Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, September 18, 2015, Page 3, Image 3

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    September 18, 2015
Apple harvest could finish early
Capital Press
Washington apple growers are
into their second full month
of their 2015 harvest with an
eye on an early ending.
Typically, various variet-
ies are picked from mid-Au-
gust to mid-November, but
this crop is 10 to 11 days
ahead of last year, which
was about a week ahead of
normal, Scott McDougall,
co-president of McDougall
& Sons Inc., an apple grow-
er and packer in Wenatchee,
“So we’re running 18 days
ahead of what we would con-
sider normal,” he said. “Our
company should be done
about the 25th of October.
That’s record early.”
The benefit of an early
ending is less exposure to
crop-killing freezes, he said.
But the early crop also
suffered from prolonged ex-
cessive heat in June disrupt-
ing normal apple growth.
Gala, the first main va-
riety to be picked, was too
small and oddly matured be-
cause of that heat, said the
quality control manager of a
Wenatchee warehouse who
didn’t want to be identified.
“Some fruit was over ma-
ture and other not internal-
ly mature from heat at the
wrong time of year (June)
when it should have been
growing,” he said.
Starch turned to sugar as
it is suppose to but internal
pressures didn’t hold up, he
said. That reduces crispness.
Nevertheless, there are
not any catastrophic quality
issues industry-wide, said
Mike Robinson, general
manager of Double Diamond
Fruit Co., Quincy.
“The difficult dance is bal-
Josephine County won’t
enforce GMO ban while
lawsuit is pending
stayed until grower
lawsuit resolved
Capital Press
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
Fernando Florez, 73, clips stems off Honeycrisp apples as he picks them in a Custom Apple Packers Inc.
orchard in Brewster, Wash., on Aug. 31. Stems are clipped to keep them from puncturing soft apple skin.
ancing maturity with color
and size. It’s pretty much true
across the board on all vari-
eties,” said Keith Mathews,
CEO and general manager
of First Fruits Marketing of
Washington, Yakima.
Because of heat and ear-
ly harvest, a lot of growers
strip-picked Gala instead of
picking two to three times
for color, Mathews said.
The result is a lot of small,
light-color, low-grade apples
that are harder to market, he
“We will oversupply it
and the price on those sizes
and grades will be difficult to
recover input costs from, not
just Gala but small fruit in all
varieties,” he said.
Growers with preferred
sizes in the 80s should see
very good prices, he said.
A couple recent holders of
2014 Red Delicious dumped
a lot of it to the processing
market and 2014 carryover
is low enough to help reset
overall wholesale prices up-
ward after the poor 2014 sea-
son, Mathews said.
“Premium 88s (size) have
moved up significantly in
price but prices are depressed
on fancy 2.25-inch bags of
just about anything. There’s
too many and not enough
customers,” he said.
Average asking prices
of new crop Gala 80s extra
fancy was $26 to $30.90 per
40-pound box on Sept. 8, ac-
cording to USDA. It was $18
to $20.90 for smaller-sized
Old crop Red Delicious,
80s in size, was $10 to $13.
It was $9 per box last winter,
well below break-even and a
high of $22 in 2012.
USDA reports show new
2015 crop Washington apple
shipments began the week
ending Aug. 1 with 41,578
boxes shipped. A total of 1.47
million boxes were shipped
the week ending Sept. 5 and
4.4 million of new crop, sea-
son-to-date. About 1.5 mil-
lion boxes of 2014 apples re-
mained as of Sept. 5.
McDougall said stora-
bility probably will be more
challenging this year because
of heat. He said color is im-
proving now that nighttime
temperatures are reaching the
upper 40s and lower 50s.
His Gala picked short
of estimate and, he said,
he thinks the total indus-
try crop will fall short of its
Aug. 1, 125.2-million-box
Harvest labor has not been
a problem for McDougall &
Sons since it now has about
600 H-2A visa foreign guest-
workers, he said.
“Labor is tight. I wouldn’t
want to be doing this without
H-2A,” Robinson said. “But I
think most growers are doing
a good job of getting fruit off
when needed.”
Oregon’s Josephine Coun-
ty will not enforce its prohibi-
tion against genetically engi-
neered crops while a farmer
lawsuit against the ordinance
is underway.
The county counsel, Wal-
ly Hicks, has notified the at-
torney for sugar beet grow-
ers Robert and Shelley Ann
White that enforcement will
be stayed as they seek to
overturn the ban, which was
passed by voters last year.
The couple contends that
Oregon lawmakers pre-empt-
ed most local governments
from regulating genetically
modified organisms as part
of a bill passed in 2013 and
have requested a permanent
injunction against Josephine
County’s ban.
John DiLorenzo, attor-
ney for the growers, said he
agreed not to seek a tempo-
rary restraining order against
the ordinance as long as the
county consented to forgo en-
“Both sides have to spend
less time and less expense,”
he said.
The situation would likely
change if Josephine County
does take action against bio-
tech farmers before the law-
suit is resolved, he said.
“I could fire up again, but
I take them at their word,”
DiLorenzo said.
Biotech farmers were also
required to report their crops,
location and “phase-out”
plans to the county sheriff,
according to the notice. That
reporting requirement is also
stayed under the recent agree-
In their lawsuit, the Whites
claim they were planning
to cultivate sugar beets in a
leased field but were prevent-
ed from doing so when the
county announced the GMO
ban would go into effect on
Sept. 4.
