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Couple says insurer won’t pay for dairy farm losses

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Owners of a Tillamook County dairy farm say a couple leasing their property stole more than 200 of their cows - as well as tools and equipment - and the landlords are suing their insurer in federal court for failing to cover the losses.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Robert and Janet Chatelain leased with an option to own the Dairy Farm in Cloverdale to a couple in December 2009. At the time, the farm had about 230 milking cows, 166 heifers, two bulls and a shop full of tools needed to run the operation.

Nearly four years later, the owners say they evicted their tenants because of a lease violation. When the owners moved back to their property, they discovered 113 milking cows and 100 heifers were missing.

“That farmhouse was the pride and joy of Mrs. Chatelain,” the couple’s lawyer Frank V. Langfitt argued before a jury Tuesday. “About half the dairy herd - the livelihood of the Chatelains - was gone. ... When the cows are gone, the milk is gone and the income is gone.”

The Chatelains accuse County Mutual of failing to fully investigate their claims of vandalism and property damage before denying their claim in 2015. The insurance company says the couple failed to file property claims for property damage and vandalism.

“This was a civil dispute. This was a breach of a lease that the Chatelains should have handled in state court,” company lawyer Daniel E. Thenell said. “Saying the cows were missing is not the issue. The plaintiffs have to prove the cows were stolen in this policy period. It’s tragic, but it’s not a theft.”

The trial began Tuesday in U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman’s courtroom before a seven-member jury. It’s expected to last through the end of the week.

More variety in pasture creates ‘buffet’ for cattle

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

The global increase in pasture-based cattle production has many livestock producers adding more forage varieties to their fields.

Serkan Ates, assistant professor in Oregon State University’s Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences, took notice of the trend, and is researching a more efficient method of pasture management to improve livestock production.

He is conducting two experiments this fall. The first is a comparison of simple pasture mixtures planted in separate strips to create something of a “buffet” rather than a “salad bar,” a term coined by author and farmer Joel Salatin in his 1995 book, “Salad Bar Beef.”

“Instead of mixing these plant spaces, how about spaciously planting them in strips, so (animals) eat whatever they want,” Ates said. “Also, different plant spaces have different needs; legumes don’t need to be fertilized so heavily as grasses. (We can) tailor the fertilization input, demand for each crop.”

Ates thinks this separation will also keep plants from competing with one another.

The other experiment will focus on dryland sheep farms and evaluate which plant mixtures can be best established, and how that will impact fields and animals in the long term.

He hopes his experiments can also overcome the problem of waterlogged fields, if he sets up spaces for plants that are tolerant to the wet environment.

While Ates is focusing on refining the grazing management process, several livestock producers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley have been applying similar concepts to their pastures.

Organic dairy farmer Jon Bansen of Double J Jerseys only considers something a weed if his cows won’t eat it.

“With different types of feed, every type you grow has different chemical makeups, different vitamins,” he said. “Each plant has a different relationship with the microbes in the soil, different relationship with bacteria. It’s a lot more nutritious feed if it contains a bunch of different plants.”

Bansen plants what he knows cows like, especially dandelions. Among the other forages in his pasture are chicory, plantain, taproot, clovers and grasses such as orchardgrass and fescue.

Along with known favorites, David McKibben of McK Ranch is leaving thistles and noxious blackberries in his field to see if his livestock will eat them. The ranch produces grass-finished beef. The cows will nibble at them, Mckibben said, but they’re not in the same way his red clover, rye grass and alfalfa pasture base is.

“There’s not many people who use alfalfa because it’s so valuable as a commodity, but we find it scattered through the pasture,” McKibben said. When the alfalfa gets low, he will let the grass return before he plants more. He said alfalfa is not competitive with the grass when it starts to grow.

McKibben divides his fields into small sections, giving his cattle three to four days to consume both the protein and energy portions of the plants.

“They pick the protein and then have to graze lower for energy, which is down by the roots,” he said. “They’ll go through a big area and get all the protein, but a lot of protein doesn’t produce fat; they need protein and energy.”

Despite its rapid growth at the meat market, grass-finished beef is still a modest part of the industry, John Marble, cattle stocker at Heart Z Ranch, said.

Marble manages an intensive grazing system on permanent pastures, and tends toward zero-input that includes no direct costs. His grazing program involves “frequent moves for the cattle and long rest periods for the grass,” he said.

All of Marble’s products — stocker calves, pairs and butcher cows — are sold into the conventional commercial market.

“I’m happy for the folks who are in the specialty markets like organic or grass-fed or direct sales, but frankly, those markets are very complicated,” he said. “That said, the grass-fed market is growing rapidly and appears set to continue capturing more market share. The reasons are complex, but some of it boils down to demand: The public seems to be saying they want more grass-fed options. That’s a good thing for graziers.”

Beyond the public demand for grass-finished beef, an increase in grain prices has the potential to make the market more competitive.

“People are demanding grains for their own consumption, creating competition between human and animal for grain,” Ates said. “It’s just not as affordable to feed with that anymore.”

Farm sponsors ‘Goateclipse’ fundraiser

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

The McPhillips Farm in McMinnville, Ore., is throwing a different type of eclipse party.

Called “Goateclipse,” will be a campout with the McPhillips family and their herd of 35 Toggenberg goats at their farm. The event will be from noon Sunday, Aug. 20, to noon Monday, Aug. 21. The eclipse will be the morning of Aug. 21.

Ramsey McPhillips, owner of the 150-year-old McPhillips Farm, said that he had the idea to throw an eclipse party for friends and family, but decided to open it to the public.

“It’s like an eclipse petting zoo,” he said.

Activities include petting goats, swimming in the Yamhill River and showing movies in the barn and house, McPhillips said. There will also be a bring-your-own-bottle cocktail party, a barbecue and a cowboy blackberry pancake breakfast.

Goateclipse is a fundraiser for the McPhillips family to “offset legal fees necessary to go before the Oregon Supreme Court to stop the expansion of Riverbend Landfill in wine country,” according to the Goateclipse press release.

The family has been fighting the landfill expansion for the past nine years.

