Thursday, September 28, 2017

Washington Grown Season 5 premieres this weekend

Hannah Street

Washington Grown fans will be excited to learn its fifth season begins this weekend.

Anyone unfamiliar with the show is in for a pleasant surprise and a new world of award-winning, educational programming which this season will feature legumes, green beans, cabbage, carrots, and other specialty crops.

Washington apples, one of this
season's specialty crops, are harvested.

The first episode of the new season plays for Western Washington residents at 2:30 p.m., Oct. 1 on KOMO. While Eastern Washington residents normally have to wait until January or February to watch the latest season, the show will air on KIMA/KEPR/KLEW in the Yakima and Pasco regions at 5 p.m. on Saturdays beginning September 30.

Washington Grown connects consumers with the people who grow and process their food. Episodes often showcase local restaurants and businesses, tour farms large and small, interview growers, and walk viewers through recipes with the foods featured in the episode.

Sno-Valley Mushroom co-owners show off
their produce during a Washington Grown shoot.

A crew of adept camera operators and friendly hosts travel to every corner of Washington State, creating viewer-friendly narratives that explain how food gets from the farm to your table. It’s a chance for the state’s farmers to tell their story, explain their process, and be part of a conversation that includes all components of agriculture, including nutrition, food safety, best practices, and marketing.

If you miss an airing, all episodes of Washington Grown are uploaded to their YouTube channel, website and Facebook page the Monday after the program airs.

You can also visit for recipes, videos and more on Washington agriculture.

Washington Grown Season 5 Schedule*

Legumes - Sept. 30 and Oct. 1
Green beans - Oct. 7 and 8
Apples - Oct. 14 and 15
Who knew? - Oct. 21 and 22
Dessert - Oct. 28 and 29
Fingerling potatoes - Nov. 4 and 5
Grapes - Nov. 11 and 12
Cabbage - Nov. 18 and 19
Fresh greens - Nov. 25 and 26
Carrots - Dec. 2 and 3
Potatoes (french fries) - Dec. 9 and 10
Farmers market - Dec. 16 and 17
Beverages - Dec. 23 and 24

*This schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Looking to adopt a rescue dog or cat? Check the paperwork

Dr. Brian Joseph
State Veterinarian

Many people, moved by the magnitude of dogs and cats made homeless by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, may be considering adopting a rescue pet impacted by the storms.

As a veterinarian and dog and cat owner, I can appreciate and support this. Washington has the reputation of welcoming pets facing hardships.

I also know that animals need medical attention such as health exams and vaccinations for rabies, heartworm and other maladies that can spread to other dogs and cats they mingle with and even put human health in jeopardy.

It is important that this veterinary attention take place before the animals enter our state. No one wants to see a dog or cat they’ve adopted become sick, and put other pets or people at risk from a preventable disease. The health of your family is important and needs to be protected.

Tips for dog adopters
So what should a prospective pet owner do to protect themselves, other pets in Washington and their own potential pet? Key tips include:
Photo: Courtesy of Regional Animal Services of King County

  • If you’re adopting an animal from out of state, ask to see travel and vaccination documents. These are required for dogs and cats entering Washington.
  • If you suspect forged documents, call WSDA at (360) 902-1878 or the veterinarian who signed the certificate. If there is no signature, call the listed clinic. The health certificate may not be genuine.
  • Learn as much as possible about the animal’s prior ownership and history. 
  • Research the pet rescue group you’re adopting from and talk to others who have adopted from them.
  • If possible, keep your newly adopted pet separated from other animals in your house for two weeks.
  • If your new pet appears ill, seek veterinary assistance from your local veterinary practitioner.
  • Some local health authorities, such as Public Health – Seattle & King County, recommend checking if the pet rescue group has a permit to operate. Public Health inspects pet businesses like shelters and pet stores to make sure animals are kept in conditions that limit the spread of disease. This helps ensure your new pet is as healthy as possible, and that workers and customers are also protected. 
Documentation is vital 
Washington has rules for importing animals that cover many different animals, including dogs, cats, horses, cattle, and zoo animals. The list is extensive but the goal is to safeguard animals in our state. Here are a few of the rules we enforce for consumer protection and health reasons, rules that rescue groups must also follow:
  • Dogs entering Washington need a certificate of veterinary inspection certifying it is current on rabies vaccination. State law also prohibits dogs from entry if they come from areas under quarantine for rabies. Dogs less than three months old do not need a rabies vaccination.
  • Dogs six months or older must test negative for heartworm.
  • Cats entering Washington also need a certificate of veterinary inspection. They do not require heartworm testing and cats less than three months old do not need a rabies immunization. 
  • Penalties up to $1,000 can be assessed if a person transports animals into Washington without valid health certificates, permits or other documents required by law. 
What to look for in official documents 
Whether the document or official health record is called a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection or an Official Small Animal Health Certificate--or similar names--the information is vital for disease control and investigations if necessary. The document should include:
  • Where the animal is coming from - the "Animal traveling or shipped from" section should include a name, street address, city, state and zip code.
  • Where the animal is going - the "Animal traveling or shipped to" section should also include name, street address, city, state and zip code.
  • The species, breed, sex, and age of the animal.
  • Color of the pet or markings to help identify the animal.
  • Rabies immunization information including vaccine type, manufacturer, tag number and date of vaccination. (Washington exempts this requirement for cats and dogs that are under three months old).
  • Name of accredited veterinarian and the veterinarian's signature.
  • Business address of the accredited veterinarian and phone number.
  • The date the form was filled out.
  • The veterinarian's National Accreditation Number (NAN).
Any other important information should be included in the remarks section of the form.

