Growers asked to tax themselves

Michigan growers to vote in February on proposed Tree Fruit Commission.

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  • New rules govern Michigan irrigators

New rules govern Michigan irrigators

  • June 1st, 2010

Last July, new rules in Michigan required most would-be irrigators to get permission to withdraw water either from groundwater using wells or from flowing streams and rivers.

This was shocking in itself, for Michigan is a riparian state in which both surface and groundwater used to be freely available to [...]

Tracking prevents favoritism

  • June 1st, 2010

The real advantage that University of California’s ­Gregorio Billikopf sees from labor tracking programs is improvement in productivity by strengthening the quality control and evaluation component.

Billikopf, UC farm labor Cooperative Extension advisor based in Stockton, California, said that he frequently receives calls from agricultural employers seeking information about labor [...]

  • NW questions cherry fruit fly quarantine

NW questions cherry fruit fly quarantine

  • June 1st, 2010

The western cherry fruit fly has not been found in California’s cherry-growing districts.

State officials in Oregon and Washington say ­California’s quarantine requirements for the Western cherry fruit fly are unjustified.

Helmuth Rogg, supervisor of the Oregon State Department of Agriculture’s Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program, said California has imposed [...]

Growers surveyed on pest practices

  • May 1st, 2010

Washington apple growers are adopting new pest ­management strategies and technologies including safer chemistries, in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency phaseout of ­azinphos-methyl (AZM-Guthion) in tree fruits. Because the new chemistries require more precise timing and better spray coverage, use of predictive models and improved application delivery [...]

Fumigation rules delayed

  • April 15th, 2010

New regulations on the use of agricultural fumigants, due to go into effect at the beginning of this year, have been delayed, possibly until the fall, says Mike Conway, general manager for Trident Ag Products in Woodland, Washington.       The proposed regulations are designed to reduce the risks of [...]

  • Long wait for immigration reform

Long wait for immigration reform

  • February 15th, 2010

Every year, the Valicoff Fruit Company in the Yakima Valley dutifully sends off W-2 tax forms for its pickers. President Rob ­Valicoff says he requires legal identification from all his workers, but he knows IDs can be faked. Every year, his company expects some return mail from the Internal [...]

  • Conversations with the city

Conversations with the city

  • February 15th, 2010

Orchardists represent a sliver of American agriculture. Most of our nation’s farmers grow field crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans. Many raise livestock, for meat or dairy. Others in the produce sector tend fields of potatoes or carrots or lettuce. All in all, fewer than 2 percent of [...]

Good Point – Jim Allen

  • February 1st, 2010

The controversial Lou Dobbs was often labeled as an opinionated, biased, and outspoken television news anchor who had the stage to spread lies and conspiracy theories about immigrants and Latinos. While many were outraged by his broadcast, his loyal ­listeners cheered his remarks. Dobbs quit CNN two months ago, [...]

Good Point – Sharlau: Democracy isn’t dead in ag

  • February 1st, 2010

Government by the people seems to be alive and well in the agricultural community. And unless you’re a member of an organization with a lobbyist or a strong volunteer advocacy committee, you may not fully recognize the behind-the-scenes work done on your behalf.

Our Washington State legislature convenes every January, [...]

  • Housing loan requirements

Housing loan requirements

  • January 1st, 2010

Loans from the Washington State Department of Commerce have funded a variety of housing styles for seasonal farmworkers, including these manufactured units.

Washington State provides low- and no-interest loans to growers and technical assistance to support development and preservation of on-farm housing for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

Eligible projects must:
• Be [...]

  • Farmworker housing loans funded

Farmworker housing loans funded

  • January 1st, 2010

An example of farmworker housing that was built with a loan from Washington State’s Farmworker Housing Infrastructure Program.

The popular zero- and low-interest loan program for growers developing or restoring on-farm housing for seasonal farmworkers survived recent state budget cuts and has $3.5 million available for loans, according to the [...]

  • Ready for change

Ready for change

  • December 1st, 2009

As the new president, John Verbrugge will lead Washington’s Horticultural Association into more involvement with state regulatory issues.

New Hort President John Verbrugge represents a change that’s taking place within the 105-year-old Washington State Horticultural Association as well as the state’s tree fruit industry. It’s a generational shift occurring in [...]