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State of the Union introduces trade ideas

January 31, 2010 --

By National Association of Wheat Growers,

President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address, given Wednesday, contained an unexpected defense of trade and a renewed commitment to the trade agenda that wheat growers hope portend more aggressive action in this policy area.In a passage about creating jobs and maintaining America’s competitiveness that also touched on financial reform, innovation and climate change, Obama said:

“…[W]e need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America. So tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America. To help meet this goal, we’re launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Oregon Dungeness crab season sprints into the new year

January 30, 2010 --

By Oregon Department of Ag.

One month of decent weather and good fishing has carried Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery into the new year with a boat load of momentum. In just four weeks following the crab season’s opening, Oregon crabbers have harvested about 15.6 million pounds. Last season’s entire eight-and-a-half month catch along the Oregon coast netted about 13 million pounds. The strong start has boosted the economies of coastal communities from Astoria to Brookings and sets the stage for what could be an excellent year for Oregon Dungeness crab.

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Century Farm-Ranch Award and Sesquicentennial Awards Open

January 29, 2010 --

2010 Century Farm & Ranch Award Applications and 2010 Sesquicentennial Award Applications Are Now Available
By Oregon Agricultural Education Foundation

(Salem, Or) – Applications are now being accepted for the 2010 award year of the Century Farm & Ranch Program, a statewide recognition program honoring farmers and ranchers who have worked the same land for at least 100 years.  Applications are also available for the Sesquicentennial Award, introduced by the Program in 2008, honoring families with farms or ranches continuously worked for 150 years or more.  The Program, celebrating its 52nd year, is administered through the Oregon Agricultural Education Foundation (OAEF) in Salem and is partially funded by the Oregon Farm Bureau, the State Historic Preservation Office (Department of Parks & Recreation), the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Travel Information Council, various county farm bureaus, agriculture-based organizations, and individuals.

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Greg Walden: Global Warming and the SEC fiasco?

January 28, 2010 --

Walden, Barton ask SEC Chair Schapiro to explain how global warming action plan improves safety, security for investors
SEC: Never mind Madoff;What are we doing about global warming?
From Greg Walden,

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Greg Walden, (R-OR)., ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and Joe Barton, (R-TX), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today wrote to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro regarding plans under consideration by the commission to call for corporations to be required to explain how they are alleviating global warming.

“We note with interest that the Securities and Exchange Commission evidently has concluded that, having permitted the now-imprisoned Bernard Madoff to bilk as much as $50 billion from trusting investors, it will now turn its investigative eye toward global warming instead of investor protection,” Walden and Barton wrote. “Had the colossal failure of the commission to notice the Madoff Ponzi scheme after six separate and substantive tip-offs not occurred, and even if you had not overlooked a top SEC official’s romantic involvement with Mr. Madoff’s niece during that disgraceful episode, we would be troubled by an undertaking which seems so transparently political and such a breathtaking waste of the Commission’s resources.”

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US Transportation Dept. fax scam hits NW

January 27, 2010 --

By Washington State Nursery and Landscaping Association

WSNLA has learned that an identify fraud scheme is targeting landscape firms. A firm receives a fax that says it is from the United States Department of Transportation and that the Department requires certain information in order to qualify the firm as a prospective contractor. A “financial information release form” is provided and the company is told they must fax the form in to qualify for contracts. This letter is not from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

If you have received such a letter you should immediately contact your bank. If you have already suffered a loss due to this scheme, please contact Secret Service Special Agent Donnelly at 210-846-4708 and report the loss to assist the Secret Service in pursuing this case.

The Secret Service recommends extreme caution in all financial disclose areas and recommends the following business practices:

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February Session: Water Update, Permanent Sessions

January 26, 2010 --

By Helen Moore,
Water for Life,

Since Oregon became a state in 1859, the Oregon Legislature has met on a biennial basis in accordance with specific provisions set forth in the Oregon Constitution. However, in 2007, the Legislature decided that it should move to a system of annual legislative sessions. Toward that end, the legislature convened a one-month “emergency” special session in February of 2008 for the stated purpose of “test-driving” annual sessions. Next month, the Legislature plans to continue its ongoing experiment with annual sessions by convening yet another one-month special session on February 1, 2010.

