Capital Press | Nation/World Capital Press Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:40:24 -0500 en Capital Press | Nation/World Christmas tree checkoff delayed again Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:46:46 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski A checkoff fee intended to raise money for promoting Christmas trees won’t be collected this harvest season because the USDA has delayed implementing the program.

Supporters of the national 15 cent per tree checkoff fee — which would generate roughly $2 million a year — say the Obama administration has postponed appointing a governing board for the program due to fears of a political backlash.

When the checkoff program was supposed to be enacted in 2011, conservative bloggers derided it as Obama’s “new Christmas tree tax” and caused an online firestorm.

“There’s a concern there will be some bad publicity,” said Betty Malone, a tree farmer in Philomath, Ore., and a chief checkoff supporter. “I understand the sensitivity on that, but I think it’s overblown.”

After the conservative backlash in 2011, the USDA indefinitely suspended the checkoff program until Congress mandated its implementation in the 2013 Farm Bill.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that originally called the checkoff fee a tax, has since tried to revive the outrage over the program but has received tepid media response, said Malone.

Mainstream media outlets got “burned” when they realized the program had been mischaracterized, as the checkoff idea was initiated by growers, not the government, she said.

The Obama administration nonetheless wanted to avoid another controversy shortly before the recent elections but has assured attorneys for checkoff supporters that a governing board will be named in early January 2015, Malone said.

“Once the board is named, the whole program starts,” she said.

At that point, the board can hire an executive director, a marketing firm to design promotions and a compliance officer to ensure the fees are collected, Malone said.

“You hire a professional to do that kind of work,” she said.

Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., was a strong proponent of the checkoff in Congress and remains concerned about the ongoing delay, said Paul Gage, his chief of staff.

“There’s no good reason for it,” Gage said. “They told us they will be appointing a board in the January of the new year and we will be holding them to that.”

The reliability of the USDA’s plan is a concern given past delays, but Schrader will review his options to force the agency to act if it doesn’t live up to its word, he said.

Capital Press was unable to reach a spokesperson for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, which oversees 22 national checkoff programs.

The delay in implementing the checkoff was caused by the federal government, not the Christmas tree industry, but that doesn’t mean the program is entirely uncontroversial, said Bryan Ostlund, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association.

“There are people not crazy about a checkoff, but I’m not aware of anybody contacting the USDA in opposition,” he said.

Holiday Tree Farms, a major producer, is skeptical for practical reasons, said Greg Rondeau, its sales manager.

The Christmas tree industry is diffuse with multiple points of sale, so fee collection will be a massive undertaking, he said. “How are they going to enforce the payments?”

Even if the program manages to attain 100 percent participation, there still probably won’t be enough money for an effective promotions campaign, Rondeau said.

Rather than dilute the promotional dollars across the entire U.S., a targeted, regional approach makes more sense, he said. For the Northwest, for example, a major market is California.

Despite its misgivings, the company plans to make the best of the checkoff, Rondeau said. “You’ve got to roll with it and make it work.”

Tight supply to bolster soft white wheat prices Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:23:50 -0500 Matw Weaver A tight supply will lift soft white wheat prices in the coming months, Northwest wheat marketing experts say.

According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Services, soft white wheat prices were mostly $7.19 per bushel, ranging from $6.96 per bushel to $7.36 per bushel.

Ty Jessup, merchandiser for Central Washington Grain Growers in Waterville, Wash., and industry representative for the Washington Grain Commission, expects soft white wheat prices to remain at the same level.

Moving into the winter, the market will turn its attention to next year’s crop, Jessup said. Prices will adjust according to the outlook.

“The challenge for next year’s crop is not knowing what next year’s crop is going to be,” Jessup said, pointing to possible impacts of a recent cold snap. “The hard part about winter weather conditions is we can kill a crop several times, but you don’t ever know the answer until next spring.” Soft white wheat is a little high in protein, but good quality, said Dan Steiner, grain merchandiser for Pendleton Grain Growers and Morrow County Grain Growers. The 2015 crop does not appear to be off to a good start, with dry conditions and late planting affecting development of the root system, he said.

He expects prices will remain steady through the holiday season. But he’s encouraged by USDA reports calling for the second-tightest carryout — the amount of wheat left over from 2014 — since 1988.

“The only year it was tighter than that was the year it went to $16 per bushel,” he said. “No, we’re not going to $16, I don’t think, but we’re going to have really tight carryouts.”

If production problems occur in a major wheat-producing corner of the world, Steiner said, prices could easily reach $8 per bushel.

“This market’s not going to stay down long - it may dip, we may have adjustments of the futures, but right now there’s not any serious downside for any extended period of time,” he said.

Byron Behne, marketing manager for Northwest Grain Growers in Walla Walla, Wash., agrees that a tight supply will likely raise prices in February or March.

“That might be the time period where we start to see some big gains,” Behne said. “With white wheat being the only variety of wheat that’s super tight this year, prices should stay firm and move higher, maybe towards $8 per bushel.”

The world wheat supply is strong enough that Behen also doesn’t foresee $16 wheat.

“Prices are at the highest levels we’ve been since prior to harvest, so if a guy needs money it’s not a bad time to sell some wheat,” Behne said. “But if you don’t have to, I don’t mind sitting on wheat just to see what happens.”

Beef supply to tighten in 2015, while general protein supply rises Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:44:32 -0500 John O’Connell SUN VALLEY, Idaho — A cattle market analyst predicts the U.S. beef supply could reach its tightest point in decades next year.

However, Kevin Good, senior analyst with CattleFax, said pork and poultry producers will also be ramping up production to take advantage of greater profit margins, which should increase the overall supply of animal protein. He anticipates pork and poultry production will both be up about 5 percent next year.

“Even though beef supplies will be thinner in 2015, total meat supplies will be more in 2015,” Good told ranchers during a recent Idaho Cattle Association annual convention. “For protein supplies, the tightest point is actually behind us. It was the third quarter of this year.”

Good explained during 15 of the past 17 years, the nation’s cattle producers have liquidated herds. He said years of declining herds and lower feed costs following consecutive moist seasons have finally contributed to strong profits. The Omaha price for corn is now about $3 per bushel, the lowest price for the commodity since 2006, before the ethanol boom.

As beef producers seek to increase production to capture higher prices, they must save more heifers to build up their herds, further tightening supply in the short term. Good said national cow slaughter this year will be down by about 15 percent, or 940,000 head, with further slaughter reductions of about 230,000 head next year. Heifers now represent about 35 percent of fed cattle for slaughter, down by about 2 percent from the seven-year average, Good added.

Despite higher prices, Good said, consumer demand for beef remains strong. But he warned the price gap between beef and other animal protein sources has grown wide. He said wholesale prices of 90 percent lean hamburger have been about $3 per pound, up from $2 per pound a year ago. Wholesale boneless, skinless chicken breasts, however, have been ranging from $1.50-$2 per pound.

“(Beef) demand is better but the price spread (with pork and poultry) is likely going to be a limiting factor for how far you can push beef prices,” Good said.

Good said the limited beef supply has also driven up foreign beef imports from countries such as Australia, as well as feeder cattle and calf imports from Canada and Mexico. For 2014, Australian beef has averaged 30 cents per pound cheaper than domestic beef, taking transportation costs into account. Combined feeder cattle and calf imports from Canada and Mexico are up 200,000 head, or 20 percent, from last year.

Portland daily grain report Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:25:42 -0500 Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Nov. 26

USDA Market News

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

In early trading March wheat futures trended 2.25 to 4.00 cents per bushel higher than Tuesday’s closes.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat for November delivery in unit trains or barges were not fully established in early trading but bids were indicated as higher compared to Tuesday’s noon bids in lining up with the higher Chicago March wheat futures. Some exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

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

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

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

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

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

Nov mostly 7.2075, ranging 7.0075-7.4075

Dec 7.0075-7.4575

Jan 7.0075-7.5575

Feb 7.0075-7.6575

Mar 7.0075-7.6575

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

Nov mostly 9.4575, ranging 9.4075-9.5075

Not fully established and limited.

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


Ordinary protein 7.3100-7.3300

10 pct protein 7.3100-7.3300

11 pct protein 7.3900-7.4300

11.5 pct protein

Nov 7.4300-7.4800

12 pct protein 7.4300-7.5300

13 pct protein 7.4300-7.6300

Not fully established and limited.

US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat (with a minimum of 300 falling numbers, a maximum

of 0.5 part per million vomitoxin, and a maximum of one percent total damage)

13 pct protein 8.3800-8.6300

14 pct protein

Nov 9.6300-9.8300

15 pct protein 10.4300-10.6300

16 pct protein 11.2300-11.4300

Not fully established and limited.

US 2 Yellow Corn in dollars per CWT

Domestic-single rail cars

Delivered full coast-BN NA

Delivered to Portland NA

Rail and Truck del to Willamette Vly NA

Rail del to Yakima Valley NA

Truck del to Yakima Valley NA

US 2 Heavy White Oats in dollars per CWT 13.2500

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Oct 2014

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 6.7900

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 7.3200

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 7.4400

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 8.9600

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

New water rule raises property-rights concerns Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:09:09 -0500 Tim Hearden RED BLUFF, Calif. — Steve McCarthy has two reasons — personal and professional — to be concerned about a proposed rule that would change the definition of “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act.

On a personal level, he operates a ranch near here that is situated along a creek that could be impacted, and as an attorney he has to discuss and explain the rule to his agricultural clients, many of whom fear the potential fallout from it.

