Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, September 11, 2015, Page 8, Image 8

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

September 11, 2015
Canada opens borders to Northwest poultry
The Canadian Food
Inspection Agency has
lifted import restrictricts
on raw poultry, eggs, live
birds and poultry manure
from Washington,
Oregon and California.
The restrictions were
imposed after bird flu
was detected last winter
in the three states.
Bird flu sanctions in place for other states
Capital Press
Canadian food safety of-
ficials Sept. 1 lifted import
restrictions on uncooked
poultry products from Wash-
ington, Oregon and California
that were imposed last winter
during the early days of the
U.S. bird flu outbreak.
Import restrictions are still in
place for raw poultry and eggs
from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota,
Missouri, Nebraska, North Da-
kota, South Dakota and Wiscon-
sin, according to the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency.
The restrictions apply to
live birds and poultry manure.
Canadian officials say the
poultry products do not pose
a risk to humans. The restric-
tions are meant to keep bird flu
from spreading in Canada.
Highly pathogenic bird flu
was detected in a wild duck
and captive falcon in Whatcom
County in northwest Washing-
ton in mid-December, alert-
ing authorities that migratory
waterfowl were introducing a
strain of the disease never seen
in the U.S. before.
The virus appeared in a
backyard mixed-bird flock
in Douglas County in South-
ern Oregon, triggering bans
Don Jenkins/Capital Press
on U.S. poultry by several
countries. The bans were later
lifted or narrowed to specific
states or counties.
A non-commercial flock
in Benton County in Central
Washington was infected Jan.
9. The first commercial opera-
tion to be infected was a turkey
farm in Stanislaus County in
California in late January.
New cases in the West
dropped off after February,
but the virus spread rapid-
ly among Midwest poultry
farms in the spring. Nation-
wide, there were 223 bird flu
cases. More than 48 million
birds were killed or eutha-
The U.S. Department of
Agriculture has solicited pro-
posals from manufacturers for
bird flu vaccines. The USDA
says it wants to have a stock-
pile of doses if it decides to
approve vaccinations.
Bird flu infected 11 poultry
farms and three non-commer-
cial flocks in British Colum-
bia, Canada, in December.
The virus also hit three poultry
farms in Ontario in April.
Idaho tour highlights voluntary
range improvements for cutthroat
Capital Press
George Brich/Associated Press
This 1965 file photo shows Cesar Chavez, farm worker labor
organizer and leader of the California grape strike, in an office in
California. On Labor Day weekend of 2015, hundreds of former
and current labor activists, both Filipino and Mexican American,
flowed into the Central Valley town of Delano where 50 years ago,
they launched the Delano grape strike.
Activists remember
the 1965 Delano
grape strike
DELANO, Calif. (AP) —
Hundreds of former and current
labor activists, both Filipino and
last weekend into the Central
Valley town of Delano where
50 years ago, they launched the
Delano grape strike that altered
the course of American history.
Among them was Lorraine
Agtang, who On Sept. 8, 1965,
along with her family and other
Filipino grape pickers, walked
out of their fields to protest a
pay cut from $1.40 to $1.25 an
hour, the Sacramento Bee re-
ported Monday.
“I was a kid, only 13,” re-
called Agtang, who was born
and raised in a labor camp 2
miles east of Delano. “It was
midmorning when picketers
showed up where we were
picking grapes for Giumarra
growers and my dad, Platon
Agtang, said there’s a strike and
we should leave.”
When Agtang saw Filipi-
nos on the picket lines, she
said, “that affected my life
story — I knew the Filipinos
were hard-working people not
bent on civil disobedience, but
it was pretty amazing when I
learned they were standing up
for what they wanted.”
Some were beaten and
evicted from their homes; oth-
ers clashed with law enforce-
ment and Mexican strikebreak-
ers brought in by the growers,
but they stood strong.
On Sunday, the efforts of the
largely Filipino and Mexican
workers were commemorated
with a Mass, bus tours of the
historically relevant sites, films
and a discussion panel.
Agtang, whose dad was Ilo-
cano, a Filipino ethnic group,
and whose mother was Mexi-
can, said that before the strike,
“the growers would pit Filipi-
nos against Mexicans, saying
the other group was working
harder, so there was always this
kind of competitiveness.”
