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MILTON-FREEWATER, OR

Oregon's largest apple grower sold to Washington business

A family-owned fruit company in Washington has purchased Oregon's largest grower and packer of fresh apples. Wenatchee, Washington-based Foreman Fruit Company has acquired Earl Brown and Sons of Milton-Freewater, Oregon.

The deal allows the Browns to remain and manage local operations involving more than 1,000 acres of apples and 115 acres of wine grapes.

Ron Brown, whose father started the company 40 years ago, says the families worked out a partnership that allows his business to keep its name and its employees. It gives the Browns access to more money for continued growth; the company is already planting another 60 acres of apples and 10 more acres of grapes.

No jobs were lost. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI

URI to give away 300,000 packets of seeds

The University of Rhode Island is giving away 300,000 packets of seeds to non-profits.

The university says its master gardener program has worked with Ocean State Job Lot for nearly two decades to give away flower, vegetable and herb seeds to local schools, youth groups and other nonprofits. This year, 300,000 packets are available.

The gardener program says that if stored properly, seeds can last for many years. For the first time, the program is covering the cost of mailing seeds to Rhode Island nonprofit groups that submit orders by Jan. 31.

PORTLAND, ME

Prized scallops surge to record price

Maine's scallops have surged to a record high price at the docks this winter after several years of rising in value, according to fishing regulators in the state.

Fishermen harvest Maine scallops with dragging boats or by hand while diving in frigid waters. The scallops are selling for about $13.50 per pound at the dock, the scallop manager for the state Department of Marine Resources said. In 2015, they sold for $12.70, which was a record, and more than three times the price in 2004.

The state's scallops are sought after in the culinary world and typically sell for about $20 to $25 per pound to customers, which is slightly more than other sea scallops.

This year's high prices are a boon to fishermen, who seem to be catching about the same amount as last year, said Dana Black, a fisherman out of Blue Hill. He said fishermen have been able to catch large, meaty scallops that are especially prized by buyers.

PENDLETON, OR

Environmental groups concerned about 30,000 cow dairy

A coalition of health and environmental groups is asking Oregon officials to investigate construction of a mega-dairy in Morrow County.

It's unclear whether state agencies will sign off on the controversial 30,000-cow dairy farm. It hasn't been determined whether Lost Valley Ranch broke the law by breaking ground long before it secured the necessary permits.

Representatives from the health and environmental groups plan to meet face-to-face with state regulators in Portland. The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality are jointly responsible for outlining how Lost Valley will manage the roughly 187 million gallons of liquid manure it generates each year and protect against groundwater contamination.

The agencies said they haven't yet issued a permit for Lost Valley, and the coalition said the dairy doesn't have a construction storm water permit, either.

DUNBOYNE, Ireland

New Alltech E-CO2 website offers routes to greater farm efficiency

Leading agri-environmental consultancy Alltech E-CO2 has launched a new website offering farmers and the wider food industry valuable knowledge on resource efficiency. In addition to free farm efficiency assessments, the site also hosts new interactive ‘virtual farm’ graphics that provide quick and easy information on the main origins of carbon emissions.

“The new website offers opportunities to gain a better understanding of the factors affecting food production efficiency, as well as access to tools that will help farmers improve enterprise performance,” said Ben Braou, general business manager at Alltech E-CO2.

“A farm’s carbon footprint is an accurate indicator of performance efficiency and therefore profitability,” continued Braou. “Therefore, managing the business to minimise emissions helps the bottom line as well as the environment.”

The website’s interactive online ‘What If?’ tools, which calculate carbon footprints from enterprise input and performance data, offer a good starting point by providing farmers with a quick and simple opportunity to assess and benchmark their business efficiency. The tools offer insight into current practices and provide opportunities to see how changes can benefit performance. As such, using the online tools provides a good introduction to more comprehensive farm assessments, which Alltech E-CO2 finds give farmers the best opportunities to review and improve their businesses.

The interactive ‘virtual farm’ graphics are currently available for both ruminant and non-ruminant livestock enterprises, providing a quick guide to the origins of greenhouse gas emissions. The new site also highlights Alltech E-CO2’s wider range of farming solutions, which include tools to calculate costs of production, evaluate biodiversity and measure water footprints.

Alltech E-CO2 works closely with the Carbon Trust and other independent bodies to ensure its assessment tools are technically sound, robust and accredited. The company has pioneered the use of on-farm environmental tools and assessments with software licensed globally. To date, it has carried out more than 6,000 farm consultancy visits throughout Europe, commonly in collaboration with food processors and supermarkets, and is now operating as far afield as the United States of America and Australia.

To view the new website, go to alltech-e-co2.com.

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