The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


Elliot Forest could bring $40 Million for schools

March 31, 2014 --

Oregon Cascade Policy Institute

A new report released shows that if the Oregon State Land Board sold or leased the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest, public school funding would increase by at least $40 million annually.

Roughly 85,000 acres of the Elliott State Forest are managed for the primary purpose of raising funds for public schools. These lands are known as “Common School Trust Lands,” and the Oregon State Land Board is required by law to manage them for the trust beneficiaries: public school students. Net receipts from timber harvest activities on the Elliott are transferred to the Common School Fund (CSF), where assets are invested by the Oregon Investment Council in various financial instruments. Twice each year, public school districts receive cash payments based on the investment returns of CSF assets.

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EPA seeks authroity expansion on Water Act

March 28, 2014 --

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corp of Engineers (Corps) proposed an expansion of their federal authority over “waters of the United States.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is deeply concerned by this vast overreach by the EPA and the Administration. Under this expansion, essentially all waters in the country would be subject to regulation by the EPA and the Corps, regardless of size or continuity of flow.

“This is a step too far, even by an agency and an administration notorious for over-regulation,” said NCBA President Bob McCan, Victoria, Texas cattleman. “This proposal by EPA and the Corps would require cattlemen like me to obtain costly and burdensome permits to take care of everyday chores like moving cattle across a wet pasture or cleaning out a dugout. These permits will stifle economic growth and inhibit future prosperity without a corresponding environmental benefit. This proposed regulation and the burdensome federal permitting scheme will only hinder producers’ ability to undertake necessary tasks and, in turn, result in an exodus of ranchers from the field.”

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Cattlemen praise privacy protection bill

March 26, 2014 --

By Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) commends Oregon’s legislature in passing through HB 4093 which will grant land owners information privacy when entering into Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA) through county Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) related to greater sage-grouse protection in Oregon. There has been concern within the ranching community, that signing onto a CCAA could make submitted information public and available to fall into the wrong hands. However, the Governor’s signing of HB 4093 would protect ranchers and landowners from such.

Oregon House Representative, Cliff Bentz, brought the bill forward with the support of Rep. Whitsett, Senator Whitsett, the Governor’s Office, the OCA, the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts and Oregon chapters of the Audubon Society, and the Defenders of Wildlife. It passed the House unanimously in mid-February, and strongly in the Senate later in the month. With the House agreeing to the Senate’s amendments, it is now being prepared for the Governor’s signing.

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Seneca Sawmill gets national recognition for innovation

March 24, 2014 --

seneca-sawmillSeneca Sawmill Featured for Commitment to Innovation, Environmental Sustainability
By Oregon Tax News,

Seneca Sawmill Company is transforming the way timber companies operate. The Eugene-based company was recently featured in IBM’s national publication, IBM Systems Magazine, for its visionary leadership and use of technology to build a thriving, sustainable business.

Founded in 1954, Seneca has continued to grow through challenging economic times for the timber industry, expanding to 650 million board feet of lumber per year—that’s 35 times its production in 1954. Seneca is now one of the largest timber companies of its kind in the United States. Originally started as a one mill operation, it has grown to four mills and now employs a multi-company structure that includes Seneca Sawmill Company, Seneca Jones Timber Company, Seneca Noti and Seneca Sustainable Energy.

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Food price spike: Who to blame & not blame.

March 21, 2014 --

National Corn Growers Association

Food prices are on the rise again and you probably already noticed. Thankfully, the mainstream media thus far is covering it in a balanced way and pointing out the primary drivers behind the increase. Those include things like drought in key growing regions, and an anticipated cut in planted acres in the Ukraine due to political unrest.

But as surely as the birds outside your window are a precursor to Spring, before this is over someone will find a way to blame high corn prices and ethanol fuel by default. Prodded on by Big Oil, who is losing market share to ethanol, and abetted by folks who prosper when corn is cheap, they will once again try to make 2 + 2 = 9.

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Agency abuse against Ore. farmer goes national

March 19, 2014 --

newspapersThe “hot goods” abuse case against Oregon farmers by the Department of Justice has seen a victory in the courtroom on behalf of the farmers, and now seen more attention from national media. More recently this week an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal Editorial 3-18-14:”Labor’s Blueberry Police”

When conservatives argue that an overbearing regulatory state suppresses hiring and investment, doubtful liberals often say: Show us an example. Please meet the growers in Marion County, Oregon.

In late July 2012, officials from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division visited Pan-American Berry Growers, B&G Ditchen and E&S Farms for spot inspections. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Labor enforces federal minimum-wage and child-labor laws and often conducts surprise investigations of farms, inspects payroll records and interviews workers.

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Log shortage fuels price increase

March 17, 2014 --

By Rick Sohn, p.H.D
Umpqua Coquille LLC

Log shortages keep prices very strong, with lumber steady to rising. Otherwise, the season and bad weather have slowed building and raised unsold inventory. Mortgage rates are creeping up. Recent lumber manufacturing, home construction, and housing markets are compared to 9 years ago.


Lumber prices are rising slightly, but log prices remain very strong, even moreso this winter than usual. Compared to years such as 2005, log prices are much higher today. According to Random Lengths, mill inventories of products are low, so when the weather improves, demand could push the price of lumber and other wood products higher.

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Senator Baertschiger & Gov. Kitzhaber on saving mill

March 12, 2014 --

baertschiger-herman-senatorBy State Senator Herman Baertschiger,

State Senator Herman Baertschiger (R-Grants Pass) commended Governor John Kitzhaber (D) for his help in efforts to re-open the recently shuttered Rough and Ready Lumber Mill.

“I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Governor was helping out this iconic southern Oregon company,” said Baertschiger. “I believe that several of my conversations with the Governor about the plight of saw mills around the state are paying off, and are part of the reason for his involvement with Rough and Ready.”

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Walden co-sponsors wildfire bill

March 10, 2014 --

Walden-gregBy Oregon Congressman Greg Walden

Greg Walden supports plan to reform wildfire budget

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) announced he has co-sponsored a bill to address perennial wildfire budget issues. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (H.R. 3992) aims to end the current practice of “fire borrowing,” using funds from fire prevention accounts in order to pay for wildfire suppression when costs exceed an agency’s wildfire budget.

“Federal forest policy is broken, and so is the way we budget for major wildfires. Year after year, federal agencies are forced to take money from forest management and fire prevention programs to pay to fight wildfires. That doesn’t make sense for our forests or for the taxpayers. This broken cycle needs to end, which is why I’ve co-sponsored this common-sense bill,” Walden said.

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Farmer Identity Protection Act

March 7, 2014 --

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

United States Reps. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Jim Costa (D-Cal.) introduced legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from disclosing the private and confidential information of livestock and poultry producers to the public.

The Farmer Identity Protection Act (H.R. 4157) comes in response to the EPA’s release of livestock and poultry producers’ names and other personal information to three radical environmental groups through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in February and again in April 2013. The release divulged names, addresses, geographic coordinates and in some cases telephone numbers and email addresses of over 80,000 producers in 29 states. EPA has plans to release information on thousands more farmers and ranchers in the future.

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