The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


Washington Legislature drags on

May 31, 2013 --

farm-bureua-usaLegisletter for May 23, 2013
By Washington Farm Bureau

The May 23, 2013, edition of Washington Farm Bureau’s Legisletter is now available. Articles include the following:

— “Special” Session Drags On
— U.S. Senate Committee Advances Immigration Reform Bill
— Washington Farm Bureau Votes to Oppose Initiative 522
— Governor Signs Helpful Wolf Management Bill
— Members of Congress Launch ESA Working Group
— Workers’ Comp Reform Reminder
— Hastings Cosponsors Bill to End “Hot Goods” Practice
— Agricultural Career Education Offered for High School Students
— Save the Date for WPC Health Care & Small Business Conferences

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OR Farm Bureau sues over Fed Hot Goods powers

May 30, 2013 --


By Oregon Farm Bureau

Oregon Farm Bureau, the state’s largest family agriculture organization, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Portland on May 29, 2013 in response to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) refusal to comply with the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In the filing, Farm Bureau seeks public records about USDOL’s use of “hot goods” powers. Filing this lawsuit is Farm Bureau’s only option after USDOL failed to meet its deadline to respond to an April 23, 2013 appeal. The department had 20 business days to comply with the law and failed do so.

At issue is a February 27, 2013 FOIA request submitted by Oregon Farm Bureau to USDOL. The request sought information, in 10 detailed categories, relating to the department’s use of its “hot goods” powers in Oregon in the summer of 2012. Four of the inquiries seek information specific to USDOL’s investigation of two Oregon family blueberry farms that were subjected to “hot goods” treatment. The other six inquiries were about procedures, practices, and statistical information not related to any specific farm or matter before the department.

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Cougar bill gains traction


cougarBill Allows Opt-Out of Cougar-hunt Ban
By Oregon Sportsmen Association,

On Wednesday, May 22, the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 2624, which would allow counties to opt out of an 18-year-old ban on hunting cougars with dogs. The bill requires that voters in a county approve either an initiative petition or a referral to voters by county commissioners. Supporters cite the need for local control by rural counties which face rising cougar problems. They say the 1994 Measure 18 vote allowed the nine most populous counties to decide cougar management for all of Oregon’s 36 counties.

ODFW estimates that Oregon’s cougar population is nearing 6,000 animals (5,850), which is almost double from when Measure 18 was passed.   In Oregon, total cougar deaths  increased from 204 (1994) to 524 as of 2012.

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Status of agriculture tax & labor bills

May 29, 2013 --


By Oregon Farm Bureau

HB 2980 – Farm Labor Housing Tax Credit. This bill will extend the current tax credit program that allows on-farm and community housing projects to receive a tax credit. This bill was included in the Co-chairs’ budget and should not have any difficulty in passing. It is currently in the Joint Tax Credits Committee where we believe all of the tax credits will be put into new single bill. We do not foresee any issues with this passing.

SB 678 – LLC liability fix (Cortez case). This bill addresses a liability issue that was created due to a recent Oregon Court of Appeals decision in the Cortez case. The result of that ruling opened liability up to the members of an LLC. This is a big issue to not only Farm Bureau members but to all LLC’s. OFB was happy to see SB 678 pass out of the House Committee on Business and Labor May 22 and now heads to the Floor of the House for final consideration.

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Merkley’s water bill passess senate

May 28, 2013 --

Senate Passes Merkley Proposal to Create Jobs by Repairing Crumbling Water Infrastructure
May 15, 2013

The U.S. Senate passed Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley’s Water Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act (WIFIA) as part of the Water Resources Development Act of 2013. The program would create jobs by providing low-cost loans to communities for infrastructure projects to repair or upgrade their water systems.

“A good, living-wage job is a critical pillar of the American dream,” said Senator Merkley. “Investing in our water infrastructure is a smart way to create good jobs. This bill will help large and small communities across Oregon.”