Working together to protect animal health
Like other states, we’ve had some problems with imported companion animals entering Washington in the past, such as some coming in with fraudulent or inaccurate documentation.

We appreciate the efforts of animal control agencies, health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the animal rescue groups we have worked with to ensure animal health is protected.

Taking in a pet is a significant decision. At WSDA, we want to help ensure that the animal you adopt is healthy and the health of other pets in our state is protected for everyone else.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sharing wheat country with the media

Hector Castro

Wheat farming, like much of agriculture, is a tough business. Pests and weather can damage crops, prices fluctuate, and equipment must be constantly maintained. On top of all this, at a time when more and more people want to know where their food comes from, fewer members of the public, including reporters, have ever worked a farm.
Reporters and others gather at Green View Farm for
a tour of farms and farm equipment.

So the Washington Association of Wheat Growers hosted amedia day this past summer, taking a few reporters for a tour of some Spokane area wheat fields on a warm, sunny day in late August.

A reporter gets an inside view of a combine at
Green View Farm.
The goal was to strengthen relationships with agriculture industry reporters and help those new to the field. For everyone on the tour, it was a day to learn what it takes to cultivate wheat and get it to market, WAWG president Ben Adams said.

“We want to showcase the full process,” he said before the start of the media tour.

Reporters with the Capital Press, the Spokesman Review, the Washington State Wire website and a local weekly newspaper participated. I joined Jason Ferrante, assistant director for WSDA’s Commodity Inspection Division, and Philip Garcia, manager of the Grain Inspection Program, as part of the WSDA group attending the tour.

Planting, harvest and storage
Piling into a waiting bus, the group of a dozen people first travelled to the wheat farm of WAWG Vice President Marci Green, a sixth-generation wheat farmer.

Lonnie Green explains wheat, with wife, Marci Green,
vice-president of Washington Asoociation of Wheat Growers. 
In a cavernous barn and on a wide open field, reporters got up close to the planting and harvesting equipment used to grow wheat. In the barn, Lonnie Green, Marci’s husband, explained the workings of a massive vehicle that can dig a furrow, fertilize it and deliver seed – all at the same time, employing technology unheard of when Marci’s family first began to farm.

On the tailgate of a pickup truck, Lonnie had several dry stalks of wheat. He threshed the stalks of soft white wheat and winter wheat between his hands so the grain would fall loose onto the tailgate of a pickup, showing in their size and quantity the differences between the two.
Barley harvest at Rattlers Run Farm. 

But the field at the Green View Farm wasn’t prime for harvest, so the group travelled to nearby Rattlers Run Farm, where barley harvest was underway. The reporters on the tour each had a chance to climb aboard the towering combine for a harvest-time ride.

In between, they snapped photos of the machine in action as it churned its way through acres of golden barely.

After planting and harvest, the grain has to get to market. For growers who don’t store their grain on site, their grain is hauled to a storage facility, like the McCoy Grain Terminal near Rosalia. The facility can hold 11 million bushels of grain in piles like small hills and inside towering grain bins. Trucks and rail cars both deliver grain to the terminal, where their loads are weighed and sampled for grading.

Viewing grain pile at McCoy Grain Terminal.
In Washington, wheat consistently ranks among the state’s top commodities, with 90 percent of it bound for markets in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. So grading the grain is critical and has a direct impact on the price wheat growers can get for their crops. WSDA’s own Grain Inspection Program grades and processes grain from an annual average of 25 to 30 million metric tons bound for export. The program also processes an average of 32,000 samples each year at its three domestic inspection offices.

WAWG’s media tour this past summer mirrored other similar outreach efforts farmers and ranchers in Washington and across the country have made in recent years, as they continue seeking ways to reach out and tell the story of agriculture.