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Farm and Ranch Northwest

Pend Oreille Ferry

Stevens

SUMMER 2012

Bonner

Spokane

Lincoln

Grant

Boundary

Kootenai

Benewah Adams

Whitman

Shoshone

Latah Clearwater

Franklin Yakima

Garfield Columbia

Benton

Nez Perce

Asotin

Walla Walla

Lewis

Klickitat Umatilla

Wallowa

Morrow

Inside this issue:

Idaho

Union

WEED WARRIORS Baker

Fighting back with biology

Produced quarterly by Tribune Publishing Company


2 | Friday, June 29, 2012

Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

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Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012 Pend Oreille Ferry

Boundary

Stevens

Bonner

Spokane

Lincoln

Grant

Kootenai

Benewah Adams

Whitman

Shoshone

Latah Clearwater

Franklin Yakima

Garfield Columbia

Benton

Walla Walla

Asotin

Nez Perce Lewis

Klickitat Umatilla

Wallowa

Morrow

Idaho

Union

Farm and Ranch Northwest

By the numbers

UI digs up ag data in the Northwest | 4

Northwest 4-H

Making the best better | 8

Rootstock testing

WSU study concludes rootstock quality good | 10 On the cover: Mark Graves of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspects a poison hemlock plant near the mouth of the Tucannon River.

Northwest Farm and Ranch is published quarterly by the Lewiston Tribune and Moscow-Pullman Daily News and printed at the Tribune Publishing Co. Inc.’s printing facility at 505 Capital St. in Lewiston. To advertise in Northwest Farm and Ranch, contact the Moscow-Pullman Daily News advertising department at 208.882.5561 or Advertising Manager Craig Staszkow at cstaszkow@dnews.com, or the Lewiston Tribune advertising department at 208.848.2216 or Advertising Director Fred Board at fboard@lmtribune.com. Editorial suggestions and ideas can be sent to Lee Rozen at lrozen@dnews.com or Doug Bauer at dbauer@lmtribune.com

Eric Barker/Northwest Farm and Ranch

Mark Graves looks a photo he took last year and compares it to the same place this spring. Graves released a biocontrol agent on the patch of poison hemlock last year. This year, the bugs denuded the invasive weeds.

Weed warriors enlist biocontrols Dalmatian toadflax and poison hemlock targeted

By Eric Barker for Northwest Farm and Ranch

S

TARBUCK, Wash. — Wildlife biologist Mark Graves is both tickled and stunned as he examines a patch of poison hemlock at the Tuccanon Wildlife Management Area near here. The invasive weed, poisonous to humans and livestock, grows thick along low elevation streams and rivers, in highway ditches, along roads and trails and on the edges of agricultural land throughout the country. It’s tall, aggressive and crowds out native plants. The patch along the Tuccanon River is thick but looks as if it has been sprayed with herbicide. The leaves are curled and yellowed and the distinctive clusters of white flowers that normally top the plant are absent. Graves grabs a stem and gently rolls one of the curled up leaves between his thumb and forefinger until a bright green worm pops into his palm. It and thousands of others are responsible for the damage.

“It causes severe defoliation to the young stem tissue, flowers and seeds and takes the plant base away,” he said. The little green worm is the larva of the poison hemlock moth, also known as agonopterix alstroemeriana and shows some promise as a successful biocontrol agent for the weed. “The female lays like 200 eggs over a period of a couple of weeks that emerge as little larvae, and they essentially denude the poison hemlock,” said Nell Murray, Asotin County weed coordinator. “The theory is the seeds are not going to be able to develop because of the lack of leaf structure.” Just like the weed, the moth is native to Europe and western Asia. Poison hemlock was introduced to North American in the 1800s as an ornamental and quickly spread. The moth was accidentally introduced in 1973 but has since been harnessed as a biocontrol agent — a native bug used to control noxious weeds. Graves, who works for the Walla Walla District of the Army Corps of Engineers

