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An urgent plea for immigration reform

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Devout Christians will tell you God works in mysterious ways.

So, perhaps it was divine intervention that two teenagers from the Yakima Valley in Washington State happened to appear in court on the same day, the

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Last Bite: FruiTrivia

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1. An experimental Solid Set Canopy Delivery System is designed for:
a.    Applying pesticides
b.    Evaporative cooling
c.     Dispensing pheromones
d.    Irrigation
e.    Frost control

2. The name of the DBR fruit harvesting system stands for:
a.     Drive-By Reaper
b.    Dwan

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How integrated mite control works

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One of the keys to integrated mite control was that the western predatory mite Typhlodromus occidentalis could effectively control spider mites under certain conditions. In the picture, a “typh” attacks the larger European red mite.
PHOTO

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What Tier 4 standards mean

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Fuel requirements. New engines will require ultra-low sulfur diesel that has no more than 15 parts per million of sulfur. (This fuel has been used since 2006 in on-highway vehicles.)

New engine technology. Changes likely to

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Calculating the value of biological control

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Washington State University entomologist Dr. Stan Hoyt developed integrated mite control in the late 1960s (see “How integrated mite control works”).

Over the last four decades, integrated mite control has saved Washington fruit growers millions of

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Ladder falls top accident list

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Farming is a dangerous occupation, which makes accident prevention even more important.

Farming is one of the four most dangerous of U.S. occupations, resulting in more on-the-job deaths and injuries than all other types of work,

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Start working on health care now

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Health care reform will add to employers’ costs and complicate their business when regulations take effect next year. But, attorney Sheldon Blumling says agricultural employers need to face reality and start working now on analyzing

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Are you over 50?

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To find out if you will be required to provide a health benefits plan for your employees starting January 1, you need to ­calculate if you have 50 or more full-time equivalent employees.

The calculation method

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New off-road emission standards coming

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Clean diesel technology has been making its way off the highways and into farms and fields and other off-road uses since the 1990s. For growers, this has translated into more expensive and sophisticated tractors and

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Return from Barcelona

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● This past Sunday I arrived back from Barcelona, Spain. There, I had attended the 2013 Global Food Safety Conference, the main annual gathering for GFSI, the Global Food Safety Initiative. About 780 delegates from

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One last Guthion spray

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Fruit growers in Michigan can use existing stocks of the insecticide azinphos-methyl (Guthion) one more time before it is phased out at the end of September this year. When should they use it?

Michigan State University

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Speak out

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Proposed regulations to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act could bring dramatic changes to the growing, harvest, and packing of tree fruit. Although state, regional, and national trade groups are coordinating responses to the draft

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Food Safety Committee guides research

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The Pacific Northwest Food SafetyCommittee, an industry advisory group representing tree fruit growers, packers, and researchers, was organized in 2007 to guide the Northwest tree fruit industry and Northwest Horticultural Council on food safety issues.

Since

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Certification not unique to produce

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Agriculture, with its various food safety and sustainable production standards now required by many retailers, is not the only industry subject to standards. Hundreds of national and international standards exist relating to all types of

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Why the National Organic Standards Board made its decision

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In 2011, when the National Organic Standards Board made a formal recommendation to the National Organic Program to permit oxytetracyline for fireblight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014, the board stated

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Behind the scenes at the NOSB

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Harold Austin

In April, the National Organic Standards Board will decide whether organic apple and pear growers in the United States will be allowed to use the antibiotic oxytetracycline beyond the next two seasons. Tetracycline antibiotics

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National Organic Standards Board members

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Producers:

Carmela Beck, organic program manager, Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates, Inc., Watsonville, California.
Colehour Bondera, owner, Kanalani Ohana Farm, Honaunau, Hawaii.
Dr. Wendy Fulwider, animal husbandry specialist for Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, La Farge, Wisconsin, which is the nation’s largest

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How the NOSB makes decisions

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The National Organic Standards Board is a federal advisory committee that makes the decisions on which inputs can be used in organic agriculture. Generally, natural products are allowed in organic agriculture while synthetic products are

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Who’s on the NOSB

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The National Organic Standards Board has 15 members who serve five-year terms, though the terms are not equally staggered.

The membership is comprised of four farmers, three environmentalists or resource conservationists, three consumer or public interest

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Fireblight, antibiotics, and the NOSB

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Antibiotics have long been key disease control materials for fireblight, one of the few uses of antibiotics in plant agriculture. These materials are natural compounds produced by naturally occurring soil microorganisms. For the past several

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The Top 5

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Is yours a family-first business or a business-first family?

Iowa farmer and author Jolene Brown explained the difference when she spoke at the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting last December. A family-first business tends to

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Growers urged to make themselves heard

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Jon Wyss, government affairs analyst for Gebbers Farms, urges tree fruit growers to make their voices heard in the next few months by participating in “Capitol Hill” days hosted by state and national trade associations.

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Ag groups united

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Tree fruit industry advocates believe the timing is right for Congress to pass an immigration reform bill. But it won’t come easy and will take effort from labor-intensive growers across the country to make sure

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WATCH: Feds hold “Listening Session” on new food safety regulations

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The federal government took a humble position and brought a big ear to a meeting with growers and others on the Food Safety Modernization Act, held August 14 in Yakima, Washington.
The Produce Listening Session featured

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Good Point: What can we expect from Congress in 2013?

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After the November election, the first question from members of our association, other growers, and allied associations was: “What should we expect from Washington for the next four years?” Now, the discussion has progressed to

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Worried about labor

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Steve Hunt, the incoming president of the Michigan State Horticultural Society, grows only one kind of fruit—blueberries—about 110 acres worth.

