ranch to the UW Foundation and CSU Research Foundation in 1997. The Y Cross has hosted a handful of interns over the years, but Davis expressed concern in her final years that the universities weren’t using the ranch for nearly as much hands-on teaching as she intended.

Davis envisioned the working cattle ranch that sprawls across low, high, open and wooded terrain would be a perfect place for agriculture students to get hands-on experience in ranching. Officials at the universities have said the Y Cross proved a less-than-ideal teaching location.

The terms of Davis’ gift allowed the foundations to sell the Y Cross after 14 years. The foundations began preparing to sell in 2011 with the goal of using the proceeds to fund scholarships for agriculture students.

Davis filed a lawsuit in 2012, alleging the schools hadn’t honored the intent of her gift. She lost before the Wyoming Supreme Court in March.

The lawsuit caused the foundations to suspend a scheduled auction of the ranch. University officials have not yet said what they intend to do with the Y Cross now that the court has cleared the legal challenge.

A conservation easement on the Y Cross prohibits substantial additional development on the property. Even so, the ranch likely would fetch several million dollars if sold.

Davis has been a major donor to other causes in Wyoming and Colorado, including the Davis Hospice House in Cheyenne, the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center cancer center, the Denver Hospice and the University of Colorado Medical Center.

Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:50:25 -0400 BLAKE NICHOLSON BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that can cause breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorder and spreads easily among the animals.

Three cases of equine herpes virus have been documented this year in North Dakota and seven in Minnesota. Animal health officials in both states say the horses showed neurological symptoms such as difficulty walking and holding up their heads. The North Dakota horses are recovering, but three in Minnesota were euthanized.

South Dakota has not documented any cases of EHV, but the state’s Animal Industry Board earlier this month issued a statement urging horse owners to consult with veterinarians about vaccinating against the virus that is spread through respiratory secretions. The virus does not affect humans or other animals.

“It was just put out as a precautionary reminder that it has been diagnosed in other areas of the country,” South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said. “It’s a concern for anyone who has horses and is traveling and co-mingling horses. The neuropathic strain has been a concern nationwide for several years at large events.”

The American Quarter Horse Association has documented several U.S. cases and outbreaks in the past year. The association this month rescheduled shows and other events in Minnesota because of the outbreak in the Upper Midwest.

The University of Minnesota Equine Center said in late March that the outbreak likely started at one or more barrel-racing events. The Minnesota cases are in five counties in the southeastern quadrant of the state.

All three of the North Dakota cases were in Burleigh County, in the south central part of the state near South Dakota, with two on the same farm. Those two horses had not been off the farm for months, and the third had not been outside of the county recently, according to North Dakota Deputy State Veterinarian Beth Carlson. Officials do not know why there were three infections in such a short time period.

“It’s hard to say — is it just that people are looking for it, or we’re actually seeing more of it?” Carlson said. “What we’re hearing from other states, they are seeing it more.”

A horse that is infected with the virus carries it for its entire life, said Gerald Stokka, a veterinarian and associate professor of livestock stewardship at North Dakota State University.

“The herpes virus tries to hide itself in the animal, and sometimes under stress it will come out again, and will be able to be (passed) to other animals,” he said. “Whether that’s the case here or whether this is a new strain brought in by some other horses, I don’t know necessarily whether we’ll ever figure that out.”

Carlson said the important thing is that horse owners guard against spreading the virus.

“It serves as a good reminder for people — talk to your veterinarian about whether vaccination can be helpful, practice biosecurity,” she said. “If you’re going to take your horses somewhere, minimize contact with other horses.”

PepsiCo&#x2019;s profit rises on snack sales, price hikes Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:47:30 -0400 CANDICE CHOIAP Food Industry Writer NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit as the company sold more snacks around the world and hiked prices, including on its drinks.

The company, which also makes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Tropicana, said global snack volume rose 2 percent in the period. Global beverage volume was unchanged from a year ago, including in its closely watched North American drinks unit.

