Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Giving consumers what they want

From the Cattlemen's Beef Board:

Consumers are always in the driver’s seat when it comes to selling products, beef included. That’s why success in the beef industry during the coming decade will depend so heavily on the industry’s ability to give consumers what they want – no matter how often they change their minds.

That was the message from Dr. Gary Smith, distinguished agricultural professor at Colorado State University, during the beef checkoff’s 2010 Innovative Beef Symposium in Denver last week.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten,” Smith told the 80-plus processors, manufacturers and retailers who participated in the two-day event. “Innovation matters,” he said, if you want to have any chance of attracting new customers and entering new markets.

Innovation can come in various forms – including a company acting spontaneously, investing in a breakthrough and branding it, designing success into new products, or through in-depth research and “homework.”

To date, Smith said, the Beef Checkoff Program has done extremely well with innovation through research that leads to development of new beef products that meet consumers’ changing demands. At the heart of that innovation is muscle profiling, which has developed new cuts from the shoulder clod, the chuck roll and, most recently, the round.

“I think the Beef Checkoff Program … has done a tremendous job of looking down the road,” Smith said, “plucking steaks out of the chuck and round and making something between ground beef and traditional steaks.” Beef Value Cuts created through muscle profiling have truly maximized the value of the chuck and the round – turning previously ground product into profitable steaks.

Looking forward, Smith said, it is important to remember that businesses and industries fail for two reasons: their inability to escape the past and/or their inability to invent the future.

During the next five years, Smith said, the beef industry will experience decreased demand domestically and increased demand on international fronts, and stakeholders will have to become more “consumer-centric and export-minded” if they are to succeed.

“We will differentiate to drive demand, with more product branding and increased innovation,” he said. “Give the consumers what they want – give them product diversity!”

Will GIPSA help or hurt young producers?

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has made a big deal about wanting to entice young people to stay in agriculture, and in particular ranching, where the number of producers is reportedly dwindling.

But the National Cattlemen's Beef Association raises this question about the rule proposed by the Grain Inspectors, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Will cattle producers be helped or hurt by the proposed GIPSA regulation that is intended to provide protection for producers against unfair, fraudulent or retaliatory practices in the livestock business?

That is the question that many in the cattle business are asking now, less than two months after the rule was proposed. Many of the smaller cow-calf producers that the rule is supposed to benefit are expressing serious reservations about the profound impact it could have on their livelihoods.

Meet Robbie LeValley, a lifelong cow/calf producer who operates a ranch with her husband Mark and two sons in Hotchkiss, Colorado. Her family operation is one of six that together own Homestead Meats, which offers natural beef for sale direct to consumers, retailers and restaurants. The six families also own a USDA inspected packing plant where they market their own animals and provide custom processing. LeValley is also president of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association.

She is worried the proposed rule could have a negative impact on her family business. One concern for Robbie is the long term impact of the proposed rule on the next generation of livestock producers, like her two sons who represent the fourth generation in her family business.

"We operate on a very thin margin already, so the potential for additional government intervention or increased litigation just reduces that margin even more," she said. "Is there enough of a margin to bring in that fourth generation?"

LeValley would like to see an in-depth, cost-benefit analysis done on the proposal before it is rushed into implementation.

"Where is the research that shows there is problems in the marketplace and that these proposed rules will do anything to address those problems?"

Monday, August 30, 2010

The 70-30 nation

Blogger and radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt writes for the Washington Examiner:

The American Enterprise Institute's Arthur Brooks has quite accurately described America as a 70/30 nation, with the 70 percent presently massively underrepresented in the federal government, the Manhattan-Beltway media elite and academia.

The 70 percent is appalled by the placebo economics practiced by the president and the Congress over the past two years, shocked by its profligacy with the wealth of the republic, and sickened by the looting of the next generation's opportunities.

The 70 percent did not want Obamacare, but it has been thrust upon them.

The 70 percent did not want federal judges to declare "game over" in the complex discussion of what marriage is and means.

The 70 percent want a fence on the border that works, and do not want their concern over unregulated immigration dismissed as nativisim.

The 70 percent are not ashamed of their belief in God, deeply resent being labeled bigots because they view ground zero as land that ought not to be exploited for "messaging" of any sort by any group, and are enraged by the scorn which they encounter everywhere in media except Fox News and talk radio.

The 70 percent believe that the federal government is remote and clueless, and that the Constitution's principles of enumerated and limited powers and the sovereignty of the states are vibrant, important core values to the republic.

