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Farmer Backlog for Federal Credit Addressed but Serious Gap Remains

August 31, 2011 --

Farmer Backlog for Federal Credit Addressed but Serious Gap Remains
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

On July 28, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) transferred unneeded Guaranteed Farm Operating Loan (GOL) funds to two credit programs with higher demand – Direct Farm Operating Loans (DOL) and Guaranteed Farm Ownership (GFO) loans. FSA has general authority to transfer a portion of appropriated funds from one loan program to another to bring spending more in line with farmer demand for credit.

Several days later, on August 1, FSA completed an additional transfer of funds from Guaranteed Farm Operating Loans to beginning farmer Direct Farm Ownership (DFO) Loans. This transfer, as well as one that will happen on September 1, is mandated by statute under a beginning farmer provision championed by NSAC.

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Oregon tops 111 farmers markets

August 30, 2011 --

USDA: Farmers Markets Growing in Number, Popularity
111 farmers markets currently operate in Oregon
By Oregon Small Business Association

The number of farmers markets selling fresh, locally and regionally grown produce grew significantly over the past year. According to the 2011 National Farmers Market Directory recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than a thousand new farmers markets were added this year, bringing the total reported number to 7,175—a 15 percent increase from 2010.

Well established in far West and Northeast states, farmers markets are rapidly catching on in popularity in other parts of the country. The biggest growth occurred in states as diverse as Alaska, Texas, Indiana, South Dakota, and Colorado. California currently has the most farmers markets at 729. According to the Oregon Farmers’ Markets Association, there are currently 111 farmers markets operating across Oregon—well behind North Carolina, which has 217 to round out the top 10 list of states with the most farmers markets.

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Mandatory Boat Inspections Begin in Oregon

August 29, 2011 --

Mandatory Boat Inspections Begin in Oregon
Department of Fish & Wildlife

SALEM, Ore.—Motorists hauling boats in Oregon are now required to stop at boat inspection stations to have their watercraft inspected for aquatic invasive species under a bill signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber on Aug. 2, 2011. Failure to stop at an inspection station could result in a $142 fine.

On Sept. 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oregon State Police will assist Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife boat inspectors with enforcement at the Port of Entry in Ashland. Motorists are alerted to inspections stations by orange “Boat Inspection Ahead” signs. All vehicles carrying kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, sailboats and any other boats, non-motorized or motorized, are required to stop.

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Rural disbelief: Obama saying overregulation “unfounded”

August 28, 2011 --

President Obama is hosting a series of public forums in rural America. Throughout the tour he has been confronted about burdensome regulations. The President basically dismissed concerns, blaming lobbyists.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

WASHINGTON – During U.S. President Barack Obama’s bus tour through rural America, a common theme of overregulation has been brought to the president’s attention. The president was confronted by farmers and ranchers worried about the excess of burdensome, costly and scientifically unfounded regulations. President Obama advised the audience Wed., Aug. 16, 2011, in Atkinson, Ill., not to believe everything they hear and blamed lobbyists for getting “all ginned up.”

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Extreme fire danger alert for Central Oregon

August 27, 2011 --

Forestry officials warn of extreme fire danger in central Oregon
Oregon Department of Forestry

Wildfire is often in the news in central Oregon at this point in the summer. But so far it has been an afterthought. That is expected to change soon, with the onset of extreme fire conditions that could propel a small fire start into a major incident.  Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) officials caution that while the cool, wet weather in spring and early summer delayed the inevitable, fire season has truly arrived in the region.

“Conditions in the forests and rangelands of central Oregon are extremely dry,” ODF’s George Ponte said. “An errant cigarette, an unattended campfire or a lightning strike could easily ignite a large fire.”

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Senator Atkinson showcases fishing video

August 26, 2011 --

State Senator Jason Atkinson has debuted a video on the recovering politician blog. It shows an entire day of fishing. The setting is Montanna.

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Oregon forester partakes in White House Fourm

August 25, 2011 --

Oregon Forester Participates in White House Rural Economic Forum
— Investment in sustainable federal forestry needed for economic growth
American Forest Resource Council

Peosta, Iowa – Tom Partin, President of the American Forest Resource Council, participated in President Obama’s August 16 Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College.

Partin emphasized “the federal timber sale program is the single most efficient way of putting people back to work in the rural counties around our national forests. Plus, it will improve the health of our forests and reduce the potential for catastrophic forest fires.”

Partin pointed to statistics from the University of Massachusetts Political Economy and Research Institute showing that every $1 million invested in sustainable forest management leads to the creation of 17.55 direct, 12.95 indirect and 9.2 induced jobs, far more than any other sector of the economy.

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Oregon farmers most tech-savvy in nation

August 24, 2011 --

Oregon farmers #1 nationally in having internet access
By Oregon Department of Agriculture

Oregon’s reputation as an early adopter of high technology and national leader in its usage is enhanced by the state’s farming and ranching community. Results of a new survey confirm that computers are just as important to most Oregon agricultural producers as the tractor or any other common type of equipment.

“Oregon farmers and ranchers are savvy when it comes to technology and have embraced the computer in nearly every aspect of their operation,” says Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “We consistently rank high among all states each time these computer surveys are done.”

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Congressman finds Columbia river ruling alarming

August 23, 2011 --

Press Release from Congressman Doc Hastings office regarding Redden Ruling for the Columbia River Power Systems:
Congressman Doc Hastings,

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings released the following statement regarding Judge Redden’s ruling on the federal biological opinion and fish recovery plan for the Federal Columbia River Power System:  “As Chairman of the House Committee with jurisdiction over the Northwest’s hydropower system and fisheries, I intend to carefully review and address this matter. More thorough comment and action will be forthcoming in the days ahead.
“A preliminary review of this ruling, however, reveals extremely alarming and unacceptable statements and actions by the Portland federal judge. Judge Redden has explicitly ordered federal agencies to consider dam removal. Not only is dam removal an extreme action that would be devastating to the Pacific Northwest’s economy and is not proven to recover fish, Judge Redden has zero authority to order the removal of dams and the agencies have no authority to breach dams. Only Congress can authorize removal of the Northwest’s federal dams and I can definitively state that this will not happen on my watch.

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FMCSA will not regulate transport of Ag products

August 22, 2011 --

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced today that it has no intention of proposing new regulations governing the transport of agricultural products.

The agency also released guidance designed to make sure state officials clearly understand exemptions that allow farmers, their employees and their families to accomplish day-to-day work and transport their products to market.

After hearing from concerned farmers earlier this year, FMCSA initiated this review to make sure states don’t go overboard in enforcing regulations on agricultural operators, and to ensure consistent access to exemptions for farmers. No regulations will be proposed for any new safety requirements or changes to the rules governing the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm.

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