“It’s very cost-intensive to the rancher and there’s no consideration whatsoever for the individual,” McCarthy said of the rule, which was proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this spring.

McCarthy isn’t alone in his concerns. The rule has ignited a national controversy in which farmers and ranchers see themselves as the potential victims of overreaching federal agencies. Industry groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have lined up against the rule, which generated thousands of comments from farmers and ranchers.

Federal regulators, meanwhile, say the new rule wouldn’t expand their authority, and only clarify how the 1972 Clean Water Act is enforced after several U.S. Supreme Court decisions left question marks surrounding which waters are covered by the law.

Fears of land-use restrictions or loss of property rights are unfounded, asserts Robert Daguillard, the EPA’s spokesman for water issues. In fact, the rule doesn’t protect any new types of waters that aren’t already covered under the Clean Water Act, he told the Capital Press in an email.

“The agencies’ intent is to protect clean water without getting in the way of farming and ranching,” Daguillard said. “Normal farming and ranching — including planting, harvesting and moving livestock — have always been exempt from Clean Water Act regulation, and our proposal doesn’t change that.”

In the text of the new rule, the EPA and the Army Corps say they’re providing clarity about whether individual water bodies fall under the Clean Water Act and if discharges into those bodies are subject to permitting.

The rule builds on the 1986 federal definition of “waters of the United States” as including traditional navigable waters; interstate waters and wetlands; the territorial seas; impoundments of navigable waters, such as lakes created by dams; and tributaries of these waters.

A tributary is typically characterized as a stream or creek, but it could also be a wetland, lake or pond if it flows directly or indirectly into a protected water body, according to the rule.

Tributaries are regulated to their origin and can be a man-made canal or ditch, according to the text.

The rule also covers adjacent waters and wetlands that provide “directional flowpaths” to regulated rivers or tributaries, such as swales, gullies, rills and ditches. The flow from the wetland or pond can be seasonal and result from “fill and spill” hydrology after an intense rainfall, but rain runoff itself doesn’t trigger the rule, the agencies explained.

Puddles — small, temporary pools of water that form on pavement or uplands immediately after a rainstorm or snow melt — “cannot reasonably be considered a water body or aquatic feature at all” and are not covered under the rule, according to the agencies.

“About 60 percent of stream miles in the U.S. only flow seasonally or after rain, but have a considerable impact on the downstream waters,” Daguillard said. “And approximately 117 million people — 1 in 3 Americans — get drinking water from public systems that rely in part on these streams. These are important waterways for which the EPA and the Army Corps is clarifying protection.”

However, the agencies also propose that certain “other waters” be considered for Clean Water Act jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis. It’s these “other waters” that are a source of much of the controversy in the proposed rule.

Under this provision, the government could deem an entire area such as a watershed to be covered by the act if its waters have a “significant nexus” to a traditional navigable water or other covered water body, the rule states.

A water body has a “significant nexus” to a covered river or stream if it can affect its chemical, physical or biological integrity; in other words, if polluting one could reasonably lead to polluting the other, according to the rule.

The rule includes potential “eco-regions” with blanket coverage under the Clean Water Act. In the West, they include the Coast Range, the Cascades and their eastern slopes and foothills, the Central California foothills and coastal mountains, California’s Central Valley, the Columbia Plateau and the Klamath mountains.

The agencies could either consider links within these regions on a case-by-case basis or determine that “similarly situated” waters within these regions are included by rule, according to the text.

Daguillard said the “eco-region” approach is a way to identify certain types of wetlands in an area, not a way to regulate all surface water.

But McCarthy, the Red Bluff lawyer and rancher, considers such an extensive interpretation of “waters” to be an overreach.

“I could see it on the Sacramento River or major tributaries, but these secondary or other tributaries, that’s just getting too much government telling you what to do,” he said.

The regional approach is “useful” for protecting overall water quality and the species and habitat that depend on it, said Lisa Belenky, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

“The purpose of the Clean Water Act is to ensure that water resources are robustly conserved and protected,” Belenky said. “We want clean water, that’s what we all want. We want to improve water quality across the United States. ... The real issue and fundamental issue is, is the EPA doing what it needs to do to protect our water quality?”

The rule states in several places that existing exemptions for normal farming and ranching activities, such as construction and maintenance of irrigation ditches and stock ponds, would remain intact.

Exemptions apply to prior converted cropland and artificially irrigated areas as well as ditches “that are excavated wholly in uplands, drain only uplands, and have less than perennial flow,” according to the rule. In addition, ditches that don’t flow into regulated waters are exempt, the rule states.

The irrigation-ditch exemptions are important to Stan Wangberg, general manager of the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District in Northern California. The district is lining its main canal, and if it had needed full-blown permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers — which Wangberg suspects might have been the case under the proposed rules — the delays could have imperiled the project, he said.

“We strongly believe that agricultural systems should be exempt from the requirements,” Wangberg said, noting that they have been and should be left intact. “We would like to maintain that status quo. If I had to do a little maintenance on a canal and if I had to contact the Army Corps and go through an entire permitting process, that just would not work.”

Groundwater is not covered by the rule, although shallow aquifers that provide water to regulated streams may be.

But the rule lists no allowances for runoff from farms that might reach a regulated wetland or stream, although discharges of dredge or fill materials as a result of conservation projects are exempt. As such, McCarthy questions whether the ag exemption will be of much help to growers.

“We don’t trust the ag exemption,” he said.

The EPA and Army Corps have sought to redefine waters administratively after a proposal in 2009 to change the definition of “navigable” waters in the Clean Water Act languished in Congress. Western farm groups and lawmakers were concerned that the bill, called the Clean Water Restoration Act, posed serious threats to states’ sovereignty and rural economies.

The agencies assert the definition must be clarified in light of several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the most recent of which involved Michigan developers who backfilled wetlands near ditches that eventually empty into navigable waters.

In Rapanos v. United States in 2006, developer John Rapanos and other plaintiffs claimed the wetlands were too far removed from the navigable waters to be subject to federal regulation. In a 5-4 decision, the court agreed, albeit for different reasons.

The court’s four conservatives, led by Justice Antonin Scalia, argued that tributaries must be relatively permanent and continuously flowing to fall under the Clean Water Act, and adjacent waters or wetlands must have more than “a mere hydrologic connection.”

Scalia lamented what he called the “immense expansion of federal regulation of land use” under the Clean Water Act in the past three decades.

“The Corps has ... asserted jurisdiction over virtually any parcel of land containing a channel or conduit ... through which rainwater or drainage may occasionally or intermittently flow,” Scalia wrote. “On this view, the federally regulated ‘waters of the United States’ include storm drains, roadside ditches, ripples of sand in the desert that may contain water once a year, and lands that are covered by floodwaters once every 100 years.”

But while Justice Anthony Kennedy concurred that the Rapanos wetlands didn’t fall under the regulation, he said wetlands and other adjacent bodies have been found in previous case law to have a “significant nexus” to regulated waters if they “affect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of other covered waters more readily understood as ‘navigable.’”

Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged it would be up to others to determine what that means.

“It is unfortunate that no opinion commands a majority of the Court on precisely how to read Congress’ limits on the reach of the Clean Water Act,” Roberts wrote. “Lower courts and regulated entities will now have to feel their way on a case-by-case basis.”

The EPA and Army Corps say that because of the Rapanos case and other court decisions, the scope of regulatory jurisdiction in this rule would be narrower than under existing regulations. The agencies had exerted “broad jurisdiction over most wetlands” since the 1970s, but the legal test for jurisdiction changed because of the Supreme Court’s decisions, Daguillard said.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s Belenky partly agrees, although she said the rule “in some ways would broaden” the government’s authority. She said the center would have preferred a broader definition of tributaries to include “the flashy systems and seasonal systems” prevalent in the West.

“I would say that we think it’s a step forward from where we’ve been, which has been very much a holding pattern for quite a while,” Belenky said of the rule. “The EPA has needed to revise the definition for quite a while. It’s taken them a long time to get the draft out.”

When it comes to such things as agricultural runoff, the EPA should be “stepping up making sure all the measures that can be taken, are taken to improve water quality,” she said.

But farmers and ranchers “are the best environmentalists the world has ever known,” counters McCarthy, the Red Bluff attorney. And the rule will further erode their property rights, he said.

“We’ve gone from private property rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution to an emperor deciding what you can do with private property,” McCarthy said. “And I think this is a private property issue.”


Waters of the U.S. proposed rule:

Rapanos v. United States:

Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters:

And you thought wolves were a problem Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:53:18 -0500 BEIJING (AP) — A rare Siberian tiger released into the wild by Russian President Vladimir Putin is keeping farmers in northeastern China on edge.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday that the animal, named Ustin, bit and killed 15 goats and left another three missing on Sunday and Monday on a farm in Heilongjiang province’s Fuyuan county.

Xinhua said the farm’s owner, Guo Yulin, was stressed about the tiger, but that he would be compensated by the local forestry department for the loss of the 18 goats.

According to Xinhua, Russian experts rescued five tiger cubs two years ago. Ustin was one of three released by Putin in May in a remote part of the Amur region, which straddles the border between far eastern Russia and northeastern China.

Two of the tigers entered China. They were fitted with tracking devices and are monitored by Chinese wildlife protection workers.

The other tiger to enter China, Kuzya, was believed to have raided a farm and eaten five chickens last month in another Heilongjiang county.

Guo told Xinhua that he was alerted by dog barks on Sunday night, but that his check turned up nothing unusual. He said he woke up the next morning to find two goats dead and three others missing.