The 70 percent think Iran is in the grip of an evil, theocratic fascism, and that Israel is our true friend and ally deserving of our full-throated support.

So taking this idea to heart, do 70 percent of those involved with the beef cattle industry want the federal government to keep its mitts off their marketing agreements? Judging at least by the membership numbers of the industry's respective organizations, I would say that's probably about right.

Quote of the Week

In the Denver Post's coverage of Friday's Fort Collins livestock hearing:

Celebrate the good news and recognize that everyone in the cattle industry is dedicated to offering the greatest product, said Robbie LeValley, a Hotchkiss rancher and president of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association, cajoling her peers to work toward solutions.

"We should not be circling the wagons and shooting inward," she said.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Calls for reform in Fort Collins

From the National Farmers Union:

WASHINGTON (Aug. 27, 2010) – Amid much anticipation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) held a joint workshop focused on competition in the livestock industry in Fort Collins, Colo., today. The workshop had 1300 individuals registered, including Farmers Union members and staff from at least 12 states.

“A lot of attention has been drawn to this workshop based on the recent disputes on the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposed rule,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson. “NFU is pleased to have two members on the speaker panel representing U.S. family farmers and ranchers, who are in favor of the proposed rule. It is vital to have speakers from groups that represent the family farmer, not just the packer-producer organizations.”

Chris Peterson, Iowa Farmers Union president, and Armando Valdez, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union member, both livestock producers, spoke at the workshop. Peterson and Valdez each highlighted the need for reform in the livestock industry, with an emphasis on the increasing consolidation and vertical integration in the livestock and poultry marketplace, resulting in a tougher environment for independent producers.

“GIPSA has put forth the revisions as called for by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill,” said Johnson. “The rules reinforce the existing Packers and Stockyards Act and amount to a Farmer and Rancher Bill of Rights.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Editorial: 'Us vs. them' nothing new

Today's Capital Press editorial weighs in on the infighting that's going on among national beef organizations, which we detailed last week. It starts with some history:

Back before the turn of the last century, the nation's farmers got all worked up over the power of the railroads, their only ticket for moving large quantities of fruit, grain and livestock from rural areas to urban centers, where their customers lived.

And here's another snippet:

The beef industry is set up for "us vs. them" mind sets. There are over 900,000 cattle producers in the country, most of them in the business of raising calves for sale. Then there are margin operators, who get a percentage of the price, regardless of whether the cost of calves is up or down. Both cattle feeders and meat packers are targets of complaints -- sometimes justified.

Everyone complains about the bankers, who call the shots when the line of credit is maxed out.

Read the editorial here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vilsack offered to quit over Sherrod flap

Fox News' Kristin Brown reports:

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack reportedly said that he offered to resign over the department's handling of former employee Shirley Sherrod - furthering Vilsack's insistence that the blame lies with him, despite Sherrod's assertion she was told that the White House was behind the decision to have her fired.

Sherrod was removed from her position as the Georgia state director for rural development at the USDA after a video surfaced of her giving a speech in which she said she once refused to help a white farmer because of his race. It soon became clear the comment was taken out of context. Sherrod was in fact illustrating a point about overcoming racial challenges - and in the end, Sherrod had, in fact, gone on to help the farmer.

Vilsack told Politico that he made a hurried decision to put Sherrod on administrative leave,after an aide showed him a few lines of Sherrod's speech shortly after it appeared online.

Vilsack recalled his reaction. "Good Lord, this is not going to help the department." He said he realized later that there was a lot more to the story than those few sentences.

Vilsack said once he realized his mistake, he spoke with both White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and White House senior counselor David Axelrod and offered to resign. He says he learned "there was no appetite for resignation at the White House."

Summer at the CP

This summer is the first summer in the last four years that I haven't spent my days on a boat wearing waders. I wasn’t covered in Klamath Lake's algae nor did I use my skill of spotting a sucker amongst hundreds of other fish or try to keep the midges off my lunch.

It is also the first summer ever that I haven't been able to just roll out of bed, put on a hat and a pair of boots and go to work. I have always said that I could never work in an office, but this summer I did and I lived to tell the tale.

My first day of work I remember thinking that maybe I was in a little over my head, but as the summer went on I found that interviewing, writing, taking photos, doing research and fact checking became easier.

I realized that I really will use my ag economics classes, which means the next time I'm in one, I’ll stop saying, “When am I ever going to use this?”

