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.

Courtesy Washington State Potato Commission

Pasco farmer says U.S. potato industry is focused on the future

By Jared Balcom Despite all the changes the nation has experienced over the two-plus years of this pandemic, the U.S. potato industry remains as committed as ever to fighting for federal policies that protect our businesses, our families and the communities we support.  Years ago, when I first attended the potato industry’s leadership development course…

Reagan Grabner raises potatoes for chips and french fries and for the fresh market at CSS Farms near Pasco. Grabner, who grew up on a wheat farm, said he chose potatoes because he liked the idea of growing a product “that was more than a commodity.” (Courtesy Pam Lewison)

Passion for spuds keeps grower in business

By Pam Lewison For some farmers, growing potatoes is about a passion for growing things and connecting with consumers. Reagan Grabner, of CSS Farms, is one of those farmers. His family is one of the more than 300 families who make up Washington state’s potato growers. “I was raised on a wheat farm and had…

WA_apple_blossoms

Apple industry renews focus on domestic market

As summertime approaches, consumers begin to look to local markets for the parade of fresh fruits, and apple orchards buzz with preparations for the late summer harvest. Last year, 122 million bushels were harvested in Washington, the nation’s leader in apple production. It was a moderate crop compared to past years that have seen totals…

When the bines are stripped of the cones, the leaves come off as well. The hops and leaves are processed through a number of belts, where gravity separates them, ensuring bales are packed with hops.  (Courtesy Hop Growers of America)

Craft beer drives thirst for hops

By Mary Coffman More than 84.6 million pounds of hops were grown in Washington in 2021, a 14.1% increase over 2020. “We were all kind of surprised to see a record crop last year, after the spring heat dome, which hit when the vines were vulnerable,” said Maggie Elliot, science and communications director for the…

Automated farming irrigation system in sunset

Late winter bolstered water supplies, took some of the sting out of drought

Thanks to a very wet April, the Pacific Northwest has a lot of water. That’s potentially great news for water users. After declaring a drought in the Mid-Columbia on July 14, 2021, the Washington Department of Ecology downgraded Benton and Franklin counties to “drought advisory” status in late May. Five watersheds spanning parts of Spokane,…

Courtesy Scott Butner Photography

Washington ag is ready to put pests, plague and politics in rearview mirror

How tough was 2020 for Northwest agriculture? This tough: Discovery+ is streaming “Attack of the Murder Hornets,” a 90-minute documentary about the hunt for bee-murdering, crop-threatening Asian giant hornets in Washington state. The documentary crew followed Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and his team of hornet hunter-eradicators as they…