Xinhua said the goats’ skulls were crushed by the tiger and that a hole the size of a human finger was visible on each goat’s head.

The farmer said the tiger returned the following night but made no noise at all.

“When I opened the goat house in the morning, dead goats were everywhere,” Guo said, according to Xinhua.

Local experts found the tiger’s footprints around the goat house and on its roof, Xinhua reported. Guo was asked to either relocate his goats or reinforce his farm, it said.

USDA buying cranberries due to oversupply Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:27:30 -0500 MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An oversupply of cranberries from record harvests in Wisconsin and Canada has prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy up to 68 million pounds of berries.

The result will be more stable prices for cranberry growers. The oversupply means growers are getting between 10 cents and 19 cents a pound.

Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association says growers need 25 cents to 30 cents a pound to break even.

Association spokesman Tom Lochner tells Wisconsin Public Radio News growers asked the USDA to buy around 30 million pounds of excess cranberries. The agency instead said it would more than double that.

The cranberry products will likely be distributed to school lunch programs and food pantries.

Deere dips on shaky outlook for fiscal 2015 Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:24:28 -0500 NEW YORK (AP) — Deere’s fourth-quarter results were stronger than Wall Street expected but it says its farm equipment sales and profits will keep falling in its new fiscal year as the sector remains weak.

Its shares fell 3 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday.

The world’s biggest farm equipment supplier says its annual net income will drop about 40 percent and revenue from agricultural and turf equipment will fall further than it did in fiscal 2014.

Falling commodity prices and lower farm income are hurting companies like Deere & Co., and in August, Deere lowered its outlook and said it would cut production in response to weak sales.

The Moline, Illinois, company said agriculture and turf equipment fell 13 percent in fiscal 2014 and it expects them to drop 20 percent in the current fiscal year. Deere got almost three-quarters of its revenue from those products in the last fiscal year. The company expects revenue from construction and forestry equipment to keep improving.

In the fourth quarter Deere says it earned $649.2 million, or $1.83 per share, down from $806.8 million, or $2.11 per share, a year ago. Its revenue was $8.97 billion, down from $9.45 billion a year ago.

FactSet says analysts expected a profit of $1.57 per share and $7.73 billion in revenue for the quarter, which ended on Oct. 31.

The company’s shares are down $2.68 or 3 percent, to $85.11 in premarket trading about 90 minutes before the market opening. Deere stock has fallen 4 percent in 2014, but it has moved upward since early October, when it traded under $79. The shares reached an annual peak of $94.89 in May.

Tater Tots appealing to hipsters and home cooks Tue, 25 Nov 2014 09:57:36 -0500 MICHELLE LOCKE Tater Tots have come a long way from your school lunch tray.

The comfort (and kid) food staple, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, has been making it big on the bar scene, showing up as a crispy snack recently everywhere from neighborhood holes-in-the-wall to upscale craft bars. Meanwhile, home cooks and haute chefs alike have been inspired to come up with their own tweaks on the Tot.

Barbecue bacon wrapped Tots. Breakfast burrito Tots. Pizza Tots. Totchos — think nachos only with Tots instead of tortilla chips — and the rather meta Tots-topped baked potatoes.

It’s not really surprising that so many people are inspired to become Tater creators, says Julie Crist, whose own love of the spud nuggets prompted her to open The Tot Cart, which has taken such inventions as chicken Tot pie and pulled pork Tots to the streets of the Philadelphia region.

“You can really do anything with a potato. It’s like a blank canvas,” she points out.

Tater Tots began humbly enough as a way to use up left over potato slivers from frozen french fries, which then were a main product of the Ore-Ida company. The Tots’ selling point was that they were crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, qualities that still appeal.

At Daddy-O, a whiskey bar in New York City, owner Phillip Casaceli has been serving fried Tater Tots for about 15 years. It was one of the first menu items when the place opened in the summer of 1999. “We were a late-night crowd. The Tater Tots just worked really well with that demographic.”

You can get Tater Tots kicked up with cheese and jalapenos at Daddy-O, but the straight-up Tots are also popular. “What most people are looking for is that iconic kind of Tater Tot that brings them back to their youth,” says Casaceli, waxing philosophical.

Today, Casaceli estimates Daddy-O goes through 150 to 200 pounds of Tater Tots a week and he’s seen the trend spread to other bars in the city. They also are on the menu at uber-hip PDT (please don’t tell).

But Tater Tots aren’t just big in the Big Apple. Type “Tater Tot happy hour” into Google and you’ll get results from all over the country. You can find Tots served straight up with sea salt on the side, blanketed with cheese and other sauces, or taken uptown with garlic and truffles.

In Philadelphia, Crist finds her best-seller are Tots tossed in Old Bay seasoning and served with a homemade sauce of something called drunk cheese.

While many use the classic Ore-Ida Tot, some are serving house-made versions, like the brisket tots at The Gander in Manhattan. Chef Jesse Schenker starts with brisket, adds herbs, caramelized onions, apples and mozzarella, cuts the mixture into circles and rolls them in potato flakes. The finished tots are served with an aerated mustard sauce made of creme fraiche and Dijon alongside cylinders of pickled apple.

“I wanted to come up with a snack that everyone would just love,” says Schenker.

He understands the lure of the classic Ore-Ida product, too. “It’s something about the texture, the saltiness. It’s when you bite into something and there’s that crunch.”

These days Ore-Ida’s Tater Tots are made from dedicated potatoes — not slivers from french fry cutting — but not much has changed about the process except for some technology upgrades, says Fed Arreola, vice president of marketing for Ore-Ida. The company sells about 86 million pounds of Tater Tots each year and officials are, naturally, happy to see Tots popping up on menus and Pinterest pages.

“It’s very exciting,” says Arreola. “They’ve been in the market for 60 years and continue to be on trend.”



U.S. dairy exports slow significantly in third quarter Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:32:49 -0500 Sean Ellis BOISE — Increased global milk production caused U.S. dairy exports to slow significantly during the third quarter of the year and they are expected to slow even more during the fourth quarter.

However, cheese exports remain a bright spot for the U.S. industry and global dairy demand continues to grow.

U.S. dairy exports soared past record levels during the first half of the year but they hit a speed bump in the third quarter as global milk production continued to ramp up.

According to U.S. Dairy Export Council data, output from the world’s top five dairy suppliers — United States, European Union, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand — increased by 1.7 billion pounds a month during the last 14 months ending in September.

“This increased volume of milk turned out to be more than importers can consume,” USDEC Vice President of Communications Alan Levitt told the Capital Press in an email.

While world prices plunged as a result, U.S. prices remained high because of strong domestic demand and low stocks.

“Our competitors ... have more product to sell, and they are willing to sell at a lower price,” Levitt said. “It’s a buyers’ market now. Hence, we’ve lost some volume.”

During the first half of 2014, U.S. dairy exports averaged 179,712 metric tons of volume per month, 14 percent more than the prior year, according to USDEC.

The third quarter monthly average fell to 156,109 metric tons, 13 percent below the first-half average and 11 percent lower than the same period in 2013.

The value of all U.S. dairy exports averaged a record $653.6 million per month during the first half of 2014, a 26 percent increase over last year. However, that value dropped to $565 million during the third quarter, a 14 percent decline vs. the first half and 6 percent lower than last year.

While 16.4 percent of U.S. milk production was exported during the first half, 14.7 percent was exported during the third quarter.

U.S. cheese exports declined 8 percent during the third quarter compared with the first half but they were 13 percent above the 2013 third-quarter total.

“A real silver lining in our global dairy trade has been the growth in U.S. fresh cheese exports,” said dairy economist Mary Ledman, author of the Daily Dairy Report.

USDEC expects U.S. dairy exports to decline 15-20 percent by volume and 25-30 percent by value during the fourth quarter, compared with a year earlier.

World prices are not expected to rebound until the second half of 2015, Levitt said.

“However, the long-term trend of robust dairy demand growth in emerging markets remains intact,” he said. “In addition, virtually every published analysis concludes that structural issues will prevent the world from producing enough milk long-term to meet this ongoing need. That’s going to require the United States to be a player and milk prices will have to reflect our cost of production.”

“The silver lining is that there is still great growth on the global dairy market,” Ledman said.

New GMO potato avoids USDA regulation Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:11:35 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski The USDA’s deregulation of J.R. Simplot’s genetically engineered potatoes recently generated much publicity, but another biotech potato was quietly cleared for commercialization without undergoing that regulatory process.

Cellectis Plant Sciences, a subsidiary of a French pharmaceutical company, has genetically modified potatoes to experience less sugar buildup during cold storage, thereby helping to preserve their quality. The crop also contains less of a potentially cancer-causing compound.

These traits are similar to Simplot’s “Innate” potato but Cellectis’ product wasn’t subject to the same environmental assessments and public notice and comment requirements.

The difference is that Simplot used agrobacterium, a plant pest, to transfer genes from wild and cultivated potatoes, which causes the Innate variety to fall under USDA’s regulatory purview.

Under the USDA’s interpretation of federal law, which has been upheld in court, the agency’s authority over genetically engineered crops is limited to those that are potential plant pests.

In the case of Cellectis’ potato, the company did rely on a protein from a blight-causing bacteria to remove unwanted genetic material from the variety.

However, that bacterial protein wasn’t incorporated into the potato’s genes, which convinced the USDA that the variety isn’t a plant pest and doesn’t require a permit for field release or interstate movement, according to documents recently released by the agency.

