Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current | View This Issue
Capital A Press
Stephen Burtt: Drone company
CEO envisions future of farming
Stefano Musacchi: Italian tree
fruit physiologist moves west
SPECIAL SECTION: CATCH UP ON OUR WESTERN INNOVATORS Inside
July 31, 2015
WASHINGTON and OREGON
The West s
John Eveland and Sally Brewer:
Finding success organically
FRIDAY, JULY 31, 2015
VOLUME 88, NUMBER 31
By ERIC MORTENSON
vegetable protein, iron, potassium, magnesium and
dietary ﬁ ber, council CEO Tim McGreevy said.
Farmers who raise them cite their ability to
break up disease pressure in crop rotations for
wheat production and put much-needed nitrogen
back into the soil.
Pulse roots attract microbes in the soil that pull
nitrogen out of the air and put it into the ground to
feed themselves, which also feeds the plant, said
Todd Scholz, vice president of research and mem-
ber services for the council.
“The end result is there’s more nitrogen put in
the ground than the plant utilizes, so the next crop
beneﬁ ts,” Scholz said.
Winter wheat crops are improved when they
follow a pulse crop, said Kevin Meyer, a Moscow,
Idaho, farmer and ﬁ rst co-chair of the Western Pea
and Lentil Growers Association.
“It gives us the ability to raise a crop every year,
where in the old days they would summer fallow
and then go to winter wheat,” he said. “It helps us
being able to have a crop on the ground all the time.”
According to the council, U.S. lentil acreage
increased this year by 45 percent, from roughly
266,000 in 2014 to 385,000 acres. Most of the add-
ed acres — 75 percent — were in North Dakota.
Montana’s acreage was up 38 percent and Wash-
ington state’s was up 7.8 percent.
ST. LOUIS — The national
debate over labeling food that
contains genetically modiﬁ ed
organisms is a “wicked” prob-
lem that cannot be solved or
arbitrated by science, an Iowa
State University sociology pro-
Carmen Bain, speaking July
22 to 20 journalists attending
the National Press Founda-
From Farm to
ship in St. Louis,
said GMO la-
beling is inher-
ently a political
and social issue.
Science is either
ignored or embraced in the de-
bate, depending on which side
it appears to substantiate.
Bain has an unusual vantage
point in the argument. Although
not a crop scientist or biologist,
she is part of an interdisciplin-
ary team at Iowa State that is
developing new transgenic
soybean cultivars. Her role is
to study the issues surrounding
consumer, business and social
acceptance of GMOs.
The work has led her to
conclude GMOs and GMO
labeling are “proxy” issues for
broader political, economic and
ethical concerns such as pesti-
cides, sustainability and corpo-
rate control of agriculture. And
for some GMO opponents, la-
beling is a matter of political
opportunism, she said.
“Many of them had other is-
sues, but GMOs resonates with
a broader public, and they want
to take advantage of it,” Bain
Anti-GMO activists frame
the issue in “rights-based lan-
guage” such as choice and
transparency, which “resonates
with key American values, cul-
tural norms and trends,” Bain
Turn to PULSE crops, Page 12
Turn to LABEL, Page 12
Peas, chickpeas, lentils have what it takes to gain wider acceptance, industry believes
By MATTHEW WEAVER
OLTON, Wash. — Allen Druffel wants to
spread the good news about pulse crops.
The Colton, Wash., farmer grows peas and
chickpeas in rotation with wheat.
Pulses are good for the soil and weed control, he
says, and they diversify his income.
This year, Druffel’s pulse crops came through
the hot, dry summer well. The peas are below aver-
age but chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans,
are about average.
“The beans, this year in this hot spell, have
handled it better than anything else,” he said.
“They’re kind of a bright spot in an otherwise
kind of poor spring cropping cycle we’re hav-
But pulses have a problem, Druffel says: A lot
of consumers are yet to embrace them for their nu-
tritional beneﬁ ts, mainly because they just don’t
know how to cook them.
“I’ve seen this with my in-laws from the East
Coast — they don’t understand how to cook with
pulses,” he said. “There’s not a lot of good recipes
out there, and it’s not shown on any of the popu-
lar TV shows. There is a general understanding of
how nutritious they are, but they’re an intimidating
little thing to cook if you don’t know what you’re
Photos by Matthew Weaver/Capital Press
TOP: Allen Druffel checks a ﬁ eld of peas ready to be
harvested the morning of July 20 south of Uniontown,
Wash. Druffel says he has high hopes for increasing
consumer awareness of the nutritional value of peas
and other pulse crops. ABOVE: Tim McGreevy, CEO of
the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council in Moscow, Idaho,
says transportation is the biggest need for the pulse
industry in the next ﬁ ve years.
Beneﬁ ts of pulses
There’s a lot to like about pulse crops.
Dry peas, lentils and chickpeas are “nutrition
powerhouses,” according to the USA Dry Pea and
Lentil Council in Moscow, Idaho. They’re high in
‘The beans, this year in this hot spell, have handled it better than anything else.
They’re kind of a bright spot in an otherwise kind of poor spring cropping cycle we’re having.’
— Allen Druffel, Colton, Wash., farmer who grows peas and chickpeas in rotation with wheat
Read how distant scientists and
the public are on safety of GMO
food on Page 4
Washington agriculture weighs impacts of piece-rate court ruling
By DAN WHEAT
PASCO, Wash. — A recent
state Supreme Court ruling
makes it more expensive for
labor-intensive agriculture to
operate and threatens piece-
rate pay, a useful competitive
tool, growers and packers say.
While complying with
the ruling will be difﬁ cult,
the greater nightmare for
employers would be a law-
suit making rest-break pay
retroactive three years. That
could cost the industry $100
million or more, Dan Fazio,
director of the agricultural
employer group WAFLA,
has previously estimated.
“Most growers would see
that as unfair because they
were complying with the law
as they understood it,” said
Jon DeVaney, president of
the Washington State Tree
Fruit Association in Yakima.
For 25 years, the Depart-
ment of Labor and Industries
said rest breaks could be in-
cluded in piece-rate pay, not
paid separately, Fazio said.
“Now the Supreme Court
has told us we have to cal-
culate rest breaks separately
and we have one day to do it.
That’s ridiculous,” he said,
referring to immediate im-
plementation of the ruling.
The ruling amounts to writ-
ing a new regulation, which
is the job of the Legislature,
not the court, he said.
The court issued a unan-
imous ruling July 16 that
requires piece-rate workers
be paid for 10-minute rest
breaks for every four hours
of work based on what work-
ers would have earned if they
worked through the breaks.
The alternative is paying an
hourly wage, at least mini-
mum wage, with rest breaks.
What piece-rate pickers
make varies by the day and
it “becomes quite onerous in
bookkeeping to keep track of
it all,” said Denny Hayden, a
small apple and cherry grow-
er north of Pasco.
Turn to RULING, Page 12
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
Dianeli Avila packs Red Delicious apples with amazing speed by
tossing and catching them at Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers in
Wenatchee, Wash., on March 10, 2014. Often such packers are paid
on a piece-rate basis as an incentive to work fast.