In today’s Ag News Roundup, automation to redefine the agricultural workplace, organic blueberries are big business in the Pacific Northwest, no new ag wells being approved in the Walla Walla sub-basin, Washington state hops account for majority of U.S. harvest, and environmental changes affecting coastal fish.
Salem Company Says Automation Will Redefine Not Replace Workers
West Coast Companies of Salem is helping ease some concerns about the future of automation in the workplace. The Willamette Valley business helps agriculture companies with their packaging, processing, and storage equipment needs. A company spokesperson says robots will not completely replace human workers, but will instead give workers the chance to do other tasks that require more nuanced functions.
Organic Blueberry Growers Enjoying Commercial Success
Oregon State University says that the Pacific Northwest is the world’s largest organic blueberry production region in the world. According to a 10-year study conducted by Oregon State University, organic growers can get a higher yield at a low cost using specific recommendations set forth by OSU Extension.
Oregon Water Resources Commission Discussing Rule Changes
In a series of meetings in mid-December, the Oregon Water Resources Department began the process of changing rules for groundwater. According to spokespersons, new agricultural wells will no longer be approved within the 300,000-acre Walla Walla sub-basin.
Record Harvest for Washington Hop Growers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that of the 104 million pounds of hops harvested in the U.S. in 2017, 75-percent of the harvest originated in Washington state. The overall harvest is an increase of 20-percent over 2016. The value of the crop was an estimated $618 million dollars.
Warmer Water and Chemicals Affecting Coastal Fish
From Oregon State University and a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, warmer water temperatures and exposure to specific chemicals are showing clear signs of harm to coastal fish. Aquatic toxicologists say that the effects are currently only seen in a handful of species, but could expand to affect others in the years ahead.