Coca-Cola also reported flat volume in the North America market earlier this week. Both companies have been offsetting ongoing declines in their flagship soda businesses by relying more heavily on other beverages, such as sports drinks, juices and bottled waters.

Even though beverage volume was flat in North America, PepsiCo managed to push up revenue by raising prices as well as introducing more expensive drinks such as Mountain Dew Kickstart, which is marketed as an energy drink of sorts for younger men.

In a phone interview, Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston noted that a can of Kickstart costs $1.99, versus $3.50 for a 12-pack of Mountain Dew. He said that stepped-up marketing has strengthened the company’s brands, which has allowed PepsiCo to raise prices. For the year, he said the company planned to raise prices between 2 percent and 3 percent in both snacks and drinks.

“As we make the brands stronger, consumers are willing to accept that,” he said.

Finding ways to charge customers more has been critical for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which are trying to make up for declines in soda volume. Both companies, for instance, have rolled out “mini-cans” of soda that they say fit with people’s desire to control portion sizes. But the smaller sizes are also more profitable for the companies.

“Taking down pricing is not going to drive up demand all that much,” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said in an earnings call.

Both companies have been slashing costs to boost profit and free up money for marketing.

At its Frito-Lay North America unit, revenue rose 4 percent, reflecting a 3 percent increase in volume and slightly higher prices.

In Europe, snack and beverage volumes each rose by 3 percent. In the unit encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the company said revenue growth was driven by higher snack volume.

Johnston said that strength during the quarter demonstrates why the company’s snack and beverage units belong together, seemingly in reference to calls by activist investor Nelson Peltz, who wants the company to split its stronger snacks unit from its drinks unit.

PepsiCo has steadfastly rejected the strategy.

For the first quarter that ended March 22, the company earned $1.22 billion, or 79 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 83 cents per share, above the 75 cents per share Wall Street expected.

A year ago, it earned $1.08 billion, or 69 cents per share.

Revenue edged up to a better-than expected $12.62 billion.

PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., stood by its outlook for the year. It expects adjusted earnings per share to grow by 7 percent.

Its stock closed up 78 cents, or almost 1 percent, at $85.55.

Organic food firm coming to central Pennsylvania Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:43:47 -0400 DUBOIS, Pa. (AP) — A company that specializes in premium and organic food and drink products plans to open a production facility in central Pennsylvania that’s expected to create 100 jobs.

The Courier-Express reports WhiteWave Foods plans to occupy a vacant facility in Sandy Township, Clearfield County.

The company based in Broomfield, Colo., makes Silk brand soy milk, Earthbound Farm brand products, and Land O’ Lakes coffee creamers and drinks. Its other brands include International Delight and Horizon Organic.

WhiteWave president Blaine McPeak says the company is “grateful for the opportunity to grow our WhiteWave team in the area through our new production facility.”

The new plant near DuBois is about 85 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

It was not immediately clear when the new 220,000-square-foot plant will open.

Union Pacific railroad&#x2019;s 1Q profit up 14 percent Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:05:19 -0400 JOSH FUNKAP Business Writer OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The harsh winter didn’t keep Union Pacific railroad from delivering 14 percent higher quarterly profit as it hauled more agricultural, industrial and coal shipments.

The Omaha, Neb., based railroad said Thursday that it generated $1.09 billion in net income, or $2.38 per share, in the first quarter. That’s up from $957 million, or $2.03 per share, a year ago.

Union Pacific’s revenue grew 7 percent to $5.64 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Union Pacific to report earnings per share of $2.37 on $5.7 billion in revenue.

Union Pacific officials are optimistic about the year ahead. “There’s still a lot of year ahead of us, but we are seeing signs of gradual economic improvement, and we’re encouraged by the opportunities it presents,” said Jack Koraleski, Union Pacific’s chairman and CEO. The number of carloads railroads carry is considered an indicator of the health of the overall economy.