By 1966, Filipinos and Mex-
icans had formed the still-pow-
erful United Farm Workers.
The table grape strike
succeeded where others had
failed when Chavez, who led
a well-publicized march from
Delano to Sacramento in the
spring of 1966, came up with
a stroke of genius — the 1968-
1970 grape boycott that spread
“It showed powerless peo-
ple they could do something,”
said Philip Martin, professor of
agricultural and resource eco-
nomics at the University of Cal-
ifornia-Davis. “It is considered
one of the most successful union
boycotts ever — 12 percent of
Americans said they avoided
eating grapes during the boycott,
and by 1970, most major grape
growers had UFW contracts.”
The workers also won med-
ical and retirement benefits as
well as laws banning the use
of pesticides that cause skin
disorders and other maladies,
Agtang said.
Before she drove to Delano,
Agtang stopped at the bronze
Cesar Chavez memorial across
from Sacramento City Hall
depicting Chavez leading two
dozen protesters on a march
for justice. One of them is a
13-year-old girl.
“That’s me on the statue,”
Agtang said proudly, “and I’m
not even dead yet.”
Bear Lake Grazing Association
ranchers have agreed to reduce
grazing densities, remove cat-
tle from restored stream banks
and adjust grazing rotations on
their private land for the sake
of conservation.
Thus far, however, they’ve
come out ahead, they assured
participants in a Sept. 2 tour
of habitat improvements
throughout their range, aimed
at benefiting Yellowstone cut-
throat trout.
The Upper Blackfoot Con-
fluence — a partnership in-
volving mining companies,
Trout Unlimited and the Idaho
Conservation League — has
already completed several trout
habitat improvements within
the association’s territory and
has additional projects in plan-
ning stages that would involve
other nearby grazing entities.
“We have developed a real-
ly great relationship (with land
owners) here, and the trust is
building,” said Matt Woodard,
with Trout Unlimited.
The Upper Blackfoot wa-
tershed — historically a cut-
throat stronghold but depleted
of trout in recent years — en-
compasses several phosphate
mines, in addition to expansive
The unlikely group of allies
has managed to fast-track proj-
ects, leveraging federal grants
through EPA and other sourc-
es with funds from Monsanto,
Agrium and J.R. Simplot and
expertise from the conservation
organizations. Participants also
enroll in weed management
and grazing rotation programs
administered by USDA’s Nat-
ural Resources Conservation
Rep. Mike Simpson,
R-Idaho, and several top ex-
ecutives from Monsanto’s St.
Louis office made the tour,
which highlighted off-stream
water troughs, stream-bank
restorations and new irrigation
diversions intended to help
both trout and ranchers’ bot-
tom lines.
“It’s a combination of pri-
vate, government and corpo-
rate work trying to get the job
done,” Simpson said, adding
similar stream-health projects
should be prioritized through-
out the country. “It avoids a lot
of the controversies and things
that come up when govern-
ment tries to do things by itself
when voluntary groups like
this come together and try to
solve problems.”
Glen Kurowski, Monsan-
to’s director of environmental
affairs, was impressed esti-
mates that the Lane’s Creek
stream restoration has removed
hundreds of truckloads of
eroded sediment from the wa-
“To see the progress that has
been made, it’s why all of the
companies are involved in this,
including Monsanto,” Kurows-
ki said.
The partnership restored 2.5
miles of Lane’s Creek through
Bret King’s property. In ex-
change King has reduced graz-
ing density, kept cattle away
from the stream and adjusted
his grazing rotation. King ad-
mits it’s taken some work to
get his ranch manager to buy
into the changes. But he now
has consistent and evenly dis-
tributed water from eight new
troughs, and he’s optimistic
greater attention to grazing rota-
tion and an elevated water table
surrounding the restored stream
will improve forage.
“Fish haven’t been a priori-
ty for the last 100 years, and I
think we can benefit them and
still do what we want to do,”
King said.
Lynn Keetch, with Bear
Lake Cattle Co., has been
pleasantly surprised that cattle
seem to prefer water troughs
installed with partnership fund-
ing. The partnership restored a
reach of Sheep Creek through
the company’s land — which
the company views as a pilot
project that could lead to future
stream restorations if the water
table rises and improves forage
growth, as anticipated.
