In todays Ag News Roundup, researchers watching California bighorn sheep closely for respiratory disease, new pests in Washington state being tracked online, wheat prices could continue to drop with export lag, tax policies that benefit farmers and ranchers could expand under new congress, and fuel prices expected to improve under Mid Columbia Producers’ ownership.
OSU Searching for Answers on Bighorn Sheep Disease
The Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae bacterial disease commonly known as M. ovi has had a dramatic affect on California bighorn sheep in Oregon and other Western states. The respiratory disease is spread between domestic sheep and bighorn, as well as within bighorn herds. Researchers at Oregon State University are halting relocation efforts this year in order to learn more about the M. ovi disease and slow its spread.
WSDA Tracking New Pests
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is asking farmers as well as the general public to help track two new species of pests using online crowdsourcing. The Lily Leaf Beatle and the Southern Green Stink Bug could adversely affect growers throughout the state. The WSDA hopes to use the information gathered from its crowdsourcing initiative to monitor and mange the pests.
Wheat Price Volatility Expected to Continue
According to Randy Fortenbery, a grains economist with Washington State University, wheat prices could fall further if exports lag. While prices seem to have hit their lowest point, Fortenbery expects the current volatility to continue.
Congress Urged to Retain Tax Policies that Benefit Farmers and Ranchers
Representatives from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) have urged the U.S. Congress to retain current tax policies that support ranchers and farmers. The AFBF also supports tax policies and reforms that further benefit high-risk, capital-intensive businesses with special deductions, reduced capital gains taxes, and other forward-thinking initiatives.
Mid Columbia Producers Keeps Longtime PGG Employees
Employees of the dissolved Pendleton Grain Growers are still employed thanks to agricultural co-op Mid Columbia Producers. The Company bought PGG Fuel, moving the company to a new location in Hermiston. Mid Columbia Producers promises to introduce new fuel suppliers and more competitive prices.