Agriculture + Viticulture

Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business’ full-color, glossy magazine Focus: Agriculture + Viticulture takes a closer look at how our region serves as the powerhouse that drives our state’s agriculture and viticulture industries. This magazine is published in the spring.

OverviewField

Uncertainty abounds: What does 2020 hold for agriculture?

While Lamb Weston and Mid-Columbia potato growers were dealing with an unexpected surplus of spuds this spring, Mid-Columbia asparagus farmers had a different tale to tell. They had the skilled cutters they needed to bring in the harvest and prices were strong. 2020 was a solid year for the iconic first shoots of spring, thanks…

Gilles Nicault, the acclaimed French winemaker behind every bottle produced by famed Long Shadows Vintners in Walla Walla, holds a sample of grapes collected from Candy Mountain Vineyard near Richland. (Photo courtesy Richard Duval Images)

Global gut: Wine grape glut may cut into industry’s profits

While the quality of grapes and winemaking in Washington state remain world-class, the global glut of wine continues to cut into the industry’s bottom line. Consumers stand to benefit, whenever shelter-in-place restrictions and pandemic-affected spending allow. “The Washington grape market is suffering from a structural imbalance between supply and demand that will likely require substantial…

Washington posted a modest increase in agricultural exports in 2019 even with trade wars and other challenges. The Covid-19 crisis poses a new set of challenges in 2020 to a sector that is second only to airplanes for export activity. (Photo courtesy state Department of Agriculture)

To market: Exporters turn to new trade agreements, Zoom

Washington’s agricultural exporters faced brutal headwinds in 2019 and they are facing them again in 2020. Trade wars, retaliatory tariffs targeting the state’s most iconic crops and a new Pacific Rim trade alliance that didn’t include the U.S. marred the 2019 season, driving producers to seek new markets in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, among…

Photo courtesy James Michael/Northwest Cherry Growers

Cherry picked: Growers worry about finding enough workers

Covid-19 could hurt southeast Washington’s cherry crop by limiting the number of fruit pickers allowed in orchards. The fickle crop is healthy, delicious and highly profitable, but a litany of factors can threaten its success. If weather cooperates and diseases are kept at bay, the fruit must be picked, packed, shipped, stocked and bought before…

Photo courtesy Washington Apple Commission

A big bite: $3B apple industry is the MVP of Washington ag

The Washington apple industry has had a challenging year. Retaliatory tariffs. Labor shortages. And now a pandemic that has contributed to a slowdown in the supply chain. On the other hand, growers of Washington’s top agricultural product produced another large crop featuring a new star — the Cosmic Crisp, a new variety that is quickly…