Agriculture

Police in eastern Washington are trying to figure out who has been intentionally torching haystacks near the tiny town of Mattawa.

Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones says in the last two weeks two fires burned three major haystacks to the ground. Jones says he doubts local kids have been setting the fires.

Andrea Parrish / Flickr

Across the Northwest, apple growers are having a hard time bringing in their harvest because of a worker shortage. The result may mean certain lower-priced varieties of apples don’t get picked at all.

Deena Prichep / Northwest News Network

PORTLAND – Starting over in a new country as a refugee can feel like landing a new planet.

It’s hard to understand daily life, much less face the challenges of finding a job. One movement in refugee resettlement pioneered in the Northwest helps people put down new roots – literally – through agriculture. But learning to be an American farmer can be a tough row to hoe.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Reflections of a farm laborer and his son near Eltopia, Wash.:

"My name is Victor Santillan and I work for Agri-Pack, stacking hay in the trucks. I'm from Durango, Mexico and I'm proud of it too. I think people are still feeling sad about this anniversary. I feel sad for all the people that died.

A new agricultural plant near Othello in Eastern Washington is breeding highly specialized corn for the huge world-wide seed company Monsanto. The laboratories and growing facilities are slated to help the company more quickly distil the genetics of corn to get top characteristics to market.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

BASIN CITY, Wash. – Peaches, nectarines and apricots are some of the iconic delights of summer. But this year, Northwest apricots are at about half the usual production according to the Washington Fruit Commission. Peaches and nectarines are down too, about 10 percent. And they're all late.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – The cherries are finally ready for harvest in the Northwestern U.S. A cold spring means that this is the latest cherry season anyone can remember. The Northwest News Network’s Anna King has this audio postcard from one of the largest fruit orchards in the world. (Watch the story inside)

David Granatstein / Washington State University

As sales of organic foods continue to climb across the country, organic farming in Washington has decreased. That surprised some researchers for a state that's one of the country’s top producers of organic produce.

While people in the agriculture industry expect certain crops to go through challenging cycles now and then, an annual study of the state’s organic farms shows "significant" declines in the past year, according to David Granatstein. He's sustainable agriculture specialist at Washington State University.  Granatstein co-authored a new study that found decreases in the number of organic producers, acreage and farm gate sales. 

Wikimedia Commons

The tumultuous political climate in the Middle East is creating volatility in the price of wheat.  Northwest farmers and wheat traders are trying to hedge against the uncertainty.

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