“We knocked out DNA sequences that inactivated a gene,” said Dan Voytas, chief science officer for Cellectis.

Cellectis hopes the variety will gain broader market acceptance than previous genetically engineered varieties that were deregulated by USDA because the technology simply removes genetic material, rather than inserting it from other species, he said.

Roughly 10-15 percent of potatoes are lost during storage due to sugar buildup, and the company hopes to significantly cut that waste, Voytas said.

Before it can make actual claims about waste reduction, Cellectis must first conduct large-scale tests that are now possible due to USDA’s decision, he said.

The company expects it will take several years before enough of its potatoes are available for commercial production, and it still plans to clear the variety with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, he said.

Also, Cellectis will seek regulatory approval in foreign countries that import U.S. potatoes, Voytas said. “There’s still quite a bit of effort in front of us.”

The Center for Food Safety, a non-profit that’s critical of genetic engineering, is nervous about the USDA’s position on the Cellectis potatoes.

“I think it’s really jumping the gun for the USDA to be removing it from regulatory oversight,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, director of sustainable agriculture for the group. “This speaks to real irresponsibility by the agency.”

Scientists still don’t fully understand the unintended consequences of gene editing, so it’s inappropriate for regulators to give such a crop a “clean bill of health” without further study, he said.

The USDA basically washes its hands of regulating any biotech crop that’s not a plant pest, which is defined very narrowly by the agency, Gurian-Sherman said.

The agency could expand its oversight over biotech crops under its statutory power to regulate noxious weeds but it choses not to, he said. “That, to me, is shirking its responsibility to protect the public and the environment.”

Maui GMO ban supporters seek to dismiss lawsuit Tue, 25 Nov 2014 09:43:32 -0500 JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER HONOLULU (AP) — A group that includes moms and environmentalists wants to help defend a new Maui County law that bans the cultivation of genetically modified organisms.

The coalition filed a motion Friday seeking permission to intervene in a federal lawsuit filed by Monsanto Co. and a unit of Dow Chemical Co., which sued to stop the law.

Meanwhile, another group supporting the law also asked to participate in the case and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit or let a state court decide the issue.

A federal judge ruled Nov. 14 that Maui County can’t implement the law until he considers arguments in the lawsuit against it.

Maui voters created the law with a ballot initiative passed earlier this month.

“We are seeking to uphold the law, which was voted in by the people of Maui County, for the health and safety of us, all,” The Moms on a Mission Hui said in a statement.

The measure was initially set to take effect after officials certified the election results, which was expected late this month.

Documents filed by supporters of the law say a state court in Maui is in the best position to determine the validity of the ordinance. They previously filed a separate lawsuit in state court seeking to compel the county to implement the law.

Attorneys for Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety, which represent the moms and others who want to intervene, said Maui County is blocking the will of the voters by agreeing to an injunction until March.

“Maui County’s betrayal of its own people by agreeing to delay the moratorium without a whimper of resistance proves it cannot be trusted to properly defend our clients’ interests,” Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff said.

The county takes issue with that characterization but welcomes the involvement of groups like Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety, county spokesman Rod Antone said Monday.

“Our main concern at this point is assuring that the legality of the initiative approved by the voters is conclusively resolved so that any actions taken by the county in its enactment have the full sanction of the courts,” he said in a statement. “We are hopeful that any involvement by outside groups serves to further this goal and resolves questions as the county moves forward.”

New FDA rules will put calorie counts on menus Tue, 25 Nov 2014 08:50:27 -0500 MARY CLARE JALONICK WASHINGTON (AP) — Whether they want to or not, consumers will soon know how many calories they are eating when ordering off the menu at chain restaurants, picking up prepared foods at supermarkets and even eating a tub of popcorn at the movie theater.

The Food and Drug Administration is announcing long-delayed calorie labeling rules on Tuesday, requiring establishments that sell prepared foods and have 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of food “clearly and conspicuously” on their menus. Companies will have until November 2015 to comply.

The regulations will also apply to convenience stores, bakeries, coffee shops, amusement parks and vending machines.

The idea is that people may pass on that bacon double cheeseburger if they know it has hundreds of calories — and, in turn, restaurants may make their foods healthier to keep calorie counts down. Beverages are included in the rules, and alcohol will be labeled if drinks are listed on the menu.

“Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home and people today expect clear information about the products they consume,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said. The effort is just one way Americans can combat obesity, she added.

The menus and menu boards will tell diners that a 2,000-calorie diet is used as the basis for daily nutrition, noting that individual calorie needs may vary. Additional nutritional information beyond calories, including sodium, fats, sugar and other items, must be available upon request.

The rules deal a blow to the grocery and convenience store industries, which have lobbied hard to be left out since the menu labels became law in 2010 as a part of the health care overhaul. Even before the new rules were announced, some Republicans in Congress had expressed concern that they would be too burdensome for businesses.

The law came together when the restaurant industry agreed to the labeling in an effort to dodge a growing patchwork of city and state rules. But supermarkets, convenience stores and many other retailers that sell prepared food said they wanted no part of it. The restaurant industry pushed to include those outlets, as they have increasingly offered restaurant-like service.

The FDA issued proposed rules in 2011 that included supermarkets and convenience stores but excluded movie theaters. The final rules being released Tuesday include all of them.

The restaurant industry, along with nutrition and consumer advocates, has said any business that sells prepared foods should be included. If a rotisserie chicken is labeled with a calorie count at a takeout restaurant, it should be labeled at a grocery store, they argued.

Representatives for the supermarket industry have said it could cost them up to a billion dollars to put the labels in place — costs that would be passed on to consumers. They said the rules could cover thousands of items in each store, unlike restaurants, which typically have fewer items.

To assuage some of their concerns in the final rules, FDA excluded prepared foods that are typically intended for more than one person to eat and require more preparation, like deli meats, cheeses or bulk deli salads.

But a sandwich for sale at the same counter would have to have a calorie label nearby, and the majority of prepared foods in the grocery store will have to be labeled — from the salad bar to the hot food bar to cookies and birthday cakes in the bakery.

The pizza industry, led by delivery giant Domino’s, has also vigorously fought the rules, saying there are millions of ingredient combinations possible. The FDA attempted to mollify some of their concerns by allowing pizza restaurants to label pizza calories by the slice, as they had requested, but would still force the labeling on menu boards in takeout restaurants.

The delivery pizza industry had asked to post information online instead, saying only a small percentage of customers walk into their stores and about half order online.

As in the proposed rules, the final version still exempts airplanes, trains, food trucks and other food served on forms of transportation.

The idea of menu labeling is to make sure that customers process the calorie information as they are figuring out what to eat. Many restaurants currently post nutritional information in a hallway, on wrappers or on their website. The new law will make calories immediately available for most items.

New York City was the first in the country to put a calorie posting law in place, and other cities and states have followed since then. Several restaurant chains have already put calories on menus and menu boards nationwide.

Farms fight DOL bid to broaden ‘hot goods’ case Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:51:15 -0500 Mateusz Perkowski Oregon blueberry farms accused of “hot goods” labor law violations are asking a federal judge not to allow the U.S. Department of Labor to expand the charges against them.

The agency wants to revise the original complaints filed in 2012 against Pan-American Berry Growers and B&G Ditech that accused them of paying pickers less than the minimum wage.

DOL is now asking to change the complaints to include new allegations of wrongdoing in 2010 and 2011 and to add Pan-American’s CEO and three labor contractors as defendants. The agency also wants to charge them with violating the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, in addition to the previous allegations of Fair Labor Standards Act violations.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin will hold oral arguments on the DOL’s motion to amend the complaints in Eugene on Jan. 13, 2015. A previous hearing scheduled for Dec. 3 has been postponed.

The farms agreed to pay the DOL $220,000 in 2012 to settle the charges but later convinced a federal judge to overturn the deals because they had been signed under economic duress.

DOL had threatened to block shipments of their fresh blueberries as unlawfully produced “hot goods” unless they agreed to pay alleged back wages and penalties and waive their right to challenge the allegations.

With the settlements invalidated, DOL’s lawsuits against the farms have been re-opened and the agency wants to add the new allegations.

The blueberry farms say it would be unfair to include new allegations about alleged wrongdoing in 2010 and 2011 because they were not investigated by DOL in those years and thus had no reason to maintain records or preserve witness statements from that time.

The proposed new defendants would also be prejudiced by their inclusion in the lawsuit because they were never put on notice about the allegations between 2010 and 2012, even though DOL could have named them in the original complaints, the farms say in a court brief.

“It is one thing to amend a complaint to make limited changes, but another to add parties, add legal theories, and extend the reach of litigation further back in time — when a party could have done so at the inception of the case,” the brief said. “DOL offers no explanation such as recently discovered evidence which might justify the change in course.”

In a response brief, DOL discounts the fact it could have included the allegations in 2012.

Those charges weren’t included in the original complaints because they were part of a “negotiated settlement” that excluded certain allegations, the agency claims.

“For that reason the original complaint asserted only a portion of the claims for unpaid wages and violations of labor statutes that were included in the settlement,” DOL said in a court brief.

Celebrated weatherman: Dry winter, wet spring Mon, 24 Nov 2014 21:04:32 -0500 Matw Weaver Many Pacific Northwest farmers will face a dry winter, but see improved moisture in the spring, a weather expert popular with farmers in the region says.

Art Douglas, professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., is a mainstay at the Spokane Ag Expo, and a popular draw for regional farmers. He will address the expo again in February.

In February, Douglas forecast an El Niño weather pattern, calling for a wet spring, dry conditions in September and gradual moisture increases in October.

