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Country Life Special Section • Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spectacular horsemanship

Gardening • CL2 Dairy • CL2 Berries • CL4

Farmers, school food directors to cross-pollinate on Oct. 22 tour Places to visit: Hopewell Farm, Cloud Mountain, NV Middle School   WHATCOM — County farmers and school food service directors get a chance to visit each other’s work sites on an Oct. 22 tour.    The “Mobile Farm Workshop,” organized by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, includes visits to local farms, a kitchen skills workshop, and a roundtable discussion to enhance understanding and strengthen the

farm-to-school network in the region.   Food service directors from Blaine, Ferndale, Nooksack Valley, Mount Baker, Bellingham, Meridian, Lynden and Lummi schools will visit Hopewell Farm of Everson, which has provided organically grown carrots and broccoli to local schools.    Lisa Dykstra, of Hopewell Farm, 3072 Massey Rd., said she’s excited to show the school representatives “where the food actually is coming from” and answer any questions about how it is grown.    Workshop participants See Hopewell on CL2

Saturday’s Horse Spectacular at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds’ horse arena featured showmanshipstyle events in a variety of categories. (Annika Wolters/Lynden Tribune)

DelBene joins in new immigration reform bill House members try to spur action on what Senate started in June WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an effort to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene on Oct. 2 co-sponsored new reform legislation.    DelBene is making the effort along with Democratic Reps. Joe Garcia of Florida, Judy Chu of California, Jared Polis of Colorado and Steven Horsford of Nevada.    “Immigration reform is critical to the people and economy of the 1st Congressional District and Washington state. In order to grow our economy and create jobs, we must take a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. We can’t settle for a piecemeal approach. Our system today has so many moving parts


that if we just tweak policy in one narrow area, it will create unintended consequences in other areas,” said DelBene.    “There is tremendous support for comprehensive immigration reform from the business community, farmers, faith leaders, law enforcement and the broader American public because of the positive impact it will have on our country and economy. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support this bill,” she said.    Called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, DelBene’s bill reflects the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate in June. It also includes provisions to strengthen border security that passed with unanimous, bipartisan support from the House Homeland Security Committee earlier this summer.    Specifically, the bill:     • Secures borders, protects workers, See Bil on CL2

Hopewell Farm busy in harvest    EVERSON ­ — Even with plenty of rain in recent weeks, Hopewell Farm is getting in its harvest of organic vegetables quite well, said production supervisor Domingo Francisco.   The farm with acreage around Massey Road south of Everson has 14 workers currently to help handle the busy harvest time, he said.    Foods now available are: squash (acorn, delicata and butternut varieties), potatoes (white and red), shallots, onions (red and yellow), pumpkins (pie and Halloween), carrots, beets, broccoli and brussel sprouts. The sweet corn harvest is over.    Beside supplying schools, Hopewell Farm markets via a farm stand, phone orders, wholesale and sales to restaurants and retailers, according to the Whatcom Farm and Food Finder guide.    Separately, the farm grows burdock for the Flora herbal remedies company of Lynden, said Hopewell’s Wes Dykstra.    The Dykstra family also operates a dairy. — Calvin Bratt

Domingo Francisco, production supervisor, shows all of Hopewell Farm’s squash varieties. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)


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Country Life 2 • Wednesday, October 9, 2013 • |

In Bloom

Take steps now for a healthy spring lawn By David Vos

As we get into October leaves begin to fall, temperatures drop and all things green begin to go dormant. While you may be tired of lawn care — believe me, even the most enthusiastic gardeners do tire! — this month is an important time to take several key steps to ensure a beautiful lawn next spring.    The first step is to prevent night crawler damage. While useful in aerating your soil and a part of the ecosystem of your yard, left unchecked, night crawlers can wreak havoc on a smooth lawn. During the summer months, night crawler activity is minimal; the hard, dry surface of a summer lawn is just plain tough to burrow through. But when the fall rains come, the ground quickly softens and night crawlers get back to work leaving their castings on your grass and creating innumerable bumps across your yard.    To reduce the population of night crawlers, spread a granular insecticide like Sevin. A couple of applications a year will help to keep night crawlers from damaging your turf and also eliminate other insects like cranefly larvae that can destroy grass.    A second step you should take to keep your lawn healthy going into winter is moss control. While moss is most noticeable in early spring when you start to work in the yard, it’s never entirely gone, and as we get into cooler weather it begins to grow once again. If you’re starting to see moss growing in your lawn, take swift action by applying a dose of ferrous sulfate. Lawn grasses won’t grow much in winter, but moss will, so avoid the problem of a moss-infested lawn next spring by killing it now.    To discourage moss from returning, follow up your moss-killing spree with a healthy dose of lime; a product like Lilly Miller Super Sweet will give you the best results.   Gardeners ask me all the time what our soil pH is — and some even go to the work of having their soil tested. Unless you need to know

