The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


Ore. Bee crisis: 20% hives fail

July 30, 2014 --

OSU bee expert Ramesh Sagili
By Oregon State University Extension  Office
(Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

More than one in five commercial honeybee hives in Oregon did not survive last winter, continuing a financially challenging trend for professional beekeepers.

Between Oct. 1 and March 31, Oregon beekeepers reported a 21.1 percent loss in colonies of the crucial crop pollinators, according to a survey by Oregon State University. The latest figures are a slight improvement over the state’s average annual loss of 22 percent over the past six years.

Nationally, commercial beekeepers reported a 23.2 percent decline last winter, according to a survey by the Bee Informed Partnership, a countrywide collaboration among research labs focusing on honeybee declines. An average of about 30 percent of colonies nationwide has died each winter over the past decade.

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Wyden O&C forest bill to move in Senate

July 29, 2014 --

Natural Resource News Note:capitol-congress

The Oregonian is reporting that Ron Wyden’s much anticipated timber O&C reform bill is expected to be taken up in the Senate in next week. The timing is tight as Congress closes during August for recess and returning to the district. More from the Oregonian

Wyden is working with Landrieu and other senators on a plan for continuing the aid, which is also a contentious issue. Nick Smith, who works with a pro-timber group called Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities, said his group wants to ensure higher harvest levels that will help revive local communities — not just continued federal aid to county governments.

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Farmers alert over DOL investigators in Ore.

July 25, 2014 --

By Daily Digger
Oregon Association of Nurseries

According to an alert sent by the Farm Employer Education & Legal Defense Service (FEELDS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is actively investigating farms in the Willamette Valley this week. Their focus thus far has been on blueberry farms, but that could change.

Concurrently, DOL has requested an appeal to a federal judge’s ruling that the agency has abused its “hot goods” provision of labor law by threatening to block product from getting to market of Oregon blueberry growers. At issue is the agency’s claim that some growers employ “ghost workers” who work off the books and are paid less than the minimum wage.

“It is a significant matter of concern when a federal agency inspects a farm operation with the presumption of guilt in mind,” said OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone. “We will follow this matter closely, work with our agricultural partners to evaluate the situation and make our views known to the administration and congressional members.”

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Farmers back STELA Bill for TV access


By National Farmers Union

NFU Backs Senate’s ‘Clean Reauthorization’ of STELA Bill

Doug Sombke, president of South Dakota Farmers Union, visited Capitol Hill last week to urge lawmakers to act on pending legislation that will ensure rural Americans maintain access to their local broadcast television stations.

“Broadcast television is a key tool for rural Americans to obtain local news, weather and market data and emergency broadcast alerts,” said Sombke, who also chairs the National Farmers Union Legislative Committee. “Discriminating against some customers just because they live in smaller markets is wrong.”

Specifically, Sombke met with Sen. John Thune, S.D.-R, and asked him to support the Senate Judiciary Committee version of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which was recently introduced by Chairman Patrick Leahy, Vt.-D, and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, Iowa-R.

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Map: 19 wildfires engulf NW

July 23, 2014 --

Map: NW engulfed in 20 wildfires,

The Pacific NW is engulfed in 19 wildfires that has already effected 910,000 acres. See map below.


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Wildfire is WA worst. Makes national news

July 21, 2014 --

The wildifre breaking out in the State of Washington is the worst on record and has been making national news.  Watch video below.

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Wyden’s makes 2 forest reform efforts


by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

Sen. Wyden Seeks Tribal Forests: Oregon US Senator Wyden (D-OR) introduced two bills that would establish tribal ownership of two forests. The ‘Canyon Mountain Land Conveyance Act (S.1415)’ would deed 17,826 acres of BLM forestland for the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe. The ‘Oregon Coastal Conveyance Act (S.1414)’ would deed 14,804 acres of BLM forestland for the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw. The bills would reclassify public domain and O&C land to re-balance acreages.

Senators Call for Forest Management Reform: A bipartisan group of 17 Senators wrote to Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chair Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Murkowski (R-AK), in December calling for reform of federal forest management laws. The letter cites the “need to reform the management of the National Forest System” saying “the status quo on our federal forests is unacceptable.” After lauding the short-term extension of county payments, the letter says “We look forward to legislation to restore the health of all of federal forests and strengthening communities.”


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National Action Day on Immigration Reform

July 18, 2014 --

By American Farm Bureau Federation

During a Day of Action with events in Washington, D.C., and in more than 60 congressional districts across 25 states, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for a New American Economy, Business Roundtable and other groups are urging Congress and the administration to work together to enact immigration reform.

At a press conference in the nation’s capital, farm leaders and top business association CEOs discussed the critical need for immigration reform to drive job creation and economic growth in the United States, while representatives from state and local employer associations, state Farm Bureaus, local businesses and other industry leaders made a similar case at local events in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and more than 10 other states. The coordinated events cutting across various industries, sectors and communities show how wide and deep the need for immigration reform runs.

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Commissioner sets record straight on forests

July 16, 2014 --

Pope-craigby Craig Pope,
Polk County Commissioner

Michael Cairn’s recent criticism of rural county governments in his Statesman Journal op-ed deserves a response. Mr. Cairns lives in Polk County, where I serve as a County Commissioner charged with balancing the budget in the face of declining revenues. As one of 18 O&C timber counties, it’s our responsibility and challenge to fund basic services despite declining support from the federal government.

Mr. Cairns’ opinion exemplifies the “hands-off” approach to forest management and the tactics of environmental litigation and obstruction that helped create the mess we are now trying to fix. Though I can agree that there have been poor management practices in the past by public and private land managers, I continue to maintain that significant progress has been made toward sustainable timber harvests that are in balance with conservation values. Citing spotted owls as a “canary in the coal mine” is short sighted and simply not true considering current landscape management practices in Oregon. Even with the steep decline in federal timber harvests, spotted owl populations have declined due to predation by barred owls which the federal government is now spending millions to eradicate.

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Lawsuit Threat Faces Land Purchasers:

July 14, 2014 --

by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

Lawsuit Threat Faces Land Purchasers: Environmental groups filed a notice of intent to sue two private landowners—claiming timber harvest of marbled murrelet seabird habitat would violate the federal Endangered Species Act. The 1,453 acres, formerly part of the Elliott State Forest, were purchased in May from the Oregon Dept. of State Lands by Seneca Jones Timber Co. and Scott Timber, for a combined $4.2 million. The State Land Board will sell two additional Elliott land tracts this fall—totaling 2,728 acres sold this year to support Common School Fund K-12 education.

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