The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


Farm Bureau Urges New Ag Labor Guestworker Program

February 28, 2013 --

Farm Bureau Urges New Ag Labor Guestworker Program
By American Farm Bureau Federation

A new, modern guestworker program for agricultural workers is needed so that U.S. farmers and ranchers can continue growing food, tending livestock and contributing to the nation’s economy, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman told Congress today.

“We want to keep these jobs in America for U.S. workers, not outsource them,” Stallman testified to the House’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. Farm Bureau urged lawmakers to implement a new, market-based labor program administered by the Agriculture Department.

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Bill cuts DEQ fees

February 27, 2013 --

thompsen-chuckSB 212  would cut DEQ fees and bureaucracy
By State Senator Chuck Thomson

Salem, OR – Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) has introduced legislation to exempt new and fuel efficient cars from Department of Environmental Quality smog checks. The bill is part of a larger effort to draw attention to out-dated fees and government services that no longer serve a purpose.

“This is a common sense idea that could save drivers from unnecessary fees and cut down on state bureaucracy,” said Thomsen. “New cars, hybrids and electric cars are manufactured to be well within emissions standards. Testing them is a waste of the driver’s time and money and taxpayer resources.” Senate Bill 212 directs DEQ to change vehicle inspection rules so that fuel efficient cars are no longer required to submit to inspections. Currently any vehicle newer than 1975 and in the Portland or Medford metro area must pay a fee and take an emissions test. The fee is $19 in Portland and $10 in Medford.

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Oregon’s big coal opportunity

February 26, 2013 --

Fred Thompson
Oregon Economics Blog>

Coal-fired power plants are a major source of greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter. Compared to burning coal, burning natural gas is cleaner and, in the US, cheaper.
Increased reliance on natural gas in the US has led to substantial reductions in domestic coal prices, making US coal more attractive to European importers and potentially more attractive to East Asian importers as well. Nevertheless, despite steep cuts in US coal prices, once transportation costs are taken into account, the price of US coal, especially cleaner coal from the Great Basin, is often higher than the price of locally mined coal in Europe and East Asia. Evidently the reason that US coal is preferred in Europe and East Asia to local coal is that it is cleaner. Compared to the lignite mined in Europe and China, burning western coal from the US generates 50 percent less CO2, Carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides per unit of energy, 30-60 percent less sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, and one-tenth the oxides of mercury. Burning imported cleaner coal in European coal-fired power plants has, therefore, likely reduced global greenhouse emissions, plus most other kinds of air pollution, although it may have slowed the transition to alternative, cleaner energy sources. Burning cleaner imported coal in Chinese power plants should have an even greater effect, both because the Chinese burn more dirty coal than the Europeans and because they do not now anticipate an early transition away from coal.
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Big barriers for new farmers

February 25, 2013 --

“Beginning farmers are a key to twenty-first-century agriculture," says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Posted by Tanya Brown, Writer and Editor, Farm Service Agency, USDA

“Beginning farmers are a key to twenty-first-century agriculture,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Clay Blackburn is a 25-year-old Missouri farmer who works several part-time jobs to keep his cow/calf operation growing. He currently leases 200 acres of land until he can build enough capital to buy.

“It’s tough for a young person to get started in farming,” said Blackburn. “Finding land is the most difficult thing, but I’m determined to eventually make this my full-time job.”

Blackburn’s experience mirrors that of many beginning farmers trying to get a foot in the door to owning and operating their own farm. Yet, data from the USDA’s Census of Agriculture and Agricultural Resource Management Surveys (ARMS) on beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States shows a steady decline over the past 20 years.

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Ranchers alarmed over detials EPA shared with Activist Groups

February 23, 2013 --

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Early this week the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) was notified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the agency had been collecting information from states on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This information was requested by extremist groups, including Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and granted to them.

“When we reviewed the information submitted by the states and released by EPA, we were alarmed at the detail of the information provided on hard-working family farmers and ranchers, family operations including my own,” said NCBA Past President J.D. Alexander, a cattle feeder from Pilger, Neb. “It is beyond comprehension to me that with threats to my family from harassment atop bio-security concerns, that EPA would gather this information only to release it to these groups. This information details my family’s home address and geographic coordinates; the only thing it doesn’t do is chauffeur these extremists to my house. For some operations, even telephone numbers and deceased relatives are listed.”

