• T.J. Burnham

    Tomorrow on Deck at Ag Robot, Unmanned Aircraft Conference

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 9, 2014

    It hit me at lunch while attending the Precision Farming Expo in McMinnville, Ore., last week. A young producer from Canada was telling me about how he is building his own fixed wing and copter robot planes in his farm workshop. It struck me that the future is here, although in the U.S. farm drones still are not allowed to fly commercially due to Federal Aviation Administration regulatory balking, the concept has move from engineering blueprints to the back 40 in other parts of the…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Tax Time a Moment to Celebrate, Scream

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 20, 2014

    Taxes. April 15 can be another Halloween or a Christmas, depending on whether you are paying through the nose or getting a healthy refund. I haven't had a "refund" for so long I had to Google the meaning of the word. I mean, the government lives off of me, demanding I build new bridges, fight new wars and save more species. But it is still relative, the way taxes are viewed. I mean, since moving to Washington I have been able to avoid state income taxes like those I paid in…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Dark Days of Winter Without the Holiday Glitter

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 28, 2014

    No way around it. January is a bad month. It has the task of being the wake after the holidays when we have to address another year. That's hard with short, dark and cold days for the West. Record low temperatures in Montana don't help folks there see the silver lining of much of anything. The pretty snow simply becomes a nuisance as we come to the realization there are a couple more months of short winter days. Yet, as the days begin to lengthen, we have the first glimpse of spring…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Sometimes A Great Moment

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on November 29, 2013

    I can't get over the feeling that we are on the brink of a great agricultural age. When I look at how the world population is about to mushroom, combined with the fact our industry has never been so technologically tweaked to precision and efficiency, it seems our time has come. How can it not be so? Food is the elemental essential, and that is what we do. As the global community widens an unprecedented need for protein and fundamental nutrients, our role will become more pivotal than…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Autumn Leaves Flag Whole New Season Slate

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 18, 2013

    Welcoming the season is always a delight for me, a former Michigander who loved the turning leaves, nip of the wind and scent of fall from birth. Now, in the Pacific Northwest, where we have all the nice  autumnal trappings without the threat of endless snow (at least in the western part of the area), the "ber" months (September, October, November and December) are even nicer. Spent last weekend on the last 2013 campout on the Kalama River where they were landing salmon by…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Washington Wine Science Center Poised As Pivotal Facility

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on September 24, 2013

    In what has become a Pacific Coast wine industry project, Washington State University’s new Wine Science Center, which broke ground last week in Richland, has caught the eye even of those crafty California viticulture/enology interests. A decision by the Boswell Family Foundation to donate $250,000 to the effort brings California into the project with the money funded on behalf of Boswell barrel production firms. This makes the project far more than a simple Washington concept…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Amazing New E-World A Pleasure To Be In

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on May 28, 2013

    I am e-generation. But I remember when I was not. When electricity had not yet become electronics and charged the globe with super cyber teckietonics. I am an elder of the e-generation, because I was part of the transition years. I began my journalistic career pecking on a manual Royal 440. When they brought in the IBM electric Selectrics with their magic ball of letters, it was revolutionary. We hadn't seen anything yet! Univac was our intro into the e-world, bringing us…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Washington Wine Interests Drive For New Industry Self-Help Dollars

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 30, 2013

    I get a kick out of ag's never ending effort to continue to finance its own industry. While there are numerous examples I could pull up of this, the latest on my desk announces the Washington wine industry Annual Cup Race golf tournament. The money goes to advancing research, education and leadership in the business. The 13th  such annual event will be held at Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland on July 15. If you want to tee up, go to www.washingtonwindfoundation.org or…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Washington Stone Fruit Industry Earmarks $5 Million For Research

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 12, 2013

    We are now engaged in a magnificent transition from dependence upon government budget funds for our farm research to an era of industry funding. Western Farmer-Stockman has  tracked this change in our magazine, website and here in blogs, recognizing those who have made  the decision to post long-term research funding actions that guarantee a science-based cutting edge advantage for our industry. Without research, we will fall behind our competitors and fade as the…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Quinoa Latest Wonder Crop In Research Labs

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 22, 2013

    It is a coincidence how a story falls together sometimes. Take my recent endeavor to write about quinoa, a grain like seed crop that is nutritious and adds lots of nice things to diets, according to researchers at Oregon State University which is looking at the rice-like commodity. I interviewed OSU researcher Steve Petrie, Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center director, over the phone at some length about this potentially new crop for the Pacific Northwest.  At the end of…

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