A humble leader (Video)

Throughout his career, WSU entomologist Jay Brunner has turned science into economic reality for Washington State tree fruit growers.

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Organic trade association seeks input

  • December 1st, 2012

The Organic Trade Association is holding town-hall forums across the country to gather industry thoughts about the association’s proposal to establish a federal organic research and promotion order.

One such forum will be held during the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting in Yakima at the end of the afternoon [...]

  • Not your typical nursery

Not your typical nursery

  • December 1st, 2012

Markus Freepons of Northwest Vinifera, showed his grape callusing pits during a field day held last August sponsored by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.
Photo by Melissa Hansen

Marcus Freepons, owner of the grape nursery Northwest Vinifera, says his business is about making a lot out of a [...]

Cost of growing Reds

  • December 1st, 2012

A new economic study from Washington State University estimates the variable costs  of producing Red Delicious in a mature orchard at $6,436 per acre and fixed costs at another $2,804. On top of that, the grower would pay $12,862 in packing charges, assuming a net yield of 59.50 bins [...]

  • Worried about labor

Worried about labor

  • December 1st, 2012

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 24 years old and gradually buying in until he started his own company, New [...]

  • Washington-Chile partnership

Washington-Chile partnership

  • December 1st, 2012

Washington State fruit growers and packers Gebbers Farms of Brewster and Chelan Fruit Cooperative have purchased a 50-percent stake in four fruit-producing companies in Angol, Chile. All are partners in a new company called Chilean South Apples, or CHISA.

Reggie Collins, chief executive officer of Chelan Fruit Cooperative, says the [...]

  • Borton Fruit turns 100

Borton Fruit turns 100

  • December 1st, 2012

Members of the Borton family currently involved in the business are (left to right): Andy Birley (fourth generation), Katie (Borton) Birley (fourth), John Borton (third), Richard Borton (second), Eric Borton (fourth), Bill Borton (third), Byron Borton (fourth). Inset: Founder Byron Sarver Borton (far right) and three sons (right to [...]

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

  • December 1st, 2012

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 to 1.75 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the United States each year, H-2A [...]

  • Transition brings uncertainty

Transition brings uncertainty

  • December 1st, 2012

Kevin Moore
Courtesy of University of Missouri, Columbia

In a family farm business, there’s often the hope or expectation that the next generation will return to work on the farm. But young people who are thinking of returning to the family business today face greater uncertainties than at any time [...]

Good Point: Real estate activity by region

  • December 1st, 2012

Beginning in late 2011 and continuing into 2012, there’s been increased real estate activity in the Pacific Northwest, driven by strong fruit prices and expansion within the tree fruit sector. However, in Michigan, there have been few sales of orchard properties in the lake shoreline region the past three [...]

  • The no-family dilemma

The no-family dilemma

  • December 1st, 2012

You’ve invested your life in building a vineyard, winery, or other agricultural enterprise, producing a high-quality product with a topnotch reputation. For some, the business can be left to children to continue the family legacy. But what if you don’t have children interested in the family farm or winery?

Bob [...]

Nursery trees are selling fast

  • December 1st, 2012

Strong prices for apples during the past few seasons have prompted a spurt in orchard renewal and expansion, tree nurseries report. Demand for certain varieties and rootstocks is such that nurseries are taking orders for trees that will be planted as far out as 2020.

Washington nurseries should have a [...]

Tips for succession planning

  • December 1st, 2012

Bob Betz and Steve Griessel offer these suggestions to growers, winemakers, and others involved in agriculture interested in developing a succession plan:
1. Plan ahead.
• Allow several years to develop succession plan.
• Get your financial house in order, trends going in right direction.
• Have available past [...]