Weather will be a factor in Union Pacific’s results. Agriculture shipments vary based on the size of the harvest. Utilities burn more coal during a hot summer to satisfy electricity demand for air conditioning. Higher demand for coal would boost coal shipments.

This winter’s cold slowed railroad traffic nationwide, although Union Pacific appeared to handle the weather challenges better than eastern railroad CSX, which reported a 14 percent drop in quarterly profit earlier this week.

Union Pacific added 550 employees and 600 locomotives during the first quarter because the cold temperatures forced it to use shorter trains and shift some switching operations to different locations. That contributed to expenses growing 3 percent to $3.78 billion.

Union Pacific said its average train speed slowed 7 percent to 24.5 mph and the average amount of time freight cars sat in rail yards grew 12 percent to 30.7 hours.

Edward Jones analyst Logan Purk said Union Pacific’s results were impressive given the severe weather.

“It speaks to their ability to run an efficient railroad,” Purk said.

Union Pacific hauled 5 percent more carloads of freight in the quarter. Agricultural shipments grew 13 percent to lead all freight categories but industrial products improved 9 percent and coal shipments grew 7 percent.

Coal demand has been weak for several years as some utilities switched from coal to natural gas to take advantage of relatively low natural gas prices.

Union Pacific Corp. operates 32,400 miles of track in 23 states from the Midwest to the West and Gulf coasts.

Its stock slipped 88 cents to $187.27 in morning trading Thursday.


Union Pacific Corp.:

Farming still attracts many despite challenges Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:46:34 -0400 Eric Mortenson PORTLAND — If a torch is going to be passed to the next generation of farmers, it might as well be the flame weeder that Sara Cogan is demonstrating to three interns at Zenger Farm, a nonprofit training center at the city’s southeast edge.

The interns — Leigh Brown, Lauren Conheim and Justin Moran — were chosen from among 50 applicants for their expressed desire to grow food, nurture the land and connect with community. They want to be farmers, in other words, and right now that means learning how to burn weed heads using the propane tank backpack and wand wielded by Cogan, the farm manager. Conheim, her hands and arms still throbbing from a lesson in running the tiller, is the first to try.

Conheim, 26 and holder of a degree in psychology, hadn’t even grown a vegetable garden until last year. “I couldn’t believe how much joy it brought me every day,” she says.

For those not born to the farm, this is the entry point: Internships, small leased plots on the edge of a city or on abandoned land, used or jury-rigged equipment, niche markets. They’ll happily work long hours, sometimes for free, because they believe. They want to be farmers.

Many of them will be out of business in three to five years. Love and sweat don’t open markets or guarantee crops. Idealism doesn’t pay for land, equipment and inputs.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture showed a sharp drop in the three smallest categories of farms: one to nine acres, 10 to 49 acres and 50 to 179 acres. More than 66,000 U.S. farms of those sizes fell by the wayside compared to the 2007 Census, which had shown an increase.

The number of farms with $50,000 or less in sales, the lowest Census category, dropped by more than 132,000 from 2007 to 2012. Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California generally followed the national pattern.

Why? Certainly the poor economy during that time hammered the hope out of some would-be farmers.

“I’m not sure they tried it and didn’t like it — it probably had something to do with the recession,” said Larry Lev, an applied economics professor at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

More detailed Census data, due in May, might provide a clearer answer, Lev said. But for now, the numbers demonstrate the importance of new farmers understanding their objective.

“Often there is some economic goal in mind, but not necessarily to be economically sustainable on its own,” he said. “The recognition for this other group is that they’re going to have to have a foot in multiple economic worlds. Sorting that out is important right at the start, then you can start thinking about what you can produce and how you’re going to sell it.”

The USDA announced April 11 that $19 million in grant money is available this year to help train the next generation of farmers. Money for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was included in 2014 Farm Bill, and will fund programs that help people who want to start farming or ranching or have been at it for 10 years or less.

