Tag Archives: Central Washington

Hail cuts into would-be record apple crop

ApplesSome of you may have been affected by the recent hail storms that passed through central Washington. I know quite a few farmers in our area who were hit and are now trying to recoup any losses they suffered to both crops and structures. In fact, the hail damage is limiting what might have been a record apple crop this year, leaving farmers to wonder what might have been.

According to the Yakima Herald, the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association said the industry anticipates shipping 108.7 million boxes to market, which would fall short of the existing record of 109.4 million boxes set two years ago. The unknowns in the estimate involve how much of the hail-damaged fruit ultimately will be packed for sale under an available hail grade and whether labor supplies will be adequate to bring in the crop on time. Labor has been described as adequate during the cherry harvest in Central Washington. Continue reading

Census returns varying widely across 15th Legislative District

The rate of 2010 Census returns are varying widely across Central Washington, and some communities have returned less than 50 percent of the forms.

Here are some figures regarding the four counties in the district (figures as of April 6):
• Clark County: 63 percent (2000 Census participation rate: 76 percent)
• Klickitat County: 59 percent (2000 Census participation rate: 68 percent)
• Skamania County: 52 percent (2000 Census participation rate: 56 percent)
• Yakima County: 62 percent (2000 Census participation rate: 73 percent)

Also of note are these 15th District communities with return rates below 50 percent, and well below the statewide average return rate of 63 percent (figures as of April 6):
• Wapato: 40 percent
• Granger: 44 percent
• Bingen: 46 percent
• Mabton: 47 percent

It is crucial that we do our part for our communities, and one of the most important ways we can make sure our views are represented is by returning our census forms. Making sure the people of our district are fairly represented will ultimately mean more of our hard-earned tax dollars coming back to our communities. In fact, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than 400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services like hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, and public works projects.

It is vital for those communities to take part in the census.

Our agriculture communities make up the economic backbone of our state. Unfortunately, the interests of farmers and ranchers are often overshadowed by the interests of those in big cities. Given the efforts in Olympia to implement costly new taxes on fertilizer, fuel and small business and farm owners, rural Washingtonians need to speak up and be counted, now more than ever.

In addition, not sending in the simple form means that more tax dollars will be spent on completing the census. The federal government will send someone to knock on doors to complete the count. This would prove costly with almost half the citizens remaining to count.

For additional details, go to www.2010census.gov/2010census/take10map/.