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NW Feedlot company loses label lawsuit

February 19, 2010 --

A NW feedlot company, Easterday Ranches, filed a and lost a suit against the USDA over the COOL laws. Cattle Network reports in detial the ruling.

In a memorandum sent Friday to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), R-CALF USA explained that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington (Court) recently issued an order that addresses a principal argument contained in the complaints filed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law by Canada and Mexico. The order stems from the lawsuit that Easterday Ranches Inc. (Easterday) filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the U.S. COOL law. In that litigation, Easterday argued that the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s marking rules, established to implement the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), provide that beef derived from the slaughter of imported cattle in the U.S. market is entitled to be designated as a product of the USA. Easterday further argued that as a result of these preexisting marking rules (NAFTA marking rules), the COOL law improperly requires beef from such imported cattle to be labeled as a product of both countries – Canada and the United States.

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Farm Bureau Legislative Update

February 18, 2010 --

Oregon Farm Bureau
Legislative Bulletin 2/12/2010

We’ve hit the halfway mark of the February special session. Thursday marked the last day a bill could pass out of the committee of the chamber of origin. This has substantially reduced the number of bill moving that your government affairs staff has been working. Of the major issues we highlighted in our last two issues, here is what’s left on our plate:

HB 3648 – Reserves 50/50 plan – The bill to curb the potential for aggressive growth of the UGB in the Metro region moved from House Ag to the House Rules committee on Thursday. The House Rules committee does not have the same restriction for moving bills as other committees have. As the Metro reaches its final decision with the area counties for the designations it is our hope that this bill will provide leverage to protect critical areas of ag land from conversion. Chairman Clem gave an excellent closing speech where said he would be interested in “pulling the plug” on the process if critical grounds were not protected. To hear the conversation click here:

SB 1060 – Navigability/Floatage
– The bill moved out of the Senate Environment Committee on Thursday. However, the current bill was amended to only creates a taskforce to address the issue during the interim. Farm Bureau will continue to be engaged in the issue.

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Loophole closed: Organic dairy under 120 day pasture rule

February 17, 2010 --

By Alex Moore,
Cascade Harvest Coalition

A lot of my peers (I’m about 30 years old) have spent more than half of their lives in a US with certified organic products and view the National Organic Program (NOP) as a sort of birthright. From time to time I hear grumbles or even adamant criticism about loopholes in the standards that allow larger scale agriculture to circumvent the original intention of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990.

Well, the New York Times and the Atlantic Magazine reported that the USDA has amended National Organic Program (NOP) regulations that govern the definition and use of ‘pasture’ in organic dairy production. According to the New York Times, some producers interpreted the old language, “organically raised livestock had to have access to pasture,” to mean that cows were only required to be pastured during times when they were not producing milk. Here is an excerpt of the new, much tighter regulation.

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BLM Announces Collaborative Forestry Project

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Roseburg BLM Announces Collaborative Forestry Project
Bureau of Land Management,

Roseburg, OR –The Bureau of Land Management’s Roseburg District is initiating a public process to apply principles of “collaborative forestry” in the District. The initial scoping meeting for the Roseburg Collaborative Forestry Pilot project is scheduled for Wednesday night, February 24 at 6:30 at the Roseburg District BLM office at 777 Garden Valley Boulevard in Roseburg. This collaborative approach is based on the following three goals:

– Accelerate the development of habitat components across the landscape as needed to support the conservation and recovery of Northern Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets;
– Reduce the hazard of uncharacteristically large/intense wildfire in dry forest types as needed to support landscape and community fire resiliency/resistance; and
– Provide reliable and substantial timber volume to support employment, income and public services while recovery planning/critical habitat designation and associated land use planning are addressed.

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Behind the new Forestry Board appointments

February 16, 2010 --

Oregon Small Woodlands Association,

Forestland owner Gary Springer and conservation group director Sybil Ackerman have been appointed to the Oregon Board of Forestry. They replace board members Bill Hutchison and Larry Giustina, whose second terms will expire this spring.