introduced the moth last year to several of the habitat management units his agency oversees. He’s hoping it will help control infestations of poison hemlock up and down the lower Snake River. But Murray, who has worked with the moths much longer, said patience is required. Although the larvae appear to hammer foliage, the plant can respond by sending up a second bloom, or flush, six weeks after the first. “So you get the first flush, and it is dynamite, and it denudes the plant, and then you have the second flush coming up, and the moths are all done,” she said. Even with the second bloom, the seed bed is slowly being reduced. Murray is working with a weed coordinator in another county who has found a moth that breeds later and might be effective at attacking the plant’s second flush. “I hope these first flush and second flush moths actually work together, and then we can see some real success at See WEEDS, Page 10


4 | Friday, June 29, 2012

Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

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do estimates of machinery costs and custom rates. So we have a lot of work that feeds into annual costs.” This information is posted online in several formats so that growers can put in their own costs and customize the data for their individual records. And how is this information used? Painter said the research is wellregarded in the agricultural community of Idaho and several Northwest states. Growers use it to help determine typical costs of production and contract prices. The data is used in research, to help growers get loans and to compare individual costs. It can be used to determine whether an operator can afford machinery and other capital improvement upgrades and also helps to set equitable lease and land rental rates. The information also is sometimes used in court, as when a crop is destroyed and the litigants See DATA, Page 13

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Sen. Jim Risch joined lawmakers in Oregon, Idaho, Colorado and Wisconsin in issuing a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging greater efforts to expand potato exports to Mexico. The letter cites a review of pesticide concerns by Mexico indicating only six of 67 pests were an issue. In past negotiations, Mexico agreed to export expansion if three of those pests identified were addressed, later increasing that number to 33, the letter states. “There were disagreements in the end between Mexico and the independent panel,� said Janeen Heath, a spokeswoman for Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. The panel “found that most of them weren’t See POTATOES, Page 11

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Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

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toxin (often retained in fields where corn-wheatbarley annual rotations are used), that can render the wheat and barley crops unmarketable. The best practice, Marshall said, would be Marshall to never rotate corn into fields where wheat and barley are grown. But if that can’t be done, planting UI Stone should help wheat farmers retain acceptable yields and necessary quality. UI Stone, among other things, has been touted as excellent for production of cookies and noodles. “There’s a whole different bunch of pressures on breeders,� Marshall said. “Number one, they have to continually increase yield in order to make things more profitable for the growers.� But the fungus left behind by corn See WHEAT, Page 14

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Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

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“As a result of those programs it has generated a lot of interest with other agriculture organizations to put a focus on training for women involved.� In Washington, Warner said she and her peers have made a concerted effort to fund programs that offer resources and support for women in agriculture. For example, in February, 500 people participated in a program called “Women, Farms and Food in Washington,� which took place in 16 locations throughout the state. The event included a series of educational workshops that taught women about financial planning and business management as it relates to farm ownership. “Goal setting is one of the initial components,� Warner said. “You have to know where you’re going to go and what your

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recent increase in the number of women working as principal farm operators may be the result of a targeted, nationwide emphasis on support for female farmers over the past five to 10 years according to local experts. Jo Ann Warner, assistant director or the Western Center for Risk Management Education through Washington State University Extension, said the effort originated when a group called Annie’s Project was founded several years ago with the goal to strengthen women’s roles in modern farm enterprises. “That was a program with the primary focus of really empowering women who had a role on the farm, whether as principal or secondary operators,� Warner said.

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8 | Friday, June 29, 2012

Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

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Idaho 4-H celebrates 100 years of providing opportunities for youth

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Make the best better By Meredith Metsker for Northwest Farm and Ranch

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ake the best better. This motto from 4-H, along with the four H’s, Head, Heart, Hands and Health, have inspired millions of children ages 5-18 in every county of every state in the United States for more than 100 years. Through after-school programs, summer camps, clubs, county and state fairs, local and national conferences and international programs, 4-H provides youth with opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. Polly Taylor Dennler, leader of the Fix Ridge 4-H club in Juliaetta, said people often think 4-H is only about raising animals. “People think that 4-H is just for farm kids, and it just really isn’t, because there’s just so much more out there,” she said. “It isn’t all just about taking animals to the fair. Now there are so many projects, from first aid to robotics. It just really has a diverse offering of projects and a great way to learn things that you want to learn about. And in a fun way with some other kids that are similar in age.”