He’s been doing it for 32 years, starting work on a grower’s farm when he was

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Farm labor solution critical

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Just before the November elections, there was a flurry of farm labor-related activity in Washington, D.C.

As it turns out, it had little to do with the elections, but farm groups were meeting and talking to

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GAO report documents, but doesn’t fix, H-2A

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Adding new fuel to the growing fire over farm labor reform, the Government Accountability Office issued a report in September describing the H-2A program as time-consuming, complex, and challenging. While there are an estimated 1.5

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Planning for continued success

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Those are among the reasons why the main theme of the association’s annual meeting, December 3 to 5, will be succession planning, says David Douglas, retiring president of the Washington State Horticultural Association and part

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Cold is hot topic at Expo

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Great Lakes region fruit growers won’t soon forget 2012, the year that Mother Nature, for the first time in the lifetimes of all but a few, froze them out of the fruit business. But the

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Grape growers to visit Capitol Hill

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Washington State diversified farmer Brenton Roy wants to see more of the state’s wine grape industry attend a national grape policy conference held annually in Washington, D.C. He believes so strongly in the value of

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Looking for a bipartisan solution

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Apple harvest season last year brought home to Dale Foreman just how important a reliable labor force was to his apple-growing operation. Some of his apples went unpicked because of a labor shortage in Washington

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Good Point: Proving safe produce is safe

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Safe food is an unobjectionable term. No one wants unsafe food.

To assure the safety of the produce sold to consumers, private grocery store chains have already imposed ever greater contractual standards on their suppliers of

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Pillars of agriculture

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American farmers can call up images from two very different historical threads when describing themselves.

Farmers are rugged individualists, pioneers who tackled the unfriendly frontier, rifle in one hand, guiding the plow with the other, spouse

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Land-grant mission still relevant

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Dan Bernardo

Washington State apple, pear, and grape growers have agreed to tax themselves assessments to raise nearly $35 million to support future research and extension at Washington State University. Is that a sign of lack

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Later and later cherries

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Sweetheart, a late-season cultivar developed at the Summerland research center in British Columbia, Canada, is the second-most planted variety in Washington State.
Photo courtesy of Willow Drive Nursery

Last year’s record volume of Northwest cherries shipped in

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Future of IR-4 in question

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More than a hundred specialty crops producers and their organizations have signed on to an effort to convince Congress not to change the IR-4 program. Since 1963, the IR-4 Project has mustered the financial and

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Good Stuff

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Stickers link to grower videos
Thanks to new data bar technology, shoppers anywhere in the world can use smartphones to scan stickers on apples supplied by Chelan Fresh, one of ­Washington’s top tree fruit suppliers, and

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Neonicotinoids and bees

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A spate of new studies came out this spring, all of them seeking to link neonicotinoid insecticides to mortality in honeybees, bumblebees, and several kinds of native bees, and all of the studies getting wide

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Head of the class

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The Young Apple Leaders of 2012 are, back row left to right, Sarah Dressell, Sara Shanteau, Casey Collins, Adam Peters, Mark Boyer, Dave Gargasz, Jeff Armock, Mark Stennes, and Andy Ferguson; front row, Holly Rogers-Rios,

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Need a lawyer?

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A group of Young Leaders listens to Don Kraemer, acting deputy director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, during the leadership luncheon.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Apple Association

Andy Ferguson is a 25-year-old

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Ready for the audit?

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Nicole Brunner checks the Gras2p training manual, which can be purchased by any Washington grower.
Photo by Geraldine Warner

More Washington growers and packers are turning to Gras2p (Growers Response to Agricultural Safe and Sustainable Practices) for

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Fumigant regulations keep coming

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Soil fumigation, like this broadcast application, now requires that fumigation management plans be developed to include a long list of components.

The soil fumigation landscape has changed ­dramatically in the last few years. Effective postplant nematicides

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Tips on how to avoid glyphosate damage

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As you approach weed control this spring, remember the word SUPPLY.

That’s the acronym Dr. Hannah Mathers developed to help orchardists and nurserymen prevent injury to their trees as they go about the process of controlling

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Tree safety is key issue with herbicides

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Choosing a herbicide program for an orchard is not so simple as choosing which herbicide kills what weeds and when. A careful reading of the label of any herbicide reveals a host of warnings, most

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USA Farmers seek reform

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Chalmers Carr III doesn’t expect Congressional action on farm labor and immigration issues before the fall elections this year, and he hopes the labor situation won’t get much worse this growing ­season. If it does

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Few alternatives to H-2A program

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Tom Roach outlined labor options at a recent Washington Growers League meeting.

Growers worried about securing a work force for the coming year have few viable and legal alternatives to the federal foreign guest-worker program known

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H-2A basics

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Lucio Machado picks Golden Delicious in a Wenatchee, Washington, orchard.

Fear of a repeat of last fall’s labor shortage in the Pacific Northwest has many growers thinking about the H-2A program, the only legal means of

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DNA test identifies pathogens in tainted foods

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Fruit or vegetable packers concerned that their produce may be contaminated with unsafe pathogens will soon have a simple screening method they can use to ease or confirm their fears. It’s a handheld tool that’s

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Underground drip irrigation serves two purposes

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Water is plentiful in the fruit-growing area along Lake Michigan’s eastern shore, so it’s not scarcity that’s an issue. The problem is with some water that’s been made slightly dirty but is perfectly useful if

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