Beginning farmers need all the help they can get, said Maud Powell, head of OSU’s Small Farms Extension program in southern Oregon’s Jackson County.

“I would say access to capital is a huge barrier,” Powell said. “Although we have the Small Farms program and the Farm Bill is allocating more money to beginning farmer education, we need more because there is a vacuum.”

Many of the young people eager to begin farming are from urban areas and have no farm experience, Powell said. They quickly learn that farmers must be horticulturists, soil scientists, equipment operators, mechanics, bookkeepers, laborers and marketers rolled into one.

“We need more education and mentorships,” Powell said. “They start a farm for a couple years and they are not able to make it as profitable as it needs to be. We see an attrition that happens in the three- to five-year range.”

Part of the small farm decline may stem from too many people doing the same thing, Powell said. In southern Oregon, the direct market is getting saturated, especially for produce sold at farmers’ markets, she said. Some Community Supported Agriculture operations, in which customers subscribe to buy fruit and vegetables from growers, are not filling up, she said.

New farmers might be better off seeking narrower niches, Powell said. These include organic seed production, for example, or growing unusual hot peppers, or agri-tourism. In addition, farmers can use field hoop houses to “bump” the growing season earlier and later — giving themselves more time to meet market demand.

Small farms are important in part for food security reasons, Powell said. Relying solely on the “industrial model” of agriculture, with monocropping, heavy chemical use and risk of crop failure, is an iffy proposition, she said.

“We need more eyes on the field,” Powell said. “We need more people who understand horticulture, how to grow things, how to care for animals. Training the next generation of farmers is so important.”

Classes from OSU helped Melissa Joubert and Mark Wooten get started farming outside Portland, where they rent one-and-a-third acre for $600 a year and work the ground with an Italian walk-behind tractor that has tiller and flail attachments. Wooten is a chef and Joubert has worked in restaurants as well, and like many in Portland’s foodie culture felt drawn to growing food.

“I don’t think I’d even set foot on a farm,” said Joubert, who is from the Los Angeles area. They grow specialty greens and herbs for a handful of restaurants, and are branching out to include corn that they will grind to make polenta, fava beans, specialty potatoes and black garbanzos, among many other things. To diversify the revenue stream, they’ll host three or four farm dinners this summer, feeding 24 to 30 people at each for $75 to $85 a head. “We’ll pick that day and feed it to them,” Wooten said.

Last year, their first, they didn’t break even. This year, “I think we can,” Wooten said.

They work the farm in shifts, but don’t plan to leave restaurant work yet.

“That’s a tricky part of working on a small scale,” Joubert said. “It might be a few years before one of us could quit our other job.”

At Zenger Farm, a former dairy on the opposite side of Portland, the interns are being steeped in the farm life. The land is owned by the City of Portland and operated as an urban organic farm, education and training center by the non-profit Friends of Zenger Farm. Interns work seven months, 32 hours a week, for a $600 monthly stipend. They also receive a share of the food produced on the farm’s six acres.

It’s a hands-on experience. On a recent afternoon, the interns strung trellises for newly planted peas, drove metal fence posts, learned to operate the tiller, burned weeds and mixed soil amendments. The farm grows a mix of vegetables for CSA members and for a farmers’ market in a low-income section of southeast Portland. There’s a small flock of chickens to tend, and the farm raises turkeys for Thanksgiving.

“We select folks who are serious about farming as a career,” said Cogan, the farm manager.

Of 12 previous interns in the past four years, three have started farms. Most of the others found work in related agriculture, education or outreach capacities, said Bryan Allan, the farm’s assistant manager.

This year’s crop of interns — Leigh Brown, Lauren Conheim and Justin Moran — have been on the job only two weeks and are figuring out where to put down roots.

Brown, 36, is unusual among interns because she already has land. She and her husband, Ron Smith, a physician’s assistant and National Guard member, own five acres near Sherwood, southwest of Portland. They’re working on an idea called the Bedlam Farm Project, which would include a CSA for military families and respite for veterans. Brown says she and her husband want more land than they have and plan to grow vegetables, hops and apples for hard cider.