In addition to goats, the McPhillips farm also has 100 sheep and one turkey.

“Goats are like dogs, you can pet them and they’re very friendly,” McPhillips said. “People love goats and it truly is one of the most beautiful farms, if I do say so myself.”

Information

Tickets are $100 a person and available at http://bit.ly/2h0Alch. For more information, call 503-223-7777.

15 states appeal EPA delay of stricter air-quality standards

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorneys general from 15 states filed a legal challenge on Tuesday over the Trump administration’s delay of Obama-era rules reducing emissions of smog-causing air pollutants.

The states petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s extension of deadlines to comply with the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Pruitt announced in June he was extending the deadlines by at least one year while his agency studies and reconsiders the requirements. Several pro-business groups are opposed to the stricter rules, including the American Petroleum Institute, the American Chemistry Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was among the state officials who filed the lawsuit, said EPA’s delay violates the Clean Air Act.

“Yet again the Trump EPA has chosen to put polluters before the health of the American people,” Schneiderman said. “By illegally blocking these vital clean air protections, Administrator Pruitt is endangering the health and safety of millions.”

Ground-level ozone can cause serious breathing problems among sensitive groups of people, contributing to thousands of premature deaths each year.

New York was joined in the case by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia.

EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, has charged ahead with efforts to weaken, block or delay a wide array of stricter pollution and public health standards following his appointment by President Donald Trump earlier this year.

Pruitt’s delay of the 2015 ozone standards comes as Republicans in Congress are pushing for a broader rewrite of the rules. A House bill approved last month seeks to delay implementation of the 2015 rules at least eight years. The measure has not yet been brought to a vote in the Senate.

More than a dozen major health organizations oppose the GOP-backed measure, including the National Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association. The head of the American Lung Association called the industry-backed bill a “direct assault” on the right of Americans to breathe healthy air.

Ground-level ozone is created when common pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants and other sources react in the atmosphere to sunlight. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards adopted by EPA in 2015 reduced the allowed amount of ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion.

EPA estimated at the time that the $1.4 billion it would cost to meet the stricter standards would be far outweighed by billions saved from fewer emergency room visits and other public health gains.

The agency cited recent studies showing ozone at 72 parts per billion is harmful to healthy adults exercising outdoors. Children are at increased risk because their lungs are still developing and they are more likely to be active outdoors when ozone levels are high, the agency said.

Fire is risk high in California, Northwest, northern plains

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

Forecasters say the threat of major U.S. wildfires will remain high throughout August in Southern California, northern Nevada and parts of the Northwest and northern Great Plains.

The National Interagency Fire Center’s monthly outlook released Tuesday said high temperatures have dried out live and dead vegetation.

A severe drought in eastern Montana and the western Dakotas is making the fire danger worse.

The center reported 36 large wildfires burning Tuesday, including 11 in Montana, nine in California and six in Oregon.

In the Northwest, the fire danger was above normal in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and most of Idaho.

The risk is also high in northern Wyoming and on Hawaii’s Big Island.

August fire potential was low in the Southeast and normal across most of the rest of the U.S.

Early harvest reports: No falling number problems

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — It might just be a normal year for wheat quality, said Mark Marshall, grain inspection office supervisor for the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s grain inspection office.

“The first one I’ve seen in a long time,” he said.

The workers at the office are running 100 to 200 samples per day, said Scott Steinbacher, acting regional manager in Eastern Washington.

Inspectors put in six additional hours every Saturday during harvest, Steinbacher said — if falling number again becomes a problem this year.

Falling number is a test that measures starch damage in wheat that affects the quality of baked goods, noodles and other foods.

Last year, farmers were caught off-guard when 44 percent of soft white wheat samples and 42 percent of club wheat samples ratings below 300, the industry standard. The problem did not make its way to international buyers. Industry officials estimate the problem cost farmers more than $30 million in dockage for the lower-quality wheat.

This year, most falling number samples are hitting above 300, Steinbacher said.

Fewer places are now asking for falling number samples, he said.

“At first we were, but they were all 350 to 450, so everybody kind of backed off from running every single sample,” he said.

The Idaho Wheat Commission said grain handlers are reporting good quality and yields, and no falling number problems.

Oregon Wheat CEO Blake Rowe agreed.

“Falling numbers look fine,” Rowe added. “Always a few low tests in the mix, but no broad problem like was seen in Washington last year.”

Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, said he hasn’t heard any reports of falling number problems.

“It’s always a concern, but it’s not raining, so far,” he said. “I think people are watching it. There’s a whole bunch of harvest still to happen, but so far, so good.”

The few samples testing below 300 are from last year’s crop, Steinbacher said. Some grain elevators are transferring wheat from 2016 that’s been stored, he said.

Steinbacher and Marshall double check any low falling number reading that comes up.

“It was last year’s crop but one of us saw it and the first thing we did was say, ‘Wait, wait, where’s it from? What is it?’” Steinbacher said.

Lower falling numbers could still be seen as harvest works through the winter wheats and goes into the spring wheats, Steinbacher said.

“It’s always a possibility, but right now, I’m not seeing any reason why we’d have to worry about any falling number problem,” he said. “I think everyone is going to be concerned about it always, but I think everyone is relaxed right now, given that we haven’t had a whole lot of rain to mess everything up, either. Everyone’s pretty calm and looking to get it all cut.”

Oregon Dairy honored for its sustainable practices

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

Rickreall, Ore. — Rickreall Dairy is the first farm in Oregon to receive the national Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award.

The dairy near Salem was one of three U.S. farms selected this year for the award by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The award is given for sustainable practices in such areas as cow care, energy conservation, water conservation, nutrient management and business and employee relations.

The third-generation farm, owned and operated by Louie and Lori Kazemier, houses 3,500 Holstein cows that produce approximately 50.4 million gallons of milk annually — about 138,000 gallons a day.

In addition to the dairy’s daily operations, it has an open-door policy and hosts guided tours for between 2,000 and 3,000 first-graders annually from Salem, Dallas and Independence, Ore., Louie Kazemier said.