His forecast still indicates an El Niño, associated with weakening of high pressure off Chile, typically in the late spring, heating the surface water off the coast of South America.

The second phase of El Niño occurs in the fall, weakening trade winds for long enough to cause an internal ocean wave, causing water pushed into the western Pacific Ocean to move back towards the coast of South America.

Reports have indicated a weak El Niño, but Douglas said it has been relatively late in allowing the wave to come back. He suspects a moderate El Niño for the winter.

Moisture levels in the coastal areas have been 80 to 90 percent of normal, while moisture levels have been 50 to 75 percent of normal in the interior, Douglas said.

El Niños typically brings some precipitation in the PNW in late November-early December, but Douglas expects a strong dry period from December into February.

“Precipitation in that time period could remain in this 50-75 percent of normal level,” he said. “Seeing that it has already been dry, which has not been good for getting the crop up, it’s going to be a real slow course on the growth of the wheat crop in the Northwest through the winter.”

With El Niño, the severe cold weather primarily occurs in the Northwest in November and December, he said. In late December through March, the Northwest tends to be 2 to 4 degrees warmer than normal.

“The main problem is that it’s going to be too dry, but fortunately we’re not going to have any extended periods of super below-zero temperatures,” he said.

Entering the spring, the jet stream begins moving warm moisture north, approaching the Pacific Northwest. The water will be warmer for Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, Douglas said.

“I’m expecting, with a bleak winter, spring will turn around and we’ll really start seeing some moisture in the spring, which is not typical of an El Niño,” he said.

Douglas called for normal to above-normal precipitation for the spring, including in southern and central California.

The northern Sierra Nevada range will be dry in the winter, but “wetter and wetter” into the spring, Douglas said.

“This is the type of back-to-back winters with El Niño that can really help recharge dams and groundwater,” he said. “We all know California sure needs it.”

Grant helps Oregon company develop biochar product Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:00:18 -0500 Eric Mortenson A biochar product applied to fields increased red winter wheat yields 26 to 34 percent in preliminary trials and earned a Portland-area company a grant to pursue commercial production.

Walking Point Farms, a veteran-owned agri-tech business based in Tigard, Ore., received $91,000 from Oregon BEST, a non-profit that coordinates funding, research and development of clean-tech enterprises. Walking Point is working with Marion Ag Services of Salem to produce Pro-Pell-It, lime pellets coated with biochar, the charcoal-like substance produced by heating woody biomass such as logging slash.

Biochar is considered a quick fix for depleted soils and up to now has been favored by small, organic operations or home gardeners. It replenishes carbon in the soil, retains water and nutrients, makes soils less acidic and reduces erosion and leaching, Biochar essentially mimics organic matter that fallow wheat fields in Eastern Oregon and Washington lack, said Stephen Machado, a dryland cropping agronomist at Oregon State University’s Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center in Pendleton. He conducted the preliminary yield research.

“Biochar brings all that back,” Machado said. As an added benefit, “Once you apply it, that’s it,” he said, adding that repeated applications don’t appear to be necessary.

Backers also say biochar application also is a way to sequester carbon that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere.

Walking Point Farms and Marion Ag plan to release the product next spring. It will be the first large-scale commercial marketing of the pellets. Summit Seed Coatings, of Caldwell, Idaho, verified that biochar coating could be done at commercial levels.

Walking Point was founded by Howard Boyte, a Vietnam War Marine veteran who is retired from the Portland Fire Bureau. Chris Tenney, a Marine Corps combat veteran of the Iraq War, is vice president of business development, and William Wallace, an Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq, is chief financial officer. Boyte and Wallace were wounded in action.

Boyte has sold fertilizer in the past, capitalizing on requirements that government agencies buy a certain percentage of material from veteran-owned businesses. The biochar product, he said, has the potential to be a much bigger enterprise but will require investment partners.

“By spring planting we want to be locked, loaded and ready to go” with commercial production,” Boyte said. “Our number one biggest need is money.”

Oregon BEST, which provided the $91,000 grant, has increasingly focused on precision ag ventures, including a Wilsonville company that makes aerial drones for farm data collection. Since it was founded by the 2007 Oregon Legislature, the agency has secured more than $135 million for clean technology research from federal, foundation, and industry investors.


Walking Point Farms

Opinions differ on impacts of sage grouse deals Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:56:18 -0500 Eric Mortenson With a decision due next year on whether to add greater sage grouse to the endangered species list, rural landowners are rushing to sign conservation agreements they believe will shield them from regulations and restrictions.

Whether such agreements will help sage grouse recover, or keep the birds off the Endangered Species List, are open questions.

Portland attorney Kate Moore, with the natural resources practice group at Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue LLP, said the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s recent action on Gunnison sage grouse, a related species, may be a preview.

On Nov. 12, USFWS listed Gunnison sage grouse as “threatened” rather than the more restrictive “endangered.” An estimated 5,000 Gunnison sage grouse exist only in Southwestern Colorado and Southeastern Utah. Greater sage grouse, considered a “candidate” species for listing, inhabit 11 Western states and a listing could potentially restrict grazing, farming, mining and energy development on millions of acres. The wildlife service has until September 2015 to decide whether to list the bird.

In the meantime, dozens of ranchers, particularly in Eastern Oregon, are signing Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances, or CCAAs. In return for making rangeland management changes that will benefit Greater sage-grouse, landowners receive 30 years protection from additional restrictions and regulations.

Similar agreements were done involving Gunnison sage-grouse.

“There were suggestions it was listed as threatened rather than endangered because of the (CCAA) agreements in place,” said Moore, of Dunn Carney.

There isn’t enough time before the September 2015 greater sage grouse decision for such agreements to prevent a listing altogether, but landowners who enter into CCAAs most likely will be protected from the regulatory impact, Moore said.

For its part, the federal wildlife service said in a news release that its decision on Gunnison sage-grouse “in no way predetermines a decision on the Greater sage-grouse, which the Service is independently evaluating.”

Meanwhile, conservation groups have already expressed their displeasure. The Portland-based Center for Biological Diversity last week announced it will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for listing the Gunnison sage grouse as threatened rather than endangered. The group said USFWS improperly based its decision on the potential benefit of “minimal” voluntary conservation measures.

That’s sobering news for cattle ranchers and others.

In signing CCAAs, landowners have voluntarily agreed to improve conditions for sage grouse by marking fences, putting escape ramps in water troughs and keeping livestock out of breeding areas, called leks. Many ranchers and government agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management are hastily cutting western juniper trees, which provide perches for grouse predators and crowd out sage and native grasses.

Ranchers have said the requirements are not onerous, and improve grazing for livestock as well. One Oregon rancher, Tom Sharp, described it as “What’s good for the bird is good for the herd.”

The work is most notable in Oregon’s southeast corner. In Harney County, the Soil and Water Conservation District led a three-year effort to hammer out a CCAA with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Nearly 40 ranchers, representing 250,000 acres of private rangeland, have indicated they want to take part.

A half dozen other Oregon counties are following suit, and a Baker County cattle rancher, Bill Moore, signed an individual CCAA with the wildlife service covering nearly 7,300 acres of his grazing land in Baker and Malheur counties.

Moore said he was motivated by the prospect of being left alone for 30 years, the length of the CCAA. After 30 years, he said, sage grouse will either be “recovered or gone.”

Western hay market report Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:32:07 -0500 Hay prices are dollars per ton or dollars per bale when sold to retail outlets. Basis is current delivery FOB barn or stack, or delivered customer as indicated.

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


Supreme 185+ <27 55.9+ 22+

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

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

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

Utility <130 36+ <50.5 <16


(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 21

This week FOB Last week Last year

3,080 1,560 2,630

Compared to Nov. 14: Alfalfa for domestic use steady in a light test, as dairies use other feed stuffs for rations. Export hay not tested this week as exporters face a continued work slowdown at the ports. Also some exporters turning back Alfalfa that has tested positive for GMOs. Trade slow this week with light demand for export and dairy hay. Export Timothy not tested this week. Retail/Feedstore hay steady.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 125 $250

300 $230

Fair/Good 200 $175-190

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 160 $260-270

Good/Prem. 130 $230-260

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 115 $250-275

Timothy Grass Large Square Utility/Fair 1250 $100

Timothy Grass Small Square Premium 75 $235

Wheat Straw Large Square Fair/Good 725 $60-70


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

Nov. 21

This week FOB Last week Last year

6,137 1,314 2,563

Compared to Nov. 14: Prices trended generally steady compared with the previous week’s offerings for the same quality. Many producers have sold all that they plan to sell for this season. Some producers are having difficulty finding overseas buyers due to China refusing all hay that tests positive to GMOs. Many producers had no sales this week due to the recent snow here in Oregon. Some areas had a few feet of snow, making moving hay very difficult.

Tons Price


Alfalfa Large Square Good/Prem. 150 $240

Mid Square Good 700 $210

Small Square Premium 14 $260

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square Premium 17 $270

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 32 $260-270

Good/Prem. 53 $250


Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square Good/Prem. 10 $190

Orchard Grass Small Square Good/Prem. 10 $190


Alfalfa Large Square Prem./Sup. 200 $225


Meadow Grass Small Square Premium 200 $280


Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 2554 $250-260

Premium 897 $200-225

Good 12 $185

Small Square Premium 28 $250 Organic

Oat Large Square Good/Prem. 200 $150

Triticale Large Square Premium 1000 $170

Oat Straw Large Square Utility 60 $47


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 21

This week FOB Last week Last year

8,200 9,000 3,925

Compared to Nov. 14: Premium and Supreme testing Alfalfa steady. Trade moderate this week as more Organic hay was reported with good demand for non-rained on high testing supplies. Demand light for heavy rained on supplies. Retail/feed store/horse not tested this week.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 1000 $240

6000 $280

Prem./Sup. 500 $200

Good 400 $215

Utility 300 $120


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 21

This week FOB Last week Last year

8,565 4,050 11,274

Compared to Nov. 14: All classes traded steady on light demand. Trade was moderate to inactive in Region 6, as the majority of the producers are wrapping up one of their final cuttings for the season.