I learned how to avoid a journalistic catastrophe, mostly from other people's stories. For example, always take two pens – or in my case three, because in one instance, two wasn't even enough.

I found that there is plenty that I don't know and there always will be. But, in the meantime I will try to close that gap.

The part I enjoyed most was getting out and talking to people and learning about new subjects. My experiences and education focus on either livestock or fish, which are important, but agriculture encompasses so many disciplines, it's good to know how other industries conduct business.

I have also found that familiarity with agriculture and all those years of sitting around drinking coffee, talking with farmers and ranchers made my job this summer much easier.

Some surprises for me: I never thought I would read so many legal documents. I also never thought I would be covering sexual harassment lawsuits, attend a sentencing for attempted murder, get paid to go to a rodeo or meet a member of the President's cabinet.

One big factor that helped make my experience such a positive one has been the people at the paper. I lacked experience when I started – and I'm still not an expert – but everyone has been helpful and provided the input I needed to improve.

I really appreciated the fact that I had this opportunity to do plenty of writing and learn more about journalism than I ever would in school.

'Summer of Ag' comes to a close

Ten or 11 weeks always goes by much faster than I think it will during the first or second day of Week One, when I'm sitting at a new desk in a new place looking wide-eyed and terrified.

The first couple days of an internship always feel like you're in way over your head. You don't know anyone, you're doing something new at a new place with different procedures and expectations than you're used to.

At the beginning of this internship, I knew I was going to be designing pages, editing copy, editing some video and maybe doing a story here and there. The three months prior to June 14, I had only been doing one night per week of very limited layout/design, and I came in feeling really rusty. I was thrilled that Quark was intuitive and similar enough to InDesign that I could actually get by that first week. In fact, I was really proud of myself, even though I knew that by design standards, those first pages were hideous.

But slowly I got to know the news and office staff, the writers, the editors and the paper itself. I started to learn what worked, what didn't and what people wanted to see. Most importantly for this type of internship, I think, I got to know the subject matter.

I'm more or less a complete stranger to agriculture and rural America. Aside from growing up riding and training horses (we never owned any land, though, so I was always living in the suburbs or a city and boarding somewhere) and the one year I spent raising a goat in FFA, I have no connections to the ag world. I've never made anything grow — I don't even cook. I know that 11 weeks at a weekly ag paper doesn't qualify me to be a member of the Farm Bureau or work for USDA, but I feel like I have so much more awareness of this huge, vital industry now. I can actually carry on a conversation with someone in the ag world about what's currently going on.

In fact, I impressed my boyfriend's dad a few weeks ago by asking him about his wheat and grass seed harvests.

I really hate how unaware of this entire world I was before this internship. I barely know anything now, but as a person who is more or less obsessed with learning and discovery, I'm excited and I want to learn more. I'm moving to a dingy, tiny apartment in a barn in the middle of nowhere when I move my horse to Corvallis in a month because I want to be more a part of this world.

Aside from my ag education, I had never really done intense, daily page design. I really enjoy reading and editing copy, and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on AP style, but I think I kind of learned that designing pages isn't my forte. I can do it, and I'm happy to do it, but I just don't feel like I'm good at it. Also, I start to miss getting to interview people and track news and write when I'm at the copy desk for long periods of time. But if I hadn't had this internship, I wouldn't know that.

I can't imagine what I would be like right now if I hadn't gotten to do this internship. I feel like I'm at least competent at page layout now and I know, if nothing else, what doesn't work. It seems natural, I don't fumble as much. But I think it's something you have to always work on, like writing.

I had an internship once where I felt like I was kind of a superstar. The staff and editors loved me and I had front page (and even centerpiece) stories regularly. I floated out of 10 weeks feeling like I'd have no trouble finding another internship and a job when I eventually graduated.

But aside from really rigorous practice in writing and reporting, I didn't learn much that summer. And the year after it, I didn't get any of the prestigious internships I applied for (ridiculously lofty ones, like NPR and The New York Times, which I clearly am still not ready for).

I loved that internship and still love that paper, don't get me wrong. But the point is that I learned more this summer — so much that I'm almost a different person now. I feel like I'm leaving here a smarter, more well-rounded human, not to mention a better copy editor, better video editor, better photographer (although still admittedly really weak) and a better reporter.