Brown acknowledges it’s an ambitious plan, and says she has to be realistic. She took a Small Farms business class from OSU, however, and the internship is providing practical field experience.

“I quit all my work to do this,” she said.

Conheim loves growing plants, and could see herself with a farm of her own or with a job such as Cogan and Allan, the Zenger managers.

“I like the teaching aspect of it,” she said.

Moran, 31, is taken by that as well. He arrived from the United Kingdom in December — his wife is from Portland — in search of a “land-based livelihood.” Personal farm ownership, he said, may not be as important as community education and outreach that reconnects people to the land that supports them.

“We need farms to grow food, of course,” he said, “but we need farms to grow people, as well.”


Public lands clashes have long history Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:44:12 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski A high-profile conflict between a Nevada rancher and federal authorities appears to be temporarily defused, but experts say it points to long standing tensions over public lands.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has backed off from confiscating cattle grazing on public land that are owned by rancher Cliven Bundy. The BLM claims Bundy owes more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.

The move was meant to take the heat out of a situation that BLM was afraid would turn violent, but the underlying dispute is likely to continue as the agency seeks to recover money from the rancher.

Bundy did not respond to a request for comment from Capital Press.

From a broader perspective, the debacle can be seen as a flashpoint in the longstanding hostility that some ranchers and natural resource users feel toward federal land managers, experts say.

“The backdrop is really significant. It’s another sagebrush rebellion,” said Martin Nie, a professor of natural resource policy at the University of Montana.

“At the end of the day, it’s a lot of symbolism and political theater. What is going on in Nevada should be viewed in that larger context,” said Nie.

From a legal standpoint, Bundy’s arguments against the BLM don’t hold water — at least if you recognize the primacy of federal courts and century-old U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

His dispute began in 1993, when BLM capped the size of the herd on Bundy’s allotment near Bunkerville, Nev. Bundy stopped paying his grazing fees in protest, and a year later BLM terminated his permit altogether.

A federal court first ordered him to remove animals from the land in 1998.

In 2012, the federal government filed a lawsuit against Bundy, alleging that he allowed cattle to graze on BLM property, despite an injunction barring him from the land.

Bundy responded that BLM was trying to drive him and other ranchers off public lands to protect the threatened desert tortoise.

He claimed the land in question actually belonged to the State of Nevada and the BLM had no jurisdiction to file a lawsuit against him.

Last year, a federal judge roundly rejected Bundy’s arguments and ordered him to remove his cattle from the land.

If he refused, the judge said that federal authorities could seize and impound the livestock, which ultimately led to the recent standoff.

Failed challenges to federal jurisdiction over public lands have a long tradition in the West, said Char Miller, a professor at Pomona College who studies environmental history and public lands management.

“The current case is old as far as its aspirations,” Miller said.

Such questions were resolved in 1911, though, when the Supreme Court conclusively affirmed the federal government’s ownership and authority over such lands in a ruling known as U.S. v Grimaud, he said.

That case — which pitted a California shepherd against the U.S. Forest Service — dooms legal arguments like Bundy’s, Miller said.

“He is wasting everybody’s time and money,” he said. “It’s never going to achieve the ends that he wants.”

Given the allegations of unpaid grazing fees and cattle trespass, the outpouring of support for Bundy’s position is perhaps surprising, said Nie.

“This seems like a pretty bad choice of case, given the facts of the conflict,” he said.

The dispute has likely received such widespread attention due to the confrontation between anti-government militia and federal agents, Nie said.

“It’s that extreme element,” he said.

Even so, discomfort with federal management of public lands isn’t confined to the political fringe, Nie said.

Several state legislatures — Idaho, Montanta, Utah and Wyoming — have examined proposals related to the transfer of federal land to states in recent years, he said.

