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Posts tagged: agriculture

Northwest produce now tariff-free

Tariffs on Northwest fruit crops and potatoes vanished Friday, completing an agreement that allows Mexican trucking firms to deliver inside the United States.

The Mexican government announced elimination of the final 10 percent tariffs on 90 U.S. products, including apples, pears, cherries and apricots.

Mexico is Washington state’s largest export market for apples, the Yakima Herald-Republic reports.

Mexico imposed 20 percent tariffs in 2009 in retaliation for the end of a pilot program under the North American Free Trade Agreement that allowed domestic deliveries by Mexican carriers. Congress declined to fund the pilot program.

The tariffs were cut in half when the two countries reached a tentative agreement earlier this year to relaunch the program. Inspections and a review of driver records are now required for driver compliance. Drivers will be tracked along their delivery routes.

The tariffs cost the region’s fruit growers millions of dollars.

E. Washington cherry harvest two weeks late

YAKIMA, Wash. — After delays caused by a cool, wet spring, the cherry harvest is under way in Eastern Washington.

Growers hope to have some cherries in markets for the Fourth of July weekend. 

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the cherry harvest in the Yakima Valley is about two weeks later than normal. 

The director of the Northwest Cherry Growers Association, B.J. Thurlby, says growers typically have 5 million to 7 million boxes picked by the end of June. This year they’ll have 2 million, at most. 

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah ship about 14 million boxes each season. Washington accounts for about 80 percent of the total.

Washington farm exports on record pace

The Washington Agriculture Department reports farm exports reached record highs in the final quarter of last year and first quarter of this year — more than $1.9 billion a quarter.

The department says sales beat the old record set in 2008, the Associated Press reports.

Japan was the top destination from October through March for Washington products, buying wheat, hay and potatoes. Canada was second, buying seafood, apples and vegetables. And China third, buying seafood, potatoes and apples.

Big wheat yields due to cool, wet spring

All that rain and cool weather in the spring made for ideal growing conditions for dryland wheat farmers across the region, and growers anticipate big yields as they begin their summer harvests.

Yields of Washington winter wheat are predicted this year to reach about 65 bushels per acre, up from 59 bushels in 2009, while the spring wheat harvest is projected at a record 56 bushels per acre, according to a forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Total wheat production in the Northwest is projected to reach a 10-year high this year, according to the Washington Grain Alliance.

In the arid Ritzville area west of Spokane, rainfall was 130 percent of normal, according to precipitation surveys. “That has just made for some incredible crops this year,” said Scott Yates, spokesman for the Washington Grain Commission.

And farmers in the region are earning decent prices for their wheat. Bids on Friday for soft white wheat were about $4.45 a bushel through AgVentures NW LLC, which manages the Odessa Union Warehouse Cooperative and Reardan Grain Growers.

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