This was a random, last chance opportunity that ended up being a really significant one. Before Joe e-mailed me and told me they were looking for a copy editing intern of sorts, I was planning on going home to Woodinville and working at a brewery as a hostess for the summer. If I'd done that, right now I would probably be wildly irate from dealing with obnoxious drunk customers for two months straight, but I also wouldn't have what is basically a completely revamped and improved skill set.

And now I can bring an agricultural edge to my fall reporting internship at The Oregonian, which is an angle that many Oregonians from rural backgrounds have told me they feel like The O is missing. If there's any chance for me to push that angle, I will.

The worst part about internships is that you grow attached to the place, the people and the job about two-thirds of the way through, right when you know you only have a few weeks left. This was an invaluable experience for me as a young journalist, and I'm so thankful for everyone who made it possible and who helped me out during my time here. But you probably won't get a chance to miss me — I'm sure Anna and I will be back to visit before long.

-Candice (copy desk intern, summer 2010)

Are we in another Depression?

Economist David Rosenberg thinks so. From CNBC:

Rosenberg calls current economic conditions "a depression, and not just some garden-variety recession," and notes that any good news both during the initial 1929-33 recession and the one that began in 2008 triggered "euphoric response."

"Such is human nature and nobody can be blamed for trying to be optimistic; however, in the money management business, we have a fiduciary responsibility to be as realistic as possible about the outlook for the economy and the market at all times," he said.

The 1929-33 recession saw six quarterly bounces in GDP with an average gain of 8 percent, sending the stock market to a 50 percent rally in early 1930 as investors thought the worst had passed.

"False premise," Rosenberg said. "And guess what? We may well be reliving history here. If you're keeping score, we have recorded four quarterly advances in real GDP, and the average is only 3%."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fort Collins agenda is posted

From the U.S. Department of Justice:


Workshop to be Held at Colorado State University

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the agenda and panelists for the Aug. 27, 2010, joint public workshop in Fort Collins, Colo., on competition in the livestock industry. This is the fourth in a series of five public workshops. This workshop is focused on the state of competition and regulation in the livestock sectors, in particular the cattle industry.

The workshop will be held in the main ballroom of the Lory Student Center, Colorado State University, 1101 Centre Avenue Mall, Fort Collins. Attendance is free and open to the public. The general public and media interested in attending the Colorado workshop should register at www.conferences.colostate.edu/LiveStockWorkshop.

The workshop will begin with opening remarks and a roundtable discussion including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division Christine Varney. They will be joined by U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp and Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock.

Following this introductory discussion, there will be three panels composed of ranchers, farmers, academics and other industry stakeholders. First, Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Varney will moderate a conversation among producers and feeders. Second, a panel on trends will look at developments in the industry in recent decades and the trajectory moving forward. The final panel will then discuss in greater depth issues such as contracting, transparency and vertical integration.

Additionally, there will be three hours dedicated to public testimony. This will be split into two sessions, one at mid-day and the other after the final panel.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

8:30 a.m - 8:45 a.m. MDT Opening Remarks

Eric Holder, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. MDT Keynote Roundtable Discussion

Eric Holder, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Betsy Markey, Congresswoman, U.S. House of Representatives
Bill Ritter Jr., Governor, state of Colorado
John Suthers, Attorney General, state of Colorado
Steve Bullock, Attorney General, state of Montana
John Stulp, Commissioner of Agriculture, state of Colorado

9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. MDT Coffee Break

10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. MDT Producer/Feeder Presentation of Issues

This panel will be an opportunity to hear first-hand from producers or feeders as they share their experiences and perspectives on the industry.

Moderators: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Mike Harper, sheep producer, Eaton, Colo.
Dr. Taylor Haynes, rancher, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Robbie LeValley, rancher, Hotchkiss, Colo.
Harry Livermont, rancher, Interior, S.D.
Chris Petersen, hog farmer, Clear Lake, Iowa
Allen Sents, feedlot owner, Marquette, Kan.
Alden Zuhlke, rancher, Brunswick, Neb.

11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. MDT Lunch

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. MDT Public Testimony

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. MDT Panel I - Trends in the Livestock Industry

This panel will discuss trends in the livestock industry, including issues associated with contracting, price transparency and the effects of concentration.