Breaking out Aaron Ivie, 16, said 4-H helped him break out of his shell when he joined the Mountain View club in Moscow six years ago. See 4-H, Page 13

A BRIEF HISTORY OF 4-H n 4-H started in 1902 in Clark County, Ohio, where A.B. Graham started a youth program out of a desire to connect public school education better with rural and farm life, according to 4-H.org. n T.A. “Dad” Erickson started agricultural after-school clubs and fairs in 1902 in his community in Douglas County, Minn. n Jessie Field Shambaugh developed the clover symbol in 1910. By 1912 these agricultural clubs were dubbed 4-H Clubs. The four-leaf clover with an “H” on each leaf was officially adopted as the 4-H emblem in 1924. n 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization. In Idaho, there are more than 34,000 members and more than 4,000 adult and youth volunteers, according to the University of Idaho 4-H Extension website. Washington has 87,000 4-H members according to the Washington State University Extension website. n There are more than 6.5 million current 4-H members and more than 60 million alumni in the U.S. n 4-H has spread its influence globally with the development of the International Farm Youth Exchange, which helps form similar youth development groups in more than 80 countries. n Idaho 4-H has a strong relationship with Lavo, the Japanese equivalent to 4-H, and sends delegates to Japan every summer. Idaho 4-H families also host summer exchange students from Norway, Finland and Argentina. n For information, visit www.4-h.org.


Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012 | 9

UI, Limagrain showcase collaboration

Eats more. Drinks less.

July field day features European wheat varieties By Joel Mills for Northwest Farm and Ranch

T

he University of Idaho’s muchheralded collaboration with the largest cereal grain company in Europe will be on display July 9 when farmers will get to examine a slew of hearty new varieties from the old country. The wheat breeding field day with Limagrain Cereal Seeds begins with registration at 2:30 p.m. at the UI College Thill of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Parker Farm two miles east of Moscow. The program begins at 3 p.m., and will feature high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties from the United Kingdom, France, Spain, the Czech Republic and Germany. Donn Thill, the college’s associate dean and Idaho Agricultural Experiment

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Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

WSU study concludes own-rooted wines no better than rootstock Multiyear study tested three varieties of wine grapes By Amelia Veneziano for Northwest Farm and Ranch

S

andy soil and a lack of rain have contributed to some exceptional wines in the Inland Northwest. Those factors have also contributed to healthy own-root vines, meaning the plant rooted in the soil is the same one producing grapes. Across the country and world, most wine grapes are grown from rootstocks, with a different vine grafted on to a healthier, hardier root, resistant to nematades and phylloxera, both vine-destroying concerns. An invasion in this region could destroy own-grown vines and force wineries to switch to rootstocks, a concern that has nagged at those in the industry. But a recently concluded, multiyear study by Washington State University demonstrated no differences in taste or quality of rootstock versus own-rooted wines, according to Brian Clark, a spokesman for the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) at Washington State University

Weeds from Page 3 limiting it,” Murray said. “Right now it’s better than nothing because you do reduce the first flush, and then you are working on the second.” Many weed warriors look at biocontrol as the best option for stopping weeds that have become established over large geographic areas. When plants cover thousands or even hundreds of thousands of acres, they are impossible to treat with chemicals, mechanically or by hand. But introduction of their natural enemies can deliver long-term benefits. Graves said it takes about seven years of testing to make sure potential biocontrol agents are not going to cause problems to native plants or to crops. Some fail the process. For example, Murray said