During the February session, lawmakers are planning to submit a constitutional amendment to voters that would authorize lawmakers to meet in annual session on a permanent basis. The rationale behind lawmakers’ experiment with annual sessions and plans for a constitutional amendment is somewhat unclear. If the legislature needs a constitutional amendment in order to meet annually, it would seem to follow that lawmakers do not have authority to meet in February for the stated purpose of holding annual sessions.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Congressman Baird Announces NW Green Jobs Grant

January 25, 2010 --

Baird Announces Green Jobs Grant for Southwest
Congressman Brian Baird,

Washington D.C. – Congressman Brian Baird is pleased to announce today that the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $5,000,000 in grant funding to the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership for its proposed Renewable Northwest (ReNW) Energy Training Partnership program.

The ReNW project will build a skilled workforce to support companies that generate power and assist local manufacturers in retooling their workforce.  Workers will gain the skills and training needed for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

Read the full article and discuss it »

New Senator steps up to oppose EPA plan

January 24, 2010 --

Lincoln’s Support Key to Reining in Regulations
By American Farm Bureau Federation

WASHINGTON, D.C, January 21, 2010 – Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) announced today that she would co-sponsor a resolution to disapprove the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Lincoln’s support builds key momentum for an issue that is of vital importance to America’s farmers and ranchers, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

AFBF President Bob Stallman said Lincoln’s support for the resolution, introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), could not have come at a better time and reflects true bipartisan concern.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Gathering Push for Sodium Reduction in Food

January 23, 2010 --

By Guest Blogger Tyler Anderson
Stoel Rives LLP, Attorneys at Law

The issue of sodium content in food has been a hot topic in recent months, as our own Ken Odza has blogged about in reporting on the class action lawsuits filed against Denny’s in New Jersey and Illinois. Now the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is addressing the issue. On January 11, the Department unveiled the National Salt Reduction Initiative, targeted toward reducing the salt levels in products offered by restaurants and food companies.

This initiative reflects a voluntary goal led by New York City to reduce the salt levels in packaged and restaurant foods by 25 percent over five years. According to the initiative, accomplishing this benchmark would reduce the nation’s salt intake by 20 percent and prevent up to 800,000 premature deaths nationwide and 23,000 in New York City alone. According to Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Control Program at the Department, the average American adult consumes 3,400 to 3,500 milligrams of sodium per day, while most individuals need about only 1,500 milligrams to satisfy their health needs. The initiative has gathered a wide range of support from parties including the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, Oregon Department of Human Services, and the Washington State Department of Health.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Sneak Peek into Legislative Natural Resource Bills

January 22, 2010 --

Here is a sample of some of the Natural Resource Bills that are being proposed for the February Legislative Session.

Senate Bill 1036
Reauthorizes establishment of guest ranches on land zoned for exclusive farm use in eastern Oregon. Deems guest ranches established under sunsetted law to be conforming use under new authority for guest ranches.

Senate Bill 1060
Establishes public right to recreational use of certain waterways. Specifies extent and limitations of right. Limits liability of owners of property immediately adjacent to waterways. Requires Department of State Lands to work with Department of State Police and other agencies to resolve issues related to recreational use of waterways. Punishes violation of statute or rule regulating public access to waterways by fine of up to $360.

Senate Bill 1032
Creates unlawful practice of manufacturing, distributing or selling liquid or food in container made with bisphenol A if liquid or food is intended primarily for consumption by child under three years of age. Creates unlawful practice of manufacturing, distributing or selling container made with bisphenol A if container is designed to be

Read the full article and discuss it »
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