agriculture

Intimidation At Work
4:12 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

Farm Worker Harassment Draws Increased Scrutiny

Farm workers picking strawberries.
Flickr Photo/Au Zut

In her green minivan, Angelica Villa navigates the farm roads north of Bellingham like a seasoned tour guide. She points out a cannery, a potato plant and miles of berry fields.  Villa previously worked at many of these places and she rattles off story after story about harassment on the job.

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Addressing Bee Die-Offs
9:44 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Washington State Pressed To Save Honey Bees By Restricting Pesticides

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:10 pm

For about seven years, many Western beekeepers have been plagued by unexplained die-offs in their hives. It happened recently to Mark Emrich.

"I was doing great until about five weeks ago," he says. "Then I came down and opened up the hives and I had five dead boxes of bees. That was a huge hit."

He lost one third of his production on his small farm near Olympia.

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Aspargus Harvest
9:30 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Northwest Asparagus Comes A Tad Early

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 4:51 pm

PASCO, Wash. – 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.

At the Middleton farm stand near Pasco, Washington asparagus – both purple and green – is selling by the pound to passersby. Bins of fresh asparagus are brought here right off the fields. Workers come and go. At the helm is Laura Middleton.

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Agriculture Workforce
9:03 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Washington Farmers Encouraged By Senate Immigration Plan

In this Oct. 21, 2011, file photo Margarito Calderon picks apples at an orchard in Tieton, Wash.
Shannon Dininny, File AP Photo

This week, something new is sprouting in the Northwest’s fields and fruit orchards: optimism about immigration reform.

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Fiscal Cliff
9:45 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Farm Bill Extension Leaves Out Many In Northwest

USDA

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 3:59 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Many Northwest growers are left out of the partial extension of the U.S. Farm Bill included in this week’s fiscal cliff legislation. The new law largely covers conventional agriculture and not the organics, specialty crops and conservation programs that our region’s farmers are known for.

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Labor Dispute
8:58 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Northwest Wheat Growers Hope For Resolution At Grain Terminals

Lester L Flickr

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 5:27 pm

Northwest wheat growers are hoping for a swift resolution to a labor dispute that could keep their grain from reaching the world market. Grain terminals remain open in Portland, Vancouver and Seattle, even though the terminals' owners have implemented a contract offer unionized longshoremen rejected.

Most of the wheat that grows on the rolling hills of eastern Washington is bound for the international market. But to get there, the wheat passes through one of a handful of grain terminals in the Northwest.

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Agriculture
10:53 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Grain Terminal Labor Dispute Could Disrupt NW Farmers

Courtesy Columbia Grain

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 7:13 pm

 


A possible strike or lock out at Northwest grain terminals would have a profound effect on U.S. wheat exports. 

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Food
9:25 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Women, Hispanic Farmers Say Discrimination Continues In Settlement

Hispanic and women farmers have been combined in the USDA's final settlement over discrimination in farm loans. Photo courtesy of HispanicFarmerJustice.com

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 10:18 am

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a long history of discriminating against farmers who are women, Hispanic, Native American and African American. Numerous lawsuits have cost the government several billion dollars. The latest legal settlement is for women and Hispanic farmers who can prove they were discriminated against in the 1980s and ‘90s. But some of these farmers say the deal to make amends for discrimination is itself discriminatory.

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Agriculture
11:08 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Labor Shortage Hits Some Apple Growers Hard

Washington apple growers have been having a hard time finding workers to pick their fruit. Photo by threefatcats via Flickr

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 3:49 pm

CHELAN, Wash. – The apple harvest season is starting to wrap up across the Northwest. Despite record yields, many farmers had trouble getting their time-sensitive crop off the trees because of a short labor supply.

Grower representatives at the meeting said their regions saw a 10 percent to 30 percent labor shortage this season. Several talked of nearly empty labor camps near Wenatchee and Chelan. One said he and two others had to pick a 40-acre orchard themselves despite offering $12 per hour.

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Agriculture
2:57 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Consumers Could See Higher Apple Prices This Year

The Northwest has seen a bumper crop in apples, but the Midwest and East’s crop got pummeled this year. Photo by Anna King

CHELAN, Wash. – Moms and dads hoping to pack an apple in their children’s lunches might have to budget a bit more this year. That’s because even though the Northwest has seen a bumper crop in apples, elsewhere there’s a shortage.

The Northwest may have had a great season, but the Midwest and East’s apple crop got pummeled this year. That means there is more demand and increased prices for our region’s fruit, both for fresh eating and for juice and sauce.

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