“We haven’t had any prob-
lems,” Keetch said, advising
other ranchers to weigh the pros
and cons of such partnerships
and to make certain their oper-
ations stand to gain.
Ecology to EPA: Don’t OSU researchers
experimenting with
count dust storms
emerging soil moisture
sensing system
Capital Press
The Washington State De-
partment of Ecology is asking
the Environmental Protection
Agency to exclude several
2013 dust storms from calcula-
tions used to determine wheth-
er the area exceeded particle
pollution standards.
When standards are ex-
ceeded more than three times
in a three-year period, local
and state air quality agencies
are required to take steps to
reduce air pollution, accord-
ing to Ecology. The violations
may also affect federal trans-
portation funding.
Ecology will submit a report
to the EPA asking the federal
agency to exclude high parti-
cle pollution levels from three
Kennewick, Wash., dust storms
in 2013. Agricultural land in
Washington and Oregon were
the main source of the dust.
The report found that the
storms were “uncontrollable
Ecology determined in the
report that “reasonable and
appropriate controls” were in
place, but the wind from the
three storms overwhelmed them.
“The agriculture controls in
place are enough and they’re
doing the job,” said Camille St.
Onge, communications manag-
er for Ecology.
they’re doing was adequate
at the time,” said Laurie
Hulse-Moyer, air quality
planner for Ecology.
If the storms are counted,
the total number of events
will exceed the three-time
limit, Hulse-Moyer said.
There have been two other
similar occurrences since
2013, she said, both of which
could also qualify as “excep-
tional events,” with little or
no human cause.
It’s unclear what the im-
pact would be for agriculture
if the air quality agencies
would have to take further
steps, Hulse-Moyer said.
“They would ask us to
look at all sources of air pol-
lution to see what could be
done,” she said.
Capital Press
ONTARIO, Ore. — Or-
egon State University re-
searchers in Malheur Coun-
ty are testing emerging
soil sensor technology to
try to help farmers in this
drought-stricken area make
better use of their sparse wa-
ter supplies.
Researchers at the OSU
experiment station and ex-
tension office in Ontario
are using soil sensors and a
wireless sensor web system
to monitor soil moisture lev-
els and provide usable data
that farmers can view from a
computer, smart phone, tab-
let or other device.
As Malheur County farm-
ers suffer through the third
straight year of significantly
reduced water supplies, that
type of information can be
critical, said OSU cropping
systems extension agent Bill
“If you are planning on
watering every four days and
your sensor’s telling you wa-
tering every six days is fine,
you’re going to save a lot of
water over the course of a
year,” he said.
In the past, farmers have
had to go to a central point
in a field to download or ac-
cess soil moisture data, Buh-
rig said. This system allows
them to view it anywhere
they have an Internet con-
“Properly installed mois-
ture sensors can tell you a
lot about what’s going on in
your field and ... it keeps you
from having to stand on site
to get your moisture data,”
he said. “Remote sensing
technology is really kind of
the next frontier.”
The system includes poles
with sensors planted in the
soil nearby. The poles gather
the sensor information and
relay it back to a main base
station in the field, which
sends it to a web-based plat-
form that updates the data
every 30 minutes.
The system can send a
grower an email if soil is too
wet or dry.
The data is presented to
farmers in a usable format
that allows them to increase
the accuracy of irrigation
scheduling and manage soil
moisture quicker and more
effectively, Buhrig said.
Buhrig is experimenting
with the system in multiple
crops grown in the region,
including sugar beets, on-
ions, potatoes, pumpkins
and alfalfa seed.
This type of remote sens-
ing technology is relatively
new to the area, he said.
“I don’t know of a lot of
producers who are (using
it),” Buhrig said. “Part of the
purpose of these demonstra-
tions is to try to show it to
producers and to try to get
them to adapt the technolo-
Snake River Sugar Co-
op Chairman Duane Grant,
a farmer in Rupert, Idaho,
said sugar beet growers are
keeping track of the OSU
experiments because “we
are interested in using re-
mote sensing as a platform
that allows us to more ef-
fectively track soil moisture
and more effectively manage
crop health.”
The technology doesn’t
replace anything but it does
bring growers a new set of
additional data points that
is important as water gets
tighter, he said.
“The water supply in all
of our growing area is re-
stricted,” Grant said. “The
days of being able to count
on a full available supply of
water are over.”