REGION 1: North Inter-Mountain

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 125 $310

Prem./Sup. 100 $320

125 $330

Good 150 $215

100 $230

Alfalfa/Grass Mix Good 100 $170-180

Orchard Grass Supreme 175 $330

REGION 2: Sacramento Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Premium 50 $300

Orchard Grass Premium 25 $320

Rice Straw Good 125 $40

REGION 3: Northern San Joaquin Valley

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Prem./Sup. 150 $350

Premium 630 $270-280

Good/Prem. 75 $260

Good 110 $233

25 $200

Fair/Good 400 $190-200

Fair 400 $170-180

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 25 $180

500 $230

REGION 4: Central San Joaquin Valley

Tons Price

Alfalfa Fair 200 $140

Utility 100 $150

200 $140

Utility/Fair 100 $175

REGION 5: Southern California

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Supreme 150 $303

Prem./Sup. 200 $

25 $300 Retail/Stable

Premium 100 $275

25 $285

Good 100 $250

Fair 150 $185

REGION 6: Southeast California

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

Tons Price

Alfalfa Prem./Sup. 100 $250

Good 250 $200-210

Fair/Good 400 $160-175

75 $180

Fair 2650 $135-145

350 $120

West Coast grain market report Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:24:09 -0500 Grains are stated in dollars per bushel or hundredweight (cwt.) except feed grains traded in dollars per ton. National grain report bids are for rail delivery unless truck indicated.


(USDA Market News)


Nov. 21


Cash wheat bids for November delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, Nov. 20, mixed compared to the previous week’s November bids.

December wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, Nov. 20, mixed as follows compared to Nov. 13 closes: Chicago 6.50 cents lower at $5.4725, Kansas City 3 cents lower at $6.0225 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 0.25 of a cent higher at $5.8450. Chicago December corn futures trended 13 cents lower at 3.7325 while January soybean futures closed 25.50 cents lower at $10.28.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during November were 3 to 26.50 cents per bushel lower, from $6.75-7.2725, mostly $6.9925. Bids for Nov. 13 for November delivery were $6.78-7.5375, mostly $7.11. White club wheat premiums for this week were $2 to $2.75, mostly $2.46 while last week’s premiums were also $2 to $2.75, mostly $2.46 over soft white wheat bids.

One year ago bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat for October delivered by unit trains and barges to Portland were $7.0525-7.0725, mostly $7.0625 and bids for White Club Wheat were $7.0525-7.5725, mostly $7.3125. Nearby bids for US 1 Soft White wheat began the reporting week on Nov. 14 at mostly $7.0975 then fell each day to mostly $7.0475 on Nov. 17, mostly $7.0150 on Nov. 18 and mostly $6.9250 on Nov. 19. Nov. 20, the bids moved slightly higher to mostly $6.9925. Forward month bids for soft white wheat were as follows: December $6.75-7.3725, January $6.80-7.4750, February and March were $6.80-7.5250. One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat were December $7.0525-7.1725, January $7.1550-7.2550, February $7.2050-7.32 and March $7.24-7.32.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for November delivery trended 3 to 8 cents per bushel lower compared to last week’s bids for November delivery. Lower Kansas City December wheat futures pressured cash bids during the week. On Thursday, bids were as follows: November $7.3725-7.5725, mostly $7.4525; December $7.3725-7.5725; January $7.3625-7.6125, February and March $7.4125-7.6125.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery for November delivery trended 0.25 of a cent to 20.25 cents per bushel higher compared to last week’s bids for the same time period. Bids were supported by the fractionally higher Minneapolis December wheat futures and a higher basis bid by some exporters during the week. On Thursday, bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: November $9.2450-9.6450, mostly $9.4850; December $9.2450-9.6450; January, February and March $9.2150-9.6650.


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


There were 14 grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, Nov. 20, with six docked compared to 18 Nov. 13 with six docked. There were no new confirmed export sales from the Commodity Credit Corporation this week.


(USDA Market News)


Nov. 20

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


Mode Destination Price per cwt.

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

Rail Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Tulare County NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa $11.65

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $11.75

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Kern County NA

Glenn County NA

Colusa County $11

CORN - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

FOB Turlock $9.08

Rail Single Car Units via BNSF

Chino Valley-Los Angeles $9.92-9.97

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $9.38

Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

SORGHUM - U.S. No. 2 Yellow

Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley

via BNSF Single $10.45

Truck Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

OATS - U.S. No. 1 White

Truck Los Angeles-Chino Valley $15.75

OATS - U.S. No. 2 White

Truck Petaluma NA

Rail Petaluma NA

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

(Domestic Values for Flour Milling)

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein $14.20

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein $15.70

Truck/Rail Los Angeles 11-12 percent Protein

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein $13.70

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

WHEAT - U.S. Durum Wheat

Truck Imperial County NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

WHEAT - Any Class for Feed

FOB Tulare NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley $12.90-14.10

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

King-Tulare-Fresno Counties $11.50

Merced County NA

Colusa County NA

Kern County NA

Prices paid to California farmers, seven-day reporting period ending Nov. 20:

No confirmed sales.

California shell egg market Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:15:28 -0500 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

Nov. 21

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are 41 cents higher for Jumbo, 53 cents higher for Extra Large, 55 cents higher for Large and 33 cents higher for Medium and Small. Trade sentiment is steady to higher. Retail demand is good to very good with warehouse buying interest reported as very good. Offerings are very light to occasionally moderate. Supplies are light to moderate. Market activity is moderate to active. Small benchmark price $1.27.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 200 Extra large 203

Large 196 Medium 147


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 192-204 Extra large 184-196

Large 181-192 Medium 127-136

National slaughter, stocker and feeder cattle report Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:12:10 -0500 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

Oklahoma City-Des Moines

Nov. 21

Compared to last week: No slaughter cattle sales reported at time of report. Boxed beef prices early Nov. 21 averaged $249.49, which is $4.26 higher than Nov. 14. The Choice/Select spread is $12.32. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Nov. 21 totaled about 7,000 head. The previous week’s total head count was 91,349 head.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows 1-3 higher. Slaughter bulls steady to firm.

USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Nov. 21 was $233.75 down $.18 from Nov. 14.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Nov. 21

This week Last week Last year

310,500 320,700 339,100

Compared to Nov.14: Steer and heifer calves sold steady to $5 higher with instances $8-10 higher on calves throughout the Southern Plains and Northern Plains. A light test of yearling feeder cattle continued to sell fully steady to $3 higher. Demand remains very good on all weights of calves and true yearlings.

Harvest is winding down across the Corn Belt and the cheapest corn prices in four years is causing many Midwestern and Northern Plains farmer feeders to consider “walking off” a portion of their crop to town. This has farmer feeders anxious to get their cattle bought and placed in their yards with the record corn crop near harvested. The previous week’s cold front also boosted calf interest with widespread hard-freezes which will eliminate many airborne viruses plaguing new calf purchases this fall.

Optimism remains high at this time as buyers continue to be eager bidders to replace the fed cattle they have sold at historically high prices. The calf market has come through the heavy auction offerings and the deliveries in October and November of prior video and direct sales relatively unscathed as country deliveries are mostly complete. Lighter auction runs are upon the market with the onset of holiday schedules and there seems to be plenty of demand to push feeder and stocker cattle prices even higher.

At the St. Joseph, Mo., Stockyards Nov. 19 a part load of fancy yearling steers weighing 715 lbs. sold at $267. Also on Nov. 19 in Torrington, Wyo., 105 head of fancy steer calves averaging 503 lbs. sold with a average price of $322.54. Very high feeder cattle prices have left producers questioning the high risk that is being encountered, however the high fed cattle market has followed suit.

The impressive gains in the fed cattle market Nov. 14 by short bought packers reinforced bullish psychology as the market carved out territory north of $170 at $172. Historically small fed cattle numbers will remain quite bullish with strong support hopefully sparking additional follow through buying.

Last week packers were not allowed to set one week out and had to procure inventory to do business and it appeared to be a chase between packers to fill their needs.

Boxed beef prices have found some support, posting gains as business has seemed to pick up looking past Thanksgiving, and right after, Christmas is just around the corner with ham as its main entree. The beef market will have to battle these two holidays, as beef is still the preferred meat and also at its highest price level ever. The Cattle on Feed Report was mostly neutral as Nov. 1 inventory was at 100 percent of a year ago; placements at 99 percent of a year ago; marketings at 92 percent of a year ago.

October marketings are lowest since series began in 1996. This week’s auction volume included 44 percent over 600 lbs. and 39 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

264,600 266,300 298,100

WASHINGTON 5,000. 35 pct over 600 lbs. 41 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 350-400 lbs. $308.21; 400-450 lbs. $295; 450-500 lbs. $286.83; 500-550 lbs. $256.72; 550-600 lbs. $251.64; 600-650 lbs. $241.18; 650-700 lbs. $235.86; 700-750 lbs. $226.39; 750-800 lbs. $226.81. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 350-400 lbs. $272.31; 450-500 lbs. $257.92; 500-550 lbs. $240.36; 550-600 lbs. $233.68; 600-650 lbs. $231.63; 650-700 lbs. $225.81; 700-750 lbs. $218.43.


