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.

The Washington wine industry has blossomed from its beginnings to become a major player in U.S. wine production, and the number of wineries has increased from 300 in the mid-1990s to about 1,000 wineries across the state today.  (Photo by Andy Perdue)

Fine vines: Wine industry has come into its own

By Andy Perdue When a young grapevine begins growing in the sandy soils of Washington’s Columbia Valley, it takes a few years to establish itself and build a foundation of strong roots before producing fruit. After a period known as the juvenile years, the vines mature, and with the right care and coaxing, they will…

(Courtesy Washington Grain Commission)

Turbulent trade: State’s exports remain steady

Washington’s agricultural exports held steady in 2018, demonstrating both strength and missed opportunity, as some industries suffered under new trade policies while others made gains during the year. Exports of Washington-produced agricultural goods totaled $6.7 billion in 2018, the same amount exported in 2017. The flat growth followed a roughly 10 percent increase in exports…

The Washington cherry crop is consistently among the top 10 agricultural commodities in the state with predictions of this year’s crop reaching 25 million boxes of fruit. (Courtesy Northwest Cherry Growers)

Fruitful summer: Cherry crops a sweet success

The 2019 Washington cherry crop is expected to reach nearly 25 million boxes. These initial estimates come from about 2,100 cherry growers who are part of the Northwest Cherry Growers/Washington State Fruit Commission, a five-state group covering orchards in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah. Before cherries are picked, “there are still plenty of opportunities…

Ripe Apples in Orchard ready for harvesting

Apple action: New variety coming as tariff threats loom

As the state’s apple growers strategize to overcome international tariffs, they’re also looking ahead to introduce to the world a highly-anticipated variety — the Cosmic Crisp. The end of the 20 percent tariffs on apples shipped to Mexico in mid-May was welcome news to the state’s apple industry, which saw overall exports down 32.7 percent…

Farmers’ participation in the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program has increased 1,000 percent in 10 years, while federal funding has remained flat. A legislative advisory committee will review the budget over the next two years. (Courtesy Andréa Johnson Photography/Washington State Wine Commission)

Looking for laborers: Guest worker program seeks funds

With a growing number of Washington farm owners turning to the H-2A guest worker program to meet their labor needs, the cost of administering and providing oversight of the program now exceeds the federal funding provided for it. It’s a scenario that pushed the state Employment Security Department to turn to the Legislature this year…