There’s a perception that state ownership would remove many of the obstacles to natural resource industries, Nie said.

Beyond that, states with large federal land ownership receive no tax revenue from those properties, he said.

With federal budget constraints, there’s a shadow over “payment-in-lieu-of-taxes” programs that compensate states, Nie said.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “That’s a legislative policy concern.”

Bundy’s clash with the BLM has put grazing groups in an awkward position.

The Public Lands Council — which advocates for ranchers who rely on federal lands — appears to sympathize with some of Bundy’s concerns while distancing itself from his actions.

“We defend the rule of law and don’t condone acting outside of that,” said Dustin Van Liew, executive director of the group.

The situation has sprung from frustration over environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, which threaten continued grazing on public land, he said.

“It all comes down to the decision to take livestock off federal lands, which wasn’t what was envisioned by Congress,” Van Liew said.

Farmer ships Vidalia onions ahead of start date Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:19:48 -0400 RUSS BYNUM SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A major grower of Georgia’s famous Vidalia onions said Wednesday he had begun shipping his crop early to supermarkets in defiance of the state agriculture commissioner, who has warned that a new regulation prohibits farmers from sending onions to market before Monday.

Delbert Bland of Glennville, who grows onions on roughly 3,000 acres in southeast Georgia, has been waging a legal battle since last fall with Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. Their dispute revolves around a rule adopted with the backing of many farmers seeking to keep unripe Vidalia onions from reaching store shelves.

An Atlanta judge last month struck down the regulation, which says no Vidalia onions can be packed for shipping before the last full week in April. However, Black has warned growers that the rule remains in effect while the state appeals.

“Customers are going to get good sweet, Vidalia onions and get them before next week,” said Bland, adding the first truckloads of onions left his farm Wednesday afternoon.

His decision is somewhat of a gamble. A judge in Bland’s home turf of Tattnall County refused Tuesday to block the agriculture commissioner from enforcing the new onion regulation. But Bland’s attorneys say the judge’s written order contains language supporting their position that the commissioner would violate the original Atlanta judge’s order if he tries to sanction Bland for shipping onions a few days early.

Farmers who violate state laws and regulations governing how Vidalia onions are grown and marketed can be fined up to $5,000 per box or bag of onions. They can also lose the license allowing them to sell onions under the Vidalia brand, which is a state trademark.

The Vidalia onion crop is worth $150 million to Georgia farmers and state law limits the growth of Vidalias to a 20-county region. While an official start date for shipping is nothing new, in the past farmers have been allowed to send onions to market early if the crop receives a U.S. 1 grade from federal inspectors. The new packing regulation aims to essentially end that practice.

Bland said a state agriculture official was at his farm Wednesday to observe shipments being prepared. He said the official told him that he would face no immediate sanctions.

“He told me they were not going to do anything until after the appeal,” Bland said.

Mary Kathryn Yaerta, a spokeswoman for the agriculture commissioner, said in an email Wednesday that any action taken against Bland would follow a typical administrative process.

“Once we receive the information and know the circumstance, we will take the appropriate steps,” she said.

Disaster assistance available to orchardists, nurseries Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:44:32 -0400 DAVIS, Calif. — Among the disaster assistance programs available to California farmers beginning April 15 was one for orchardists and nursery tree growers that have experienced drought-related losses since Oct. 1, 2011.

The Tree Assistance Program provides financial help to qualifying farmers and nursery operators to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines that have sustained damage, according to a Farm Service Agency news release.

Eligible trees and vines include those that produce an annual crop for commercial purposes. Nursery trees include ornamental, fruit, nut and Christmas trees that are produced for commercial sale. Trees used for pulp or timber are ineligible, the release explains.

Orchardists must have experienced at least a 15 percent tree mortality rate and can receive TAP payments for up to 500 acres annually, according to the release. For information, contact a local FSA office or USDA service center.

Exports of Chile blueberries shrink Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:34:12 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski Low temperatures and labor conflicts have cut the amount of fruit exports from Chile, an important producer of crops like blueberries.

