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Fuel Costs for Ag to Skyrocket Under House Climate Bill

October 31, 2009 --

American Farm Bureau,

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 21, 2009 – A crop and livestock producer from Texas today said cap-and-trade climate change legislation could hike the cost of fuel used for farming to the point that it will have a devastating economic impact on his and similar family-owned businesses. Speaking at a Capitol Hill news conference, Texas farmer and cattle producer Richard Cortese said increased fuel prices, on top of other energy-related costs, would deal a sharp blow to farmers and ranchers. Cortese, who farms near Little River, Texas, is a member of the Texas Farm Bureau board of directors.

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Governor proclaims Soil-Water Conservation Week

October 30, 2009 --

By Department of Agriculture of Oregon,

For nearly 70 years, Oregon’s soil and water conservation districts have helped protect the state’s natural resources through varied but effective projects and programs that continue to stand the test of time. Those districts are now getting high level recognition as Governor Kulongoski has designated November 1-7 as Soil and Water Conservation District Week in Oregon.

“Successful on-the-ground projects made possible by funding and direction from the districts prove to all Oregon landowners that conservation is good business,” says Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba. “There is a higher public expectation for clean water, environmental enhancement, and watershed protection. Districts are conservation leaders in each of their communities.”

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Housing sales decline first time since March

October 29, 2009 --

By Oregon Association of Nurseries,

There’s disappointing news for nurseries selling primarily to the landscape trade. Sales of new homes went down in September, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. There are several reasons this could be viewed in a positive or negative light:

* Positive: It was the first decline since March.
* Negative: But, sales were down 7.8 percent from September 2008.
* Positive: The market is up 22 percent from its lowest point in January.
* Negative: It’s down a whopping 70 percent from its peak in January 2005.
* Positive: In September there was a supply of 251,000 new homes, which is a 17-year low. A low inventory is good news for those hoping for construction to resume once market demand recovers.
* Negative: As low as inventory is, it’s still a 7.5 month supply of new homes under the current market conditions.

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Congressman Baird: Help for Washington waterway workers

October 28, 2009 --

Brian Ensures Fairness for Washington State Waterway Workers
By Congressman Brian Baird,

Washington, D.C.-  Washington waterways workers will soon be able to keep more of their money, thanks to the work of Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA-03).  Currently these workers were seeing their income taxed by other states for work done on waterways that crossed state lines.  In 2000, Congressman Baird passed the Transportation Employment Fair Taxation Act to end this unfair practice. Unfortunately a judicial decision that was inconsistent with the spirit of the law required Congressman Baird to place a clarification that explicitly prohibits the practice in this year’s Coast Guard Authorization Act (H.R. 3619). The bill passed the House with an overwhelming bipartisan majority today.

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Oregon Farm Bureau convention deadline nears

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Register for OFB Convention by Nov. 6
By Oregon Farm Bureau,

The 2009 OFB State Convention is scheduled for Dec. 8-10 at the Hood River Inn in Hood River, right in the heart of the Columbia Gorge. November 6 is the deadline for both convention registration and hotel reservations. Registration forms and hotel information are available on oregonfb.org and ofbinfo.org, from county Farm Bureau presidents, or by calling the OFB office at (503) 399-1701.

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Obama and media botch WOPR timber opportunity

October 27, 2009 --

By Sean Smith,
Vice President, Starfire Lumber Co.

On July 16, the Department of the Interior, acting on a number of pretexts failing even the most cursory legal scrutiny, summarily withdrew the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR) and placed the timber sale program on 2.5 million acres of land in southwest Oregon in limbo.  This hasty, ill-considered decision means more years of uncertainty and distress for the long-suffering communities and timber industry in the affected region.

By way of background, WOPR was the culmination of well over a decade of legal wrangling which started with a lawsuit brought by a consortium of interests in 1994.  The plaintiffs in that lawsuit correctly alleged that by including the Oregon and Californian Railroad and Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant Lands (collectively, the O&C Lands) in the restrictive management scheme prescribed by the Northwest Forest Plan of 1994, federal land management and wildlife agencies were violating the O&C Act of 1937.

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$1.5 million and 24 projects help Oregon Ag

October 26, 2009 --

By Department of Agriculture,

Oregon’s specialty crop industry is receiving a $1.5 million shot in the arm as part of federal funds earmarked through the 2008 Farm Bill. The money will fund 24 projects selected by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and an industry advisory board- projects designed to help a major portion of the state’s diverse agriculture industry.

“Oregon and its Pacific Northwest neighbors make up one of the most intensive specialty crop production areas in the country, and these federal funds will ultimately help keep our producers competitive in the marketplace,” says ODA Director Katy Coba.

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Outlook Cautiously Optimistic for Agriculture

October 25, 2009 --

American Farm Bureau Federation: WASHINGTON, D.C.– Speakers at Farm Bureau’s second annual commodity outlook conference, Oct. 15-16, in Albuquerque, N.M., painted a “cautiously optimistic” outlook for U.S. agriculture, with crop and dairy producers likely faring better than livestock producers who will still face challenges in the year ahead.  Joe Glauber, the Agriculture Department’s chief economist, told the conference that grain and oilseed demand remains strong, and relatively low ending stocks means that markets still have the potential for some price volatility. For livestock, Glauber does see price recovery, with higher prices forecasted for 2010. “Farm income should improve in 2010 if input costs do not spike as they did in 2008,” Glauber said. For 2009, net cash farm income is forecast to fall to an aggregate $68 billion in 2009 however, down a staggering $30 billion from a record $98 billion in 2008.

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DEQ Announces Priority Persistent Pollutant List

October 24, 2009 --

By Oregon Department of Environmental Quality,

After months of public input and technical review, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced today an official list of persistent, surface water  pollutants that pose a potential threat to the state’s environment and residents. The list identifies 118 toxic pollutants that come from a wide variety of sources and have a documented effect on human health, wildlife or aquatic species.

The final list is available on the DEQ Web page http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/SB737 (under “Documents to Download,” in right-hand column). It contains two types of toxic pollutants: substances that either persist in water environments or accumulate in the tissues of people, wildlife or plants; and chemicals that have been banned or restricted for years but remain in sediment and tissue samples at detectable levels.

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Oregon tsunami expert teaches survival

October 23, 2009 --

Prepare now to survive a West Coast tsunami
By Pat Corcoran
Oregon State University Extension Service

ASTORIA, Ore. – Two weeks after tsunamis in Sumatra and American Samoa initiated by powerful earthquakes killed hundreds of people, a growing number of Oregonians are wondering how people living along the West Coast will fare when a large – and possibly overdue – quake shakes our own soil. “Unfortunately, our fascination with the physical phenomena eclipses our interest in preparing to survive our next big earthquake and tsunami,” said Patrick Corcoran, a hazards outreach specialist with the Oregon Sea Grant program at Oregon State University.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches more than 700 miles from northern California to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, has experienced several major earthquakes during its long history.

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