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A tale of two harvesters

Two ladderless apple harvest machines vie for grower approval. They are now for sale.

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Organic fruit attracts customers

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Steve Tennes, who operates the Country Mill orchard and farm market at Charlotte, Michigan, became convinced several years ago that there was a future in organic fruit production. Today, some of his customers will come

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Good Point: That unwashed grape

FSMA is another example of how a good idea (here, improved food safety for consumers) is forged into a federal law with little understanding by legislators of the complexities of the actual situation.

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Reopening of Chinese apple market is welcome news for growers

Industry grateful as biggest apple crop ever prepares to ship.

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Obama’s immigration order reduces risk of growers losing current employees

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I recently saw a movie where the main character had a sticker on his mirror that read: “A thing is a thing, not what is said about that thing”.  With that adage in mind,

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Not all consumers opposed to GMOs

How to measure the activism and attitudes regarding GMOs.

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Hort Council appoints information specialist

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Drew Toop will join the staff of the Northwest Horticultural Council as regulatory information specialist on December 8. Toop, who grew up in the Yakima, Washington, earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Chinese Language

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Tree fruit groups do well with new MAP funding

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The nation’s tree fruit organizations fared well in 2015 funding allocations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program. Ten organizations representing tree fruit will receive more than $16 million of the $173 million

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Fighting food fraud with forensics

Each apple has a chemical fingerprint that links it to the place it was grown.

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Schlect: Cow paths and ports

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● A virtual shutdown of West Coast ports has severely damaged export efforts of our tree-fruit industry. Efforts by many of the commercial industries adversely affected, including ours, had requested President Obama to use

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New EPA program focuses on pesticide drift reduction

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The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a voluntary Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) program to encourage the use of safer pesticide application equipment to reduce exposure to pesticides.

The program encourages manufacturers to test their technologies, such

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Labor worries spur automation effort

Washington scientists are looking for worldwide collaborators to work on automated harvesting.

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USDA Announces Loss Adjustment for Late Apple Harvest

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Multi-Peril Crop Insurance policyholders are getting an extension because of the delayed maturity of apple crop this year.

The USDA put out the following press release:

 

SPOKANE, Wash., Nov. 5, 2014 – USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA)

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Schlect: Elections aftermath

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● Greg Walden (R/Oregon) should be happy today. The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee sheparded his flock of candidates to a significant national victory in yesterday’s mid-term election. However, the delegation from the

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China opens to Washington State apples

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Good news came to Washington’s apple industry today when U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announced the immediate reopening of China’s market to Washington Red and Golden Delicious apples. It’s good timing as growers are wrapping

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Schlect: Cherry Street

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● The Produce Marketing Association has hired a new team, Cornerstone Government Affairs, to represent it in Washington, D.C. Hunt Shipman will be the main contact for Cornerstone with PMA, for what is being called “Issues

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Crop insurance closing deadline approaches

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Fruit growers in the Pacific Northwest are being reminded about the November 20 closing deadline for crop insurance for 2015 by the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA also announced several changes to the

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Prune out dead crab apple tissue

Reduce disease risk by pruning crab apple trees.

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Schlect: Focus on United

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●  The New York Times Magazine issue of October 12 contains a feature article on the school lunch lobbying wars in Washington, D.C. Mentioned in this article are some old friends of mine: the lobbyist Marshall

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Schlect: Food Safety — We’re Covered

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● Last Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its anticipated revisions to four proposed rules implementing the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), with comments due by December 15. Our growers

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Trunk diseases are a growing problem

Dirty plant material blamed for vine decline in Canada and California.

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Chilled by ICE

Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity is relentless.

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Year-end shipping reports to be required

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The Washington State Department of Agriculture plans to require Washington apple shippers to submit season-end reports on the volume of fruit they shipped.

