Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, August 14, 2015, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    FARMERS KEEP AN EYE ON WHEAT PRICES AS HARVEST WRAPS UP Page 5
Capital
Press
The West s
Weekly
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2015

VOLUME 88, NUMBER 33
WWW.CAPITALPRESS.COM
Ecology
Exporters
buying
less
edges
Situation worsened by devaluation of China yuan
toward
regulating
manure
lagoons
By DAN WHEAT
Capital Press
Agency revamping
terms of its CAFO
permits
By DON JENKINS
Capital Press
The Washington Depart-
ment of Ecology tentatively
moved Tuesday to regulate
hundreds of dairies and other
livestock operations that have
manure lagoons.
Ecology offi cials say
they’re trying to keep live-
stock waste from seeping into
groundwater, fulfi lling their
mandate to enforce federal
and state pollution laws.
An environmental group’s
director said the move is over-
due, while livestock industry
representatives warned the
proposal could lead to costly
rules that hinder producers.
DOE is rewriting the rules
for confi ned animal feeding
operations, or CAFOs. Cur-
rently, only 10 operations,
such as feedlots, in Washing-
ton state are required to have
CAFO permits. The permits
set out what producers must
do to keep manure from wash-
ing into surface water, regulat-
ing the size, design and main-
tenance of lagoons.
Under the new propos-
al, which Ecology offi cials
described as a “preliminary
draft,” the department turns
its attention to groundwater,
as well.
DOE assumes lagoons leak
manure into groundwater, so
any producer with a lagoon
will need a CAFO permit.
Plus, the producer will have to
test fi elds on which manure is
spread. Soil samples down to
3 feet deep will have to be tak-
en. The higher the contaminant
level, the stronger the action
the producer will have to take
to clean up the ground.
Lagoons lined with two
layers of synthetic material,
with a leak-detection system
between the layers, will be ex-
empt from the CAFO permit
requirements.
Jay Gordon, governmental
relations director of the Wash-
ington State Dairy Federa-
tion, said most of the state’s
400-plus dairies have manure
lagoons, but he didn’t know
of one lagoon that’s dou-
ble-lined. “It’s unbelievably
expensive,” he said.
Turn to LAGOONS, Page 12
ELLENSBURG, Wash.
— West Coast hay exporters
are buying signifi cantly less
hay this year because of a
buildup of inventory remain-
ing from last winter’s port
slowdown.
Business is bad and about
to get a whole lot worse be-
cause China devalued its
currency, said Jeff Calaway,
president of Calaway Trad-
ing Inc., a major hay exporter
based in Ellensburg, Wash.
Currencies in Asia tum-
bled and stock markets
worldwide fell Aug. 11 after
China’s central bank deval-
ued the yuan.
U.S. hay exporters and
their customers in China, Ja-
pan and the Middle East are
losing money on 2014 crop
hay contracts they have to
complete, Calaway said.
“We’re losing our shirts
and they are. No one is mak-
ing money. Now the future of
commodity prices looks very
challenging because Chi-
na just devalued the yuan.
Turn to HAY, Page 12
$2.00
hay this season
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
Swathers work on third-cutting alfalfa between Quincy and George,
Wash., on July 31. Exporters have been buying less hay this year as
they deal with stockpiles built up from last winter’s port slowdown.
A DIFFERENT
DROUGHT
Steve Elde, a Skagit County, Wash., farm
manager and irrigation district commis-
sioner, clears sticks from a pump that
draws from the north fork of the Skagit
River for two 6-hour intervals each day.
Prolonged hot, dry weather impacts
all of Washington’s farmers
By DON JENKINS
Capital Press
C
Photos by Don Jenkins/Capital Press
Water from the Skagit River pours into a
ditch to irrigate crops in northwest Washing-
ton. A pump drawing the water must be shut
off 12 hours a day.
Cranberries ripen in the sun on the Long Beach
Peninsula in southwest Washington. The berries
illustrate the complexities of forecasting the
drought’s economic impact on agriculture.
ONWAY, Wash. — Irrigation dis-
trict commissioner Steve Elde is
losing sleep over this year’s his-
toric drought.
Several times a day — or night — the re-
sponsibility often falls to Elde to go to the
Skagit River to tend the pump that serves as a
lifeline to the district’s farmers.
“It’s a weird schedule, but it’s the only op-
tion we have,” he said.
Elde’s northwestern Washington district
has a pump just upstream from where the
river empties into Puget Sound. The pump
provides much-needed water to the area’s
farmers, whose verdant fi elds would other-
wise be parched by this year’s drought. The
region has received just 1.68 inches of rain
since May 1 — 29 percent of normal.
Because the river is running low, and to leave
more water for fi sh, the Skagit Valley’s Drainage
and Irrigation District 15 can run the pump only
three hours before and after the twice-daily high
tides. That means an around-the-clock schedule
for Elde and those tending the pump.
Washington drought conditions
Intensity
D2-Drought (severe)
D0-Abnormally dry
D3-Drought (extreme)
D1-Drought (moderate)
D4-Drought (exceptional)
(As of Aug. 4)
Intensity of drought by percent area affected
Date
Current
3 mo. ago
1 yr. ago
None
0%
32.5
39.2
D0-4
100
67.5
60.8
D1-4
100
51.8
40.8
D2-4
100
15.5
20
D3-4
31.7
0
0
D4
0
0
0
Source: National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Turn to DROUGHT, Page 12
Capital Press graphic
“As a lifelong Washington resident, I don’t think I’ve ever prayed for rain.”
Tom Buroker, the state Department of Ecology’s Northwest Region director