Among the sustainable efforts Kazemier has pursued is a partnership that allows him to send the dairy’s solid waste to his neighbor’s cropland for the use as natural fertilizer in exchange for feed.

“Every dairyman has to do this,” he said of sustainability. “We save money, it lowered costs of production and it makes us more money by selling manure.”

The dairy’s other sustainable practices include collaborating with a local food processor to recycle water for irrigation for his 1,100 acres of crop land as a means of saving water, which is recycled three times before it is used for irrigation. He also tests the soil to make sure no nutrients get into the ground water, according to the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. The dairy has 25 employees with an average tenure of 20 years.

Rickreall is a member of the Northwest Dairy Association, a farmer-owned cooperative that sells more than $2 billion in dairy products annually through its subsidiary, Darigold.

Of the 3,500 Holsteins, Kazemier milks about 1,700; the others are either heifers or dry cows.

To maintain milk production, Kazemier said that “every cow has to have a calf every year.”

Kazemier has for 30 years received bulls from the same rancher, who matches the bulls and cows, producing “phenomenal cows,” Kazemier said.

In the maternity barn, Kazemier estimated that between 6 and 12 calves are born a day. The record number of births for a day was 24, which Kazemier and Manager John Haarsma commented was “a busy day.”

Heifers that are born stay on the farm while the bulls are sold to a ranch in California.

Kazemier is building a new calf barn that will give the animals more space. He said the future feeding system will mimic the mother cow better, and the calves will stay in groups of 20 for the first 60 days.

The cows are milked three times a day.

“We milk for as short a time as possible,” Kazemier said of the process, which can take as few as five minutes.

Cows wait in the back of the barn for no longer than 40 minutes, and file into the parlor where their utters are first sprayed with an iodine solution to kill bacteria before being milked, and then sprayed again afterward.

After a milking, the cows are kept standing for 20 minutes by a feed and water incentive; the cows drink around 40 gallons of water a day.

“They’re content cows,” he said.

Rickreall Dairy is inspected once a month and works with 18 different government agencies, he said. The milk is filtered twice and then chilled before being tested to make sure it’s free of antibiotics. Although it is not required, Kazmier said they do it for the “peace of mind.”

“We want to produce products that are safe, good and nutritious,” he said.

Nursery owner picked for American Farm Bureau’s advocacy training

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

Oregon nursery owner Angi Bailey was in New York City when the scope of agriculture’s communication task became clear. “There’s a lot of food in Times Square,” she said with a laugh, “but obviously there are no farms in Times Square.”

And the people bustling about — consumers — may never have set foot on a farm or talked to a farmer, she said.

An American Farm Bureau program, Partnership in Advocacy Leadership, or PAL, is attempting to bridge that gap, and picked Bailey as one of its next group of leaders. Over the course of two years, she and nine other young farmers and ranchers chosen for the program will learn how to better tell ag’s story to consumers, legislators, regulators and the media.

The group’s first training module was in New York City in June. Among other experiences, the PAL team members went to an urban grocery store to interact with shoppers, answer their questions and talk to them about their food choices.

The trip — her first to New York ­— confirmed the importance of producers being able to see things not only from the perspective of their farms but also “from the perspective of the person standing in the grocery store aisle,” Bailey said.

The group’s next joint venture is to Washington, D.C., in September.

Bailey said the training will refine her advocacy and leadership skills.

“It’s an opportunity to grow and develop and become stronger in the way I communicate,” she said.

Other members of the PAL group are John Boelts, Arizona; April Clayton, Washington; Becca Ferry, Utah; Amy France, Kansas, Amelia Kent, Louisiana; Matt Niswander, Tennessee; James O’Brien, Texas; Tyson Roberts, Utah; and Jamie Tiralla, Maryland. Bailey is the only one who doesn’t produce a food crop; she grows ornamental trees.

Bailey and her husband, Larry, own and operate Verna Jean Nursery, near Gresham, Ore., east of Portland. Bailey’s mother founded the business; Bailey took it over after her mother’s unexpected death in 2005.

Oregonians for Food and Shelter, the ag and natural resources lobbying group, hired Bailey as its grassroots coordinator in 2016. She also served as the Oregon Farm Bureau’s second vice president in 2015 and won the Outstanding Farm Bureau Woman Award during the state organization’s 2014 annual meeting. She’s a graduate of the American Farm Bureau’s communications “boot camp.”

Online

Previous Capital Press coverage of Angi Bailey: http://bit.ly/2vcj9GM

Oregon State ‘Ecampus’ classes go higher-tech

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

Corvallis, Ore. — Agricultural educators are taking advantage of new advances, providing students with an interactive experience through online “Ecampuses” powered by the latest technology.

Adam Lindsley, crop and soil science instructor at Oregon State University, uses photogrammetry, three-dimensional printing and — soon — virtual reality in his two landscape analysis soil morphology courses.

“These courses are traditionally conducted almost entirely in the field, and, as you might imagine, field work is tough to accomplish in an online class. There are many challenges,” Lindsley said.

One of these challenges comes during winter term when the ground could be frozen, making it impossible for online students located in northern climates to collect soil samples.

“I hit upon the idea of using photogrammetry to make 3-D photos of the soil pits here, and the models correspond with what’s in the (lab kits),” Lindsley said. “It’s a little bit less exciting to load up a 3-D model on your computer, but they do seem to have similar learning as if they were outdoors.”

Photogrammetry makes these models by taking multiple photos from different angles and compiling them together. The software matches up the pixels in each photo and builds a geometry around it. Students can also draw on these models.

Lindsley is also trying 3-D printing to create models that could potentially be part of lab kits. He found shipping actual soil structures by mail would destroy the structure.

“I thought, what if I applied photogrammetry to that and make models of structures?” he said. “It’s nice to have something you can hold that I’m certain won’t turn into dust.”

Lindsley hasn’t designed any learning activities around virtual reality yet, but is using it as a tool to interact with the 3-D models. He’s now experimenting with which headset offers the best ease of use and cost. At the moment, he’s leaning towards Google Cardboard.

