Articles by Andrew Kirk

Andrew Kirk is a stay-at-home dad pursuing a second master’s degree to become a middle school history teacher. He previously worked seven years as a digital media editor for a cluster of radio stations and thee years as a business section editor at a newspaper. He graduated from the University of Utah with a master’s in mass communication in 2007. He has five children and enjoys jogging on Columbia River trails.
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 Save Family Farming

Hired help: Pandemic exacerbates ag labor shortage

The state of Washington is under pressure to enforce social distancing guidelines at farms and orchards, but farmers say they can’t find enough agricultural workers to hire, and social distancing requirements interfere with plans currently in place. “We might force people into housing conditions that are less safe. If someone comes from another state, will…

Photo courtesy Washington State Potato Commission.

Surplus spuds: Coronavirus upends potato industry

Demand for Mid-Columbia potatoes was growing every year — until coronavirus. Area potato growers specialize in varieties that taste great after freezing, while most Idaho potatoes wind up in the grocery store produce section. Southeast Washington potatoes head to processing facilities like those owned by Lamb Weston or the J.R. Simplot Co. “The majority of…

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