The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


Feds pay landowners to open land to hunting

June 29, 2011 --

New program pays Columbia Basin landowners for allowing public hunting access
By Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife

SALEM, Ore. — Columbia Basin landowners with good upland bird habitat on their properties can earn some additional income by providing public hunting access, thanks to ODFW’s new Oregon Open Fields program.

Funded by a federal grant, the program seeks to open 95,000 acres of private land in the Columbia Basin to upland bird hunting.

Landowners that participate will receive payment based on criteria like the size of the access area and type of access permitted (advance reservation required or walk-in hunting access). Payment will range from 78 cents to $3 per acre. Payments for hunting access for similar programs average about $2 an acre.

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Lawsuit filed to restore local timber harvesting


Lawsuit Seeks Sustainable Timber Harvest on O&C Lands
— Companies ask Court to remedy federal agency inaction
By American Forest Research Council

PORTLAND, OR—Frustration over the failure of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to follow the law has lead the forest products industry to once again seek a Court Order directing the agency to sell timber in western Oregon.  The American Forest Resource Council and the Carpenters Industrial Union were joined by the Douglas Timber Operators and six family-owned businesses that manufacture products from the timber grown on the 2.1 million acres of Oregon and California (O&C) Railroad Grant Lands. Under the Resource Management Plans currently in effect, the BLM is required to sell 502 million board feet annually, which is only half of what the forests can sustainably produce. Sustained timber production is the statutory requirement for these lands.

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Farm-to-school bill before Governor

June 28, 2011 --

Farm to School bill on the way to Governor
HB 2800 received unanimous bipartisan support in the Senate
By Oregon Senate Majority Office Release

SALEM – The Senate unanimously approved a “Farm-to-school” bill this morning, allowing more Oregon school to participate in programs that provide local healthy food options while supporting local farms. House Bill 2800 will create a grant program administered by the Department of Education to support the purchase of local foods for Oregon schools and educational activities related to Oregon agricultural products.

“This program will help feed kids nutritious meals while shaping long-term healthy eating habits,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland), a member of the Oregon Hunger Task Force. “Oregon is fortunate to have an agricultural bounty that other states envy. We should take advantage of this resource and teach Oregon students about the benefits of locally-sourced food.”

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Walden biomass issue featured in Politico

June 27, 2011 --

Sprucing up our energy supply
By Rep. Greg Walden
As featured in Politico

What’s green, grows on trees, creates jobs and supports healthier forests in rural America?

Answer: woody biomass.

If you were enraptured with the cap-and-trade debates in the House Energy and Commerce Committee two years ago, you’re likely already familiar with my passion and advocacy for energy produced from woody biomass.

But most of you probably had something better to do.

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Food police and farmers

June 26, 2011 --

When Did Food Become So Complicated?
Bob Stallman, President
American Farm Bureau Federation

Sustainability. Organic. Biotech. Big Ag. Local. Pure. These are just a few labels being tossed around freely to discuss something that I’ve always thought of as a pretty simple and straight-forward concept: Eating.  There is no doubt that a handful of people aspire to dictate what is placed on America’s dinner tables. Unfortunately, in meeting their objective, these self-subscribed food activists are turning the simplicity of food into a complex political agenda.

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Congress hears ideas to make farms more efficient

June 25, 2011 --

Grower Testifies on Making Farm Programs More Efficient
By National Association of Wheat Growers

Producers’ experiences with USDA’s local offices working to deliver farm and conservation programs can be dramatically improved by streamlining programs and using more Internet and cell phone communication, Washington state wheat farmer Brett Blankenship testified to the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. Blankenship, who grows soft white winter wheat, dark northern spring wheat and spring barley near Washtucna in Washington’s Adams County, was the sole agricultural producer speaking at the hearing, called to examine farm bill program accountability and efficiency.

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2010 Oregon timber harvest rebounds from record low

June 24, 2011 --

2010 Oregon timber harvest rebounds from record low
By Oregon Dept. of Forestry

Although Oregon’s forest products industries are still struggling, a glimmer of hope appeared with increased timber harvesting in 2010. Overcoming a weak housing market and tightened lending standards, the 2010 harvest hit 3.2 billion board feet, a rise of 17 percent from 2009’s historic low of 2.7 billion board feet. A spike in lumber prices and increased log and lumber exports to China in 2010 drove up log prices by 21 percent, which fueled the uptick in harvests.

From 2009 to 2010, harvest numbers increased for every forest land ownership class except for the Bureau of Land Management. Forest industry, which accounted for 68 percent of Oregon’s total 2010 harvest, also recorded the largest gain in harvest. This category, comprising large, corporate landowners, added 219 million board feet in 2010. This brought the industry total to 2.2 billion board feet, an 11 percent increase from the 2009 harvest of just under 2 billion board feet.

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Farmers ready to fight E-Verify bill

June 23, 2011 --

By Christine Souza
California Farm Bureau Federation

Unless it contains a viable program for agriculture, farm groups say they are prepared to oppose legislation introduced in Congress last week that would require all U.S. employers to check work authorizations against the federal database known as E-Verify.

The Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 2164 by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, would require employers to electronically verify the eligibility of prospective employees before hiring. Under E-Verify, the Social Security numbers of new hires are checked against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records in order to identify fraudulent numbers, prevent their use and help ensure that new hires are eligible to work.

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Agreement reached on Wolf Bill

June 21, 2011 --

Legislature & Stakeholders Agree On Wolf Compensation Bill
By Oregon Farm Bureau

Legislative Leadership moved HB 3650 to the Full Ways & Means Committee. HB 3650 was carefully negotiated by Farm Bureau, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Defenders of Wildlife and the Governor’s Office.

The Legislation creates a wolf compensation fund at the Department of Agriculture, which will be administered in partnership with counties. Counties wanting to participate will appoint an advisory committee and match 10% of the funds granted in their county. The advisory committee will make recommendations for compensation of killed or injured livestock and working dogs. The fund will additionally compensate for non lethal determent techniques. $100,000 was allocated for the fund.

The legislation is expected to move smoothly through the last days of session. For several years, Farm Bureau has been working towards the establishment of a wolf compensation fund and we are pleased with agreements made around this bill.

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Senator: New water rules are extreme and impossible

June 20, 2011 --

EQC adopts Administrative Rules for Water Quality Standards in Oregon
Senator Doug Whitsett

Thursday in Pendleton, TAPS were played for the future of Oregon’s natural resources based economy, and the private sector jobs they sustain. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) adopted, by Administrative Rule, new Oregon water quality standards for human toxics that are ten times more stringent than anywhere else in the United States, or for that matter, anywhere else on the planet.

Compliance with the water quality standards adopted by the EQC will be virtually impossible. In many situations the new standards exceed the normal background levels. Water diverted from a stream, or pumped from a well, that naturally exceeds the concentration of any alleged pollutant cannot be returned to any water body without being treated to meet the new draconian standards. Moreover, it is our understanding that no known water treatment technology exists to treat water to achieve some of the standards.

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