Lindsley is not the only instructor in the Oregon State Crop and Soil Department experimenting with these technological advancements. His colleague, Meg Mobley, an instructor in the Crop and Soil Department and Sustainability Double Degree Program, teaches a mixture of on-campus and online labs and courses, and has noticed a “really interesting contrast.”

“(Online is) different from on-campus, even though I’m teaching the same concepts and similar activities,” she said. “It’s setting up different learning environments.”

Instead of a teacher’s assistant setting up the lab for the students, the students have to assemble the lab themselves before they can start the assignment. Mobley said that while it takes more work, the students who do it learn more.

The starkest difference between her environmental science on-campus course and her online course is the field trip that her on-campus class takes to McDonald Dunn Forest — a distinction that she is trying to correct for by creating a virtual field trip.

“The plan is to craft a field trip with the 360-degree photos (of the forest) and implant ‘hot spots’ within the photos that students can navigate themselves and get more information,” she said.

Mobley said that the virtual field trip would also be beneficial for students with physical disabilities who couldn’t make the trip in person.

Although there have been some struggles bringing the department to an online platform, Lindsley said he is up for the challenge. He is trying to address the best way to teach students with a visual impairment, and has started experimenting with sound. He used the example that if someone was measuring in a soil pit and stuck the knife into the horizon, the sound would differ if the substance was sand instead of clay.

“We’re still figuring it out. We’re having a hard time figuring out how that would work, but I’m willing to give it a shot,” he said. “Sound is one way to interact.”

Mobley has encountered this concern as well with her color-blind students when the class covers the differences in soil coloring. She believes that, at least for an introductory course, that specific learning material could be postponed until later in the degree.

However, that isn’t a permanent solution.

Despite the challenges, Lindsley believes there are several benefits to using an online platform, such as enabling more people to take the course, creating more opportunities for innovation, and interacting with students who are less inclined to speak in a traditional classroom setting.

“I really enjoy it. I get a much better understanding of where my students are at. The people who are in a campus course who don’t talk, online they have no problem shooting me an email or putting it on the discussion board,” he said. “I get a lot more interaction from my students, especially ones I wouldn’t hear otherwise.”

An online platform also allows for students to apply what they learn not just to Oregon soils, but to the soils where they live.

“Students who come to take classes on campus at OSU learn about geology, soil, rivers, ag here in the Willamette Valley and surrounding area, which is not necessarily where they end up applying that learning,” Mobley said. “In the online crop and soil science, environmental science and sustainability classes, the students examine and study the soils under their homes, where their drinking water comes from (and) what the air quality issues are in their town.”

Rancher asks ODFW to kill wolves after latest attack

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

A rancher in northeast Oregon’s Wallowa County requested the state Department of Fish and Wildlife use lethal control against the Harl Butte wolfpack, which has attacked calves six times in the past year.

An ODFW spokeswoman said the department received the request Friday afternoon and will make a decision in the coming days. The request came after ODFW confirmed a calf found dead July 26 had been killed by wolves.

The calf was estimated to have weighed 400 to 500 pounds but had been mostly consumed by the time the carcass was discovered. Only the skeleton and hide were left. An ODFW investigator estimated the calf was killed July 20-22.

Data from a GPS tracking collar showed a wolf designated OR-50 was within 200 yards of the carcass four times from July 21 to 25. Bite marks on the carcass and fresh wolf tracks in the area contributed to the confirmation.

ODFW has confirmed six attacks on calves by the Harl Butte pack between July 15, 2016 and July 22, 2017. In addition to the calf found dead most recently, another calf was found alive July 21 with multiple bite marks, including one wound that was 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. That attack was estimated to have occurred about a week earlier. Both occurred on public land grazing allotments.

The Harl Butte pack also was blamed for killing a calf on private pasture in April.

Killing wolves is not a simple process, however. Under Oregon’s management rules, ODFW may authorize “lethal take” if there have been two confirmed livestock depredations by wolves in the area, or one confirmed depredation followed by three attempted attacks, which can include “testing or stalking,” department spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said in an email.

However, the person requesting lethal control must document that non-lethal protection has been unsuccessful, and the producer must show nothing was done that attracted wolf-livestock conflict and that he or she has complied with laws and conditions of any harassment or take permit.

ODFW may authorize lethal control to be done by its staff, by authorized agents or by USDA’s Wildlife Services.

State denies reconsideration for mega-dairy

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

Despite concerns of water pollution and contamination, the agencies responsible for permitting a 30,000-cow dairy farm in Morrow County will not be reconsidering their decision.

Lost Valley Farm, located on a portion of what used to be the Boardman Tree Farm, was issued a controversial wastewater handling permit March 31 from the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality, which together administer the state’s confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

Opponents of the dairy filed what’s known as a petition for reconsideration, asking regulators to take a closer look at whether the permit does enough to protect surface water and groundwater sources. On July 25, ODA and DEQ issued a 10-page order denying the request and potentially setting the state for a future lawsuit.

Ivan Maluski, policy director for Friends of Family Farmers in Salem, issued a statement saying attorneys are reviewing the order. He said there is a “clear indication that Oregon has a broken system for CAFO permitting,” while specifically criticizing ODA, DEQ and Gov. Kate Brown.

“These mega-operations pollute the air with no environmental oversight, they put our limited groundwater at risk, and though Oregon has lost nearly 40 percent of our dairy farms over the past decade with small and mid-sized farms getting hit the hardest, the governor and her agencies are bending over backward to open the door for out-of-state factory farms like Lost Valley,” Maluski said.

Lost Valley Farm is owned by Greg te Velde, a California dairyman who has been milking cows in Oregon since 2002. He used to run Willow Creek Dairy on land leased from Threemile Canyon Farms before relocating and expanding his business, which sells milk to Tillamook Cheese at the Port of Morrow.

In the lead-up to permitting, ODA and DEQ were flooded with 4,200 public comments, mostly in opposition to Lost Valley. The campaign was spearheaded by a coalition of environmental, animal rights and small farms groups including Friends of Family Farmers, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Columbia Riverkeeper, Food & Water Watch, Humane Oregon, Humane Society of the United States, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and Oregon Rural Action.