Josephine County’s deci-
sion, however, has not con-
vinced the couple to plant
transgenic sugar beets be-
cause they don’t want to place
themselves “in harm’s way,”
DiLorenzo said.
Farmers who do have ge-
netically engineered crops,
however, don’t have to worry
about enforcement actions, he
Capital Press was unable
to reach Wally Hicks of Jose-
phine County for comment as
of press time.
Mary Middleton, who peti-
tioned for the GMO ban, said
the county is likely being cau-
tious while the case is being
“It’s unfortunate that’s the
route, because the will of the
people is that it would be en-
forced,” she said.
Voters in Oregon’s Jackson
County also passed a prohibi-
tion against GMOs, but that
ordinance is not subject to the
state seed pre-emption bill.
The legislature exempt-
ed Jackson County from its
pre-emption statute because
the ordinance was already on
the ballot when the state law
was passed.
Attracting talent next step in S. Idaho food success, experts say
Capital Press
Southern Idaho has been on a
winning streak in attracting
new food processors and en-
couraging existing agribusi-
nesses to expand, netting $1
billion in capital investments
and creating 5,000 new jobs
since coming out of the re-
But the challenge now is
attracting young millennials
— people ages 18 to 34 — to
fill those jobs and keep the
momentum going.
It’s not just a Southern
Idaho issue, it’s a national
dilemma, said Jan Rogers,
outgoing executive director
of Southern Idaho Economic
Development Organization.
Millennials are a different
generation, with different
needs, desires and motiva-
tions than baby boomers and
Generation Xers, she said.
Attracting and keeping
that new talent was the fo-
cus of SIEDO’s 2015 Annual
Summit, held Sept. 10 at the
College of Southern Idaho.
Southern Idaho has plen-
ty of jobs but, like the rest of
the country, attracting talent
from the “millennial tsuna-
mi” coming into the work
force is challenging tradi-
tional work cultures, Rogers
U.S. millennials num-
ber 83.1 million, more than
a quarter of the population,
with 53.5 million in the
workplace representing about
one-third of U.S. workers,
according to U.S. Census Bu-
reau data.
The millennial generation
is characterized as deter-
mined, entitled and empow-
ered. It represents people
who value quality of place
and want to make a differ-
ence in the world, Rogers
Southern Idaho — with its
beautiful landscapes and ro-
bust food production — has
a lot to offer in those regards,
but “we’re not talking to
them in their language,” she
They are technological-
ly advanced compared to
boomers and far more en-
gaged in social media. They
want adventure, challenge, a
voice in the workplace and
to be able to advance quick-
ly, she said.
Jeff Sayer, director of
Idaho Department of Labor,
said advancing individuals is
one of the missions in Gov.
Butch Otter’s Accelerate Ida-
ho plan for economic growth.
“We need to advance the
earning capabilities of every
citizen … get skill sets in
their hands,” he said.
In engineering a talent
pipeline, particular attention
needs to be given to what
comes out of Idaho’s educa-
tion system, he said.
A Department of Labor
analysis shows Idaho’s econ-
omy is on track to produce
109,000 new jobs in the next
10 years but expects only
108,000 people to relocate to
the state in that same period
— and most of them will be
over 65 years old, he said.
“The issue of talent is sig-
nificant,” he said.
In the foreseeable future,
states are going to stop re-
cruiting industry and start re-
cruiting talent. Idaho is cur-
rently short 95,000 workers,
and states much bigger than
Idaho are going to start re-
cruiting Idaho talent, he said.
It’ll be a “war for talent,”
he said.
Every conversation state
officials have with prospec-
tive new companies to Idaho
isn’t about incentives or tax-
es; it’s about talent, he said.
“We’re already having a
hard time finding talent. We
need to be proactive,” he
Minimum hazelnut prices second-highest on record
Oregon’s hazelnut grow-
ers didn’t expect a repeat of
last year, when a disastrous
freeze in Turkey brought
record prices as candy,
spread and snack makers
chased replacement sup-
But this season’s initial
minimum price of $1.22 a
pound for field-run hazel-
nuts, announced by the Ha-
zelnut Growers Bargaining
Association, is the second
highest on record.
The starting price pack-
ers were willing to pay last
year was $1.70 a pound,
thanks to the freeze that
decimated the world’s lead-
ing nut producing region,
and the price jacked up to
$1.81 by season’s end.
Oregon produces only 5
percent of the world sup-
ply, but is nonetheless the
second-leading production
area and was ready when
buyers came calling.
Bargaining association
President Doug Olsen said
the 2015 starting price is
fair, considering the cir-
“Everybody knew the
price was going to come
down,” Olsen said in a
news release. “Last year’s
was an anomaly.”
Turkey expects a good
crop this year, while cur-
rency devaluations there
and in China — a major
buyer of Oregon hazelnuts
— make American products
more expensive by compar-
In addition, an over-sup-
ply of walnuts gives end
users another nut option,
according to the bargain-
ing association’s news
Oregon growers are pro-
jected to produce about
39,000 tons of hazelnuts
this year.
Willamette Valley grow-
ers have been adding 3,000
to 5,000 acres per year for
several years running. In
some cases, farmers have
replaced grass seed or row
crops with hazelnut or-
Eric Mortenson/Capital Press File
Hazelnuts drop from husks in the fall and are raked into windrows
and swept up by harvesters. A record price in 2014, when this har-
vest photo was taken, made each nut worth an estimated 1.3 cents.
Capital Press