Farming http://kplu.org en Northwest asparagus comes a tad early http://kplu.org/post/northwest-asparagus-comes-tad-early <p></p><p><span style="font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.5;">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.</span></p><p> Sun, 07 Apr 2013 14:00:00 +0000 Anna King 8322 at http://kplu.org Northwest asparagus comes a tad early Drought, wildfires force ranchers to look for efficiencies http://kplu.org/post/drought-wildfires-force-ranchers-look-efficiencies 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.<p>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.<p>The cost of feed is by far the biggest expense on the ledgers of most Western beef farmers. Mon, 01 Oct 2012 06:36:00 +0000 6542 at http://kplu.org Drought, wildfires force ranchers to look for efficiencies This Drought's No Dry Run: Lessons Of The Dust Bowl http://kplu.org/post/droughts-no-dry-run-lessons-dust-bowl 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.<p>"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.<p>Walking deeper into the 7-foot-high corn stalks, the temperature — already in the 90s — becomes stifling. Here, the ears are smaller. Sat, 04 Aug 2012 14:33:12 +0000 David Schaper 5881 at http://kplu.org This Drought's No Dry Run: Lessons Of The Dust Bowl Pray For Rain: Food Prices Heading Higher http://kplu.org/post/pray-rain-food-prices-heading-higher A <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/07/18/156989764/interactive-mapping-the-u-s-drought">fierce drought</a> 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.<p>The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just released its <a href="http://ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings.aspx">latest forecast</a> for retail food prices. Wed, 25 Jul 2012 20:16:10 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 5718 at http://kplu.org Pray For Rain: Food Prices Heading Higher Insect experts issue 'urgent' warning on using biotech seeds http://kplu.org/post/insect-experts-issue-urgent-warning-using-biotech-seeds For America's agricultural biotech companies, the corn rootworm is threatening to turn into their worst nightmare.<p>Last year, we <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/12/05/143141300/insects-find-crack-in-biotech-corns-armor">reported</a> that a major insect pest, the corn rootworm, had "found a chink in the armor" of genetically engineered crops. Fri, 09 Mar 2012 21:23:39 +0000 4390 at http://kplu.org Agriculture industry 'Tremendous Force' in Idaho economy http://kplu.org/post/agriculture-industry-tremendous-force-idaho-economy <p>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&rsquo;s strength comes from its diversity.</p><p>&ldquo;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,&rdquo; says Hammel.</p> Thu, 26 Jan 2012 17:27:48 +0000 Glenn Mosley 3930 at http://kplu.org Fires destroy three major haystacks in Eastern Washington http://kplu.org/post/fires-destroy-three-major-haystacks-eastern-washington <p>Police in eastern Washington are trying to figure out who has been intentionally torching haystacks near the tiny town of Mattawa.</p><p>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.</p><p> Tue, 03 Jan 2012 23:04:18 +0000 Anna King 3584 at http://kplu.org Anniversary stirs sadness and hope for one farm laborer http://kplu.org/post/anniversary-stirs-sadness-and-hope-one-farm-laborer <p>Reflections of a farm laborer and his son near Eltopia, Wash.:</p><p>&quot;My name is Victor Santillan and I work for Agri-Pack, stacking hay in the trucks. I&#39;m from Durango, Mexico and I&#39;m proud of it too. I think people are still feeling sad about this anniversary. I feel sad for all the people that died.</p><p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 17:22:45 +0000 Anna King 2525 at http://kplu.org Anniversary stirs sadness and hope for one farm laborer Anniversary brings out gratitude for troops in one farmer http://kplu.org/post/anniversary-brings-out-gratitude-troops-one-farmer <p>Reflections of an eastern Washington farmer harvesting alfalfa with a massive tractor:</p><p>&quot;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.</p><p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 17:14:43 +0000 Anna King 2524 at http://kplu.org Anniversary brings out gratitude for troops in one farmer Housing study finds cramped quarters in Walla Walla County http://kplu.org/post/housing-study-finds-cramped-quarters-walla-walla-county <p>RICHLAND, Wash. &ndash; A new study says increasing numbers of families in Walla Walla County are living in overcrowded conditions.</p><p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 00:37:44 +0000 Anna King 2515 at http://kplu.org Washington wheat crops way above average http://kplu.org/post/washington-wheat-crops-way-above-average <p>Cooler temperatures this year have given Washington&rsquo;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&rsquo;s Plain states.&nbsp;</p><p>As a result, Washington is expected to surpass Texas and Oklahoma in winter-wheat production this year, making it second only to Kansas.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 18:55:51 +0000 Bellamy Pailthorp 2444 at http://kplu.org Washington wheat crops way above average Northwest farmers hope to regain Mexican market http://kplu.org/post/northwest-farmers-hope-regain-mexican-market <p><a href="http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kplu/local-kplu-976744.mp3">http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kplu/local-kplu-976744.mp3</a></p><p>U.S. produce is about to get cheaper in Mexico. That includes apples, pears and potatoes from the Northwest.</p><p>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.</p> Fri, 08 Jul 2011 15:44:29 +0000 Jessica Robinson 2046 at http://kplu.org Organic farming down in Washington despite growing demand for organic foods http://kplu.org/post/organic-farming-down-washington-despite-growing-demand-organic-foods <p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kplu/local-kplu-960610.mp3</p><p>As sales of organic foods continue to climb across the country, <a href="http://www.tfrec.wsu.edu/pdfs/P1768.pdf">organic farming</a><a href="http://www.tfrec.wsu.edu/pages/organic/"> </a><a href="http://www.tfrec.wsu.edu/pdfs/P1768.pdf">in Washington has decreased</a>. That surprised some researchers for a state that&#39;s one of the country&rsquo;s top producers of organic produce.</p><p>While people in the agriculture industry expect certain crops to go through challenging cycles now and then, an annual study of the state&rsquo;s organic farms shows &quot;significant&quot; declines in the past year, according to David Granatstein. He&#39;s sustainable agriculture specialist at Washington State University. &nbsp;Granatstein co-authored a new study that found decreases in the number of organic producers, acreage and farm gate sales.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 22:39:28 +0000 Charla Bear 1099 at http://kplu.org Organic farming down in Washington despite growing demand for organic foods Middle East among factors causing wheat price volatility for Washington farmers http://kplu.org/post/middle-east-among-factors-causing-wheat-price-volatility-washington-farmers <p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kplu/local-kplu-954554.mp3</p><p>The tumultuous political climate in the Middle East is creating volatility in the price of wheat.&nbsp; Northwest farmers and wheat traders are trying to hedge against the uncertainty.</p><p> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 15:58:15 +0000 Anna King & KPLU News Staff 874 at http://kplu.org Middle East among factors causing wheat price volatility for Washington farmers Slow Money: Pairing investors with food businesses http://kplu.org/post/slow-money-pairing-investors-food-businesses <p>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.</p><p> Wed, 15 Dec 2010 17:12:02 +0000 Tom Banse 370 at http://kplu.org Slow Money: Pairing investors with food businesses