WIFIA is modeled after the successful Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority. WIFIA would create a financing mechanism to provide access to lower-cost capital for investments in water infrastructure. The program offers a proven, modern, and effective way to help increase investment in our infrastructure while reducing cost to local governments and ratepayers.

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Farmers: Save Rural America’s TV stations

May 27, 2013 --
 National Farmers UnionNational-farmers-union-nfu
National Farmers Union (NFU) joined a group of agriculture and conservation organizations in sending letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce urging for further research relating to spectrum incentive auctions and their impact on television translator service and low power television.
In 2012, Congress authorized the FCC to conduct voluntary spectrum incentive auctions. This allows television broadcasters to sell their channels to wireless companies for a portion of the auction proceeds. Broadcasters that choose not to participate in the auction may eventually be relocated to maximize spectrum availability for wireless services.
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Cattlemen: Renew Animal Drug User Fee Act

May 25, 2013 --

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

NCBA Statement on Reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George, a Cody, Wyo. dairy and beef producer, issued the following statement on yesterday’s action by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA):“Cattlemen and women rely on new and innovative animal health products, and for that reason the reauthorization of ADUFA has been one of the NCBA’s key priorities this year. I am pleased to see the House Energy and Commerce Committee pass ADUFA reauthorization yesterday by a voice vote and look for the full House to consider reauthorization shortly.”

On May 8, 2013, the Senate passed ADUFA reauthorization by unanimous consent.

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Farm Bureau on Senate Immigration Bill

May 24, 2013 --

farm-bureua-usaBy American Farm Bureau

Statement from Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Senate Judiciary Passage of Immigration Reform Bill:  “The time is long overdue for our nation to have a comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation. The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed a balanced immigration reform bill today that included a fair and workable farm labor provision that sets the stage for Senate action beginning next month.

“The success of American agriculture depends on the workers who show up every day and work in partnership with our nation’s farm and ranch families to tend our crops and livestock. Agricultural labor reform is not about whether foreign workers will grow and harvest our food. That is a matter of fact. It is about whether those foreign workers will tend crops here in the United States, or in their home countries. We believe American food grown on American soil is the best option.

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Fears over coal-train dust unfounded

May 23, 2013 --

coalgyRoger O. McClellan
Former Chair of EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee

Washington and Oregon are in the middle of an intense debate about whether to expand facilities to ship coal to Asia. As a former resident of Washington state and one who has family that lives in the area, I have followed this issue with interest. As a scientist who spent my career in toxicology evaluating human health risks, what I am seeing in this debate concerns me. What I find most troublesome is how anecdotal evidence and opinions of a handful of people, rather than scientific evidence, are being used in an attempt to sway the public on the export terminals.

A coalition of environmental groups recently put coal companies and BNSF Railway on notice that they intend to bring a lawsuit over coal dust from uncovered railway cars. They claim the dust is causing damage to land and rivers along rail lines, and are mounting this campaign under a provision of the Clean Water Act, which gives companies 60 days to respond before the suit is filed in federal court.

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Legislature nears end. What it means for Ag

May 22, 2013 --


By Oregon Farm Bureau

Replacement Dwelling Bill Poised To Become Law

HB 2746 (Replacement Dwellings) had its first hearing in the Senate Rural Communities and Economic development Committee. The legislation would allow some homes that do not qualify currently to be replaced. These are homes that have fallen into disrepair by suffering roof damage or had internal plumbing or electricity removed. It also makes deferred replacement of a home transferable to family members. To qualify, taxes will be needed to be paid for five years on the home before an application for replacement is filed. A technical amendment is expected on the bill. Otherwise, it should move out of Committee smoothly.

Legislative Deadlines Approaching Again
Last month we saw Legislative deadlines to move bills out of their chamber of origin. This month the Legislature is approaching deadlines to move bills out of their second chamber. This means that any House bills that are being heard in a Senate committee (or vise-versa for Senate bills) need to move out of their committees by Friday, May 31. The deadline to post work sessions on committee agendas is Monday, May 20.

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