Focus Magazine

The Port of Benton is overseeing a $1.8 million, 12,000-square-foot expansion for longtime tenant Chukar Cherries in Prosser. (Photos: Port of Benton)

Port of Benton to buy 71.5 acres of light industrial land in north Richland

The Port of Benton celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018, but Stuart Dezember, the port’s director of finance, said the real celebration will be after the completion of several projects currently underway. Those include the completion of Chukar Cherries’ expansion and second phase of Vintner’s Village in Prosser, purchase of 71.5 acres in north Richland…

The Kennewick School District is working on the second phase of construction at Amistad Elementary School at 930 W. Fourth Ave. The $18 million project features a detached addition with 22 classrooms, gym and offices. (Photo: Kennewick School District)

K-12 education: more students require more schools

The Tri-Cities’ three public school districts continue to grow. And because of that, so do their capital projects. Whether it’s new buildings, schools or facilities, the Kennewick, Pasco and Richland school districts have been busy completing projects from recently passed school bonds — and planning for future growth. Some districts already are planning new bond…

The Brelsford Vineyards apartments are under construction at the north end of the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus in Richland. They will include one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

Higher education: college projects could depend on state funding

The Tri-Cities’ two colleges have plenty of capital projects planned in the coming years, though some are dependent on approval and money from the state Legislature. At Washington State University Tri-Cities in north Richland, the campus now has an apartment complex open for students who wish to live close to class and has plans for…

Milk is the second-highest agricultural commodity in Washington, with a total production value of $1.1 billion in 2016. Ed Zurcher, owner of Zurcher Dairy in Basin City, one of about 400 dairy farms across the state, said his cows are milked twice a day, with the process beginning at 4 a.m. and cycling through all the cows before starting again at 4 p.m., seven days a week. (Photo: Robin Wojtanik)

Leading producers: Agriculture adds billions to state’s economy

Washington state is an agricultural powerhouse, leading the nation in the production of apples, grapes, cherries, pears, hops and blueberries. Supplying the world with millions of tons of apples each year, Washington fills nearly two-thirds of the entire apple market in the United States. It’s expected the current planted acreage of wine grapes could swell…

Apples

Apple capital: State sends fruit to more than 60 countries

Washington’s $3 billion apple industry is not just the state’s biggest crop, but it also accounts for two-thirds of total U.S. apple production. Proactive international marketing campaigns, coupled with intensive breeding programs, are key factors in making the state the nation’s apple capital. Washington’s “nutrient-rich soil, an arid climate, plentiful water and advanced growing practices…

The Port of Tacoma recently received eight new cranes as part of $250 million in improvements being made to the Husky Terminal. The Northwest Seaport Alliance led the U.S. in exports of eggs and dairy, vegetables, coffee and tea, oil seeds and prepared fruits and vegetables in 2017. (Photo: Northwest Seaport Alliance)

Export uncertainties: Recent changes in trade policy cause worry

By Jennifer L. Drey Washington’s agricultural exports increased significantly in 2017, but uncertainty surrounding U.S. trade policy has some producers worried the state may be on the verge of losing its competitive edge overseas. Although the numbers are still being finalized, Washington’s agricultural exports appear to have increased by at least 10 percent in 2017.…

Cherries

A gambler’s crop: Cherry orchards at mercy of Mother Nature

The Northwest saw one of the most perfect cherry crops last year, setting new production and export records. In 86 days, the nation’s leading cherry region shipped 26.4 million, 20-pound boxes of cherries to eager markets around the world. “We had fantastic weather last year,” said Denny Hayden, owner of Hayden Farms in Pasco, which…

The average annual wage for those working in agriculture in Benton County in 2016 was $27,300, and in Franklin County it was $28,150. (Photo: Washington State Wine Commission/Andrea Johnson Photography)

Fierce wage competition: Farms compete for laborers as worker shortage continues

By Jennifer L. Drey An ongoing shortage of agricultural laborers is forcing some Washington farms to get creative in their efforts to attract and retain workers, while others are looking to the federal government’s guest worker program to bring in the help they need. More than 96 percent of Washington farms experienced a labor disruption…

Red Mountain, between Benton City and West Richland, was designated a sub-American Viticultural Area in 2001. It now boasts 54 vineyards covering more than 2,300 acres. (Photo: Washington State Wine Commission/Andrea Johnson Photography)

Vines reign supreme: State boasts viticulture advantage

Growing high-quality wine grapes that become award-winning wine and millions of tons of juice grapes that become America’s best-known grape juices make up the viticulture industry in Washington state. Washington’s massive grape crop is among the 10 highest-valued crops in the state, ranking ninth in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, after producing…

Kent Waliser, director of vineyard operations for Sagemoor Vineyards, just north of the Tri-Cities, grows 60 percent of its grapes for red wine and 40 percent for white wines. (Photo: Washington State Wine Commission/Andrea Johnson Photography)

Steady growth: Wine grape demand nearly outpaces supply

Washington has developed a reputation for over-delivering on the quality of wine as it relates to the price of the bottle, creating an increasing demand for the state’s wine grapes. “You can’t make good wine with bad grapes,” said Vicky Sharlau, executive director of the Washington Winegrowers Association. In the past five years, acres dedicated…

Latest News

New Kennewick Goodwill store opens

DOE to extend two key Hanford contracts

TRIDEC’s CEO announces retirement

Third Tri-City STCU branch to open in Pasco

Franklin County fastest growing in state, with Benton County close behind

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit shutters doors in Tri-Cities

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