Anna King / Northwest News Network

In Eastern Washington, a pair of very different guys teamed up to embark on an experiment to grow Washington’s latest agricultural crop -- legal marijuana.

One of them, Alan Schreiber, is a straitlaced farmer. The other, Tom Balotte, is not a farmer. He's a video-gaming techie. He also doesn’t smoke weed.

Hot Weather A Mixed Blessing For Farmers

Jul 31, 2014
Oregon Department of Agriculture

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

Anna King / Northwest News Network

A breakdown in a government computer system that processes foreign worker visas has sowed major worries at some Northwest orchards. Those farmers are concerned about getting enough pickers for late summer and fall crops.

Sam Churchill / Flickr

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has cancelled a police escort that helped grain inspectors cross a union picket line at a terminal in Vancouver.

MTSOfan / Flickr

The federal Bureau of Land Management plans to capture and remove fewer wild horses from Western rangelands this summer. An agency statement blames budget constraints and already-full holding pens. Correspondent Tom Banse has more.

Devan Schwartz / EarthFix

Much of the West is entering a second straight summer of drought. In Southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin, ranchers are once again watching their pastureland go dry for a lack of water. That has them preparing to sell their livestock earlier – and for lower prices – than they’d like.

Northwest Wheat Harvest Could Be Down This Summer

Jun 20, 2014
jayneandd / Flickr

Northwest farmers are expected to harvest less wheat this summer. The projections indicate a down year in Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

When you think of grapes in the Northwest, wine is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But Concord juice grapes actually are Washington’s most widely planted grape. It turns out, juice grapes are more susceptible to warming weather than their wine grape cousins. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Not Much Refuge In Klamath Basin For Migratory Birds

Jun 11, 2014

A prolonged drought is putting pressure on water supplies for the Klamath Basin’s wildlife refuges.

EarthFix’s Devan Schwartz reports on how the nation’s original waterfowl refuge may be too dry this summer to provide a stopover for millions of migratory birds.

Rae Ellen Bichell / KPLU

When you think organic you probably visualize crisp, sweet-smelling veggies and fruit. But it turns out that fresh food is often grown in some pretty foul fertilizer. In fact it’s so bad it’s been known to make farmworkers gag. Now, as correspondent Anna King found out, there’s one new sweeter-smelling organic option developed right here in the Northwest.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Northwest sweet cherry growers say this season they'll likely pick their third-largest haul ever. That's 20 million boxes full. But there’s plenty that can happen to cherries even the day of harvest.

Peggy Greb / USDA

The number of farms in the Northwest is dropping. That's according to newly released federal farm data. But there's more to the story. The average size and value of Northwest farms are going up.


Northwest researchers are teaming up to stop an invasion of stink bugs moving across the region. The bugs, which can smell like dirty gym socks, ruin tree fruit and grape vines. Those crops are vital to Northwest agriculture.

Thousands of acres of high-value cherry and apple orchards behind the damaged Wanapum Dam are at serious risk.


Northwest potato growers say they've been snubbed in a federal nutrition program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Friday finalized changes to the Women, Infants and Children program, or WIC . And it will cover all fruits and veggies … all but potatoes.

Oregon farmers are hoping the state Legislature makes it worth their while to donate crops that would otherwise go to waste.

Northwest farmers call him “the weather man.” And at a farming conference in Spokane, he offered a reason for them to be optimistic about the upcoming season.

Tedder / Wikimedia Commons

A once-stalled plan to support Christmas tree growers nationwide looks to go forward as part of Congress’ new Farm Bill. This could affect many growers in Oregon, which leads the country in Christmas tree production.

The Christmas tree destined for the nation's capital is set to begin a cross-country roadtrip. But getting an 80-foot tree out of a national forest isn't quite like going to a U-cut.

A piece of the Northwest will be on display when Team USA marches in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

Washington’s agricultural crops in 2012 are up 6 percent from the year before. A recent USDA report say agricultural products reached nearly $10 billion.

Labor-Starved Pear Farmers Buckle Under Bumper Crop

Oct 7, 2013

It's always a bit sad to say goodbye to summer corn and tomatoes, and settle into fall.

There are consolations, though — like the new crop of pears. Over 80 percent of America's fresh pears are grown in the Pacific Northwest, and this year's harvest is slated to be one of the biggest on record.

But some of the fruit is rotting in the orchards because there aren't enough workers to pick them.

Washington agriculture researchers are investigating whether genetically engineered alfalfa was growing where it wasn’t supposed to in the eastern part of the state.

Water struggles in the Klamath Basin are spreading to the Trinity River. Managers at the federal Bureau of Reclamation say by releasing extra water from the Trinity into the Klamath River, they may avoid a fish kill.

Anna King

North America’s blueberry crop is so substantial this year that farmers say prices are dropping. That’s after about a decade of rapid expansion of new plantings. Correspondent Anna King has our story from the blueberry fields of southeast Washington.

The Oregon Water Resources Commission has approved temporary rules that prioritize drinking water for people and cattle in the Klamath Basin.

Amelia Templeton

This week, water regulators are ordering dozens of ranchers along Southern Oregon’s Williamson River to shut down their irrigation pumps.

It’s the latest round of shutoffs near the headwaters of the Klamath River. The state says it is necessary to protect treaty rights of tribes who live downstream. But the water shut-off jeopardizes a multimillion-dollar cattle ranching industry.

For EarthFix, Amelia Templeton reports.

Study: Cheatgrass Severity Affected By Grazing

May 13, 2013

A new study out of Oregon State University suggests that overgrazing could be helping an invasive grass to flourish. That differs from previous studies that have found grazing can better manage that plant -- cheatgrass -- which threatens rangeland habitat. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

The state of Washington has fined a Yakima Valley dairy for spreading cow manure on an empty field. It’s not a big fine -- but it’s the first one issued under a 2009 law.

Moving 'Heirloom Chemicals' Out Of Farmers' Fields

Mar 26, 2013
Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

Year after year many pesticides farmers use expire or are banned. Often these chemicals pile up in barns and storage sheds until farmers can find a safe way to dispose of them. EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt visited a pesticide collection center in Wenatchee to find out what exactly happens to the chemicals.