This week Last week Last year

45,300 26,900 35,000

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 6,900. 2 pct over 600 lbs. 2 pct heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 275 lbs. $361 April Del; 300 lbs. $335 April Del; 325 lbs. $310-329.50 April Del. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 725 lbs. $231.50 Current Del.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 3600. 89 pct over 600 lbs. 34 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current FOB Delivery 450 lbs. $288 Idaho; 650-700 lbs. $250 calves Idaho; 850 lbs. $221-221.50 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price 700 lbs. $231-251.50 calves for December-January Washington-Idaho; 850-900 lbs. $231 for February-March Washington. Future Delivery Delivered Price 800-900 lbs. $224.50-226 for January-April Idaho. Holsteins: Large 2-3 Current FOB Delivery 350 lbs. $265 Washington. Heifers: Large 1-2 Current FOB Delivery 850 lbs. $213.50-214 Idaho. Future FOB Delivery 700-750 lbs. $222 for January Washington Delivery Delivered Price: 800 lbs. $221.50-222 for January-March Idaho.


(USDA Marchket News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 21

This week Last week Last year

3,600 1,600 700

Compared to Nov. 14: Feeder cattle firm in a light test as slaughter cattle again hit all-time highs at the end of last week selling 172 cwt. Trade slow as feedlots continue to focus on local sale barns for their needs. Demand remains good. The feeder supply included 66 percent steers and 34 percent heifers. Near 89 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs. Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 3-7 cent slide on yearlings. Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses.

Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Delivery: 450 lbs. $288 Idaho; 650-700 lbs. $250 calves Idaho; 850 lbs. $221-221.50 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price: 700 lbs. $231-251.50 calves for December-January Washington-Idaho; 850-900 lbs. $231 for February-March Washington. Future Delivery Delivered Price: 800-900 lbs. $224.50-226 for January-April Idaho.

Holstein Steers: Large 2-3: Current FOB Delivery: 350 lbs. $265 Washington.

Heifers: Large 1-2: Current FOB Delivery: 850 lbs. $213.50-214 Idaho. Future FOB Delivery: 700-750 lbs. $222 for January Washington Delivery Delivered Price: 800 lbs. $221.50-222 for January-March Idaho.

Replacement Heifers (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: 700 lbs. $1600 Idaho.

National wool and sheep report Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:03:15 -0500 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

Nov. 21

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was slow this week. There were no confirmed trades. A few clean up sales are being held this month. These sales are carryover from last spring and fall shorn clips. Demand good and trade activity moderate for this time of year.

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

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

Nov. 21

Compared to last week: Slaughter lambs were mostly firm to $10 higher, instances $20 higher at New Holland, Pa. Slaughter ewes were steady to $10 higher. Feeder lambs were not well tested. At San Angelo, Texas, 3,198 head sold in a one-day sale. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading slaughter ewes were not tested; feeder lambs weak. 8,600 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were steady and 10,400 head of formula sales of carcasses under 65 lbs. were not well tested; 65-75 lbs. were $1 lower; 75-85 lbs. were $1 higher and over 85 lbs. were not well tested. 5,884 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs. and down $33.16 higher; 45-55 lbs. $8.62 higher; 55-85 lbs. $.27-1.01 higher and 85 lbs. and up $.27 lower.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 100-145 lbs. $150-172.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $232-248, few 257; 60-70 lbs. $220-232, few 240; 70-80 lbs. $204-224; 80-90 lbs. $200-210; 90-100 lbs. $182-198.

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

8,600 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 133-164 lbs. $157-175 (wtd avg $164.60).


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $70; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $76-85; Utility 1-2 (thin) $66-76; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $50-60; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $30-40.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 60-70 lbs. $212-228; 75-90 lbs. $200-210; 100 lbs. $193.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: wooled baby tooth to solid mouth 150 per head; hair ewe lambs 65-70 lbs. $232-238 cwt, 80-85 lbs. $219-228 cwt.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. down $463.96

45-55 lbs. $392.74

55-65 lbs. $353.04

65-75 lbs. $343.92

75-85 lbs. $333.38

85 lbs. and up $322.96

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 40,000 compared with 40,000 last week and 42,000 last year. Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

Nov. 21

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was slow this week. There were no confirmed trades. A few clean up sales are being held this month. These sales are carryover from last spring and fall shorn clips. Demand good and trade activity moderate for this time of year.

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

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

Nov. 21

Compared to last week: Slaughter lambs were mostly firm to $10 higher, instances $20 higher at New Holland, Pa. Slaughter ewes were steady to $10 higher. Feeder lambs were not well tested. At San Angelo, Texas, 3,198 head sold in a one-day sale. No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading slaughter ewes were not tested; feeder lambs weak. 8,600 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were steady and 10,400 head of formula sales of carcasses under 65 lbs. were not well tested; 65-75 lbs. were $1 lower; 75-85 lbs. were $1 higher and over 85 lbs. were not well tested. 5,884 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs. and down $33.16 higher; 45-55 lbs. $8.62 higher; 55-85 lbs. $.27-1.01 higher and 85 lbs. and up $.27 lower.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 100-145 lbs. $150-172.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $232-248, few 257; 60-70 lbs. $220-232, few 240; 70-80 lbs. $204-224; 80-90 lbs. $200-210; 90-100 lbs. $182-198.

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

8,600 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 133-164 lbs. $157-175 (wtd avg $164.60).


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $70; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $76-85; Utility 1-2 (thin) $66-76; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $50-60; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $30-40.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 60-70 lbs. $212-228; 75-90 lbs. $200-210; 100 lbs. $193.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: wooled baby tooth to solid mouth 150 per head; hair ewe lambs 65-70 lbs. $232-238 cwt, 80-85 lbs. $219-228 cwt.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. down $463.96

45-55 lbs. $392.74

55-65 lbs. $353.04

65-75 lbs. $343.92

75-85 lbs. $333.38

85 lbs. and up $322.96

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

Selected Western livestock auctions Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:54:46 -0500 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.



(Shasta Livestock Auction)

Cottonwood, Calif.

Nov. 14

Current week Last week

2,425 1,470

Compared to Nov. 7: Slaughter cows and bulls $3-5 higher with no sale next week. Cattle under 450 lbs., $20-50 lower than last weeks incredible market. Balance of weight classes steady to $10 higher, esp. steers. Off lots and singles $30-50 lower than top offerings.

Slaughter cows: Breakers $104-114, $115-129 high dress; Boning $95-103; Cutters $82-94.

Bulls 1 and 2: $105-122; $123-139 high dress.

Feeder steers: 300-400 lbs. $300-355; 400-450 lbs. $300-353; 450-500 lbs. $275-311; 500-550 lbs. $250-288; 550-600 lbs. $240-279; 600-650 lbs. $230-263; 650-700 lbs. $225-251; 700-750 lbs. $223-242; 750-800 lbs. $218-242; 800-900 lbs. $214-227.

Feeder heifers: 300-400 lbs. $270-315; 400-450 lbs. $270-300; 450-500 lbs. $255-286; 500-550 lbs. $235-270; 550-600 lbs. $220-250; 600-650 lbs. $210-232; 650-700 lbs. $210-231; 700-750 lbs. $210-231; 750-800 lbs. $224.

Calvy cows: Few full mouth $2100-2975; Broken mouth $1500-1850.

Pairs: Full mouth running age $2550-2900; Broken Mouth $1800-2150.



(Treasure Valley Livestock)

Nov. 21

Steers: 200-300 lbs. $234.25; 300-400 lbs. $215.25; 400-500 lbs. $227.50; 500-600 lbs. $207.50; 600-700 lbs. $205.25; 700-800 lbs. $184.25; 800-900 lbs. $179.50; 900-1000 lbs. $167.75; 1000 lbs. and up $110.50.

Heifers: 200-300 lbs. $225.75; 300-400 lbs. $215.50; 400-500 lbs. $216; 500-600 lbs. $204.25; 600-700 lbs. $175.25; 700-800 lbs. $165.75; 800-900 lbs. $172; 900-1000 lbs. $158.25; 1000 lbs. and up $104.25.

Cows (wt.): 700-800 lbs. $92.50; 800-900 lbs. $54.25; 900-1000 lbs. $95.25; 1000-1100 lbs. $95.50; 1100-1200 lbs. $101; 1200-1300 lbs. $95.75; 1300-1400 lbs. $98.75; 1400-1500 lbs. $91.75; 1500-1600 lbs. $88.25; 1600-1700 lbs. $98.25; 1700-1800 lbs. $92; 1800-1900 obs. $105.

Bull calves (wt.): 200-300 lbs. $172.50; 300-400 lbs. $203.25; 400-500 lbs. $181.25; 500-600 lbs. $192.50; 600-700 lbs. $173.50; 700-800 lbs. $155.75; 800-900 lbs. $149.50; 900-1000 lbs. $117; 1000-1100 lbs. $117.50; 1100-1200 lbs. $90; 1200-1300 lbs. $88; 1300-1400 lbs. $117.75; 1400-1500 lbs. $116.50.

Bulls (wt.): 1500-1600 lbs. $114; 1600-1700 lbs. $120.25; 1800-1600 lbs. $118; 1900-2000 lbs. $118; 2000-2100 lbs. $124.50; 2100-2200 lbs. $121; 2200-2400 lbs. $120.