Hopewell: Farmers will also visit schools Continued from CL1 also will visit the nearby Cloud Mountain Farm Center, where a food processing facility is being built to wash, chop and package local produce in forms schools and other buyers need it (e.g., carrot sticks, chopped broccoli, salad mix).   Also, participants will sample yogurt and fruit parfaits while learning directly from a Whatcom dairy farmer about how milk gets from cows to cartons for students.    The tour will end at Nooksack Valley Middle School,

where farmers will be able to visit the school kitchen and learn about the needs and constraints of school food service.    “Just as it is helpful for folks in school food services to see farm operations, it is helpful for the farmers to see the school operations,” said Acacia Larson, WSDA outreach and education specialist. Farmers will learn about best practices for working with schools and other institutional buyers.    While farmers talk with

the WSDA, the food service directors will get hands-on training with Georgia Johnson of the LaConner School District, who has helped her staff make the transition from using “heat and serve” processed foods to serving more fresh local foods in the cafeteria.    “We are retraining our staff to do more scratch cooking,” said Johnson. “It is more work, but it is also more fulfilling, especially when you are cooking with really good ingredients, fresh from the farm.”

   Mardi Solomon, a coordinator with the Whatcom Farm-to-School Support Team, said she was excited when WSDA first raised the idea of mobile workshops and wanted to do one in Whatcom County. “This is the kind of hands-on, real-life experience that really makes a difference,” she said.    The Mobile Farm Workshop is co-sponsored by Whatcom Farm-to-School, with funding support from the Whatcom Community Foundation.

Bill: Includes language on border security your pH for growing a specific type of plant, skip the testing and know that your soil is acidic. Period. Soils in western Washington are very “sour,” or acidic, and as a result, moss thrives. By “sweetening” your soil — balancing the pH — you can slow the growth of moss and give your grass a better chance to thrive.    Finally, did you know that fall may be the most important time to fertilize your lawn? It’s easy to lose steam this time of year when it comes to lawn care — you just want to put the mower away, hang up your hat and call it a day. But don’t forget to feed the lawn! Now, the aforementioned lawn care steps can and should be taken this month, but don’t rush the fertilizer. In fact, wait until you’re finished raking leaves this fall and just before you start to think about switching out corn stalks for Christmas lights. Winterizing fertilizer should be applied in November.    Spring and summer lawn fertilizer is geared toward top growth, the part of the lawn you see. Fall fertilizer or winterizer is for root development and storage of nutrients for a better green-up next spring. Thus, you should wait until your grass is essentially done growing to apply in. In our area, that’s usually sometime in November.    It’s not a time of year when most people are trying to build a beautiful lawn, but fall is a critical time for taking care of your lawn. With the proper steps, you can lay the foundation for a lush, healthy start to next year.    David Vos is the general manager of VanderGiessen Nursery in Lynden.



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Continued from CL1 unites families, and offers hardworking immigrants an earned pathway to citizenship.     • Contains the same language from the bipartisan Senate bill that reforms visa

programs and interior enforcement.     • Includes a bipartisan border-security bill that gained unanimous approval from the House Homeland Security Committee.   A one-page summary of the bill can be found at

MiElkE Market

By Lee Mielke

  In the government “shutdown” due to political differences in Washington, D.C., the impact on the dairy industry boils down to this: Three agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been furloughed. They are the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Economic Research Service and Agricultural Marketing Service. Data reported by these agencies will be on hold. USDA’s Dairy Market News is also shuttered, eliminating its daily and weekly reports.    The monthly Dairy Products Report, which was to be released Oct. 3, was not and, unless the Administration and Congress come to an agreement, several other reports will be suspended as well. Some reporting had already been stopped by the earlier sequester.    USDA will not publish the weekly National Dairy Products Sales Report, what I refer to as the “lagging” dairy product prices used to calculate Federal Order class milk prices as well as settlements for Chicago Mercantile Exchange futures.    High Ground Dairy’s Eric Meyer reports that sources at USDA informed him that they would be invoking a special rule taken from the Code of Federal Regulations titled “Equivalent Price” in calculating this week’s class prices.

