Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, March 20, 2015, Page 11, Image 11

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March 20, 2015
board helps
Capital Press
Organic grain and hay
buyers and sellers now have
a place to find each other on-
Washington State Univer-
sity Extension has launched
a searchable bulletin board
that allows farmers and oth-
ers to post either the organic
grain and hay they have for
sale or what they want to
Diana Roberts, region-
al extension specialist for
WSU in Spokane, said de-
mand for organic grain has
outpaced supply as consum-
ers have increased over the
last decade.
The bulletin board is “an
opportunity for growers in-
terested in organic produc-
tion to explore that,” she
Worley, Idaho, farm-
er Ted Lacy raises organic
peas for nitrogen and spring
wheat, barley and oats on 80
acres. He has listed his crops
on the bulletin board.
“What we raise, people
have a need for,” he said.
“Certain people have certain
needs, and it’s hard to figure
out what to grow, because
everyone’s got different
The Pacific Northwest
has a tiny share of the organ-
ic grain market. According
to WSU Extension, in 2011,
Washington had about 6,500
acres of certified organic
wheat, Idaho had 10,000
acres and Oregon less than
5,000. Montana grew 66,000
acres of organic grain.
http: //
Senate deadline cages cougar bill
Ranchers say losses
are mounting
Capital Press
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Op-
timism turned into disappoint-
ment for Central Washington
ranchers who asked lawmak-
ers to loosen the ban on using
dogs to pursue cougars.
A measure that would
have exempted six counties
from statewide restrictions on
hound hunting died Wednes-
day in the Senate.
“I’m disappointed more
than I can say,” Klickitat
County rancher Keith Kreps
said. “I really thought that this
year we had a chance.”
Kreps and other ranch-
ers testified in February that
they’re suffering heavy and
increasing losses to cougars.
Don Jenkins/Capital Press
Klickitat County, Wash., rancher
Keith Kreps shows photos of
calves wounded by cougars
after he spoke Feb. 18 to the
Senate Natural Resources and
Parks Committee.
They said dogs are the most
effective way to make cougars
wary about stalking livestock.
Senate Bill 5940 would
have allowed county com-
missioners in Ferry, Stevens,
Pend Oreille, Chelan, Okano-
gan and Klickitat counties to
work with state wildlife man-
agers to pursue or kill trouble-
some cougars with the aid of
The bill passed the Senate
Natural Resources and Parks
Committee in a bipartisan
vote, but wasn’t brought up
for a vote by the full Senate.
The deadline for bills to pass
the chamber they were intro-
duced in was Wednesday.
The committee’s chair-
man, Monroe Republican
Kirk Pearson, said the bill,
sponsored by Sen. Brian Dan-
sel, R-Republic, fell victim to
the crush of legislation as 49
senators divvied up floor time.
Two wolf-related bills backed
by livestock groups and spon-
sored by Dansel passed before
the deadline.
“A lot of good bills died,
and that was one of them,”
Pearson said.
Efforts to reach Dansel on
Thursday were unsuccessful.
Washington Cattlemen’s
Association Executive Vice
President Jack Field said he
was disappointed the cou-
gar bill didn’t pass, but that
wolves were “far and away
probably the biggest priority.”
The Senate and House
passed similar bills instruct-
ing the Department of Fish
and Wildlife to reopen the
state’s wolf recovery plan in
response to livestock preda-
tion in the northeast corner of
the state. The differences in
the Senate and House bills are
fairly minor.
Field said he was optimis-
tic a wolf bill will reach Gov.
Jay Inslee’s desk.
Kreps said he agrees
wolves are more worrisome,
but he said he wished law-
makers had addressed cou-
gars, too.
The big cats are costing
him tens of thousands of dol-
lars, he said.
“It comes down to dollars
and cents, and I guess people
just feel our livestock are ex-
pendable,” he said.
The Humane Society of
the United States opposed the
bill, and WDFW stayed neu-
Washington voters in
1996 banned hound hunting
through an initiative. In 2003,
the Legislature authorized a
“pilot project” that relaxed
the ban in five counties. The
pilot project expired in 2011
and has not been renewed.
WDFW said it was unclear
whether the pilot project pro-
tected people or livestock.
Washington House passes Carlton Complex fire bill
Landowners would
have more freedom
to jump on blazes
Capital Press
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A
bill sparked by anecdotes
about a sluggish state re-
sponse to the Carlton Com-
plex fires last summer in
passed the House unani-
mously on Tuesday.
