Thursday, June 24, 2010

We Treat Our Crops Like Our Kids

Crops are like children, they need consent tending and nurturing to turn out right.  Diseases can affect a crop just like a child, so preventive measures help keep both crops and kids healthy.   The progressive farmers of the world look at preventive and corrective measures as a way to ensure healthy crops for optimum results.  It's simply safeguarding your resources.  For me, as a mother, it would be like not inoculating your child against rubella, polio and other diseases that can strike and cripple a human, so why would you put your children at risk? It's the same with crops, we have the resources available to help the plants, so why risk not using them? So that my friends, in a nutshell,  is why farmers use the treatments available (which are strictly regulated by the Food & Drug Administration) to keep our crops healthy.  What does this mean to you? It means quantity as well as quality on your dinner table.   

Due to the recent (and welcome) moisture that we have had over the past 2 months, the wheat around the region is showing signs of a fungi called Stem Rust.  If untreated, this fungi will rob the crop of its potential yield, so farmers will incur an extra cost to get this herbicide flown on by air to treat it.  Joe and Jay had anticipated the Rust showing up and this particular fungus is best treated if you can catch it before it shows up on the wheat blades.  We are not complaining in the least, it is sort of a welcome expense as it means the wonderful moisture should mean a better wheat yield come harvest time.  That really makes a farmer smile! =)

Shown below is brother-in-law, Jay checking one of the wheat fields on the Tammany farm.  Besides looking for rust, we also look for bugs that can also rob the crop of its yield.  So sometimes bi-weekly, but usually weekly checking of the crops is necessary for optimum crop health.

The products commonly used on the farm come in plastic jugs. Pictured above  is Ryan, a high school lad who has been hired to help on the farm this summer.   Ryan is stacking the jugs to be shredded for recycling.   

This is the owner of the shredding machine and that comes to farms all over the region.  
If you want to see more of the small town farm life, take a look at the page called At Home on the Farm.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Japan Trade Team Arrives on the Anderson Farm

June 9, 2010 
Awaiting the arrival of the Japan Trade Team who are as follows:
Mr. Yasuhiko Izumida, Assistant Manager of Chiba Mill, Nippon Flour Mills
Mr. Mitsuji Kuroda, Assistant Manager, Food Development Center, Showa Sangyo
Mr. Ryogo Kasai, Operations Dept, Chiba Four Milling
Mr. Kohru Tokumoto, General Manager, Assistant to President, Kinki Flour Milling
Mr. Wataru "Charlie" Utsunomiya, Director, US Wheat Associates, Tokoyo

Our guests arrive after a very busy day touring the Lewis/Clark Terminal, WSU Wheat Lab, UI Greenhouse, Parker Farms & Seed Processing Plant and Pacific NW (PNW) Farmers Co-op in Genesee and then to have dinner with us.  Also present in this picture is the other farmer "Joe Anderson" (Potlatch Joe) and his wife, Pam.

Once the howdys were said, we gathered in the house to enjoy some beverages and locally produced hummus called "Bronzestone".  The great thing about this hummus is that two former employees of  PNW Co-op just started this company in May and we were excited to serve it to our guests.  Plus the garbs came from the local crops (our included) and most likely were the ones to make this tasty dip. Currently this brand of hummus can be purchased at the Moscow Food Co-op and Rosauers.

Below are our other farm hosts, Bill and Cheryl Flory from Winchester, ID

                                                                           Pictured here is Joe and myself.
This is Tereasa from the Idaho Wheat Commission along with Wheat Commissioner, Joe Anderson. The picture on the right shows the other Wheat Commissioner, Kieth Kinzer standing next to Joe.

This is Charlie from the US Wheat Assoc who was the interpreter.         

                                                        This is our daughter Kaitlyn and Yasuhiko.

The group spoke some English and some of these polite young gentlemen could converse better than others, so Charlie was helpful in making sure the millers understood all that was going on.

Japan currently buys approximately five million tons of imported wheat, mainly from the U.S., Canada and Australia.  Last year, the U.S. supplied about 65% of this volume.  Generally the Japanese customers are satisfied with the current quality of the wheat, but there have been some complaints about frequent contamination of other grains in the cargoes.  Japanese customers' keen concerns include food safety that include farm chemicals, allergens and GM (genetically modified) crops.  The flour millers want to increase their knowledge about the U.S. system to supply safe and clean wheat, so this is the objective for their visit.   Hopefully after this whirlwind visit, the trade team will have a better understanding of the U.S. wheat breeding practices, production, and marketing/handling systems that are used in our country.  It will also  gave the millers a first hand look about bulk grain transportation from the farmers' hands to the seaboard elevators. These team members are the ones directly involved in the production of the flour used in their country and some of them are engaged in research and development for the flour mix.  So this visit is to increase their confidence that the U.S. farmer is working diligently to produce the quality of product they and their customers desire and hopefully they will be more partial to our product and purchase more. 

The dinner was a great success and our guests loved the menu: Steaks, potato salad, garb/zucchini salad, bread from Panhandle Bakery, fresh fruit salad and for dessert a black forest pound cake and lemon tart.  We served a local wine from Clearwater Canyon.  Here are more pic's of the evening.