Moderator: Philip Weiser, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Jerry Bohn, general manager, Pratt Feeders, Pratt, Kan.
Libby Cook, co-founder, Wild Oats Markets and Sunflower Farmers Markets
Mark Greenwood, vice president, commercial lending, AgStar Financial Services
Bill Heffernan, professor emeritus of rural sociology, University of Missouri
Mark Lauritsen, international vice president, director food processing, packing and manufacturing division, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
Gilles Stockton, rancher, Range, Mont.
Armando Valdez, rancher, La Jara, Colo.
Clem Ward, professor and extension economist, Oklahoma State University

2:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. MDT Panel II - Market Structure

This panel will include a variety of market participants who will discuss market structure issues in the livestock industry.

Moderator: James MacDonald, Chief, Agricultural Structure and Productivity Branch, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Bruce Cobb, general manager, Consolidated Beef Producers
David Domina, attorney, Domina Law Group
Mark Dopp, attorney, American Meat Institute
James Herring, president and chief executive officer, Friona Industries
Robert Mack, cattle producer/feeder, Watertown, S.D.
Bob Miller, rancher, Okmulgee, Okla.
William Rishel, Richel Angus, Platt, Neb.
Charlie Rogers, owner/general manager, Clovis Livestock Auction

4:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. MDT Break

4:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. MDT Public Testimony

6:30 p.m. MDT Concluding Remarks

Additional information, including submitted public comments and transcripts for past workshops can be found at the Antitrust Division's agriculture workshop website at www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/index.htm. While no streaming webcast will be available, transcripts and video will be available for this workshop at a later date on the Antitrust Division's website. Individuals seeking more information on the workshops should contact agriculturalworkshops@usdoj.gov.

The Capital Press' story is here. In my view, the absence of a representative of the "big four" packing companies raises serious questions about the credibility of the meeting, even if two of the companies did decline invitations to the event. After all, don't even the packers' critics want an explanation of how and why they set prices the way they do? Did the packers opt out because they didn't want to walk into an ambush?

No one wants a glorified complaining session at taxpayer expense, but it appears that this is what we may have on Friday.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Heat-stress rules approved

California's workplace-safety board today approved the heat-stress rules that a state agency proposed in July.

The approval served mostly to firm-up existing rules, something farm groups have said is necessary in the effort to educate employers. Farm employers say they're just now conquering the logistics of training crews and monitoring workers, and they fear liability.

An ongoing criminal lawsuit in San Joaquin County marks the first known instance that an employer has been tried for the heat-related death of an employee.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sugar beets: next steps unclear

A tense atmosphere of wait-and-see has settled over the sugar beet industry.

In the lawsuit over Monsanto's Roundup Ready beets, federal Judge Jeffrey White on Friday made the seeds illegal to use until USDA produces environmental documentation to support their deregulation.

The most immediate question surrounds existing crops. Organic growers had wanted White to decide on rules for how they're to be harvested, transported and processed, but he kicked the task to USDA.

White issued his decision in the afternoon, following a morning hearing in his San Francisco courtroom. Some were surprised by the quick turnaround, and today the players are scrambling to sort out their options.

The industry says it needs time to confer with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. APHIS says it needs time to digest the ruling. And plaintiffs in the case, represented by Earthjustice, say they'll be watching for any chance to mount another lawsuit over how the agency implements whatever plan it chooses in the coming months.

Check back for updates ...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Judge: sugar beet decision imminent

Concluding a hearing Friday morning in San Francisco, federal Judge Jeffrey White said he would rule shortly on whether to immediately restrict Monsanto Co.'s Roundup Ready sugar beets.

Plaintiffs argued for a total ban until USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service completes the environmental documentation that White said it needs in order to deregulate the seeds.

Plaintiffs are not seeking to halt handling and processing of crops from earlier this year, however -- they just want a list of restrictions on how the industry does so.

White has indicated he'll likely rule in favor of plaintiffs, but he has options. He could simply revoke APHIS's deregulation of the seeds, leaving the agency to decide how to restrict the seeds moving forward.

That's what the industry wants, but plaintiffs say such a process would take too long, allowing for greater cross-pollination with organic crops.

Check Capital Press for further updates.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Western Growers endorses Fiorina

Western Growers today endorsed Carly Fiorina for Sen. Barbara Boxer's seat in California, saying the former Hewlett-Packard and AT&T executive is listening to farmers.

A statement from CEO Tom Nassif says Fiorina "understands what it takes to run a business in this state.

"She supports California agriculture and understands how issues like new health care reform regulations, changes in taxation, union-supported 'card check' legislation and many other laws and regulations will harm the ability of California farmers to produce a safe, reliable and affordable supply of the food people eat," Nassif said.