Experts say reduced Chilean exports could be a double-edged sword for U.S. blueberry producers, but the market outlook for the 2014 crop will ultimately be more affected by domestic consumption.

Chile may export less blueberries to the U.S. but have more available for overseas markets, experts say.

According to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, port strikes and frosts reduced fruit shipments during Chile’s spring season, which was winter in North America.

“There were several hiccups in the Chilean market,” said Rod Cook, president of Ag-View Consulting.

As a result, imports of frozen blueberries from Chile into the U.S. may drop to 45 million pounds to 50 million pounds, compared to more than 60 million pounds last year, said John Shelford, president of the Shelford Associates market consulting firm.

Shelford said he expects U.S. cold storage inventories of blueberries to bottom out at roughly 90 million pounds in 2014, a notable improvement over the 100 million pound low point last year.

Generally, a cold storage low point of more than 75 million pounds suggests weaker prices for newly processed blueberries, he said.

Even so, the smaller overhang will improve the price outlook compared to 2013, Shelford said. “I think prices will average higher this year.”

While reduced supplies from Chile will help reduce cold storage inventory, the main benefactor of U.S. producers is the healthy domestic demand for the crop, he said.

Sales of individually quick frozen blueberries at the retail level have been particularly strong, while ingredient sales and exports have been adequate, Shelford said.

“We’ve moved huge amounts of fruit out of cold storage,” said Cook. “It’s good to see that inventory being consumed.”

The popularity of fruit smoothies among young people appears to be at least partly responsible for the strong demand for frozen blueberries, said Cook.

Lower prices have also contributed to demand as buyers responded to better availability, he said. “Food companies are more willing to take risks and try new products when their costs are not as high.”

Chilean blueberries that weren’t sold on the fresh market may have been processed, raising available frozen supplies for export to South Korea and China, he said.

Chile has an advantage over the U.S. in those markets because it has negotiated lower tariffs, Cook said.

The U.S. industry should try to press for similar trade agreements, said Shelford.

It will probably be more difficult than in past years for per capita consumption of the crop to keep up with rising supplies, he said.

“We really need to work on the export business,” Shelford said. “We need to be much more aggressive.”

Scotts renews litigation against rival Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:37:10 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski The Scotts Co. has renewed litigation seeking to block rival grass seed marketer Pennington from running what it claims are misleading advertisements.

The garden products company has asked a federal judge to permanently enjoin its competitor from touting root comparison tests it claims were discredited.

The complaint alleges that Pennington “has engaged in a malicious campaign of unfair competition to destroy Scotts’ reputation” by publicizing the invalid tests.

Pennington has been airing television spots that depict hands lifting two trays of grass by their growing shoots, the complaint said.

The grass grown from Pennington’s “1 Step Complete” seed mix remains intact as the tray is lifted, but the grass grown from Scotts’ “EZ Seed” product tears out by the roots, the complaint said.

Scotts claims this test result is misleading because the EZ Seed mix was applied contrary to the directions for the product.

In the test, the EZ Seed product — which consists of seed, mulch and fertilizer — was applied at an excessive rate, making it appear as if the roots failed to penetrate the soil, according to Scotts.

An attorney for Penningtons said he could not comment on the litigation and Capital Press was unable to reach a company spokesperson as of press time.

The new lawsuit comes on the heels of previous court case in which Scotts successfully defended itself against Pennington’s false advertising claims.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge James Spencer found that the “lift tests” were based on “obsolete directions” but declared the matter moot because Pennington agreed to discontinue the ads.

In the new lawsuit, Scotts claims that Pennington has used images and footage from the discredited tests on television and in store product displays.

For example, the judge held that Pennington did not mislead consumers by calling itself an “honest” company, since these are subjective claims that “amount to puffery.”

Spencer refuted Pennington’s claims, such as its objection to statements that Scotts’ EZ Seed takes up and retains water better than 1 Step Complete.