The study started in 1999 and was led by WSU viticulturist Markus Keller. “According to this study, there’s no real taste difference, although there is a difference in the cost and potential health of the grape,” said Clark. Two factors related to the economic health of vine growers are potentially effected. First, growing on own-rooted stock is less expensive than rootstock grafting. Second, it’s hardier. In the case of a hard freeze, own-root vines have a better chance of surviving. They can also be pruned more thoroughly and recover, without extensive replanting required. “If you have to replant an entire vineyard, it’s potentially thousands of dollars an acre,” Clark said. “It depends on the variety and a bunch of other factors, but it’s really expensive to start a vineyard.” It can also take years for a wine-quality crop, which then needs to be turned into wine and aged. The expense of the product, on top of delayed time for revenue, mean a lost crop can actually cost several years and many thousands of dollars, or more.

there is a promising biocontrol agent for sulphur cinquefoil but because the weed is too much like strawberries, and the agent might attack the fruit-bearing plant, it can’t be used. Others don’t always work for various reasons. Some fall to native or non-native predators like wasps or birds. Others just don’t agree with local climates. Murray said using biocontrol can be risky for another reason. In order for the bugs to survive they need host plants, and that means no spraying. “You don’t want to give up your spray program until you can see it’s going to work, because (if it doesn’t work) it’s going to set you back,” she said. But Murray and Asotin County have stopped spraying for dalmatian toadflax. The introduction of the dalmatian toadflax stem weevil has delivered a gut

According to a press release, WSU’s testing was conducted over three growing periods on merlot, syrah and chardonnay grapes. Vines on six common, commercial rootstocks were used, as well as vines on their own roots. Once the research vines were established, wine was made from each grape/rootstock combination for three growing seasons, then tested for multiple indicators of quality. According to the results, most of the differences in wine quality were due to vintage, vineyard site and soil variability — no differences were detected in rootstock versus own-root vines. Yields were also increased on ownroot vines, though Clark said that is less of a concern than quality for vintners. “Viticulturists carefully control yields,” he said. “Unlike table or juice grapes where you’re going to maximum output, wine grape growers are much pickier because they want the maximum quality.” Nematodes are a microscopic parasitic roundworm that infiltrates plant roots. According to Keller, they build up in soil over time, so future generations of vineyards are more susceptible. Phylloxera is a sap-sucking insect,

punch to the weed. The adult beetles lay their eggs on the plant, and the larvae do the damage. “They hollow out the stems,” she said. “Of course, when the stems are gone you can’t develop seeds.” At a spindly patch along the Snake River near Clarkston, she grabs a stem and shaves it with a knife to expose tunnels from the larvae. “It’s pretty cool, this used to be an impressive patch here.” The weed is still out there but it is now controllable, she said. “There is always going to be some dalmatian toadflax, but in the weed world we try to keep them below a certain level where they don’t cause problems.”

Eric Barker may be contacted at ebarker@ lmtribune.com or at (208) 848-2273. Follow him on Twitter @ezebarker.

which is in nearly every other wine growing region. There is no known reason why these two vineyard plagues aren’t common in the Inland Northwest, including eastern Washington and north Idaho, although Clark and others attribute it to the climate and sandy soils. There’s more grafting of vines occurring on the west side of the Cascades, but the vast majority of Washington’s more than 600 wineries grow their grapes on the east side. But the result is a bit of a doubleedged sword for some Washington wine growers, Clark said. Wineries that market products as being own-rooted, and thus superior to rootstock, aren’t necessarily superior in taste. It remains an economic advantage for those growers, and Keller and the other researchers involved in the study were quite clear that these results apply only to grapes grown in this region. “It doesn’t have anything to do with France, Germany or Australia,” Clark said. “That’s the nature of plant science.”

Amelia Veneziano can be contacted at aveneziano@dnews.com or (208) 882-5561, ext. 233.