They argue that Lost Valley — which at full capacity is expected to generate 187 million gallons of wastewater and manure annually — poses a significant risk of groundwater and surface water contamination, while also exacerbating elevated levels of groundwater nitrates in the lower Umatilla Basin.

Regulators have insisted their permit for Lost Valley is the most protective of any to date, requiring 11 groundwater monitoring wells and a minimum of three annual inspections.

Te Velde has also defended the farm’s management practices. Wastewater is stored in lagoons on site and then mixed at specific agronomic rates with irrigation to help grow feed crops for the cows. Monitoring wells are supposed to ensure the soil is not being overloaded with the nitrogen-rich water.

Lost Valley has been operating for several months now, so far bringing in 16,000 total animals with 8,700 being milking cows. The dairy expects to gradually build its full herd of 30,000 animals over the next several years.

Ag teachers learn about new technology in shop seminar

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

SUTHERLIN, Ore. — Agriculture and industrial arts teachers recently went back to school to better prepare themselves to teach their incoming students.

Teachers from around Oregon and a couple from Washington state participated in a weeklong Shop Management Seminar in early July at Sutherlin High School. The purpose of the eight-hour-per-day, five-day workshop was for new or inexperienced teachers in metals or woods to learn how to effectively use new technology and how to teach career and technical education classes back in their school shops. A couple graduate students from Oregon State University also attended and participated.

The workshop was organized through Oregon State University and the Oregon Ag Teachers Association, and was facilitated by Sutherlin High teachers Wes Crawford in the metals shop and Josh Gary in the woods shop with help from local industry representatives and Umpqua Community College welding instructors.

Sparks flew in the metals shop and sawdust fell in the wood shop as the participants got their own hands-on experience.

“This workshop is an opportunity to prepare teachers to be better shop teachers when they go back to their schools,” Crawford said. “It’s a chance for teachers to learn skills they haven’t learned before, and then learning how to teach those skills to their kids.”

There were 20 participants in the metals workshop and 15 in the woods shop. The workshop gave them the chance to network and share ideas and projects, but also to make items such as brackets and shelves, picture frames, jewelry boxes and birdhouses that they can later use as examples when their students are working on similar projects.

“It’s a changing world out there,” said Ben Kercher, the ag sciences and technology teacher at the Glide, Ore., High School. “Many businesses are using computer cutting. When new technology is purchased such as computer cutting devices, we need to learn how to use them and how to safely teach kids how to use them.”

Oregon State had the capabilities of teaching technological classes on its Corvallis campus until a few years ago when its antiquated building was torn down. A new, modern facility is not ready yet so for the second year, Crawford and Gary have been the hosts of a workshop at Sutherlin High.

Ian Fisher and Duane Thompson, the welding instructors at UCC, Shane Hagberg of We Repair Welders, a Douglas County, Ore., business, Cameron Burks of Airgas in Roseburg, Ore., and a handful of Sutherlin High students who are advanced in metals and woods helped out at various times at the workshop.

Josh Stewart, the director of teacher education in agriculture at Oregon State, said he was impressed with what he saw and experienced at the workshop.

“The value of the professional development these teachers are getting here is probably unmatched,” Stewart said. “In a short amount of time, they get to put their hands on equipment, use it and learn how to teach about it to their students. By doing it themselves, they’ll better understand any problems students might have later.

“Wes and Josh may not consider themselves teacher educators, but that is what they are doing here,” he added. “They’re good at teaching these teachers how to teach in these classes.”

Gary said that with the recent passing of Measure 98 by the Oregon State Legislature, there will be more funding for career technical education, resulting in more shop classes being offered at Oregon high schools. He said teachers need to be better prepared for those classes.

Brian Agee, the shop teacher at the Yoncalla, Ore., High School, said he is drawing on the expertise of the instructors in the workshop. He explained Yoncalla had had no career and technical education classes for several years until reinstating them during the last school year. Agee said about 95 of Yoncalla’s 135 students in seventh through 12th grades participated in at least one of those classes.

“This type of workshop is invaluable in growing the program at Yoncalla,” Agee said of the opportunity to learn as a teacher. “This is where tomorrow’s technicians will come from so as teachers there is no substitute for getting in and putting your hands on stuff to become better teachers. To watch students blossom and grow in these areas, to me that is exciting.”

In this workshop, it was the teachers who were given the opportunity to learn in the shop classrooms.

Washington, Oregon make region a blueberry powerhouse

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

MONITOR, Wash. — It’s a relatively cool 80 degrees at mid-morning as the Kamen and Hanna families head into Crazy Larry’s Blueberry Farm on what will be a 95-degree day.

Owner Larry Rawls demonstrates how to roll blueberries off the bush with his thumbs into his cupped hands.

Jason and Courtney Hanna, of DeKalb, Ill., are visiting his sister, Bridget Kamen, and her husband of Wenatchee. It’s a treat to come pick, Courtney says, because she doesn’t know of any blueberry farms in Illinois.

Rawls’ 1.75-acre U-pick blueberry farm, in Monitor about five miles northwest of Wenatchee, is one end of the spectrum of Washington’s growing blueberry industry. The other end is large commercial producers like Zirkle Fruit Co., Yakima, a tree fruit leader that branched into blueberries.

Consumer awareness of health benefits of blueberries is driving continuing demand, and pushing production in Washington, Oregon, Michigan and Georgia.

Washington surpassed Georgia to become national leader in 2015. Washington held the title in 2016, at 120 million pounds, and is forecast to keep it this year.

Oregon was a close second in 2016 but is expected to place third this year, behind Michigan, said Alan Schreiber, executive director of the Washington State Blueberry Commission in Pasco.

“It’s more accurate to think of Oregon and Washington as a common growing region,” Schreiber said.

The two states are similar in attributes making them a strong force in the industry, he said.

For one, they have a longer production window than most growing regions. Washington picking starts in mid-June and ends in October when the only other region still picking is British Columbia.

Washington has a greater capacity than most states to divert fresh blueberries to processing since its industry began on the west side of the state where disease is greater and it was easier to make money by processing, Schreiber said.

Another benefit is the dry climate of the eastern sides of both states which basically eliminates disease.

