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Omnibus bill contains vital grazing, environmental provisions

December 31, 2011 --

Livestock Groups Hail Passage of Omnibus Spending Package
— PLC, NCBA Urge President to Sign Bill Including Critical Grazing, Environmental Provisions
By  National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

A $915 billion omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government through September 2012 passed Congress. Dustin Van Liew, Public Lands Council (PLC) executive director and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) director of federal lands, commended lawmakers for including critical policy provisions related to livestock grazing as well as greenhouse gas reporting requirements in the spending bill. He said PLC and NCBA encourage President Obama to waste no time in signing the bill into law.

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Two reports forecast estate tax trouble ahead

December 30, 2011 --

A Storm of Estate Taxes Threatens Farm Country
By Lynne Finnerty
By American Farm Bureau Federation

Two recent news reports contained troubling year-end news for farm families.

Farmland values are booming. Minnesota farmland prices are nearly 30 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. It’s a similar catastrophe in Iowa where, an Iowa State University survey shows, high corn and soybean prices have driven average farmland values to a new record of almost $7,000 per acre.

I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t that good news for farmland owners?”

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Report looks at Oregon farm value

December 28, 2011 --

By Oregon Department of Agriculture

Oregon farm land has long-term value that includes economic, environmental, and societal benefits that transcend short-term gains from developing or converting those lands. That’s one of many conclusions offered by an Oregon Department of Agriculture report examining the costs of taking agricultural lands out of production and the payoffs for keeping them in farms.

“I’ve tried to give a big picture perspective on the value of agricultural lands in Oregon, and to recognize that once those lands are converted into development, they are pretty much gone for agricultural use,” says Brent Searle, special assistant to the director and author of “A Comprehensive Valuation of Agricultural Lands: A Perpetual Investment in Oregon’s Economy and Environment.”

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Gov. Kitzhaber’s mixed messages on our forests

December 27, 2011 --

Forest Policy Briefs
by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers,

Governor’s Mixed Message: Something of a rare event, Gov. John Kitzhaber addressed Oregon’s Board of Forestry at its November meeting, delivering a rambling speech of conflicting platitudes. On one hand, the Gov. suggested re-examining state forest harvest to improve economic input to communities; and a new approach to federal forest management involving “a need to increase management activity.” Alternatively, the Gov. criticized private forest policies that allow log exports, saying that it’s wrong to “export our natural capital and jobs.” The Governor fails to understand that without exports Oregon’s forest sector simply would have fewer markets and jobs from our growing timber. Repeating a list of worn-out, politically-correct slogans, the Gov. emphasized resolution of public forest problems by increased “collaboration…landscape-wide sustainable forestry…and conservation areas.” The Board thanked the Gov. for his concern.

Fires Above Average: Although the Northwest had a mild 2011 fire season, forest & rangeland wildfires burned near record acreages in the Southwest and Southern US. Through Nov. 14th, 64,943 fires had burned 8.21 million acres nationwide. The 10-year average is 70,000 fires over 6.87 million acres—indicating much larger fires this year. The US Forest Service reported in August that a research study concluded, again, that thinned forests harvested to leave 50-100 trees/acre are effective at reducing future crown fires and timber losses to wildfires in Western forests.

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Winter season farmers markets rise 12%

December 26, 2011 --

Consumers cozy up to winter farmers markets
By California Farm Bureau

While tree fruit growers are counting the chill hours, the nip in the air isn’t cooling Americans’ appetite for locally grown produce, according to a US Agriculture Department report on winter farmers markets. California has seen a 12 percent increase in winter farmers markets over the past year, today totaling more than 150. New York is the only state to have more winter farmers markets, with 180. The Agriculture Department says that winter farmers markets meet the need of consumers looking to buy locally grown food throughout the year.

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Merry Christmas from Natural Resource Report

December 25, 2011 --

Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings from the entire Natural Resource team.

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Iowa farmer joke

December 24, 2011 --

Iowa farmer joke found on the internet

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Farmers alerted on New Farm Bill problems

December 23, 2011 --

Farmers Have Big Concerns About New Farm Bill
By American Farm Bureau Federation

 

Hearings for the new farm bill start in just a few weeks. American Farm Bureau Farm Policy Specialist Mary Kay Thatcher says a big debate will be about the farm safety net. AFBF’s Johnna Miller reports.

Miller: When it comes to a new farm bill, farmers say three different safety net programs are not better than one.

Thatcher: We have great concerns about the idea that there are really three separate types of programs. There’s a shallow loss program, there’s a higher target price program and then there’s STAX (Stacked Income Protection Plan) for cotton. I just don’t think there’s an economist in the country that is good enough at this that they can make sure that we’re getting equity between three types of programs and if we don’t then we’ll have farmers out there producing for the government again and the signals that the government sends rather than producing for the marketplace.

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Imnaha wolf pack strikes again — 19th victim

December 22, 2011 --

Another cow killed by the Imnaha wolf pack
By Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife,

UPDATE: On Dec. 14, ODFW confirmed another livestock depredation by Imnaha pack wolves. It was an adult cow found Tuesday morning on the same property as the depredation discussed in this news release. The cow probably died Monday night or Tuesday morning from wounds inflicted earlier when the wolves visited the ranch Sunday or Monday morning. An investigation summary will be available later at the Livestock Loss Investigations page.

Dec. 13, 2011: LA GRANDE, Ore.—ODFW confirmed that another cow was killed by wolves from the Imnaha pack over the weekend. The yearling heifer was found dead on private land in Wallowa County.

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Wolf compensation program nears completion

December 21, 2011 --

ODA sets up grant program for counties to help ranchers
By Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

The return of the gray wolf to Oregon has already resulted in conflicts between the predatory animal and livestock, leading to past, present, and future losses for Oregon ranchers. This past session, the Oregon Legislature established a $100,000 grant program to compensate the ranching community when livestock and working dogs are attacked and killed by wolves. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is finalizing the rules surrounding that compensation program, which goes into effect immediately upon the director’s signature.

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