Active in Oregon environmental causes since the 1990s, Ackerman is currently executive director of the Portland-based Lazar Foundation, which funds projects to protect the environment throughout the Pacific Northwest. Prior to her employment with the Lazar Foundation, she was legislative affairs director for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Her credentials also include positions with the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society of Portland.

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OSU receives $1 million gift for hops breeding

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OSU receives $1 million gift for hops breeding and chemistry research
Shaun Townsend

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon’s vibrant craft beer industry received a major boost this week with the announcement that a new aroma hop breeding program will be created in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University.  A gift pledge of $807,000 from Indie Hops, an Oregon-based hop merchant, will support the new program, which will be led by Shaun Townsend, a research associate and hop breeding specialist at OSU.

Indie Hops already has provided $200,000 to OSU’s Thomas Shellhammer, holder of the Nor’Wester Professorship in Fermentation Science, to foster research in new techniques for developing aroma hops and to study aroma hop chemistry. The new hop breeding program will work closely with Shellhammer’s lab to study hop essential oil composition and how individual oil components impart the characteristic flavor and aroma to beer.

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Diesel soars, Timber benefit justified, Forest carbon doubts

February 15, 2010 --

By Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manger
Oregon Associated Loggers,

Diesel Climbs to High: US retail prices of diesel fuel surged January’s first week, soaring an average 6.5 cents to $2.80 per gallon, its highest level in over a year.  At press time, the US average rose further to $2.91/gal.  By January 19th, Oregon’s average diesel price had climbed 11 cents (+4%) from the previous month to $2.902 per gallon, the nation’s 26th highest average price, according to Fuel Gauge Report (www.fuelgaugereport.com).  The rise is due to rising crude oil price and unexpectedly high heating oil demand in a cold US winter.

Study finds Private Forest Huge Economic Benefit: A report, commissioned by National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) and written by Forest2Market, quantified large economic contributions to the US economy from private “working” forests.  One thousand acres of a privately-owned forest generates $277,000 in state gross domestic product, while the same area of public forest generates just $41,000.  A 1,000-acres of private forest annually generates 8 jobs, $270,000 payroll, $9,950 state taxes, and $733,000 in sales.  The report online: www.forest2market.com/f2m/f2m-impact/

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Cattlemen press EPA on climate rules

February 14, 2010 --

NCBA Files Petition for Reconsideration and Stay of EPA’s Endangerment Finding
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association,

WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2010) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is petitioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its finding that human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are an endangerment to public health and welfare (“endangerment finding”). The petition, filed yesterday by NCBA and other members of the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, is based upon information uncovered during the recent “climategate” scandal, which seriously calls into question the scientific validity behind EPA’s finding.  “It’s become evident that EPA’s endangerment finding may be based on flawed data,” said Tamara Thies, NCBA chief environmental counsel. “The fact that EPA did not choose to reconsider its finding after the extent of the climategate scandal was revealed publicly is perplexing to say the least; ignoring climategate will not make it go away.”

Since “climategate” wasn’t exposed until after the public comment period of the endangerment proposed rule had expired, NCBA and the Coalition are calling on EPA to convene a proceeding for reconsideration, and stay any further regulatory actions or rulemakings based upon the finding until the reconsideration is completed

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Forecast shows high prices for key food staples

Farmers press congress for aggressive trade agenda

February 13, 2010 --

AFBF Asks Ag Committees to Back Aggressive Trade Agenda
By American Farm Bureau Federation,

WASHINGTON, D.C,  – Combined, the Colombia, Panama and Korea free trade agreements represent almost $3 billion in increased U.S. agricultural exports. Congressional action to approve those agreements would help set an aggressive trade agenda that is important to the U.S. economy and the creation of American jobs, AFBF President Bob Stallman today told leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees.

In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of both committees, Stallman said approving the trade agreements would be a great way to answer President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address for doubling U.S. exports over the next five years. Stallman, last week, sent a similar letter to members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.

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