Several Oregon fresh packers procure blueberries from Washington, the blueberry commissions of the two states coordinate research and are planning a joint trade mission to Vietnam this fall, Schreiber said.

“Several people on my board have financial ties with Oregon guys. There’s a lot of inter-connectivity,” he said.

It’s not all rosy. Small commercial producers have a hard time competing and one potentially large player, Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, got in and then got out.

Teri Miller, co-owner of Miller Orchards and fruit stand in Peshastin and a founder of Cascade Farm Lands, an agri-tourism group in the Wenatchee Valley, said blueberries have peaked. Small growers in the valley tried and quit because they couldn’t make enough money, she said.

“Blueberries are very labor intensive and all of ag is short on labor,” she said.

“Economic pressures of scale exist in blueberries like they do in apples and potatoes and wheat. Particularly in the fresh market, it’s hard to be a small, blueberry grower,” Schreiber said.

While Washington’s utilized blueberry production increased 15 percent from 2015 to 2016, its value of utilized production dropped 36 percent from $146.8 million to $94 million, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Schreiber said that’s probably partly because as supply increases, prices go down.

USDA stats bear that out. The average price per pound in Washington was $1.47 in 2015 and dropped to .78 in 2016.

Oregon-based NORPAC hires new CFO

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

NORPAC Foods, the farmer-owned food processing cooperative based in Salem, Ore., has a new chief financial officer.

He is Richard Munekiyo, who for seven years was senior director of finance and an interim chief financial officer at the dairy cooperative Darigold in Seattle.

“Richard will be a tremendous asset to NORPAC at an exciting juncture in our business,” Sean Campbell, president and CEO of NORPAC, said in a press release. “He’s a trusted adviser with a proven track record of leading high-performing financial functions for complex and changing businesses. His expertise will be invaluable as we move forward on our quest for continued growth, innovation and operational excellence.”

Campbell and Munekiyo have worked closely in the past, and have “a real rapport and great respect for on another,” said Amy Wood, a NORPAC spokeswoman. “(Campbell) sees Rich as a key asset to continue NORPAC’s growth.”

Before joining NORPAC in 2016, Campbell was at Darigold for 10 years, most recently as senior vice president of consumer products.

Wood said that Campbell had reached out to Munekiyo and was “proactive to seek a CFO with progressive leadership skills.”

NORPAC is owned by more than 200 family farmers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and provides frozen vegetables, fruit, soups and other value-added products to the food service, retail, club store, remanufacture and export market segments, according to its website.

Wheat harvest in full swing across Eastern Oregon

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

HELIX, Ore. — Sitting in the cab of a John Deere tractor overlooking golden hills of wheat, Kuper Bracher waited patiently Tuesday morning and watched as a pair of combine harvesters passed slowly in the distance.

This is the second year that Bracher, 13, has worked wheat harvest at the family farm north of Helix. His job is to drive the bank-out wagon, ferrying loads of grain from combines out in the field to delivery trucks bound for the storage elevator.

“It’s either fast-paced or it’s really, really slow,” said Bracher, adjusting his camouflage baseball cap. “Right now, it’s going pretty slow.”

Soon enough, Bracher receives a call over the radio and shifts his massive rig into gear. Traversing uneven terrain, he moves carefully into position alongside the closest combine ready to empty its cargo.

The process requires Bracher to keep his head on a swivel, maintaining the right speed and direction so none of the grain winds up spilled. Bracher remembers last year when he accidentally overloaded his wagon, and was forced to collect the spillage with a shovel and 5-gallon bucket.

Now, Bracher says he feels perfectly comfortable operating the wagon’s high-tech controls.

“After a while, it just comes to you,” he said.

Wheat harvest is playing out on farms across Umatilla and Morrow counties, and by most accounts local growers are seeing average to above-average yields thanks to heavy spring rains that finally put the kibosh on a multi-year drought.

The hours may be long, but Bracher — who is preparing to enter seventh grade at Helix School — said he enjoys spending his summers on the farm.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s not an ordinary job.”

‘North country’

Bracher’s grandfather, Cliff Bracher, is intimately familiar with the area in and around Helix. He calls it the “north country,” a catch-all name for the sprawling dryland wheat ground north of Pendleton.

Behind the wheel of his pickup, Cliff cruises the gravel roads that lead from one bucolic farm house to the next, reciting names of landowners without missing a beat. The north country is a pretty tight-knit group of family farms, he said, and come harvest time it is not unusual to see three generations out working the fields.

“The most grueling part of the whole harvest is just the long hours,” Cliff said. “We start harvesting at about 7:30 a.m., and we’ll call it quits at about 8:30 p.m.”

At that pace, Cliff said they can usually cut about 125 acres of wheat per day, per combine — and that’s only if the weather conditions don’t turn sour, like they did last Thursday when 40-mph wind gusts blew down Juniper Canyon. Windy conditions not only increase the risk of field fires, but can even blow wheat right out of the truck.

Yields are so far looking good, Cliff said, with some fields likely producing between 80-100 bushels per acre. Combined with soft white wheat prices that have finally clawed their way back above $5 out of Portland, he said most growers will likely wind up breaking even on profit.

“This is a decent wheat crop right here,” he said. “It could have been a crop insurance year.”

Back in Helix, Cliff stops to chat with his son, Randy Bracher, who began his day at 5:30 a.m. spraying fallow fields. Though harvest can be stressful, Randy said it is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work.

“Personally, this is my vacation,” he said. “If you make sure you have a good crew ... it makes it fun.”

John Thompson, another north country wheat grower who farms around Kings Corner Road, agreed that harvest time is the highlight of their year.

“That’s how we get our bread and butter,” he said.

Improved yields

It certainly helps that this year’s crop was bolstered by favorable weather.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Oregon wheat production is expected to come in at 43.3 million bushels, which is up 22 percent over 2016. A little more than half the state’s wheat is grown in Umatilla and Morrow counties.

Jason Middleton, region manager for United Grain Corporation in Pendleton, said the combination of increased moisture and cooler temperatures benefited wheat earlier in the growing season as the plants were still filling in their kernels.

