Agriculture In Review

Agriculture In Review

Agriculture In Review

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

2014 was an eventful year for agriculture, both nationwide and here in the state. Over the next few days we will be looking back at some of the highlights.

Wolf management in the state has long been a volatile issue and 2014 was no exception - with ranchers, animal rights activists, and Fish and Wildlife officials often butting heads over the best way to protect livestock while developing a wolf conservation and management plan. Washington cattleman Jack Field said one of the big problems is the fact that we're still dealing with a state listed animal.

FIELD: The benefit is that they're federally delisted in 1/3, which gives the Department of Fish and Wildlife the ability to use lethal force under our rough management plan. But whenever lethal force has to happen it always becomes a very divisive and explosive discussion politically and socially.

Port congestion problems caused by labor disputes between the PMA and the ILWU prevented millions of dollars of exports from reaching their final destinations in a timely fashion. Massive amounts of potatoes, hay, pears, and apples had to be rerouted at extra expense in order to meet contract commitments to overseas buyers, or contracts were cancelled all together. Jon DeVaney, President of the new Washington State Tree Fruit Association, said the port issue continues to be a very serious concern for the entire industry.

DEVANEY: We have been working with a lot of our elected officials, the Governor's office, congressional delegation and legislators in Olympia to encourage the parties to try to reach a solution sooner. In the meantime we just keep emphasizing that it's costing our industry tens of millions of dollars a week - lost sales, and it's a serious drag on the state economy as well.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.

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