Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, September 22, 2017, Page 7, Image 7

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    September 22, 2017
USDA organic chief McEvoy steps down
Capital Press
Miles McEvoy, USDA
deputy administrator of the
National Organic Program,
is stepping down after eight
years at the helm to return to
his home in Olympia, Wash.
In a Sept. 10 letter to the
organic community, McEvoy
said he will be leaving the job
at the end of September and
the program will be in “excel-
lent hands” under the leader-
ship of AMS Acting Admin-
istrator Bruce Summers and
Acting Deputy Administrator
Jenny Tucker.
David Glasgow, USDA
Agricultural Marketing Ser-
vice director of public affairs,
said the agency had no fur-
Miles McEvoy, deputy admin-
istrator of the National Organic
Program, is stepping down at
the end of September after
eight years at the helm.
ther details beyond McEvoy’s
personal letter to the organic
“It’s been an incredible
eight years and I’m honored
to have served. I’m taking
some time off and then will
look for other opportunities to
contribute to building the or-
ganic sector,” McEvoy said in
an email to Capital Press.
In his letter, he said it’s
been an incredible honor to
serve the organic community
and an extremely gratifying
experience but he’s been con-
sidering leaving for the last
few years.
“I’m 60 now, my grand-
children are growing, and I
want to spend more time with
them. I’m ready to have a less
intense work life and to spend
more time biking and bird-
ing,” he said.
He added he will miss the
people at AMS and NOP, who
use their talents every day to
“protect organic integrity and
support the organic commu-
He also thanked organic
producers, processors, han-
dlers, traders and consumers
for building “an incredibly di-
verse, prosperous and life-en-
riching organic agriculture
The Organic Trade Associ-
ation did not have a comment
when contacted, but present-
ed McEvoy with an honorary
lifetime membership at its
award ceremony Wednesday,
Maggie McNeil, OTA direc-
tor of media relations, said.
In his letter, McEvoy said
at his request the organic sec-
tor supplied him with a long
list of priorities in his first few
months on the job and most
were accomplished.
“We transformed the NOP
into a respected and func-
tional program that is highly
regarded within USDA and
around the world,” he said.
He highlighted advance-
ments in quality management,
communication, certification,
accreditation, appeals, en-
forcement, standards, interna-
tional activities and an organ-
ic database.
But his tenure has not been
without controversy, particu-
larly scrutiny from advocacy
groups and the media over
the agency’s handling of the
National List of Allowed and
Prohibited Substances in or-
ganic production and process-
In his letter, he said the
organic community will face
challenges and opportuni-
ty in the years ahead and he
encouraged the sector to em-
brace diversity in organic
farming and processing, sup-
port each other in confronting
the challenges of water avail-
ability and climate change
and to not become too reduc-
tionist when reviewing mate-
rials to be allowed in organic
production and processing.
McEvoy, who took the
helm at NOP in October
2009, has been working in
the organic industry for 25
years. In 1988, he was the
first organic inspector for the
Washington State Depart-
ment of Agriculture. Before
that, he spent 10 years work-
ing on farms, in wild-capture
fisheries and in reforestation.
He holds a master’s degree
in entomology from Cornell
Walnut growers set to harvest smaller crop
Capital Press
U.S. Wheat Associates
Members of a group representing Taiwanese millers sign a letter
of intent to purchase U.S. wheat for two more years on Sept. 13 in
Washington, D.C. They were also scheduled to travel to Idaho to
sign an agreement.
Taiwan millers renew
pledge on U.S. wheat
Capital Press
BOISE — Representatives
of the fourth largest importer
of Idaho wheat were sched-
uled to sign a pledge Sept. 20
at the Idaho Capitol to contin-
ue their grain purchases for
two more years.
During the 11 a.m. cere-
mony, which Gov. Butch Ot-
ter said he planned to attend,
officials of the Taiwan Flour
Millers Association were to
sign a letter agreeing to buy
1.8 million metric tons of U.S.
wheat in 2018 and 2019 com-
The Idaho Wheat Commis-
sion’s vice chairman, Bill Flo-
ry, was to sign the letter.
The Taiwanese group,
which arrived in the U.S.
Sept. 12 for an eight-day vis-
it, signed the same pledge in
Washington, D.C., on Sept.
13 and visited Montana and
North Dakota. The letter of
intent is symbolic and is re-
newed by the Taiwanese mill-
ers every two years, based on
their projected grain demand.