   Remaining on the job are USDA dairy graders and inspectors as well as federal milk marketing administrators, as their funding is provided by the industry.    The September Federal Order Class III benchmark milk price is $18.14 per hundredweight (cwt.), up 23 cents from August, 86 cents below September 2012 and $1.49 above California’s comparable 4b cheese milk price. That equates to about $1.56 per gallon.    The 2013 Class III average now stands at $17.76, up from $16.54 at this time a year ago but below the $18.28 in 2011. The October Class III futures price setttled Friday at $18.14, November at $17.98, and December at $17.27 per cwt.    The FO Class IV price is $19.43, up 36 cents from August, $2.02 above a year ago, and the highest it’s been since September 2011.   The four-week AMSsurveyed cheese price used

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in calculating the September milk prices was $1.7961 per pound, up 2.3 cents from August. Butter averaged $1.4263, up almost a penny. Nonfat dry milk averaged $1.8085, up 3.8 cents, and dry whey averaged 57.91 cents, up 1.3 cents.   Dan McBride of the Northwest Dairy Association made these price projections for the Class III price and Pacific Northwest blend price: Month Class PNW III Blend Sept. $18.14 $19.35 (current) Oct. $18.15 $19.20 Nov. $18.00 $18.75 Dec. $17.25 $18.15 Jan. $16.85 $17.65 Feb. $16.65 $17.30 March $16.60 $17.25 April $16.50 $17.25 May $16.60 $17.30

COUNTRY PARTNERS Reporter: Taylor Slocum    On Sept. 23 Country Partners held their annual end-of-year banquet. We enjoyed food and a slide show of the fun events we had in the past year. And we had a skit, performed by our officers, highlighting events that occurred at the fair.    We elected these officers for 2013-14: president Janis DeJager, vice president Jill DeJager, treasurer McKenzie Yost, historian Emily Kooiman, reporter Amanda Standow, recreational leader Jordan Prink.    By winning a swine decoration award, Country Partners earned a swimming party at Homestead. We were scheduled to do this party on Oct. 7.   Our next meting is on Oct. 17, when we will be signing up for new 4-H projects.    On Oct. 26 we will have a Harvest Party.



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tion reform, but to date have failed to introduce their own proposals for comprehensive changes or take up the Senate’s bill. The DelBene bill represents an effort to reboot the debate in the House and spur action.

4-H Report

Three USDA agencies shut down

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Turn to the Tribune for the latest in current local news. We offer daily weather forecasts, up-to-date sports scores, a monthly calendar of events, a local business guide and more. sites/ f i l e s / Ho u s e % 2 0 Im m i g ra tion%20Bill%20Summary%20 One%20Pager%2010-01-13. pdf.    Since the summer Senate vote, House leaders have promised to take up immigra-

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Country Life 3 • Wednesday, October 9, 2013 • |

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Country Life 4 • Wednesday, October 9, 2013 • |

EPA sues over filling of 10 acres of local wetlands County Council’s Kershner writes to agencies in defense of Rader

Action against Raders’ farm on Halverstick Road goes back to 2005

Editor’s Note: This is the letter that Whatcom County Council member Kathy Kershner sent on Sept. 13 to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Eric Holder Jr., U.S. attorney general in the Department of Justice.

By Calvin Bratt

   WHATCOM ­— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has filed suit in federal court over a Lynden berry-growing family’s conversion of 10 acres of wetlands near Halverstick Road in 2006.    The civil action lists Suellyn Rader as defendant both individually and as a representative of the estate of her late husband, Lyle, who died in 2010, and also Uptrail Group LLC, the company they formed in 2007.    The suit says the Raders discharged dredged or fill material into waters of the United States without a permit required under the Clean Berry fields have continued to increase along Pangborn and Halverstick roads Water Act. northeast of Lynden. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)    In 2005 they had contracted to create a gravel road and dig a ditch just north of the 10 acres, and then control, filtering function, diversity of or- that had previously been owned by dairy in 2006 they contracted for the clearing, ganisms, and biological integrity in the farmers Martin and Gerrilyn VandeHoef, grading and filling of “forested/shrubaccording to a Whatcom County Assessor’s area’s terrain, the suit alleges. scrub wetland (using) mechanized land   The Environmental Protection Agency Office record of the property. clearing and earth-moving equipment,” wants the Raders to pay civil penalties and    The Raders grow raspberries and blueaccording to the basic complaint in the to restore the affected waters to their prefill berries. case.    According to papers filed with the condition at the family’s own expense.    The site is bordered on three sides by    Each day that the infill of the wetland re- court, attorneys representing EPA are Kent ditches or stream channels that connect to mains constitutes a separate violation of the Hanson, Brian Kipnis and Chloe Kolman of Pangborn Creek, which in turn flows into Clean Water Act and could bring a civil pen- the U.S. Department of Justice. RepresentJohnson Creek, and it into Sumas River, the alty of up to $32,500 per day, says the suit, ing Rader and Uptrail are Eric Laschever suit states. The eventual outflow is to the filed in U.S. District Court, Western District and Ankur Tohan of K&L Gates law firm of Fraser River in Canada. of Washington, at Seattle on Aug. 29. Seattle.    The movement of fill or dredged mate   It’s a case that had been contested    The parties are ordered by Judge John rial, including dirt, rock and sand, into the through Whatcom County codes enforce- Coughenour to appear in his courtroom 10 acres constitutes pollution of protected ment until now. for a status conference at 9 a.m. on Jan. 14, U.S. waters — wetlands that provided flood    The wetland was part of a 33-acre tract 2014.

