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WA Farm Bureau urges action on failed forest plan

May 30, 2012 --

There is an opportunity to submit testimony for the record for 10 business days after the hearing (May 31). This is a good opportunity for the Farm Bureau and/or individual members to provide input.
By Washington Farm Bureau

On Monday, May 21st, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held an oversight field hearing in Longview, Washington entitled “Failed Federal Forest Policies: Endangering Jobs, Forests and Species.” The hearing will examine how federal administering of the Northwest Forest Plan and Endangered Species Act has affected local economies, forest health and the Northern Spotted Owl.

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Oregon Ag Legislative Update

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By Oregonians for Food and Shelter

During the Interim, legislators come to town every quarter for 3-days in what is referred to as “legislative days.” Interim Committees meet for updates on issues and this week we heard the new revenue forecast and the Senate approved the Governor’s recommended appointments to various Boards and Commissions. Among them were three new Commissioners to the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission. Greg Wolley, a Program Coordinator for the City of Portland; Krystyna Wolniakowski, Director of the Western Partnership Office of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation; and Laura Anderson, owner of Local Ocean Seafood in Newport were confirmed to replace Skip Klarquist, Jon Englund and Dan Edge on the Commission.

The Senate passed a commemorative resolution honoring their former colleague, Bob Kintigh.

Kintigh was a good friend of OFS and an advocate for natural resources. He passed away in March of this year at the age of 90.

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Immigration war is causing real pain to farmers

May 29, 2012 --

Bob Stallman, President
American Farm Bureau federation

Labor shortages have been a significant challenge to U.S. agriculture for as long as I can remember. On my rice farm in Texas growing up, it seemed we were always running short of farmhands when it came time to harvest.

But now, unlike the simpler days of my youth when we could just hire teenagers and retirees, farmers and ranchers are facing new challenges with labor issues. From border security concerns and state versus federal authority questions to I-9 audits and government-caused labor delays under the H2-A program, finding a reliable agriculture workforce is becoming more and more difficult.

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OSU trains 60 wine tasters for study

May 28, 2012 --

New OSU-trained taste testers will evaluate experimental wines
Dick Erath
OSU Extension Office

Oregon’s wine industry will now be able to better understand how what it’s doing in its vineyards and vats affects the quality of its final product thanks to a new cadre of tasting experts trained by Oregon State University.

James Osborne, an enologist with the OSU Extension Service, trained 60 Oregon winemakers earlier this year with funding from a $25,000 donation from the Erath Family Foundation. The winemakers – all unpaid volunteers – learned to use a sensory method called free-choice profiling that allows them to use their own vocabulary to describe the color, aroma, taste and “mouthfeel” of wines.

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Ethanol fights auto & oil groups over flawed study

May 27, 2012 --

By The Renewable Fuels Association,

A report released by the oil and auto industries on E15 and other higher level ethanol blends is fundamentally flawed, noted both the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

In a blog post, the DOE offered some tough critiques of the oil and auto industry research. Specifically, the blog said, “We believe the choice of test engines, test cycle, limited fuel selection, and failure criteria of the CRC program resulted in unreliable and incomplete data, which severely limits the utility of the study. “ The entire blog post can be read here.

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DEQ fines Klamath Falls man for burning motor home

May 26, 2012 --

By Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $4,162 penalty to Donald Richard Merrill for burning the remains of a motor home and other debris at his property on Altamont Drive, Klamath Falls, in October. Merrill did not respond by DEQ’s appeal deadline in April, and the full amount is currently due.

Merrill burned a motor home, which included furniture, insulation, metal and siding, along with treated wood, blankets and bags of garbage. State law prohibits people from burning these materials because, when burned, the materials emit dense, noxious smoke. This smoke creates a nuisance and poses a threat to the environment and human health.

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USDA micro-loan program applauded

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By National  Sustainable Agriculture Coalition,

Washington, DC – Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a proposed rule for a new microloan program that would be part of the suite of credit options available to farmers through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The new program would allow FSA to make smaller loans, with a principal balance of up to $35,000, and would streamline the application process to require less paperwork for farmers.

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Dominoes Pizza sides with farmers over Humane Society attack

May 25, 2012 --

Thanks Dominos For Not Caving to HSUS Whims
By Mark
Corn Commentary

Farmers are always getting asked these days to get involved; write a letter, call your Congressman, but how about eat a pizza? Now activation by the slice is something I think we can sink our teeth into and all wrap our minds around. With many corporate players caving in to environmental whackos and misinformed consumer groups it is refreshing to see a major player in the restaurant industry like Dominos Pizza tell The Humane Society of the United States to “hold that thought” when they asked them to require pork suppliers to stop housing sows in gestation stalls.

When HSUS asked stockholders to bow down before their warm fuzzy image and the millions in lobbying and PR dollars they wield, Dominos shareholders rejected the resolution. A Domino’s spokesperson explained that the company relies on animal experts to determine the best way to raise an animal that’s used for food.

Read the full article and discuss it »

NW Congressional field hearing criticizes spotted owl plan

May 24, 2012 --

Timber industry concurs with Congressional concerns over flawed spotted owl proposal
Further oversight needed to resolve decades of failed federal forest management policies
By American Forest Research Council

The timber industry joined those testifying at the Congressional field hearing in Longview, Washington, in calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to reconsider its flawed draft rule to nearly triple the amount of land arbitrarily set aside for the threatened northern spotted owl. The House Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco), convened today to review federal forest policies and the USFWS’ proposal to increase “critical habitat” for the threatened northern spotted owl from 5.3 million acres to nearly 14 million acres across Washington, Oregon and northern California. For the first time the USFWS is proposing to designate state and private forest lands as critical habitat, further threatening struggling rural economies and livelihoods.

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Wyden prefers entitlements to actual timber income says loggers

May 23, 2012 --

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

Sen. Wyden Wants Entitlement, Not Timber Income: Oregon’s US Senator Ron Wyden announced that two bills—intended to reconnect county receipts to increased federal timber sale revenues—lack his support and would be “a nonstarter” in the Senate. Sen. Wyden instead urged passage of a one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act. The “Secure Act” simply continues the taxpayer-funded subsidy payments to timber counties—entitlement payments made since the 1990s when counties lost federal timber sale receipts.

Lawsuit Challenges EPA Water Delegation to States: An unfavorable decision in February, Northwest Environmental Advocates vs. EPA, by Judge Acosta ruled that the nonpoint best management practices for farming and forestry are so intertwined with water quality standards that they must be reviewed and approved by EPA. Northwest Pulp & Paper Assoc. and the State of Oregon were intervenors. EPA argued they had no authority to regulate nonpoint source pollution. Appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court is being considered to reverse this decision.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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