Since October of last year, the National Weather Service has recorded 16.82 inches of precipitation in the Pendleton area, which is about 5 inches more than usual.

“Yields have been pretty good,” Middleton said. “It’s been a better crop than it was last year.”

Conditions also helped to delay the start of harvest until about July 10, Middleton said, which is generally a good thing.

“Typically, the later the start, the better yields you’ll have,” he explained.

Protein levels are mostly lower than they were last year, Middleton added. That’s good news for growers who sell overseas to countries like Japan, where customers prefer low-protein wheat to make products like cakes and noodles.

Randy Bracher said farmers are always at the mercy of Mother Nature, but this year things have turned out well across the Pacific Northwest.

“This year, we’ve been blessed,” he said. “Agriculture in general has been pretty dang favorable for growing conditions.”

Farming within wildlife refuges revamps Klamath agriculture

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

KLAMATH BASIN, Ore. (AP) — Ryan Hartman is driving from field to field in the Klamath Basin, giving what amounts to a masterclass on how to run logistics for 3,000 acres of farmland.

He troubleshoots equipment at one spot, sets planting depth drills on another a mile away, and farther on, shows a few of his 12 employees where to install an irrigation pipe.

“It’s a pretty good job to have. You get to drive around in this every day — it’s pretty nice scenery,” he says of the big blue sky, the low brown mountains, the marshes and wide open fields outside his truck window.

Hartman has been farming for about eight years on land he leases inside the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges. He grows grain, alfalfa and potatoes.

Hartman pulls off onto a chocolate dirt road into a giant field. A low dike keeps water from a nearby lake off this farmland.

“These are yellows,” he says, pointing to one part of the potato field. “And from that way up are chippers — a variety for Frito Lay.”

A century ago, this land was under a massive lake that supported migratory birds. Now it supports potatoes and the people who grow them.

Hartman is one of them. But he’s also part of a new generation of farmers who are making agriculture more compatible with wildlife. They’re adopting irrigation methods that provide habitat for waterfowl, help keep chemicals out of the wildlife refuges, and give growers a premium price for their crops. And they’re helping push the entire Klamath Basin toward a more sustainable agricultural system.

If you drink organic Northwest beer, there’s a decent chance you’ve tasted barley from the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges.

Grain production on refuges is relatively common across the country, but the Klamath refuges are the only ones that also allow for row crops like potatoes, onions and horseradish.

These row crops are grown on Tule Lake refuge and no other because it is enshrined in federal law — 1964 legislation called the Kuchel Act (pronounced Key-cull). The Kuchel Act was a compromise bill that stopped refuge land from being stripped away for homesteading, something that had slowly been happening since the land was set aside at the beginning of the 20th century. In return, the farming of grain and row crops was allowed to continue, as long as it supported “proper waterfowl management.”

The interpretation of this provision of the law has since been the subject of debate and litigation in the basin.

Currently about 40 percent, or 37,000 acres, of land on Lower Klamath and Tule Lake refuges are farmed. Around 10 percent of that land is in row crops.

The land is broken down into two separate programs; one involves farming on what are called co-op lands and the other affects growers on so-called lease lands.

The co-op farming is directly designed to provide food for waterfowl. No money exchanges hands. These growers can farm the land for free as long as they agree to leave at least a quarter of that grain standing at the end of the season.

“The co-op fields we have full control over,” says Greg Austin, manager of the Klamath Refuges. The refuges award co-op contracts based on which farmer offers the best deal.

“Annually what that best plan looks like changes based on what conditions are like,” says refuge biologist John Vradenburg. “What’s the refuge going to be most lacking in that year?”

Sometimes the refuge wants offers that will leave more grain standing. Sometimes it’s waterfowl habitat that gets prioritized. Sometimes other factors play into the decision.

Lease-land farming, by contrast, is more of an economic venture. It’s managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. Farmers bid on specific fields for five-year leases. Potatoes and onions grow here, but most of the land is in grain production. Farmers don’t have to leave any behind for birds.

All this has turned the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges into giant laboratories. They test ideas — both for the birds and for the farmers.

One of the most consequential experiments has involved crop irrigation on refuge land — a method that farmers call “flood fallow” and that the refuges have officially labeled as “walking wetlands.” It’s the program that Hartman is taking part in.

The aim is to improve the way agriculture supports habitat for waterfowl. The wildlife refuges have high-priority water rights. But their ability to channel water into wetlands is limited.

The refuges don’t have a formal agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to deliver that water. And Endangered Species Act protections for imperiled fish in the Klamath Basin have kept water in streams that might otherwise reach the refuges.

Even if those things changed, the highest-priority water rights owned by the refuges are earmarked for crop irrigation, not wildlife.

So wildlife managers figured out that if they could convince farmers to use their agricultural water to periodically flood their fields for extended periods of time, they could provide more habitat for waterfowl.

“We have all these agricultural parcels spread throughout the refuge and they’re helping us bring the wetland conditions that have been lost,” Vradenburg says.

Fourth-generation Klamath Basin farmer Mark Staunton is among those who now flood their fields. When those fields are drained and put back into production, a year’s worth of bird poop and decomposing wetland plants cause crop fertility to skyrocket.

“We’re all the sudden back to production that maybe my great-grandpa would have seen when he first started farming on the lake,” Staunton says.

Staunton’s great-grandfather was one of the first homesteaders in the area. His uncle was the first to work with the wildlife refuges on field flooding about 15 years back.

Not only are farmers finding that the standing water makes the land more fertile, they’re also discovering that it kills off weeds.

Since this practice of flooding fields was first put to use, the program has taken off, triggering a transformation of farming on the refuge.

There’s another trend that’s changing agricultural practices in the Klamath Basin’s wildlife refuges: rising consumer demand for organic produce and grains.

The market has seen double-digit growth since the early 2000s and is currently valued at nearly $40 billion in the United States alone.

In the Klamath Basin, flood-fallow irrigation on the refuges has paved the way. On fields that are flooded for three growing seasons, farmers can immediately have their crops certified as organic — netting them higher prices than they’d get for conventionally grown crops.

