farming

Early Economic Recovery Leaves Rural Idaho Behind

Feb 25, 2013

New numbers out Monday show Idaho's rural areas experienced the post-recession years very differently from the state's cities. While places like Boise and Pocatello were on the mend, economic output in rural communities in Idaho declined.

At first glance, Idaho's rural counties appeared to be making an economic recovery with the rest of the state. But Idaho’s Department of Labor says when you take inflation into account, the output of goods and services from rural Idaho actually declined by $90 million in 2011.

RICHLAND, Wash. – A group of Northwest farmers plans to bring in thousands of legal Mexican guest workers to their fields and orchards this year. Last season many farmers were scrambling to pick their crops because of a worker shortage.

The federal H-2A guest worker program is so cumbersome and expensive, that most farmers haven’t wanted to use it. Employers have to pay for transportation, approved housing and usually more money than the going wage for workers already in the U.S.

USDA

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.

Photo Credit: HispanicFarmerJustice.com

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a long history of discriminating against farmers who are women, Hispanic, Native 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.

Most of us may be enjoying the fall sunshine, but Northwest wheat farmers are instead wishing for a little rain. Correspondent Anna King caught up with one Northwest wheat grower in the vast Horse Heaven Hills near Prosser, Washington.

WSU

Farmers of genetically engineered crops are dramatically increasing their use of herbicides. That’s according to a new study out of Washington State University. Researchers say farmers are spraying more in response to the rise of so-called “superweeds.”

Cacophony / Wikipedia

The Washington Supreme Court Thursday weighed in on long-running case that has implications for labor shortages at Northwest farms and orchards. The high court unanimously upheld a costly damage award against a farm labor contractor that brought in guest workers from Thailand.

Anna King


Washington state apple farmers are gearing up to harvest the second-largest crop in history, but it appears there won't be enough workers to get the fruit off the trees quickly enough. The shortage comes as apple prices are high because of crop damage elsewhere in the country. Correspondent Anna King has our report from an apple orchard outside of Prescott, Washington.

Firefighters have mostly contained the Holloway fire, a massive blaze on the Oregon-Nevada border. But Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports there is still no clear solution for the cattle left homeless by Oregon’s summer fires.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / Northwest News Network

Farming is the single biggest reason rivers are failing to meet standards set by the Clean Water Act. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz visited Idaho’s Pahsimeroi Valley for our series with Investigate West on this environmental law’s 40th anniversary. It turns out the problem isn’t so much what cattle ranchers and alfalfa growers are putting into the water – it’s what they’re taking out.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

Drought that’s sizzling the rest of the nation has largely left the Northwest states alone. Furthermore, the Midwest’s farmers’ misfortune is actually benefiting farmers here. That’s because grain prices are raising because of the Heartland’s decimated yields. Correspondent Anna King has this report from central Washington’s grain country.

Wheat stubble, grain elevators and whole lot of wide open – that’s Connell, Washington.

Anna King / Northwest Public Radio

Drought that’s sizzling the rest of the nation has largely left the Northwest states alone. Furthermore, the Midwest’s farmers’ misfortune is actually benefiting farmers here. That’s because grain prices are going up because of the Heartland’s decimated yields. Meanwhile, many Northwest farmers crops are above average.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

It’s not news that Washington is producing record amounts of blueberries this year. It happened last year. Next year will likely break another record and the year after that too. The real news is: Where is the fruit going, and why is it still so expensive? Correspondent Anna King explains.

The bureau of reclamation is predicting a water shortage in Oregon’s Klamath basin. The federal water agency has asked Klamath farmers to consider idling their land. Amelia Templeton reports.

Northwest apple growers expect a bumper crop this year in combination with higher prices. But as correspondent Anna King reports, farmers are worried they won’t have enough workers to pick the apples at peak ripeness.

NW Farmers Cheer Federal Reversal On Child Labor Rules

Apr 27, 2012
Photo Credit: Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Northwest farm groups are cheering a federal decision this week to dump proposed child labor rules. The Department of Labor decided to withdraw the plan after it received thousands of comments opposing the change. But child safety advocates say the fierce opposition was based on faulty information.

Photo credit: Anna King / Northwest News Network

Washington asparagus farmers are plowing out giant fields during what should be the prime of their harvest season. That’s because there is a shortage of migrant farmworkers this year.

Photo Credit: Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

A new market survey finds many of the region's farmers in an optimistic mood because demand is strong and commodity prices are high. Exceptions to the overall trend include dairy and onion farmers.

Photo credit: lengmomo/ Flickr / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Northwest spring is getting off to a wet start. But Eastern Washington farmers report it appears to be right on schedule.

Photo by Brian Robert Marshall / Northwest News Network

OUTLOOK, Wash. – A recent study is raising questions about the air quality in the Yakima Valley. The area has a high concentration of large-scale dairies. As Courtney Flatt reports, residents living near the dairies have noticed respiratory problems as more dairies moved in.

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