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Supreme Court Declines to Review Pesticide Case

February 28, 2010 --

National Association of Wheat Growers

The Supreme Court declined this week to review a case that concluded pesticide discharge is a point source of pollution subject to additional regulation and permitting under the Clean Water Act, effectively letting the ruling stand and ending judicial appeals in the case.

The case, National Cotton Council of America v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was decided by the Sixth Circuit Court in January 2009. In effect, the ruling will mean that EPA will almost certainly require producers to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits or some other type of permits for each and every pesticide application, even if applied within label requirements.

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Chart: 100 years change in what we eat

February 27, 2010 --

From USDA,
Amber Waves, March 2010

another chart below

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New H-2A worker visa regulations rile farmers

February 26, 2010 --

Stallman: New H-2A regulations will make it harder to put food on America’s tables
American Farm Bureau Federation,

New rules for the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program, released by the Labor Department on Feb. 12, will make the program more difficult than ever to use, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.  Among the changes is a requirement that farmer employers who seek H-2A visas for agricultural workers provide documented evidence that they have looked for qualified U.S. citizens to fill the jobs. Previously, employers only had to indicate they had looked for qualified workers.

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Wheat Growers honor five lawmakers

February 25, 2010 --

Oregon Wheat Grower’s League honors Sen.David Nelson, Sen. Martha Schrader, Sen. Joanne Verger, and Rep.Bruce Hanna. Rep. Mike Schaufler received

The OWGL Board of Directors together with OWGL staff participated in a “Day at the Capitol” on Friday, February 12 in honor of Oregon’s Birthday which fell on Sunday this year.  Governor Kulongoski addressed the audience comprised of interested citizens and school children prior to cutting the birthday cake sponsored by the Oregon Wheat Growers League.  Special thanks to the Governor and Lisa Hanson, Oregon Department of Agriculture, for their remarks and willingness to participate.

The day was filled with legislative meetings to outline areas of concern and priority issues for the industry.  The Legislators were grateful for the update and complimented the Board members for spending time in the Capitol.

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Organic milk 5 year boom now slows

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Despite being more costly to produce, organic milk production more than tripled in 5 years, but, more recently, growth has slowed in the wake of the weaker U.S. economy.
By William D. McBride and Catherine Greene

Characteristics, Costs, and Issues for Organic Dairy Farming,
US Dept. of Ag.

Organic milk production has been one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. organic agriculture. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of certified organic milk cows increased an average of 25 percent each year to more than 86,000 in 2005. The number of farms specializing in organic milk production more than tripled between 2002 and 2007, to more than 1,600. Many of these are small dairy operations that have switched to the organic approach to help improve farm profitability.

Organic milk cows comprised only about 1 percent of all U.S. milk cows in 2005. USDA estimates that organic milk’s share of U.S. fluid milk sales increased from 2 percent in 2006 to 3 percent in 2008. Rapid growth in the sector has recently slowed, however, as a weaker U.S. economy dampened demand for organic food products.

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Bill targets transportation and greenhouse gas reductions

February 24, 2010 --

Bill sets the stage for tackling transportation & greenhouse gas reductions
SB 1059 is the product of a diverse work group established in the 2009 session
By Senate Majority Office,

SALEM – Legislation that will help governments make decisions about how to develop smart, sustainable, and cost-effective transportation systems passed in the Senate this afternoon. Senate Bill 1059 lays the groundwork for communities to plan for future population and employment growth while reducing greenhouse gases.  “This bill deals with one important piece of the climate puzzle – transportation,” said Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland), who carried the bill on the floor. “We must design our cities more efficiently, everything from timing our traffic signals to increasing our ability to run errands with fewer or shorter trips in the car. This bill sets the stage for progress.”

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All but one Oregon county shows decrease in ag sales

February 23, 2010 --

Oregon Department of Agriculture,

1. Marion County $493 million
2. Umatilla County $369 million
3. Morrow County $345 million
4. Clackamas County $302 million
5. Klamath County $241 million
6. Washington County $238 million
7. Linn County $237 million
8. Malheur County $227 million
9. Yamhill County $222 million
10. Polk County $162 million

Agriculture’s economic downturn has swept across Oregon, negatively impacting all but one of the state’s 36 counties when it comes to agricultural sales in 2009. An overall drop of nearly 15 percent last year left very few commodities in good shape. Marion County remains the runaway leader in terms of agricultural sales, but still saw a reduction of $111 million in 2009. Only Hood River County recorded an increase last year, which clearly demonstrates the unprecedented difficulties facing a diverse Oregon agriculture industry.

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House members push for biomass bill

February 22, 2010 --

HB 3608 Provides Incentives for Production, Transportation of Woody Biomass
By House Republican Leader Rep. Bruce Hanna,

SALEM—House Republicans today made a final effort to advance HB 3608 this session to improve Oregon’s rural economy and create desperately-needed jobs. The legislation would have provided incentives for the production and transportation of biomass but, on a partisan vote, majority Democrats rejected bringing it to the Floor for debate.

“It’s unfortunate that Democrats would kill an affordable measure to put people back to work,” Rep. Thompson said. “Providing tax incentives for harvesting woody biomass is the only effective way to encourage companies to gather and transport the material to produce renewable energy. By blocking this bill’s passage, Democratic leadership decided to put partisan politics ahead of job-creation.”

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HBO Special: The Woman who changed cattle care for the nation

February 21, 2010 --

HBO Special Highlights the Unique Impact of Temple Grandin on Beef Production

DENVER (February 4, 2010) – This Saturday, February 6, when HBO’s Temple Grandin airs, farmers and ranchers across the country will be tuning in to honor Temple Grandin’s work in improving the care of cattle. Grandin, living with autism, revolutionized livestock handling by tapping into her ability to see the world in a different way to develop a deeper understanding of animal behavior.  “There’s not a rancher in this country that isn’t aware of her work. We have all been influenced by Temple,” says Clint Peck, Director, Beef Quality Assurance at Montana State University. “There is no question her work has helped us all understand more about our animals and how to handle them in a caring and humane manner.”

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Ag Chairman Peterson Plans for Reconciliation

February 20, 2010 --

National Association of Wheat Growers,

The federal government’s historic and growing debt load was the hot topic in Washington, D.C. this week, with President Barack Obama issuing an executive order to establish a commission to examine the problem after Congress failed to create a commission of its own.

The Obama order set up an 18-member panel to make recommendations due Dec. 1. The panel will be bipartisan, with Obama appointing Republican and Democratic co-chairs, plus three additional Democrats and one Republican, and each party’s Congressional leaders choosing six from their delegations.

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