In addition, when the Bureau of Reclamation drains fields that had been flooded, it can then offer them to farmers for organic production.

“We believe we’re getting higher and increase bids on the lots that are available for organic,” Green says.

Rob Wilson at the University of California extension office in Tulelake says as growers are seeing success using this system, other farmers off-refuge are jumping on board.

“We’ve seen a substantial increase in organic production. And we’re talking thousands of acres of wheat and small grains, barley, potatoes and many of the forages that are being grown,” Wilson says. “It’s becoming a substantial part of farming in the Klamath Basin.”

Staunton is part of that trend.

“About five years ago our farm was less than 15 percent organic to conventional, and now we’re about 50-50 if not a little bit more,” he says.

About half of the farmland on the Klamath refuges is now either organic or flooded as a wetland. And overall fewer chemicals are being put on ground, which is better for the birds.

Bob Hunter of the environmental group WaterWatch is not convinced.

“Walking wetland system certainly has provided the refuge manager with a tool to make an awful situation a little better than it is,” Hunter says.

It will take far more than a change in the way crops are irrigated to satisfy Hunter and other critics of farming on wildlife refuges.

“Tule Lake Refuge is really two polluted farm ponds and commercial farming,” Hunter says.

WaterWatch is suing the refuge for not phasing out farming in its latest conservation plan. The suit says in examining the potential continued compatibility of agriculture on the refuges, managers only considered its effect on a small subset of waterfowl — the same waterfowl that are known to use agriculture for forage and habitat.

Hunter recommends a springtime drive through the refuge to dispel any notion that it’s a park for wildlife.

“They have silhouettes of painted bald eagles out there to act as scarecrows to keep migrating geese off the fields,” he says. “So here you have a national wildlife refuge that is excluding birds so you won’t adversely impact farming.”

The refuge is attempting to rein in this practice in its new conservation plan. That’s drawn the ire of farmers. Some of them are suing over the conservation plan, saying there are changes to agriculture on the refuges that violate federal laws.

Again and again the situation at the Klamath refuges comes back to water.

Ron Larson is a retired biologist who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Klamath Basin for 20 years.

“Personally, I think it’s unfortunate that there’s farming on the refuge. But on the other hand, the fact that there is farming on the refuge does provide a guaranteed water supply, at least for Tule Lake” refuge, Larson says. “So it’s kind of a Catch-22 situation, but it is unfortunate.”

Environmental groups say the refuges’ managers could do far more than encourage growers to irrigate crops in ways that benefit wildlife. Instead, they should take steps to ensure the refuges’ water rights are enforced to put more water directly into natural waterfowl habitat.

This is possible under Oregon water law. But the Oregon Water Resources Department says no changes can happen until after all water rights in the Klamath Basin have been certified. This adjudication process likely won’t be finalized for at least 10 years.

Hunter sees promise in changing the purpose of the refuges’ water rights to benefit wildlife. If the refuges truly care about the birds they’re supposed to be protecting, he says, the next great experiment will be phasing out farming altogether on the refuges.

Aug. 21 total solar eclipse already causing havoc

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon -

Depending of who you ask, every single hotel and motel room in Central Oregon was booked for two or three years in advance of next month’s total solar eclipse. The Inn at Cross Keys Station in Madras, the town in the middle of the 70-mile wide path of darkness that will sweep from Oregon to South Carolina, has been reserved for the weekend prior to and day of the Aug. 21 event for five years, according to front desk employees.

“I still get calls every day for it,” one of the clerks said.

When a motel in neighboring Prineville unexpectedly had 17 rooms open up, they were nabbed within an hour, said another employee, Adam DeZee.

The state attorney general’s office has had to warn motels not to cancel reservations and reopen them at higher prices.

Farmers in the “path of totality” have opened fields to campers and are hoping to cash in. One who advertised in the Capital Press is asking $35,000 for Aug. 19-21 rental of a 1,000 acre farm with a pond, water slide, trampoline and hookups for 15 RVs.

Another is asking $150 a night for camping space with portable toilets. A third, in Idaho, offers Aug. 19-22 use of a 20-foot fifth-wheel trailer for $1,000.

In Madras alone, with a population of 6,729 and only 325 motel rooms, community business owners anticipate hosting 125,000 to 150,000 eclipse watchers. They’re already telling people to avoid driving to Madras the day of the eclipse, as the roads are likely to be impassable.

Crowds are expected all along the eclipse path. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI, sold out an event it is hosting at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem.

The Jefferson County Tourism Group, a private business formed in 2015, organized Oregon SolarFest activities and sold out 5,500 camping spaces at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and at what it is calling SolarTown, a grass seed field north of town owned by farmer Greg Williams.

Sandy Forman, one of three locals who own the tourism business, said the farmer recently finished combining the grass field, and is keeping it irrigated and mowed so it will be a pleasant camping spot. Shuttles will haul people back and forth to activities in town and at the fairgrounds.

During the eclipse, the moon blocks the sun and casts a narrow band of moving shadow on the earth. Oregon is the first landmass the shadow will touch. Areas will be in darkness for about two minutes, during which time stars will be visible and animals may act odd. Some people believe a solar eclipse is a transformational event.

Forman acknowledged the crowds expected in Madras may stretch the county’s ability to provide services. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” she said, although at this point it’s probably impossible to find a portable toilet for rent. “I’m going to go with no,” she said.

Forman is partner in the tourism company with J.R. Brooks and Kelly Simmelink. She grew up on a farm in the area and said she spent time changing irrigation pipes, driving tractor, operating a swather and baler and more. The event will attract a lot of people who know nothing about Oregon agriculture, she said, and the area will be able to show some of the specialty crops grown there, such as carrot seed.

“This is a chance to show what Madras is, and what a beautiful area this is,” Forman said. “It’s an opportunity for our community to meet new people from all over the world and learn about this natural phenomenon right here in our backyard.”

Online

Prices and other Oregon SolarFest details: https://www.oregonsolarfest.com

A map of the U.S. eclipse path: http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/maps/whole-us.jpg

Map of the path across Oregon: https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/oregon/

General information about an eclipse: http://eclipsewise.com/

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