Farming

Farm life in the Northwest
7:00 am
Sun April 7, 2013

Northwest asparagus comes a tad early

Laura Middleton shows off a few freshly-cut spears of asparagus at her family’s farm near Pasco, Washington.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Northwest farmers are beginning to harvest the first asparagus of the year this week in southeast Washington. That’s a tad earlier than usual. And after last year's farm-labor shortage, growers across the region are keeping an eye on how many asparagus workers show up for the harvest.

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ranching
11:36 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Drought, wildfires force ranchers to look for efficiencies

University of Idaho Professor Rod Hill and part of the university's purebred herd. Photo by Tom Banse

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 2:33 pm

The people who raise cattle destined to become steak or hamburger on your dinner plate are feeling the pinch. Wildfires this summer have scorched more than a million acres of Northwest rangeland. In addition, the Midwest drought is driving up feed costs across the board.

Now ranches and feedlots are looking to cut their feed costs in the short term... And longer term, have an eye on making the cattle themselves more efficient.

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Around the Nation
7:33 am
Sat August 4, 2012

This Drought's No Dry Run: Lessons Of The Dust Bowl

Scorched pastures are spreading across central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest. Technology and techniques developed from previous droughts like the Dust Bowl are helping to save some of today's crops, but there's no substitute for water.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 8:43 am

This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.

"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.

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Economy
1:16 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Pray For Rain: Food Prices Heading Higher

A "historically low inventory" of cattle and hogs is driving up meat prices, a trend that's expected to continue next year, USDA economist Richard Volpe says.
Justin Lane EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 1:30 pm

A fierce drought has been scorching crops this summer, but it's still too soon to know exactly how much of a hole it will burn in your wallet.

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The Salt
1:23 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Insect experts issue 'urgent' warning on using biotech seeds

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 12:28 pm

For America's agricultural biotech companies, the corn rootworm is threatening to turn into their worst nightmare.

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Business
9:27 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Agriculture industry 'Tremendous Force' in Idaho economy

Agriculture is a tremendous force in shaping the Idaho economy, according to John Hammel, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho. Hammel told state budget writers Wednesday that the industry’s strength comes from its diversity.

“It is tremendously diverse, with over 150 commodities grown statewide, and has a growing livestock sector, which is led by dairy production. This diversity minimizes the impact to Idaho from a downturn in any particular agricultural sector,” says Hammel.

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Farming
3:04 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Fires destroy three major haystacks in Eastern Washington

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.

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9/11 Anniversary
10:22 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Anniversary stirs sadness and hope for one farm laborer

Victor Santillan, standing with his son Diego, loads alfalfa hay on large trucks near Eltopia, Wash. He says 9/11 made him appreciate the United States, but those events and the changes that came after made life harder for many Hispanics here.
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.

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9/11 Anniversary
10:14 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Anniversary brings out gratitude for troops in one farmer

Collette McEntire, of Eltopia, Wash. says she has a greater appreciation of the United State's armed forces since 9/11.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Reflections of an eastern Washington farmer harvesting alfalfa with a massive tractor:

"This is about the only piece of farm equipment that has air conditioning. (Laughs) My name is Collette McEntire and I am swathing third cutting export alfalfa hay.

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Farmworkers
5:37 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Housing study finds cramped quarters in Walla Walla County

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new study says increasing numbers of families in Walla Walla County are living in overcrowded conditions.

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Business
11:55 am
Fri August 26, 2011

Washington wheat crops way above average

Wheat on the Palouse.
Nikky Stephen Flickr

Cooler temperatures this year have given Washington’s wheat famers a boost. The cool wet spring combined with good ripening conditions in July and August have increased yields here. At the same time, severe drought has diminished the harvest in the nation’s Plain states. 

As a result, Washington is expected to surpass Texas and Oklahoma in winter-wheat production this year, making it second only to Kansas.   

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Business
8:44 am
Fri July 8, 2011

Northwest farmers hope to regain Mexican market

U.S. produce is about to get cheaper in Mexico. That includes apples, pears and potatoes from the Northwest.

Mexico has agreed to lift a tariff it added three years ago in retaliation over a dispute with the U.S. Northwest farmers are now working to win back their customers south of the border.

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Environment
3:39 pm
Tue March 29, 2011

Organic farming down in Washington despite growing demand for organic foods

Picking organic Gala apples near Royal City.
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. 

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Agriculture
7:58 am
Fri February 25, 2011

Middle East among factors causing wheat price volatility for Washington farmers

The Middle East is one of the largest wheat-importing regions in the world but the tumultuous political climate in the Middle East is creating volatility in the price of wheat.
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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Northwest Entrepreneurs
9:12 am
Wed December 15, 2010

Slow Money: Pairing investors with food businesses

Liquid investment dividends? Investors are making connections that benefit local farmers.
Tom Banse N3

Forget Wall Street. One way some well-off Northwesterners avoided steep losses in the stock market in recent years was by making unusual alternative investments: in small farms and food businesses. These “angel investors” are organizing loose networks to match their money with cash-hungry local producers. Think of it as slow-food meets slow money.

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