Field from Page 9 ties, Thill said. “What they’re going to see is the first year’s planting of the mixed germplasm (genetic material) from the University of Idaho and Limagrain Cereal Seeds,” Thill said. “They’re not going to see any crosses, because there were no crosses made this year. That’s going to start this fall.” Limagrain Cereal Seeds is a joint venture between the French Limagrain Group and California-based biotechnology company Arcadia Biosciences. The UI and Limagrain will collaborate on various wheat breeding projects to make better varieties available to Idaho and other Northwest farmers, according to the university. The university and Limagrain

will contribute genetic material, technology and expertise to speed the development of new wheat varieties that have the desired characteristics of higher productivity and better disease resistance. And Limagrain also plans on funding research and graduate training on top of its other commitments, according to the university. UI wheat programs have recently seen significant boosts after taking a severe blow last year when top breeder Robert Zemetra left for Oregon State University. In addition to the Limagrain collaboration, the Idaho Wheat Commission has created two $1 million endowments to support two wheat breeding and disease researchers.

Joel Mills may be contacted at jmills@ lmtribune.com or (208) 883-0564.


Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012 | 11

Half-size cattle part of his meaningful life Lowline Angus can be raised on grass for better eating, less cost

By William L. Spence for Northwest Farm and Ranch

T

ROY, Idaho — After spending too much of his life as a software engineer stuck in traffic in the greater Los Angeles basin, Eric McGilp decided to look for a better place to raise his family. He found it about eight years ago on 130-acre Troy Creek Farm east of Moscow, and since then has also found an unusual breed of cattle to raise. “I’m not a farmer in the conventional sense. I just wanted us to eat a little better and get away from ‘industrial’ agriculture,” McGilp said. “There’s something about being self-sufficient. We have about 30 fruit trees, and every one is a different variety.” McGilp also raises heirloom vegetables to sell at the Moscow Farmers Market, and he’s building a greenhouse to extend the growing season. His next project is to introduce free-range chickens. But his biggest nod to healthy eating are the rather small cattle that lay contentedly in the grass below his house. “They look like they’re at the beach,” McGilp said. After researching a variety of breeds, he decided to raise Lowline Angus. Initially he just wanted enough to feed his own family, but after friends started clamoring

Lewiston Tribune

Eric McGilp of Troy walks among his heard of Lowline Angus, giving out treats at his 130-acre farm west of Troy. for the grass-fed beef, he began expanding the size of the herd. Now he has about 20 Lowlines, including two bulls and a dozen cows. The cows all have names like Dot, Suzie, Shirley. When he brings

Potatoes from Page 5 even based on science.” Cantwell urged Islam Siddiqui, the U.S. trade representative’s chief agricultural negotiator, during an April 18 finance subcommittee hearing to continue pushing export discussions. When partial access to Mexico was granted in 2003, Washington producers exported $600,000-worth of potatoes, said Heath, jumping to $10 million last year.

out a bucket of apple treats, they crowd around like big black puppies. Lowlines were first developed in Australia in the 1970s and ’80s. They’re about 30 percent smaller

“And that was a quarter of the U.S. potatoes being exported to Mexico,” she said. “Just having the 16 miles has been a big benefit to our potato producers.” The U.S. potato industry estimates opening Mexico entirely could raise annual revenues from $30 million to $150 million, according to the National Potato Council. “Inviting (Mexico) to the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations was a way to provide that framework for getting fresh potatoes shipped to Mexico,” said Mark Syzmanski, council spokesman. “We’re

than typical, commercial Angus. A mature cow stands 36 to 40 inches high, compared to 55 to 60 inches for commercial stock. They eat less, require less acreage and produce a nice amount of beef just on grass,

seeing likely pretty high outputs, pretty high crop yields this year. Not that potatoes are going to be shipped to Mexico overnight. They still have to go through the regulatory process to get this done.” Nothern compared the potential market opening to a large U.S. sale of wheat when the Chinese market eased several years ago. “And right away more acres got planted in wheat,” he said, adding the market would dictate how Idaho producers react. “A lot of farms in Idaho, they have a rotation. Not all farmers grow potatoes year round.”

