Washington Farm Bureau Newswatch

May 24, 2004 No. 53

FARMERS IN THE MOSES COULEE WATERSHED WILL BE ABLE TO SIGN UP THIS summer for payments under the new Conservation Security Program, which is designed to reward for conservation stewardship on working agricultural lands.
(Columbia Basin Herald, May 21) The Moses Coulee Watershed in Douglas and Grant counties is one of 18 watersheds designated for the program nationwide by the Department of Agriculture and the only one in Washington. The program
was created in the 2002 farm bill, but has yet to be implemented by the USDA. For more information, go to
<http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp>, or call (509) 323-2971.

THE STATE AGENCY THAT OVERSEES THE GROWTH MANAGEMENT ACT WANTS Kittitas County to reconsider its practice of rezoning forestland to allow for three-acre residential lots. (Ellensburg Daily Record, May 22) In a letter to the county Planning Commission, the senior planner for Growth Management Services with the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development said three-acre lots "are creating unreasonable urban-type development in rural areas."

THE J.R. SIMPLOT CO., THE LARGEST PROVIDER OF FRENCH FRIES TO McDONALD'S restaurants, announced last week that it has developed a way to remove trans-fats, which are believed to be more harmful to the heart than other types of fat. Simplot said its new Infinity Fries have the same taste, aroma and crispness as traditional fries.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ADMITTED FRIDAY THAT IT ALLOWED Canada to export millions of pounds of processed beef to the United States, despite a ban imposed last May after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in a Canadian herd. (Washington Post, May 22) The USDA relaxed the ban in September to allow imports of boneless beef, but the department's Animal and Plant Inspection Service also began allowing imports of processed
beef products. Processed beef includes ground beef, hamburger patties, cubed beef and sausage. Ron DeHaven, chief veterinary officer for the USDA, admitted the "process and our failure to announce some of these actions was flawed," but insisted the Canadian beef was safe to eat. In an editorial today, The Seattle Times said the USDA is not to be trusted about BSE. The Times said the "risks from mad cow disease are extremely low. But federal statements of complete confidence are clearly unfit for human consumption."

THE NORTHEAST WASHINGTON SMALL FARM ASSOCIATION, WHICH ALREADY helped bring a mobile chicken processing facility to Stevens and Ferry counties, has applied for a $90,000 grant to fund a mobile slaughter and processing facility for large animals. (Capital Press, May 21) A USDA-approved mobile processing facility would allow local ranchers to sell individual cuts of meat to consumers, stores and restaurants. Custom slaughterhouses are currently restricted to selling quarter carcasses or larger.

WASHINGTON POTATO COMMISSION IS RAISING CONCERNS ABOUT A PROPOSAL to stock Crab Creek with salmon. (Capital Press, May 21) Crab Creek, which runs from the Potholes Reservoir into the Columbia River, is used extensively for irrigation and recreation. Stocking the creek with salmon is one proposal in the Grant County PUD's draft application to relicense Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams. But Pat Boss, executive director of the Potato Commission, is concerned that stocking the creek with salmon could lead to restrictions on water usage, buffers, and other land-use regulations.



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