The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


Oregon’s $63M Rural Funds, WA lawmaker’s timber plea, Walden…

January 31, 2013 --

Timber News Update

by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

Counties Receive Rural Schools Funds Paid:  USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in January announced the US Treasury paid $323 million to counties within 41 states having national forests.  The fiscal year 2013 payment is the last to support schools and roads as part of Congress’s one-year reauthorization of the ‘Secure Rural Schools Act.’  Although Oregon federal timber counties received $63 million, this amount pales compared to the $250 million reaped annually by Oregon counties in the 1980s, when receipts were based on a share of then-robust federal timber sale income.

Congressmen Call for Better Forestry:  Washington Republican US Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Doc Hastings sent a letter urging US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to improve management of national forests.  Pointing to recent wildfires that destroyed half a million acres of federal forests land in WA, the congressmen asked Chief Tidwell to prioritize a management plan to urgently address 3 million acres of most at-risk national forests (of 9 million acres in WA).

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Protest over NM coyote killing contest

January 30, 2013 --

Activists protest New Mexico coyote killing contest

Activists are protesting a coyote killing contest sponsored by Gunhawk Firearms of Los Lunas, New Mexico. The idea is for teams to shoot as many coyotes as possible during a certain weekend. The activist group Animal Protection of New Mexico has organized a petition against the event, calling it a “heinous killing contest.”

Native American Joseph Patrick Aguino is quoted on the APNG website as saying, “I . . . oppose the killing of coyotes as a form of a contest. We as Native American Indians do not believe in senseless killing of Mother Nature’s creation . . . Trees, plants, animals and water, all in balance of life; one needs the other to survive.”

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Ag Dept. makes policy recommendations to Kitzhaber

January 29, 2013 --

Biennial report to the governor & legislature provides priority policy recommendations
By Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

The State Board of Agriculture has completed one of its primary biennial tasks and is ready to share the results with Oregon’s governor and legislature. The 2013 Oregon State of the Agriculture Industry Report is now published, complete with a snapshot of Oregon agriculture’s competitiveness, challenges, and opportunities. The 55-page document– also available online– provides lawmakers with priority policy recommendations as determined by the 10-member board.

“The reason we put this report together is to primarily educate our legislators on what is important to agriculture,” says Board of Agriculture Chair Doug Krahmer, a blueberry farmer from St. Paul. “In some cases, the report reviews good things that have been done and in other cases, we are bringing up some things that potentially might not be so good.”

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Oregon bills that impact farmers

January 28, 2013 --

By Oregonians for Food and Shelter

Several bills that are important of OFS members were introduced while the legislature was in town last week.  They are giving us a flavor of what challenges we will be facing this year. Below is a list of issues that we know we will see in 2013 with strong indications that many more will be coming our way.

  • Amendments to the Oregon Integrated Pest Management (IPM) statute
  • Bans on genetically engineered crops or products
  • Labeling requirement for products that contain genetically engineered ingredients
  • Authority for ODA to create control areas for marketing purposes
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Corn syrup not to blame for nation’s obesity

January 27, 2013 --

By Cindy
National Corn Growers Association

In 2012, Americans consumed less high fructose corn syrup per person than they have since 1997. Dieters, who have become increasingly conscious of calories in HFCS sweetened beverages such as soda, have dropped their HFCS consumption but not the extra weight.

Levels of obesity continue to grow despite waning HFCS consumption? How could this be when pseudoscientists such as the great Oz have prattled on endless about the evils of corn sugar?

This week, public health and nutrition expert Marion Nestle gave a simple, concise explanation. Noting that the attention paid to obesity has had a negative impact on HFCS consumption, she pointed out dieters need to reduce their overall sweetener consumption to see a real impact.

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USDA micro-farmer loans applauded

January 26, 2013 --

National-farmers-union-nfuBy National Farmers Union

 National Farmers Union applauds U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on today’s announcement of a new microloan program designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000.
“The next generation of family farmers is critical to the continuation of the long tradition of agriculture in our country,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Today’s announcement is a tremendous benefit to those looking to enter into farming.”
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2013 Farm Bill emerges in Senate

January 25, 2013 --

American Farm Bureau

“The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has introduced in the 113th Congress the same version of the farm bill that was passed by the Senate last session. We are also encouraged to hear that Sen. Reid is making the farm bill one of several privileged, top priority legislative actions this year. This represents real hope for farmers and ranchers that the Senate, like last session, will aggressively move forward on a long-term farm bill to give farmers the risk management certainty we need.

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Forest Certification: Are we paying more for less?

January 24, 2013 --

American-consumer-InstituteAmerican Consumer research Institute for Citizen Research

Earlier this year, the American Consumer Institute started studying issues surrounding “forest certification” and their impact on domestic timber and consumer markets.  These are under the radar issues for many Americans, but they are important to raise because they impact consumer perception of the sustainability and commensurate value of wood and paper products.  As new research and other information shows, paying more does not always mean getting more.

In October, ACI released a paper titled, “The Monopolization of Forest Certification: Do Disparate Standards Increase Consumer Costs and Undermine Sustainability?”  We found that consumers pay a premium (in the range of 15-20% more) for products bearing the seal of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is a certification program that is promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  It is also promoted by many environmental groups who have pushed government and businesses to adapt it as the sole standard while excluding all other credible standards.  However, paying more does not necessarily ensure a superior sustainable product.  This is because FSC’s behavior around the world and its varying standards can mislead consumers into thinking they are purchasing sustainable products, when in fact they are buying something that was harvested in Russia and Brazil, where there are lower standards.  As we wrote:

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Coming to Oregon: Super Fish or Frankenfish?

January 23, 2013 --

A company called AquaBounty is helping to bring genetically-engineered salmon to Oregon. Oregonians for Food and Shelter calls the super-fish safe and well monitored by the FDA. But the Center for Food Safety says it is more like Frankenfish. Watch the KATU-TV News story below.

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Food label petition starts in Washington

January 22, 2013 --

By NW Food Processors Association

Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) responded in opposition to I-522, an initiative that would require Washington-only labels on thousands of common food products.

Similar to Prop 37—which failed in California—Initiative 522 would require labels on any food products sold in Washington that contain genetically modified ingredients. It also includes stiff penalties for failing to comply and the threat of private “bounty-hunter” type lawsuits.

“This initiative, although well-meaning, hurts the small and medium sized food processors in our state,” said Dave Zepponi, President of the Northwest Food Processors Association. “The cost of compliance will be felt by consumers and will disproportionately impact small- to medium-sized businesses in our region, putting local jobs at risk.”

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