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AL lawmakers may reverse immigration law

November 30, 2011 --

Alabama legislators have second thoughts
By Kurt Kipp
Oregon Association of Nurseries

The New York Times reports that several Alabama legislators and officials are having second thoughts about the state’s controversial immigration law. Some are calling for tweaks, while others are asking for outright changes. The law remains popular among residents, so it’s not likely that it will be repealed entirely, in spite of the reported impacts. In the month and a half the law has been in effect, those impacts have included a lack of workers to harvest farm crops, due to people fleeing the state. Critics have also called the law big government at its worst, because, depending on legal interpretation, it requires proof of citizenship for any transaction between a person and the government, from water bills to paying property taxes.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Local Food Movement & Bad Math

November 29, 2011 --

Thinking the Local Food Movement Would Be Good for the Economy? Think Again.
By Cathryn
National Corn Growers Association

Local food is sexy. Like any trend, interesting, powerful people seem to love it. From Michelle Obama to a slew of celebrity chefs, everyone seems to be talking about the exact farmer from which they purchased their lettuce. The hottest restaurants include menu descriptions that read like a list of the most prominent family from every bordering local community. On the surface, local foods appear to be the epicurean’s equivalent of retro chic.

Scratch beneath the surface, though, and the local food movement isn’t always what it seems. A complete cultural shift to a paradigm in which local foods reign supreme would yield some ugly results for the economy and for our health.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Washington: Salmon swim across roads

November 28, 2011 --

During the flooding in Washington is created road flooding where salmon can be seen swimming across the road. Superb video seen across the country.

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Ranchers side with WTO against COOL label law

November 27, 2011 --

Colin Woodall, VP of Government Affairs
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

WASHINGTON – The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced on Nov. 18, 2011, that  it has ruled in support of complaints by Canada and Mexico that U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) violates global trade rules and unjustly harms agricultural commerce. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall issued the following statement.

“This is a strong ruling from the World Trade Organization that proves COOL was not only a disservice to U.S. cattlemen and women but also contained far-reaching implications for two of the most important trade partners for U.S. agriculture. NCBA strongly advises the United States not to appeal this ruling. Instead, we urge U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to work with NCBA and other pro-trade organizations to apply pressure on Congress to bring the United States into WTO compliance across the board. We must act quickly before U.S. farmers and ranchers once again face unnecessary and unfortunate retaliatory tariffs on their products.

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Farm Bill rewrite ends with Super Committee shutdown

November 26, 2011 --

Super Committee Folds, Ending Attempt at Farm Bill Rewrite
By National Association of Wheat Growers

Leaders of the debt-deficit super committee said Monday their panel has failed to agree to more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction measures and would not be making a recommendation to Congress. This means the efforts to craft a farm policy proposal to be included in a super committee recommendation have also ceased, confirmed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) on Monday afternoon.

Under the law passed this summer to raise the debt ceiling and establish the super committee, its failure will trigger automatic cuts through a process known as sequestration. Cuts will begin in early 2013 and take an estimated 8 percent from federal budgets, with a significant portion coming from defense spending and none coming from a still-undetermined list of programs. President Barack Obama said Monday he would veto any attempt to reduce the planned cuts or exempt additional programs or departments, like the Department of Defense.

A regular order rewrite of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expires Sept. 30, 2012, will likely begin late this year or early next, though the process remains unclear and will likely depend in part on the effects of sequestration-required cuts to farm bill programs.

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No Slow Down to Class Action Lawsuits in California over Food Labeling & Marketing

November 25, 2011 --

No Slow Down to Class Action Lawsuits in California Regarding Food Labeling and Marketing
Stoel Rives LLP, NW Law Firm
Food Liability Law Blog

By California litigators Tom Woods and Melissa Jones

Consumer class action plaintiffs remain very active in California, with cases continuing to be filed against food manufacturers and suppliers regarding alleged misleading labeling and marketing claims. Just this week, plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Trader Joe’s alleging that it falsely advertised and sold cookies and apple juice as “All-Natural” even though the products contained synthetic ingredients. In the past few months alone, several other large companies have been sued over allegedly false “All Natural” claims in lawsuits involving ice cream, juice, granolas, energy bars, and cereal. In the same time period, other class actions have been filed in California regarding the marketing of products that are made from genetically modified plants and grains, such as cooking oil.

These actions are most commonly brought under California’s unfair competition law (referred to as the “UCL” or § 17200 of the California Business and Professions Code). The problem for companies sued under California’s UCL is that it is difficult to get claims dismissed at an early stage. Lawsuits frequently survive the pleading stage because claims are evaluated from a subjective, and not objective, standard. Cases are allowed to proceed even though only one plaintiff establishes standing to sue by showing they actually relied on a company’s statement. Finally, preemption defenses are frequently inapplicable.

Companies should get proactive in light of this litigation trend, which isn’t going away, and examine their labels to minimize the risk of litigation. Those that have been sued should consider creative ways to address these class actions by developing and preserving constitutional challenges. Despite recent California cases making it easier for plaintiffs to maintain their lawsuits at an early stage, aggressive discovery may prevent plaintiffs from certifying the proposed class.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Ultimate Thanksgiving Tribute to Farmers

November 24, 2011 --

Paul Harvey gives an incredible tribute to farmers and was made into a video medley. Kudos for Oregonians for Food and Shelter for finding it.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Lessons from the “Bear in Grocery Store” video

November 23, 2011 --

This video is referenced in the article below:

By Erik L. Ness
American Farm Bureau Federation

People in the news business like to see items that are off-beat and humorous to belay the serious headlines of the day. They often run these “kickers” at the end of a television or radio newscast. Recently a kicker story about a bear cub running amok in the produce section of a family-owned grocery store in Ketchikan, Alaska, received a lot of attention. Folks who live in Alaska, or have spent time there, know things like this happen there, while citizens in “the lower 48” would be totally shocked at such an occurrence.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Oregon farmer charged in organic foods scam

November 22, 2011 --

Oregon farmer charged in organic foods scam
Natural Resource News Note:

Harold Chase has been accused of buying more than two thousand tons of conventional corn and then re-selling it as organic corn, making himself nearly 200,000 extra dollars. Chase used to run a (genuine) organic farm outside Springfield; that company was dissolved in July of this year. The alleged scam, however, took place two years ago, between Nov. 2009 and May 2010. Chase purchased 2,253 tons of conventional corn from dealers in Idaho and Eastern Washington. He then supervised the “transloading” of the corn—basically, unloading it from one set of trucks into a different set.

Read the full article and discuss it »

OPB: Fish Trawlers drop 76%

November 21, 2011 --

OPB Field Guide has done a superb video on the radical changing fish trawling industry in Oregon. The video highlights the large drop in fish trawlers (500 to 120) and the rule changes that are reshaping the industry.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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