Pairs (hd.): 1000 lbs. and up $1375.

Bred heifers (hd.): 800 lbs. and up $1700.

Stock cows (hd.): 800 lbs. and up $1075.

Bull calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $445; 200-300 lbs. $500; 300-400 lbs. $385.

Heifer calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $325; 200-300 lbs. $515 300-400 lbs. $440.

Steer calves (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $395; 200-300 lbs. $535; 300-400 lbs. $225.



(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 21

This week Last week Last year

2,150 1,800 1,990

Compared to Nov. 14 at the same sale: Stocker and feeder steers and heifers firm to $6 higher, except 550-600 lbs. heifers which were weaker. Trade active with good demand. Slaughter cows $5-6 higher, due in part to next weekís holiday shortened week. Slaughter bulls steady to weak. Trade moderate to active with good demand. Slaughter cows 37 percent, Slaughter bulls 5 percent, 30 percent replacement cows, and feeders 28 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 60 percent steers and 40 percent heifers. Near 56 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 300-400 lbs. $305; 400-500 lbs. $295-305; 500-600 lbs. $260; 600-700 lbs. $239-248, Calves; 600-700 lbs. $232, Full; 600-700 lbs. $251, Thin Fleshed; 700-800 lbs. $231; 700-800 lbs. $212.50, Full; 800-900 lbs. $229; 800-900 lbs. $197.50-218, Full. Large 2-3: 300-400 lbs. $265. Small and Medium 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $270; 600-700 lbs. $231, Full.

Feeder Holstein Steers: Large 2-3: 200-300 lbs. $245-260; 300-400 lbs. $230; 300-400 lbs. $220, Full; 700-800 lbs. $172.50-177; 700-800 lbs. $151, Full; 800-900 lbs. $174.

Feeder Bulls: Medium and Large 1-2: 900-1000 lbs. $130.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 200-300 lbs. $700, Per Head; 300-400 lbs. $270; 400-500 lbs. $250-260; 500-600 lbs. $235-244; 600-700 lbs. $229; 600-700 lbs. $220.50-230, Calves; 700-800 lbs. $215-216. Large 2-3: 300-400 lbs. $251; 400-500 lbs. $245; 800-900 lbs. $166.50-170; 1000-1100 lbs. $150; 1100-1200 lbs. $133-148.50. Small and Medium 1-2: 600-700 lbs. $205, Full.

Slaughter Cows: Boning 80-85 percent lean 1400-2000 lbs. $112-118; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1200-1700 lbs. $111-117; Lean 90 percent lean 1000-1400 lbs. $96-102; Light Lean 90 percent lean 900-1250 lbs. $76-88.

Slaughter Bulls: Yield Grade 1-2 1500-2500 lbs. $118-128.50.

Bred Heifers (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: Few 950-1000 lbs. $1900 1-3 mos. bred.

Bred Cows (Per Head): Small and Medium 2-3: Mid-Aged to Aged (5-8 yrs. old) 1350-1450 lbs. $1700-1850 3-6 mos. Bred; Broken Mouth 1100-1300 lbs. 3-6 mos. bred $1200-1550 3-6 mos. bred.

Cow/Calf Pairs (Per Pair): Medium and Large 1-2: Young (3-4 yrs. old) 1100-1150 lbs. $2300-2400 with 150-250 lbs. calves; Mid-Aged to Aged (5-8 yrs. old) 1100-1200 lbs. $2350-2450 with 150-250 lbs. calves, few 1000 lbs. $1750; Aged (9-11 yrs. old) 1150-1250 lbs. $1725-1925 with 150-250 lbs. calves; Broken Mouth 1150 lbs. $1650 with 150-300 lbs. calves.



(Producers Livestock Market)

Nov. 19

Total receipts: 2,638 head.

Market comment: Good demand for the lighter weaned grass calves under 575 lbs. Good demand still this week with good buyer participation. Heavier 600-800 weight calves under small amount of pressure. Nice quality offered today.

Steer calves: 300-400 lbs. $338-378; 400-500 lbs. $289-337; 500-600 lbs. $267-293.

Heifer calves: 300-400 lbs. $294-331; 400-500 lbs. $264-293; 500-600 lbs. $228-261.

Yearling steers : 600-700 lbs. $228-250; 700-800 lbs. $208-227; 800-900 lbs. $196-213.

Yearling heifers: 600-700 lbs. $113-224; 700-800 lbs. $196-221; 800-900 lbs. $170-187.

Stock cows (young): NA; Stock cows (B.M.): $1900-2300.

Butcher cows: $93-109.

Thin shelly cows: $81-92.

Younger heiferettes: $117-151.

Butcher bulls: $102-119.



(Central Oregon Livestock Auction)

Nov. 17

Total head: 801.


300-400 lbs. $285-320; 400-500 lbs. $285-320; 500-600 lbs. $260-285; 600-700 lbs. $238-246; 700-800 lbs. $220-237; 800-900 lbs. $190-220.

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

Heifers: 300-400 lbs. $270-290; 400-500 lbs. $270-285; 500-600 lbs. $255-270; 600-700 lbs. $225-254; 700-800 lbs. $205-220.

Heiferettes: 850-1000 lbs. $185-205.

Cows: Heiferettes $165; Feeder cows $112; high-yield $112; medium-yield $105; low yield $95.

Obama immigration plan good, not great for economy Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:30:39 -0500 JOSH BOAKAP Economics Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s expansive executive action on immigration is good for the U.S. economy — just not as good as partnering with Congress on broader reforms.

The executive order signed Friday would prevent the deportation of about 4 million parents and guardians who lack the same legal status as their children. By gaining work permits, they will likely command higher wages, move more easily between jobs and boost government tax revenues, according to multiple economic analyses.

“This is focused on people who are already in the economy today, who are contributing mightily but are basically operating in the shadows,” said Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles. “Their economic potential is being held back.”

The new order could boost labor income by $6.8 billion, helping to generate 160,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion in additional tax revenues, according to estimates by Hinojosa-Ojeda. The findings dovetail with separate research showing that a 1986 amnesty measure raised incomes for illegal workers in the years that followed.

Still, any gains from the executive action would be modest in the $17 trillion U.S. economy.

White House officials estimate that the executive order would expand gross domestic product less than 0.1 percent a year over the next decades.

Along with the Congressional Budget Office, independent economists say growth would be much stronger with a broader overhaul that would more than double the number of illegal workers eligible for legalized status, in addition to reforms that would attract high-skilled immigrant workers who are more likely to lead and found new companies.

The Senate passed a measure last year to fix the immigration system, but it stalled in the Republican-majority House that favored a step-by-step approach. The CBO estimated the Senate-backed reform would have added another 0.33 percent annually to GDP growth.

The president’s order “falls short of a comprehensive reform that would have a more sweeping effect on the economic landscape,” said Joel Prakken of the forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers.

More substantial reforms could lift economic growth by an additional 0.24 percent a year — or about $41 billion — for the next two decades, according to an analysis that Prakken contributed to last year for the Bipartisan Policy Center. The reforms could also cut the federal debt by $1.2 trillion over the same period, increase home construction, lift wages and add 8.3 million workers to the economy.

A broader overhaul would also create a framework for attracting more immigrants, which would mute the negative economic impacts of an aging population. As more Americans retire, the percentage of the population with jobs has slipped, limiting the ability of the economy to expand.

But the executive order would do little to promote additional immigration, nor would it fully address the concerns of technology companies looking for high-skilled foreigners.

Obama’s plan does not raise the current annual limit of 65,000 so-called “H-1B” visas for skilled workers, although he promised to streamline some of the rules governing them. Scientists, engineers and computer programmers all earn higher wages than the comparatively low-paid workers who would be helped by Obama.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Mike Galarza knows the issue first hand. A native of Mexico, he described a daunting bureaucratic obstacle course to obtain a visa that allowed him to launch Entryless, an online business accounting startup, last year in Menlo Park, California. Now he’s struggling to find talent. Galarza said he recently lost a job candidate with a Ph.D. in computer science because there were no more H-1B visas available.

“The U.S. is not welcoming enough to entrepreneurs who want to create value for the American economy,” Galarza said. “I’m glad if (Obama) is able to help those 5 million people, but he needs to focus on the issue of tech workers and foreign entrepreneurs as well.”

Groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies have critiqued the benefits of adding immigrants, noting that many U.S. citizens are still searching for work more than five years after the Great Recession ended. By giving these workers legal status, it will inevitably help their earnings prospects but do little for the rest of the economy, said Steven Camarota, the organization’s research director.

But the business community disagrees, saying they need immigrants in order to expand their operations.

In response to Obama’s executive action, Buffalo Wings & Rings estimates it would be able to add five restaurants to its more than 45 franchised outlets.

“For us, it’s an opportunity,” said Philip Schram, executive vice president of development at the Cincinnati-based chain.

A 2013 survey by the advocacy group Small Business Majority showed 84 percent of small business owners are in favor of immigration reform. Owners believe it will help them have a more stable workforce, especially in industries like agriculture, hotels and restaurants, said the group’s CEO, John Arensmeyer.

The obstacle has been that jobs in agriculture don’t appeal to people born in the United States, so Jim Gilbert, owner of Northwoods Nursery in Molalla, Oregon, hires immigrants to tend to the plants he grows and sells.

“There are not enough people to do the jobs we need to do,” Gilbert said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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