A poll last week by the Public Policy Institute of California indicated a close race, with respondents preferring Boxer 39 percent to 34 percent while 22 percent remain undecided.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Happy birthday to the new capitalpress.com

It was one year ago this month that we relaunched the Capital Press website with a new look and a ton of new features.

We still think of it as our "new" website, but as of Aug. 1, it is now 1 year old.

The site continues to grow and evolve as we find new options we want to provide for our visitors and based on suggestions we hear from visitors to the site.

While you can find all of the ads and stories you would find in print editions of the Capital Press on our website, it is, in many ways, a very different information service. Our print editions only come out once a week, but we update the website at least five days a week. Some of the things you will find on our website are only available there.

It is a work in progress. We hope you like the progress so far and find some, or all, of the expanded features helpful. But we would be surprised if anyone is taking advantage of all of the features. There are so many, sometimes even those of us that work for the Capital Press lose track of some of the features our website.

The website is designed so you can get news and advertising in a manner that best suits your needs. If you haven't checked out the site, here are some of key features of the site:

Search stories and ads at the same time — From the search box in the top right corner of every page you can type in what you want to find and search across all of our site's current stories and ads to find your search word or search terms.

Searchable archives — If you are looking for story from a past edition of Capital Press, you can search our online archive of material dating back to 2002.

Download PDF copies of the print editions — If you want to see how a story looked in print, or want a color copy of a page that appeared in our paper, but someone recycled your copy, subscribers can download a PDF of an entire edition and print out any pages they want.

A la carte options for non subscribers — If you can't have a subscription to the Capital Press, but want access to all the features of our website, you can buy access by the day — or longer — right from your computer.

Mobile-enabled pages — Smart phones and other mobile devices make it easy to access websites when you are away from the computer, but they are not always convenient to read on a small screen. If you want to view web stories from pages designed specifically for use on mobile devices, you can check out our mobile website:

E-newsletters — We offer multiple options for electronic newsletters that can be sent direct to your e-mail on your computer or mobile phone. We have a daily newsletter, a weekly newsletter of our top stories, California and Idaho newsletters, a dairy newsletter and one for livestock news. All you have to do is register on our site, and tell us which newsletters you want sent to your e-mail. Pick one, pick a couple or pick them all, that's your choice.

SMS text alerts for breaking news — When big news breaks, we can send you a text alert with a link to the story delivered right to your cell phone. You can sign up for this service by registering in the website. And don't worry. We won't bombard you with text messages. We average less than one SMS alert a week.

Multiple RSS feeds — If you want to monitor ag news on specific topics or based on geography, you can monitor a selection of RSS feeds. Click here for the full list of feeds we offer.

User forums — This is perhaps the most underutilized area of our site, but one which offer great potential. Registered users of our site can post question and comments for each other, share information or ask questions of us here at the Capital Press. It's your forum. You can make it whatever you want it to be.

Online classified ad placement — As always, you can call us at the Capital Press and we can you build a line ad to sell a piece of farm equipment, tools or anything else you are trying to sell. But if you want to to build the ad yourself, you can place your line ad online through our online ad placement system.

State-specific weather — On our California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Montana pages, you can find state-specific weather information, including weather radar maps to see what Mother Nature may have in store for you.

RSS feeds with headlines from our sister papers — Capital Press is part of a family of newspapers, and we can give you access to some of the top news headlines from our sister papers throughout the Pacific Northwest at this link. Through our site we can give you a peak at what's happening in other areas where East Oregonian Publishing Company has newspapers.

Social media integration — We know that everyone wants to get their news specifically from a news website. So if you prefer to monitor developments through a Facebook or Twitter account, you can like up with us on those services. You can also keep an eye on what people on Twitter are saying on agriculture topics on our home page and other pages on our website's home page.

Put your events on our calendar — Have an upcoming event you want featured on the Capital Press online calendar? You can post your calendar listing directly to our calendar on the website with as much detail as you want to include.

Support services — A new service we launched this summer can help you improve your online reach and customer connections. You don't have to be a digital marketing expert. Let Capital Press Digital Marketing Services help you improve your online footprint.

Those are just some of the things you can find on our website that's celebrating it's birthday this month. Thanks for checking it out and for telling us the things you want an need in an agriculture information site. Your suggestions pushed us to expand our offerings. Thank you for your suggestions over the years. We appreciate them and hope they have come back to you in a site that is more useful to you.

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