House Bill 2093 would
allow landowners to cross
property lines without per-
mission to fight a spreading
The state Department
of Natural Resources also
would be required to appoint
a wildland fire liaison and
form a committee to advise it
on fighting wildfires.
The bill, which passed 97-
0, now goes to the Senate.
The measure was in-
spired by Okanogan County
residents who said they had
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
Old Highway 97, just north of Malott, Wash., served as a fire break on the eastern edge of the Carlton
Complex Fire last summer. The Washington House has unanimously passed a bill that would autho-
rize landowners to cross property lines without permission to fight a spreading wildfire.
chances to stop small light-
ning-ignited blazes from
growing into the largest wild-
land fire in the state’s history.
Residents said they waited
in vain for permission from
DNR to enter public lands.
House Agriculture and
Natural Resources Commit-
tee Chairman Brian Blake
and Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wau-
conda, met with residents in
January in Okanogan Coun-
ty. Kretz introduced the bill,
which came through Blake’s
“This is probably the most
important bill I have this ses-
sion,” said Blake, an Aber-
deen Democrat.
The bill’s main provision
would protect initiative-tak-
ing residents from being ar-
rested or sued, unless they do
something grossly negligent
while trying to extinguish
a fire on somebody else’s
property. Residents would
be prohibited from lighting
backfires, attacking fires
by aircraft or directing oth-
er people’s firefighting ef-
HB 2093 would establish
about five new positions
at the DNR, including the
wildland fire liaison, who
would represent landowners
and the public during a fire.
The liaison also would
lead the advisory commit-
tee and prepare a report on
how to improve training and
speed up responses to fires.
DNR would be authorized
to provide on-the-scene train-
ing to people who could be
employed in an emergency.
Earlier proposals by Kretz
to shift more authority to lo-
cal fire officials or counties
were opposed by DNR and
the union representing state
wildland firefighters.
The Office of Financial
Management estimates that
implementing the bill would
cost more than $1 million
during the 2015-17 two-year
budget cycle.
WSU, wheat growers seek support for new plant sciences building
Capital Press
Washington State Uni-
versity agricultural college’s
leaders are seeking legislative
support for a new plant scienc-
es building.
The proposed 100,000-
square-foot plant sciences
building and a 30,000-square-
foot greenhouse are high on
the list of university priorities,
said Jim Moyer, director of
WSU’s Agricultural Research
Center and associate dean for
research in the College of Ag-
ricultural, Human and Natural
Resource Sciences.
The building would serve
as laboratory and office space,
bringing together plant scien-
tists from crop and soil scienc-
es, biological chemistry, plant
pathology and horticulture.
The design phase will cost
$6.6 million, Moyer said.
The total cost of the building
would be determined during
the design phase. Moyer said
construction would hopefully
begin in 2017.
Capital projects typically
get funds in three phases. Plan-
ning funds are provided in the
first biennium, design funds
are provided in the second
biennium and construction is
funded in the third biennium.
Washington Association of
Wheat Growers and univer-
sity representatives met with
legislators on the building
several weeks ago and hope
to see funding for the design
phase in the capital budget,
WAWG past president Nicole
Berg said.
Matthew Weaver/Capital Press
Jim Moyer, director of Washington State University’s Agricultural
Research Center, addresses Washington Grain Commission board
members during the commission meeting March 12 in Spokane.
Moyer provided an update
during a Washington Grain
Commission board meeting in
“It’s highly needed,” com-
missioner Mike Miller said.
Improved facilities will en-
hance the university’s ability
to recruit top-notch scientists,
he said.
Commissioner Dana Her-
ron said the facility is critical
to bolstering WSU’s research
“We are desperately short
of lab space,” he said. “If
you’re waiting six months to
put your pots in a lab, you’re
slowing research down. Our
job primarily is to make sure
those constraints are no longer
The building would take
pressure off WSU’s Johnson
Hall, where most of the univer-
sity’s plant researchers work.
“Johnson Hall is about in
the same shape it was when I
was an undergraduate,” Moyer
said with a chuckle.
“I always hoped I’d live long
enough to see the day they tear
Johnson Hall to the ground,”
said Randy Suess, Whitman
County representative on the
commission. “Johnson Hall
was designed before the days of
computers, so wiring, plumb-
ing, heating and cooling” all
need to be upgraded. “It makes
a lot more sense to move out of
that dilapidated old building.”
WAWG will keep talking
with state legislators about
the importance of the build-
ing, Berg said.
WSU leverages state
funds it receives with outside
funding, Moyer said.
“It’s important we have
the infrastructure to be com-
petitive,” he said. “If we
can’t do top-notch research,
then we’re not going to be
competitive for federal fund-