In today’s Ag News Roundup, apples are tops in Washington, soil testing is a hit in Portland, farmers are getting older, a cancer patient find peace at a sheep festival, and a court decision affects rural landowners.
Apples Top Washington State Crops
According to the National Agricultural Statistic’s Northwest regional office in Olympia, apples lead the way as the state’s top crop for the 11th year in a row. Production of apples was up 26.6 percent at $2.39 billion in 2015. Additionally, apple prices remained strong throughout the 2015-2016 sales season. The report cited packaging and marketing innovations as contributing factors to the increase.
OSU Extension Offers Free Soil Testing
Portland area homeowners and gardeners had the opportunity to get their soil tested for heavy metals. The event, co-sponsored by Oregon State University Extension, tested soil samples at two locations in the metro region. Experts were on hand to offer analysis and advice based on each individual soil reading.
Aging Farmers Handing Down Oregon Ag Land
A report co-authored by Rouge Farm Corps. Found that over two-thirds (64 percent) of Oregon’s agricultural land will be turned over by aging farmers in the next 20 years. Titled, “The Future of Oregon’s Agricultural Land,” the report cites the average age for an Oregon farmer to be up from 55 in 2002 to 60 in 2016. The rising average age is cited to be, in part, due to lack of training opportunities for those without farming background, as well as other obstacles.
Make-A-Wish Recipient Attends Idaho Sheep Festival
Shelby Huff had wanted to visit the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Idaho’s Wood River Valley. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the 20-year-old got the full VIP treatment during the five-day festival. Due to complications from aplastic anemia, Huff had spent the last two years in the hospital. Her mother, sister, and grandparents were also invited along on the trip of a lifetime.
Supreme Court Decision May Affect Rural Landowners
The Washington Farm Bureau has condemned a decision by the Washington State Supreme Court in a long-awaited case. In that decision, the court held that the county failed to meet its duty under the Growth Management Act. The bureau is currently working to fully understand the ramifications of the decision that it says will affect rural landowners across the state.