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Drought News: 2013 to be drier than 2012

February 22, 2013 --


By Cindy
National Corn Growers Association

The good news is that the overall drought area in the U.S. is continuing to decline from week to week. The bad news is that 2013 may be even drier than 2012 was.

The latest U.S. drought monitor shows less than 56% of the country in drought now, the lowest point since last July. “It’s also a decline of 5.36% since the beginning of the year and we’re down almost 10% from the peak in 2012,” said USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey. “It is noticeable change but the problem is we’ve really been struggling to chip away at the drought right at the core.”

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Massive farm cuts loom

February 21, 2013 --

farm-bureua-usaBy American Farm Bureau

Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Farm Program Cuts to Avert Sequestration

“While initially we are encouraged that a new $110 billion fiscal policy proposal from Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would help put our nation on the long road toward greater fiscal responsibility, the details on how he proposes to do so raise strong concerns. It appears the lion’s share of budget reductions will come from cuts to agricultural programs that will create much harm in farm country. More than $27.5 billion in net spending reductions are earmarked for farm programs – with all the cuts coming from the elimination of direct payments with no provision to allow use of some of the savings for reinvestment in new safety-net or risk-management concepts. The magnitude of these proposed cuts will hamstring the House and Senate Agriculture committees from crafting a farm bill that includes the safety-net and risk-management provisions that our farmers need. We also believe it is very unfair that only the Defense and Agriculture programs are tapped to reduce spending in this bill.

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Legislative Ag update: Includes tax & fees.

February 20, 2013 --

Oregon-Farm-BureauOregon Farm Bureau Priority Bills
By Oregon Farm Bureau

Farm and Forests 101

This week, Oregon Farm Bureau along with other natural resources organizations hosted Farm and Forests 101 for legislators. The intent of the program was to give legislators an overview of the farm and forest sectors and our contribution to Oregon’s economy and environment. Presenters included Katy Coba (ODA Director), Doug Deckart (State Forester), Ed Ray (President of OSU), Doug Krahmer (Board of Ag Chair), Bill Hoyt (past President of OCA) and Gary Springer (Board of Forestry member). Numerous legislators were in attendance including Speaker Kotek.

Revenue Forecast Released

The revenue forecast was released today. As you can imagine, the revenue picture continues to be a topic of concern. As stated in the forecast, “The forecast projects state revenues will increase in the current biennium by $162.3 million and decline in the 2013-15 biennium by $74 million. The net result is an additional $87.1 million available for the 2013-15 biennial budget.”

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Senator Bill Hansell: Ag agenda

February 19, 2013 --


By Oregonians for Food and Shelter

Meet Senator Bill Hansell

Senator Hansell was elected last fall after the incumbent Senator, Dave Nelson, decided to retire.

Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena), who is beginning his first session in the Oregon legislature, announced this week he will focus on the creation of family wage jobs and developing our natural resources.

“One of the reasons I came to the state legislature is because I believe families need more opportunity in Eastern Oregon,” said Hansell. “My goal is to pass legislation that will support new and growing economies in our part of the state. My dream is a supply of lasting, stable family-wage jobs that can be a foundation for the future.”

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Ag Dept. makes changes on canola farming

February 18, 2013 --

dept-of-ag-logoODA adopts Willamette Valley canola control area rules
By Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has adopted an administrative rule that allows for some canola production in the Willamette Valley while continuing to protect specialty seed crop production. Under the rule, a majority of specialty seed production remains in a rapeseed exclusion zone in which canola is not allowed to be grown.

“Following the extensive amount of public comments received, we have made modifications to what was proposed in order to give greater assurance that our specialty seed growers in the Willamette Valley are not harmed by canola production,” says ODA Director Katy Coba. “At the same time, we feel it’s important to give some producers an opportunity to grow canola under the restrictions and safeguards put in place by this rule.”

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