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agriculture

Washington state agriculture officials are preparing for the scenario that highly-contagious bird flu will be in the Northwest -- maybe for years.

The Washington state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to make hemp farming legal. The measure now goes to the state House for further consideration.

Low Fuel Prices Benefit Northwest Farmers

Jan 30, 2015

Oregon farmers say that low fuel prices could mean a big boost to their bottom lines -- if prices remain low until the summer.

There's not much agricultural production happening right now in the Northwest. But if fuel prices stay down in the coming months, farmers throughout the region could feel the benefits.

Many farms rely on diesel fuel to transport products and run field machinery. Petroleum products are also used to make fertilizer.

Three new hot spots of bird flu have been found in wild ducks and domestic birds in Idaho.

A judge ruled Tuesday that dairies are contaminating drinking water in Washington’s Yakima Valley.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups after an EPA study linked the dairies to high nitrate levels in residential drinking wells.

A popular gift now for Chinese New Year is a box of red apples from Washington. But Northwest shippers say a labor dispute at West Coast ports is jeopardizing that lucrative overseas market.

Advanced Aviation Solutions , an Idaho-based startup, has become the first company to win federal approval to use drones in farm settings.

Costco
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Erik Nicholson, vice president of the United Farm Workers Union, about the Equitable Food Initiative, a new labeling system to ensure food safety and create better working conditions for farmer workers.

Farmers in Idaho say hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beef, potatoes, apples, cheese and other products are languishing in storage because of problems at West Coast ports.

Northwest farmers and orchardists are among the potential beneficiaries if the U.S. and Cuba normalize their relationship and the trade embargo ends.

A slowdown at Western ports is now aggravating farmers across the Northwest.

"Product of Mexico" — it's a label you see on fruit and vegetable stickers in supermarkets across the U.S.

It's also the name of an investigative series appearing this week in the Los Angeles Times.

These Dairy Robots Let Cows Choose When They’re Milked

Nov 26, 2014
Sarah Eden Wallace

If anyone should be a traditional farmer, it would be Alan Mesman. His family has been farming for six generations near La Conner, Washington. But last year, Mesman became the second of six farmers in the state who are trying a new tool that’s helped them cut labor costs and reduce the workload.

Robots.

Northwest cranberry farmers are struggling from a North American oversupply of the fruit.

A slowdown in operations at ports up and down the West Coast is choking off the flow of apples, Christmas trees, potatoes and other Northwest products to foreign markets.

An arctic air mass has swept into the Northwest. Cold air and snow are expected from central Washington through central Oregon and even into Idaho’s central Panhandle.

The Chinese government approved market access to Northwest apples Wednesday after a two-year market closure.

It's The Great Pumpkin Showdown, Seattle

Oct 10, 2014
Flickr Photo/pquan (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with giant pumpkin grower Joel Holland, of Sumner, about the nearly 1,600 lb pumpkin he'll be entering in the Pacific Northwest Giant Pumpkin Growers' 13th annual weigh-off at Central Market Shoreline this Saturday.

Genetically modified wheat has been found at a university research center in Montana. That news Friday came as a federal investigation into a similar case in Oregon concludes with few answers.

Flickr Photo/Cheryl Hammond (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Val Dumond, author of "Doin' the Puyallup," about how the Washington State Fair has changed in the last 114 years.

For years there's been a battle raging between Idaho ranchers and the federal government over whether ranchers should be able to fight wildfires.

KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

People usually go to Skagit Valley for tulips and berries. But here’s a little known fact: The region also grows grains. Grains used to be grown mainly as cover crop and often shipped out of state. These days Skagit Valley is seeing a grain revival, thanks to a local researcher.

If your experience with whole grain bread takes you back to the hard brick loaves of the '70s, Stephen Jones at the Bread Lab wants to change that.

Too Many Apples, Too Few Hands In Washington

Aug 12, 2014
Flickr Photo/Andrea Parrish-Geyer (CC-BY-NC-ND)

 

Ross Reynolds talks with Karen Lewis, who is trying to come up with a better way to harvest apples when there's not enough people to pick them. Lewis is a tree fruit specialist at the Washington State University.

Northwest cattle ranchers are struggling to get their herds out of the way of raging wildfires. Some herds have been lost, others badly injured.

Osprey nests are a common sight near rivers, lakes and bays in the Northwest. If you look closely with binoculars, you might notice some of these large raptors like to line their nests with discarded baling twine or fishing line. The problem is it can kill them.

As legal pot growing operations spring to life from urban King County to remote corners of Washington state, an ongoing debate has developed within this new farming community.

Why People Travel The World To Work On Farms

Aug 1, 2014
KUOW Photo/Matthew Streib

Ross Reynolds talks with Sarah Potenza, executive director of the U.S. branch of Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, about how young people are taking unpaid internships on organic farms.

This summer's hot, dry weather has been a mixed blessing for Northwest farmers.

Let me guess how you feel about your urine: Get that smelly stuff away from me as fast as possible?

A small group of environmentalists in Vermont isn't as squeamish. Instead of flushing their pee down the drain, they're collecting it with special toilets that separate No. 1 and No. 2.

Then they're pooling the urine of the 170 volunteers in the pilot project (a quart or so, per person, daily) and eventually giving it to a farmer, who's putting it on her hay fields in place of synthetic fertilizer. The goal is to collect 6,000 gallons this year.

A breakdown in a U.S. State Department computer system that processes foreign worker visas has sowed major worries at some Northwest orchards.

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