“The overwheling weight of evidence, including Scotts’ internal testing and Pennington’s own internal documents, demonstrate that EZ Seed unquestionably absorbs water better than 1 Step Complete,” the judge said.

In an earlier ruling, the judge also rejected Pennington’s complaint that its mulch component was derided by Scotts as “a bunch of ground-up paper.”

Rancher inspects cattle after showdown with feds Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:21:14 -0400 SCOTT SONNER RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada rancher said Monday he’s trying to determine if federal agents damaged his cattle when the animals were rounded up then released in a showdown with angry protesters over a decades-long dispute about rangeland rights.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze said the agency backed off to avoid a potentially violent situation over the weekend.

However, he vowed to go to court to collect more than $1 million in back grazing fees he says Cliven Bundy owes for trespassing on federal lands since the 1990s.

Bundy, whose family has operated a ranch since the 1870s southwest of Mesquite a few miles from the Utah line, does not recognize federal authority on the land that he insists belongs to Nevada.

On Saturday, the bureau released about 400 head of cattle it had seized from Bundy. The operation had been expected to take a month to collect as many as 900 cattle.

The animals were freed after armed militia members joined hundreds of states’ rights protesters at corrals outside Mesquite. Bundy said they were united in defense of their constitutional rights.

“They have faith in the Constitution,” he told KDWN-AM in Las Vegas on Monday. “The founding fathers didn’t create a government like this.”

The BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board was meeting in Sacramento on Monday on the broader issue fueling the conflict over how to divide the scarce forage on mostly dry lands across the West between livestock, wild horses and wildlife.

Wild-horse protection advocates say the government is rounding up too many mustangs while allowing sheep and cattle to feed at taxpayer expense on the same rangeland scientists say is being overgrazed. Ranchers say the government refuses to gather enough horses in the herds that double in size every five years.

Advocates on both sides accused the board of not addressing their concerns.

“Americans want wild horses on our public lands,” said wild horse advocate Bonnie Kohleriter. “You cattlemen and wildlife people are special interest groups. ... You need to stop attacking the wild horses, attempting to diminish their numbers, and make resources available to them.”

Debra Hawk, a biologist representing the Wildlife Society, said the BLM’s failure to cut the number of wild horses is harming other species that rely on the land. She criticized the agency for indicating it may not continue the horse roundups, saying the BLM should “utilize all methods available” to cut the population.

“Not conducting roundups will result in further degradation of native ranges, harming native wildlife and plants,” and is better for the health of native horses, she said.

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said she spent much of the past week with the Bundy family and helped feed some of the calves that were returned over the weekend.

“It’s going to take a lot to revive the calves that were nearly dead when they were returned to the Bundy Ranch because they had been separated from their mothers during the roundup, and a few most likely won’t make it,” said Fiore, a Republican from Las Vegas. “It’s time for Nevada to stand up to the federal government and demand the return of the BLM lands to the people of Nevada.”

Horse protection advocates and other critics of livestock grazing on federal land said the government’s suspension of the roundup sends the wrong signal to law-abiding ranchers who secure the necessary grazing permits to use the land.

The BLM “is allowing a freeloading rancher and armed thugs to seize hundreds of thousands of acres of the people’s land as their own,” said Rob Mrowka, a senior scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s backing down in the face of threats and posturing of armed sovereignists.”

BLM spokesman Craig Leff said the agency will work to resolve the matter “administratively and judicially” but planned no further public comment on Bundy’s case.

“The gather is over,” he said in an email.

In 1998, BLM secured the first of a series of court orders that found Bundy’s cattle in trespass, rejecting his argument the land in an area known as Gold Butte belonged to the state.

BLM filed a new complaint in U.S. court in Las Vegas in May 2012 seeking an injunction to prevent what it called Bundy’s continued trespassing, and Judge Lloyd George issued another order last July authorizing the agency to impound the cattle.