This marks the 11th time
leaders with the association,
which represents all 20 of Tai-
wan’s millers, have signed a
pledge to buy U.S. wheat.
“This is an opportunity for
our groups to come together
to thank each other for being
a customer and a supplier of
wheat and to continue to grow
our relationship,” said Tereasa
Waterman, the Idaho Wheat
Commission’s information
and education manager.
During their time in the
Gem State, the Taiwanese
representatives planned to
tour an artisan bakery in Boi-
se and meet with Idaho wheat
growers at a dinner hosted on
Kuna grower Richard Du-
rant’s farm.
Waterman said 47 percent
of Idaho’s wheat is export-
ed, and the Taiwanese buy
roughly $470 million in Ida-
ho wheat annually. She said
Taiwan buys a lot of hard red
wheat from Idaho, but they’re
most interested in the state’s
soft white wheat, which they
use in products such as cook-
ies, crackers, cakes and noo-
“The Pacific Northwest
soft white is world famous for
its high quality and end-use
performance,” she said.
Mark Fowler, vice presi-
dent of overseas operations
with U.S. Wheat Associates,
said Taiwan buys most of its
wheat from the Pacific North-
west, which has a freight ad-
vantage over other U.S. re-
gions. Fowler said Taiwan is
the eighth largest importer of
U.S. wheat, averaging about
38 million bushels per year.
nut growers in California are
expecting a slightly smaller
crop this fall, but bigger nut
sizes could be a hit in the
global marketplace.
Farms in the southern San
Joaquin Valley have begun
harvesting the earliest variet-
ies in what the National Ag-
ricultural Statistics Service
expects to be a 650,000-ton
statewide crop.
That’s a 5 percent drop
from last year’s record pro-
duction of 686,000 tons, and
survey data shows a record
low average nut set of 1,141
per tree, down 19 percent
from 2016’s average of 1,406,
NASS reported.
But the lower nut sets were
not a surprise, said Michelle
Connelly, the California Wal-
nut Board’s executive direc-
“It’s a good thing because
sizes were bigger” in this
year’s survey, Connelly said.
The in-shell weight per nut
and length and width mea-
surements all came in above
last year’s sizes, according
to NASS. Overall, 98.1 per-
cent of in-shell kernels were
sound, the agency reported.
Larger, meatier walnuts
could be a benefit as the in-
dustry is still rebounding from
a price slide in 2014 and 2015
that made it difficult for some
growers with young orchards
to turn a profit.
The price per ton for the
2016-17 shipping year aver-
aged $1,810, up from $1,670
in the previous year but still
down from the peak of $3,710
in 2013, according to NASS.
The total value of the crop
harvested in 2016 came in
at $1.24 billion, up from just
over $1 billion for the 2015
Growers have worked
in recent years to maximize
quality to get the most out of
softening prices amid three
straight record crops. Farm
advisers have offered tips on
producing high-quality, light-
er kernels, such as not wa-
tering too much or too little,
Tim Hearden/Capital Press File
Walnuts pour into a bin to be trucked to a processing plant. Growers are expecting a slightly smaller
crop this year with larger nut sizes, according to a government report.
guarding against insects and
trying to harvest near the be-
ginning of hull split.
The larger sizes could be
attractive in export markets
where in-shell nuts are popu-
lar, Connelly said.
“It’s certainly good news
for export markets,” she said.
Walnut harvests typical-
ly ramp up in late Septem-
ber and continue through
October. This year’s har-
vest is about a week late be-
cause of weather, Connelly
Walnut orchards received
adequate chilling hours while
sopping up record amounts
of rain last winter and spring,
NASS noted. Some orchards
were saturated for several
In the summer, a series of
heat waves pushed tempera-
tures in some parts of the Cen-
tral Valley near or above 110
degrees, prompting growers
to manage sunburn with ka-
olin particle films.
• Seed Bags
• Fertilizer Bags
• Feed Bags
• Potato Bags
• Printed Bags
• Plain Bags
• Bulk Bags
• Totes
• Woven Polypropylene
• Bopp
• Polyethylene
• Pocket Bags
• Roll Stock & More!
• Hay Sleeves
• Strap
• Totes
• Printed or Plain
• Stretch Film
• Stretch Film
• Pallet Sheets
• Pallet Covers
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