Nearly $270,000 goes to research for blueberries, raspberries

ery crops, including floriculture.    This year, wine and cider, pears and blueberries, even Christmas trees, are among the industries benefiting from the grants. The awards for individual projects range from $40,000 to $238,000 and will go to agricultural commodity commissions, agricultural associations, nonprofit organizations and Washington State University. Nine of the recipients are receiving these grants for the first time. The rules require the projects to be completed within three years.    WSDA has received more than $16 million over the past six years for projects supported by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Only California and Florida have received higher funding levels. Future funding opportunities are dependent on the 2013 Farm Bill, currently pending authorization by Congress.

   OLYMPIA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 24 approved the state’s application for $3.2 million in grant funding for nearly two dozen projects that will support the state’s fruit, vegetable and horticulture growers.    In all, the 2013 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant will fund 23 projects managed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture in partnership with other organizations.   Washington’s specialty crop industry is the third largest in the nation. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nurs-


   These are two of the grants with local impact.     • $100,000, to partner with Whatcom Farm Friends to increase sales of blueberries in Asian markets by conducting field research to generate residue decline curves that will allow the blueberry industry to develop more effective pesticide use patterns using currently registered products to control spotted wing drosophila.     • $169,926, to partner with the Washington Red

Raspberry Commission to reduce the cost of red-raspberry production while minimizing crop losses for growers by developing a systematic approach for cane management through horticultural modifications for physically separating 1-year and 2-year-old canes. These systems will be evaluated for their feasibility to allow mechanized pruning of 2-year-old canes while maintaining the desired level of yield. In addition, techniques will be developed to bundle 1-yearold canes together and tie them to the trellis wires.

Dear Administrator McCarthy and Attorney General Holder:    As chair of the Whatcom County Council, I am writing to you today to express my opposition to your departments’ inflammatory lawsuit against Rader Farms Inc., a business located in Lynden, Washington.    This is the second time that a federal agency has sought action against this job-creating business in my county. With state and federal governing bodies not doing enough to lower our nation’s unemployment rate, I find this action against a private land owner to be an aggressive and offensive move.    The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice have no right to hold the American Dream hostage.    Unnecessary and senseless regulation is an insidious job killer. With unemployment above 5 percent at the local, state and federal levels, there must be a line drawn in the sand to protect Whatcom County employers and land owners. This is especially critical because it is widely known by Washington State’s Congressional delegation, and our citizens, that Washington State does not just feed the nation, it feeds the world.    There is a clear difference between maintaining the strongest possible environmental standards and knowingly killing jobs and businesses. The EPA and DOJ need to apply balance and common sense. You cannot impede progress in the name of environmental action that yields little for our environment and even less for our people.    Job creation is the number one issue that Whatcom County families face. Your complete disregard for the livelihood of everyday workers is unacceptable, yet you continue to knowingly turn a blind eye to the realities that businesses and families face.    This direct action against Rader Farms Inc. is part of a long list of roadblocks that government agencies have put up that stop jobless residents in Whatcom County from having the chance to pay their bills and feed their children.    In your efforts to penalize the agriculture industry and others, the EPA and DOJ are negatively impacting minorities, in particular, Latinos, as they are suffering from the lowest unemployment rates. Disenfranchisement of minorities and anyone seeking a job will not be tolerated by me or the Whatcom County government. Businesses and workers deserve better.    Today I call upon your departments to drop all action against Rader Farms Inc. I will be working with my Congressional delegation to see to it that not one more Job is lost to your agencies. Running a business that creates jobs, and a worker who works hard for a wage to feed their children, are not to be compromised at any time by any government agency in this economy that you have so willfully helped stifle.

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10 09 13 country life  

A monthly look at local Whatcom County agriculture.

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