as opposed to the grain-finished beef produced in most commercial feedlots. Although the demand for grassfed beef is growing, the commercial market isn’t as well-established. The supply is more limited, and the relationship between consumer and rancher tends to be more direct. McGilp, for example, has a list of clients who buy from him regularly. He plans to slaughter five animals this year; three of them are already spoken for. Rather than view it as commodity that’s the same regardless of where it’s produced, grass-fed beef taps into the concept of “terroir” — the idea that a region’s soil, climate and even culture can influence the taste of its agricultural products. “It’s a different taste even from one pasture to another,” McGilp said. He gets about $1,200 to $1,400 per animal, which he said works out to about $5 per pound for dressed beef. He isn’t dependent on the income, but it helps him eat healthy and live a lifestyle where he’s not worried about dropping dead in five years. “It feels like we’re not getting rich, but we’re doing something meaningful,” McGilp said. n On the Net: www.troycreek. com.

William Spence may be contacted at bspence@lmtribune.com or (208) 791-9168.

Syzmanski said Mexico’s seat at the negotiating table announced June 18 means possibly several more months of negotiations before a potential TPP agreement is vetted by Congress. But lawmakers are positive progress is close. “This signals potential movement toward what has been stalled negotiations between our two countries to secure an agreement with Mexico for access to fresh potatoes,” said Heath.

Brandon Macz can be contacted at bmacz@ dnews.com or (208) 882-5561, ext. 238.


12 | Friday, June 29, 2012

Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

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Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

4-H from Page 8

ing to geocaching and rocketry.

“Before I joined 4-H, I was kind of that little kid in the corner that was really shy and wouldn’t talk to anybody … and now I’m leading clubs, I’m joining state conferences with 200 people,” Ivie said. “I’m getting a start on my future, like what I want to do for my future. I would have not thought of any of that, probably wouldn’t have any of those opportunities without 4-H.” In addition to teaching workshops and stepping into leadership roles within his own club, Ivie is also a state 4-H Ambassador, was involved with Know Your Congress in Boise for three years, helps at 4-H camps and the annual Teen Conference at the University of Idaho and is currently on the 4-H Centennial Planning Committee. Like many past and present 4-H’ers, Ivie has discovered a possible career path through 4-H projects and research. Ivie unearthed a passion for archaeology when he took a class at the 2011 Teen Conference. “I fell in love with archaeology and all that stuff, and I took it again this year at the 2012 teen conference and it was pretty interesting stuff,” Ivie said. Ivie said he’s already started looking at colleges with archaeology programs and is now leaning toward attending the University of Idaho.

Yager said the community was incredibly supportive of the 4-H team’s fund-raising efforts for both trips. “We earned enough money to send those kids to Denmark from the local community,” Yager said. Moscow isn’t the only community to be supportive of its 4-H groups. Clubs all over northern Idaho have found support from local businesses and community members, and 4-H youth have made sure to return the favor. “I see compassionate youth wanting to give something to their community and give back,” Taylor Dennler said. In the spirit of the second H, Heart, every 4-H club participates in community service activities. Taylor Dennler’s club recycles aluminum cans year-round and donates proceeds to the local swimming pool, which closed down for one summer due to lack of funding. “That summer when it wasn’t open really impacted the youth in the community. They missed it tremendously and so we talked about what we’d like to do for the community and they were really interested in making sure the pool always stays open,” she said. “But they were really concerned also about children that may not be able to afford to swim.” The Juliaetta 4-H club then asked the pool to use some of the donated money to buy swim passes for limited-income families. Workman said her club did service projects in Grangeville like highway cleanup, stuffing plastic eggs for the annual Easter egg hunt, donating gifts to senior fun night and giving school supplies to the local food bank. Monk’s club in Genesee is working on a quilt as part of the Quilts of Valor service project. Once the 4-H’ers finish the quilt they will present it to a local veteran of their choice.

