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Growers press on Cuba trade bill

November 21, 2009 --

By National Association of Wheat Growers,

NAWG, U.S. Wheat Associates and other agricultural organizations are urging growers to contact their Members of Congress about the importance of passing legislation to ease trade restrictions with Cuba. Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) will be introducing legislation with Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Agriculture Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) to expand agricultural trade to Cuba and are looking for original cosponsors.

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Mining under fire in Southern Oregon

November 20, 2009 --

Oregon congressional members, Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkely and Peter DeFazio recently sent a letter to the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture seeking a moratorium on mining in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area. The letter follows a similar one sent last month by Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski.

The letters sought withdrawal from the Mining Law of 1872 of the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area under the authority granted the Secretary of Interior in section 204 the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. The letter asserts that withdrawal is necessary to protect one of Oregon’s most unique and biologically diverse areas in Sothern Oregon. Withdrawal would effectively ban mining in the area.

Not so fast say miners working the area, “Mining is a right that was granted by the U.S. Congress in the mid-1800s,” said Ron Gibson, vice president of the Southwest Oregon Mining Association.

Mining activity in Southern Oregon has come under closer scrutiny since California banned suction dredges last August. Some fear that the ban will drive suction miners into Oregon from California. So far, that has not been the case. Over 800 mining claims have been filed in the Wild Rivers area since 2001.

The other incident that has drawn attention to mining in the Wild Rivers area is the recent conviction of a Gold Hill man for illegal mining. Clifford R. Tracy of Gold Hill was mining without a permit on Sucker Creek in Josephine County.

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Is the Recession Crushing Oregon’s Wine Industry?

November 19, 2009 --

By Oregon Small Business Association,

Although Oregon’s nearly 400 commercial wineries are generally pleased with this year’s robust harvest, a combination of economic and other added factors may spoil the season for the state’s $1 billion wine industry.

The lingering economic recession, combined with sagging consumer demand, continued downward pricing, distributors’ aversion to taking on new accounts and bankers hesitant to extend credit lines, all threaten a significant shake-up of Oregon’s wine industry.

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Key Asian markets to get a taste of the Pacific NW

November 18, 2009 --

Oregon, Washington combine for three-country trade mission
Oregon Department of Agriculture,

Pacific Northwest potatoes will be the main course of a 10-day trade mission to Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong that includes the top agriculture officials in Oregon and Washington among delegation members. The promotion and discussion will not be confined to fresh potatoes, but the opportunity to develop new markets for a major Northwest commodity is enough to bring the two states together starting this weekend in Taipei. Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Director Dan Newhouse are joining forces hoping to more than double the effectiveness of this overseas trip.

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Lawmaker details historic changes in Deschutes County

November 17, 2009 --

County re-shaped by tourism, environmental restrictions and sinking timber industry
By Gene Whisnant,
State Representative

Deschutes County has beautiful and plentiful natural resources which are unmatched by most counties in the US.   Our snow covered mountains, forests, and pristine streams provide recreational opportunities which all enjoy and want to protect.

Deschutes County was established by the early settlers who harvested our forest timber for the Bend mills.   The Brooks-Scanlon mills on the banks of the Deschutes River were two of the worlds largest sawmills.  At their peak capacity, the mills employed more that 4,000 workers producing more than 500 million feet of lumber a year.  Both mills were closed by 1983.  The mill sites are now occupied by “The Old Mill District” consisting of single-family homes and townhouses as well as shops, restaurants, entertainment and offices.  This successful and environmental friendly development reflects Deschutes County’s economic shift from timber industries to service and tourism industries.

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ESA-listed Western Snowy Plover Has a Good Year in Oregon

November 16, 2009 --

By Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife,

SALEM, Ore.—The Pacific coast population of the western snowy plover, a small shorebird which is listed as threatened under both federal and state Endangered Species Acts, appears to be responding to recovery efforts in Oregon but remains vulnerable according to data from a 2009 population survey.

Results from this year’s field survey indicate that as many as 201-208 individual birds were recorded along Oregon beaches between April and September, the highest number detected since monitoring began in 1990 when biologists estimated there were only 50 adult plovers in the same area. Reasons for the decline of the once widespread species include human development, loss of nesting habitat to non-native European beachgrass and poor reproductive success resulting from human disturbance and predation.

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Pesticide Case Merits Supreme Court’s Attention

November 15, 2009 --

By John Hart,
American Federation Farm Bureau
,

Not every legal dispute merits the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court. Only the most serious and far reaching issues tend to make it to the highest court in the land. A case that should be considered is titled “National Cotton Council v. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.” The American Farm Bureau filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 2 seeking a review of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling on that case. The lower court’s decision forces pesticide users, such as farmers, to secure an additional permit to apply pesticides “on, over or near water.”

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OSU Seed Lab houses the largest seed on the planet

November 13, 2009 --

Oregon State University Extension Service, Seed Laboratory

The Oregon State University Seed Laboratory is the official seed laboratory of the state of Oregon. Twenty-two permanent staff and 10 to 20 seasonal employees serve thousands of customers in Oregon and beyond. “Up to 30,000 tests are performed in a typical year for seed growers, cleaners and dealers that depend on the information for business and seed lot labeling,” said Adriel Garay, manager of the seed lab. “Seeds sold in interstate and international commerce must be tested and labeled. The most frequent tests include purity, germination and noxious weed exams. However, many additional and special tests are frequently used.”

Test results are used by the Oregon Seed Certification Service to issue Blue Tag, or certified designation, and by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, to issue the Gold Sod Quality Tag. Recently accredited by the International Seed Testing Association, the OSU seed lab also can issue International Seed Testing Association Blue and Orange Certificates used in the international market.

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We use less water than 35 years ago, despite 30% growth

November 12, 2009 --

United States Using Less Water than 35 Years Ago
Assistant Secretary Castle Gives Atlantic Water Summit Keynote Address

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The United States is using less water than during the peak years of 1975 and 1980, according to water use estimates for 2005. Despite a 30 percent population increase during the past 25 years, overall water use has remained fairly stable according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report. Assistant Secretary of the Interior Anne Castle announced the report, Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005, as part of her keynote speech today at the Atlantic Water Summit in the National Press Club.

The report shows that in 2005 Americans used 410 billion gallons per day, slightly less than in 2000. The declines are attributed to the increased use of more efficient irrigation systems and alternative technologies at power plants. Water withdrawals for public supply have increased steadily since 1950–when USGS began the series of five-year trend reports–along with the population that depends on these supplies.

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Sen. Wyden:$40 Million To Oregon Geothermal Energy

November 11, 2009 --

Grants for Innovative Projects will Harness Oregon’s Resources
Press Release of Senator Ron Wyden

Washington, D.C. – Continuing efforts to advance alternative energy resources and break our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) announced nearly $40 million in Recovery Act funding for the exploration and development of geothermal energy technologies in Oregon. “This funding will literally help to bring Oregon’s geothermal energy potential to the surface,” Wyden said. “It will create and sustain jobs improving alternative energy technology to better tap into Oregon’s unique set of renewable energy resources.”

“The Recovery Act continues to spur growth in the emerging clean energy industry,” Merkley said.  “These projects will create new jobs and solidify Oregon’s position as a leader in renewable energy production.”

Read the full article and discuss it »
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