WSDA News plus Food Forethought

WSDA News plus Food Forethought

WSDA News plus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.

Washington State is losing their top ag guy. Ag Director Dan Newhouse is stepping down as of April 1st. Newhouse plans to return to his 600-acre farm near Sunnyside. Newhouse has been in the position since February 2009 and will get back to growing hops, grapes, tree fruit and alfalfa. New Washington Governor Jay Inslee has stated that he “ is seeking a new direction for our agency."

Another WSDA story is the revoking of the food processing license for Chu Minh Corp., which produces tofu and other soy products, after several inspections found on-going sanitation problems with the Seattle business.The company 10 days to appeal and request agency reconsideration of the order, but it cannot operate as a food processing operation during that appeal period.

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

Organic farmers have long been concerned about the possibility of contamination from non-organic crops that are in close proximity to their fields. The increased use of genetically modified crops, especially corn, has given Blue River Hybrids, a company that offers seed especially grown and conditioned for organic farmers, reason to further develop and now offer a line of corn which does not accept pollen from other corn varieties; consequently growers can be assured of a non-contaminated product. Representatives for Blue River confess that plant breeders have been aware of this for years, but were not financially motivated to develop it until recently, with the increased use of genetically modified corn. This particular corn hybrid has been developed through traditional selective breeding, and tested over several years. With the development and expansion of plant and seed hybrids such as this it hopefully won’t be long before cross contamination issues between organic growers and non-organic growers will be a thing of the past. A future where organic and conventional farming operations work together to feed the world’s growing population isn’t just a pipe dream, it’s a necessity.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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