Life skills Julia Workman, a senior at the University of Idaho, said she learned many life skills during her time in 4-H in Grangeville, especially with her animal projects. “You learn you have to take responsibility for your actions, you have to get up in the morning to feed your animal … you really reap what you sow in that regard,” Workman said. “Showing (an animal) really helped me with communicating. You have to be able to use your body language to communicate with people without really talking.” In addition to learning how to raise and care for livestock, 4-H’ers have the opportunities to participate in all kinds of projects, ranging from sewing and garden-

Community support

Friday, June 29, 2012 | 13

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Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

Women from Page 7

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vision is. And you have to create a financial and marketing plan to support those goals and that mission.” A critical part of any farm operation is record-keeping, she continued, and new farmers need to know who they will sell their products to and how much they will have to charge. “People love to grow food, but they have no idea how much it’ll cost to grow that crop in terms of seed, fertilizer and water,” she said. “All of those things will determine whether they’ll be profitable or not.” Women also can pair up with mentor farmers to gain firsthand knowledge about the process. She plans to expand the program next year to include bordering counties and neighboring states, with improved recruitment methods for reaching more Latino, Native American and among women. “You can actually see what’s going on in the field, which would give you an idea for things you might want to do,” she said. “Or you might retool what you’re doing already, (using) their ideas for how

Wheat from Page 6

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can produce a mycotoxin that, when at high enough concentrations, can make grains unusable for human or animal consumption. “This fungus causes a very serious disease in small grains called scab or head blight,” Marshall said. “For small grains, the best rotation is not to follow corn.” Such skirmishes between pathogens and crop varieties are nothing new. Marshall said the battle is constant and can only be contained, not won. “It’s not only for wheat. It’s for all of our crops,” she said. “All of our varieties, the more frequently they’re used, they become exposed to pathogens. And there’s genetic pressure on the pathogens to change, to adapt to new varieties that come out.” When the pathogen adapts and gains a new avenue of attack, chemical applications can help, but breeding a new crop variety is sometimes the best counter attack. “The pathogens are looking for food, too,” Marshall said. “And when you’ve

you might structure an enterprise.” With those possibilities in mind, Warner said it makes sense that more women are likely to consider a career in agriculture these days. According to Washington Agriculture Statistics, the number of female principal farm operators in the state has gone up 44 percent, from 5,632 in 2002 to 8,090 in 2007. Women manage 881,612 acres of farmland and sell $1.8 million annually in farm products. “These women are very busy people and have more than one job — possibly a job off the farm to support the farm, children at home, community commitments, elder care and the list goes on,” said Margaret Viebrock, director of the “Women, Farms and Food in Washington” program. She plans to expand the program next year to include bordering counties and neighboring states, with improved recruitment methods for reaching more Latino, Native American and among women. For more information visit extension. wsu.edu/womeninag/.

Katie Roenigk can be contacted at kroenigk@ dnews.com or (208) 882-5561, ext. 301. got a lot of varieties that are resistant to them, that forces them to change, to adapt to the new varieties so that they can then get a new source of food.” The first wheat cross that led to UI Stone was successful in the mid-1990s. Extensive field evaluation began about 10 years later. Trials in 2008 through 2010, in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana, proved that UI Stone had good resistance to head blight. So far, UI Stone has not made its way north to places like the Palouse, Marshall said, because corn is not a typical crop in the area and the Fusarium fungus has not become a problem. “Right now, it’s geared to southern Idaho.” Marshall cautioned that UI Stone is not a remedy as much as it is a new tool for the constant work ahead. “If the grower has to plant a wheat variety after corn, then they can select a variety that has more resistance to the disease,” she said. “But there is no variety that has 100 percent resistance to this disease.”

David Johnson may be contacted at djohnson@ lmtribune.com or (208) 883-0564.


Northwest Farm and Ranch | Summer 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012 | 15

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