Shippers are required to submit to the Department of Agriculture a certificate of

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California fruit league changes name

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Nearly 80 years after its inception, the California Grape and Tree Fruit League announced they are changing their name to the California Fresh Fruit Association to better reflect the growing diversity of fruit its members

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Farm-worker crossings to resume at U.S.-Mexico border

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The Washington Farm Labor Association says it will resume scheduling  crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border for farm workers, but warned it fears massive border backlogs unless the Secretary of State takes action to prioritize farm

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Paperwork snafu halting H-2A workers at Mexican border

Up to 2,000 potential workers stymied at Tijuana crossing, another 800 stuck at Nuevo Laredo

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Fourth cherry residue test results are available

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For the fourth consecutive year, the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission has conducted a trial to provide the Northwest cherry industry basic information about residues of commonly used pesticides.

These studies are intended to help growers

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Building for the apple boom

Washington’s apple production has ramped up faster than expected.

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Schlect: United Thawed

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●  The American Frozen Food Institute has launched a 30 million dollar national effort to “encourage consumers to take a fresh look at frozen foods.” “Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh” is the tag line. This

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Merivon labeled in New York

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Merivon fungicide has been registered for use on pome and stone fruit in New York. In field trials, it has controlled diseases such as apple scab and powdery mildew in pome fruit and brown rot

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High-tech cherry packing facility debuts

New plant doubles the cherry volume for Washington Fruit.

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Technology is the future of cherry packing

West Coast cherry packers are quickly adopting new sorting technology.

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Schlect: On a roll

Anne MacMillan has left her post as deputy chief of staff to Secretary Vilsack at USDA to join Roll Global,

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How much pheromone for codling moth?

Researcher finds codling moths need much less perfume to disrupt their mating.

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Opal apple verified as non-GMO

FirstFruits seeks to head off confusion with a GMO apple that might be approved.

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Growers make H-2A work

Washington is the fourth largest employer of H-2A workers in the country after North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

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USApple president visits the other Washington

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Jim Bair, president of the U.S. Apple Association, visited Washington State this week for the first time since taking over the helm of the organization from Nancy Foster at the beginning of this year.

Bair, who

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Nematode-resistant rootstocks available

Improved rootstocks are available, though more field testing is needed.

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New approach needed for nematodes

Avoid white varieties if planting in a site with root knot nematodes.

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Labor shortage favors imports

New study says a shortage of labor is hampering expansion of U.S. fruit production.

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Michigan growers worry about labor

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If nothing gets done to solve immigration issues this year, and, with it, assure a supply of domestic seasonal workers for agriculture, farmers will have to find ways to adjust.

Dawn Drake, manager of the Michigan

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Paying for rest time

Paying a piece-rate equivalent for rest breaks helps keep workers productive and motivated, a labor specialist says.

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New clothing material may better protect workers

Study looks at lightweight, Teflon-like material might have potential for protective clothing for pesticide applicators.

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Prevention is best strategy

Mites continue to develop resistance to new miticides.

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New biofumigant registered

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A soil biofumigant developed for both conventional and organic farms offers a new tool in what is becoming an increasingly restrictive practice.

Soil fumigation helps eliminate soil-borne diseases, replant problems, nematodes, and weeds, and gets perennial

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New herbicide — resistant crops

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Both Dow Agrosciences and Monsanto Company expect to have new herbicide-resistant crops and new herbicides available in 2015.

Dow is developing Enlist corn, which is resistant to both 2,4-D and aryloxyfenoxyproprionic acid herbicides used to control

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DriftWatch grows

pecialty crops growers, especially those who grow grapes, will have new cause for concern in 2015 when new genetically modified field crops are expected to come to fields near their orchards and vineyards.

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Are you the employer of choice?

Three apple producers look to mechanization to help deal with potential labor shortages.

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Reducing food safety risks at every opportunity

Research is assessing the food safety risks of tree fruit production practices.

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How to make every drop count

Simple changes made with inexpensive tools can greatly improve spray applications.

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