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America tops world in wine drinking

March 31, 2011 --

Record High 2010 Wine Shipments Make U.S. the World’s Largest Wine-Consuming Nation
By Wine Institute

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. surpassed France as the world’s largest wine-consuming nation in 2010, with wine shipments to the U.S. from California, other states and foreign producers growing 2% from the previous year to nearly 330 million cases, a record high for the industry, according to wine industry consultants Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates in Woodside. The estimated retail value of these sales was $30 billion, up 4% from 2009. Total French consumption was 320.6 million cases in 2010.

California wine accounted for a 61% volume share of the total U.S. wine market with sales at 199.6 million cases, up 1% from the previous year. Retail value was $18.5 billion. California’s total wine shipments worldwide to all markets in the U.S. and abroad (including exports) were 241.8 million cases, up 2% from the previous year.

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Right to kill wolves before House panel

March 30, 2011 --

The right to kill wolves
Natural Resource News Note:

The wolf issue is expected to take center stage in an Oregon Legislative House Committee that plans to have a hearing on four wolf related bills.    Oregon Cattlemen’s Association President Bill Hoyt,  said to the Associated Press, “It appears that the political and cultural will of the state of Oregon is to have wolves, and we have no problem with that.  We don’t want to kill every wolf that walks. We simply want to get along as well as we can. But if there is a conflict, we need to be able to defend ourselves.”More on the bills can be found at the Klamath Falls Herald article.

Here are the four bills.

House Bill 3013: Directs State Fish and Wildlife Commission to establish wolf depredation compensation and cost-sharing program for purposes of compensating persons who suffer loss or injury due to wolf depredation and providing financial assistance to persons who implement livestock management techniques or nonlethal wolf control techniques designed to discourage wolf depredation of livestock. Creates Wolf Management Compensation and Proactive Trust Fund and continuously appropriates fund moneys for purpose of providing compensation and financial assistance under program. Appropriates moneys from General Fund for purposes of program. Declares emergency, effective on passage.  Read HB 3013.

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Forestry group sponsors Portland Timbers

March 29, 2011 --

Portland Timbers sponsorship gives forestry messages a boot toward OFRI’s goal
By Oregon Forest Resources Institute,

PORTLAND, Ore.– This year, there’s an extra kick to the Oregon Forest Resources Institute’s annual educational advertising efforts. OFRI signed on as a limited sponsor of the Portland Timbers for the soccer club’s 2011 season. Known for their enthusiastic fans, the Timbers make their Major League Soccer home-field debut on April 14. Season tickets for the inaugural MLS season have already sold out.

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Sad, sudden loss: Polk Commissioner Mike Propes

March 28, 2011 --

A Sad Goodbye to Mike Propes
By Oregonians for Food and Shelter
We want to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Polk County Commissioner, Mike Propes. Mike served the citizens of Polk County for several years, his wisdom and expertise will be deeply missed. Services will be held this Saturday in Dallas.
The official process to choose who will serve the remainder of Mike Propes’ term on the Polk County Board of Commissioners is a two-step procedure that is likely to take about a month to finalize.
Because Propes was a Republican, the Polk County Republican Central Committee will compile a list of three to five nominees to the Board of Commissioners. Upon receipt of the list, the board will chose a procedure to review candidates and then vote to select one.

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Senator Coburn ethanol remarks stir controversy

March 27, 2011 --

NCGA First Vice President Garry Niemeyer,
National Corn Growers Association

For years, there has been discontent with ethanol policy and it finally came to a head in the Senate this week with Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma proposing to eliminate the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit. Now this comes at a very interesting time in our society, when we are facing rapidly rising energy costs and a senator from an oil state making the proposal.

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Vertical Farming is the new solution theory

March 26, 2011 --

Who Decides the Future of Farming, Ranching?
By Stewart Truelsen
American Farm Bureau Federation

It seems logical that the future of farming and ranching should be determined in large part by America’s farm and ranch families. Most of us would be quite satisfied because our nation’s farm and ranch families are doing a better job than any previous generation in producing food, fiber and fuel and conserving natural resources. Knowledge and experience passed from generation to generation of farmers and ranchers and scientific and technological advances have resulted in enormous progress in production agriculture. Why would anyone want to seriously tinker with it, especially when other essentials like energy and health care have far more pressing concerns and uncertain futures?

Yet, the dialogue about the future of farming in newspapers, television and over the internet often seems dominated by people who want to toss out the family farm and ranch system we have in this country in exchange for some radical new concept.  “Radical” is an understatement for some of the plans. In a recently published book, The Vertical Farm, Dr. Dickson Despommier, proposes that farms be relocated from the country to the city and stacked in high-rise buildings where city dwellers live and work nearby.

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Legislative Update: Wheat Growers League

March 25, 2011 --

By Jana Jarvis,
Oregon Wheat Grower’s League

The carefully crafted bi-partisan power sharing arrangement in the Oregon House of Representatives was severely challenged during the fifth week of the 2011 legislative session. During the budget concerns of the 2009 session business had agreed to a short-term disconnect from the federal tax code – specifically the bonus depreciation and Section 179 small business provisions – with the understanding that these would be reconnected in 2011 for Oregon income tax purposes. SB 301 was the vehicle to reconnect both the personal and business tax provisions and it had passed the Senate and was on the floor of the House on Monday, March 7th. The Governor had included these costs in his budget and it was commonly understood that these reconnect provisions were part of SB 301. After passing the House Revenue Committee and on its way to the fl oor for a vote Legislative Counsel called the two co-chairs of the Revenue committee to inform them that SB 301 did not contain the business reconnect provisions. The business community and Co-chair Berger assumed that the bill would be pulled back to committee for this fi x; but Co-chair Barnhart and Democratic leader Rep. Hunt decided that the additional $100 million shouldn’t be taken off of the table and would not agree to pull the bill back to committee. That set the stage for the floor

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Small town takes on Metro

March 24, 2011 --

Small town takes on Metro
Article Alert:

The Portland Tribune reports that the city of Cornelius finds the urban reserves it has been allocated unnaceptable and is going on a push to increase it. Currently, the city has 75 acres of vacant industrial land (110 entire industrial land). As the region grows so does the pressure to expand Metro’s boundaries.

Read the story here.

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Oregon delegation unites on county payments

March 23, 2011 --

By Congressman Greg Walden,

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of Oregon’s House congressional delegation, Reps. Greg Walden (R-Hood River), Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield), Kurt Schrader (D-Canby), Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland), and David Wu (D-Hillsdale) were joined by 49 of their colleagues today in sending a bipartisan letter to Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen urging the Budget Committee to accommodate a reauthorization of county payments in the FY 2012 House Budget Resolution. Funding county payments in FY 2012 would ensure rural counties have the resources to provide essential services like emergency services, health care, and schools while Congress works to find long-term funding solutions for timber dependent communities.

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Decline in Housing Permits, Starts

March 22, 2011 --

Housing Starts and Permits Stall in February
By National Association of Hoembuilders

March 16, 2011 – Nationwide housing starts and issuance of permits for new housing construction both posted disappointing declines in February as concerns about a growing number of factors caused builders to pull back on production of new homes, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Commerce Department. Total housing starts declined 22.5 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 479,000 units, the second-slowest pace on record. Equally disconcerting, total permit issuance for new homes fell 8.2 percent to a record low pace of 517,000 units in February.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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