The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


The cheap gas ride will not last

January 30, 2015 --

By Cindy
National Corn Growers Association

Not to sound like a lunatic but it may be entirely possible, maybe even likely, the American public will be begging for a return to $3.60 gas in the near future.

I know it sounds crazy, but if you are following the public debate you can already see the discussion heating up to argue the true implications of today’s bargain basement petroleum prices. The euphoria consumers and market analysts alike were experiencing a few weeks ago is wearing off like a cheap wine hangover.

One big concern is that near term economic gains in the US related to cheaper fuel may be overstated and ultimately result in deflation and a global economic slowdown.

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Danger: Private to public land trend

January 28, 2015 --

oca-oregoncattlemenassociationBy Oregon Cattlemen Association

A new trend has started in Oregon. Conservation groups are buying up private lands and turning them over to the state to become public lands. Recently, Western Rivers Conservancy bought the Rattray Ranch in Gilliam County and announced its plans to sell a good portion of the land to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Keith Nantz, incoming chair of the Young Cattlemen’s Committee, is concerned about the high amount of private lands turnover. He said he fears the lands won’t be properly taken care of as “public agencies are already over extended and can’t take care of what they already have.” He believes that Western Rivers and others haven’t considered all the factors. “I don’t have any doubts the conservancy has good intentions, but I think there needs to be more of a team effort,” Nantz said.

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Farmers host GMO conversations

January 26, 2015 --

gmodBy Oregon Farm Bureau

FB hosted two GMO community conversations this week

These days, almost everyone has at least heard of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and knows that passions run high on the issue. But few truly understand what they are.

Because so much fear and misinformation abounds on biotechnology, Oregon Farm Bureau decided to host two community conversations for Farm Bureau voting members to learn more about GMOs and how to best communicate the facts on the issue. The guest speaker was Dr. Kevin Folta, a professor with the Horticultural Sciences Dept. & the Graduate Program in Plant Molecular & Cellular Biology at the University of Florida.

Some key takeaways from Dr. Folta’s talk:

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Is the GMO trend turning?

January 23, 2015 --

farm-bureua-usaBy American Farm Bureau Federation

Consumers are tiring of anti-GMO rhetoric: They want facts. You don’t have to put those claims under the microscope to see how shaky the anti-GMO platform is. That’s no surprise to those of us who know the benefits of GM products firsthand, of course. Now, more than ever, is a prime time for us to be sharing our stories about the environmental benefits of biotechnology and the safety of GM foods we feed to our own families without hesitation.

Research and common sense back up what farmers and ranchers have long known about GMOs, and others are taking notice. Last October, the Journal of Animal Science released the findings of a new trillion-meal study, the most comprehensive GMO study yet. Animal geneticist Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam analyzed about three decades of livestock data to compare the health of nearly 1 billion animals. Her goal: to see what effect feeding livestock GMOs for over a decade now has had. The answer? None. No difference in the health of the animals, and no effect on the humans who eat those animals. Although this isn’t news to agriculture, the size of the study makes it a game-changer.

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Wildfire bill has 150 Congressional sponsors

January 21, 2015 --

Kurt-schraderCongressman Kurt Schrader

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson and Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader reintroduced legislation to make common sense changes to the federal wildfire budget. H.R. 167, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which was cosponsored by nearly 150 Members of Congress and supported by a broad coalition of over 300 organizations in the 113th Congress, aims to make sure the way we budget for wildfire suppression activities makes sense by ending the destructive cycle of fire borrowing and treating catastrophic wildfires like other natural disasters.

“There are a number of steps that we need to take to address forest health and management issues, but fixing the wildfire suppression budget must be the first one,” said Simpson. “Until we address this issue, anything we do to increase needed management activities in the forests, like hazardous fuels removal, timber harvest, conservation, or trail maintenance, will continue to be lost in fire transfers. Fixing the wildfire budget is the critical first step in making our forests healthier and, ultimately, reducing the cost of wildfires in the future.”

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Coastal seabird deaths spurs investigation

January 19, 2015 --

Oregon Department of Fish and WildlifeCassins Auklet
-Photo by Bethan Jones-

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists are investigating the deaths of large numbers of seabirds along the Pacific coast in the wake of harsh winter weather the past several weeks.

Common murres and Cassin’s auklets have been showing up dead on coast beaches in greater numbers than usual. Preliminary information obtained through necropsies conducted at ODFW’s pathology lab in Corvallis indicate the birds are extremely emaciated, likely related to exhaustion and starvation caused by exposure to cold temperatures and heavy wind.

“The birds washing up on the beach seem to be starved and beaten up by the storms,” said Herman Biederbeck, ODFW biologist in Tillamook. “We have seabird die-offs in the fall and early winter every year but this year we’re seeing elevated numbers.”

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Wheat Growers Capitol Rally Feb 13

January 17, 2015 --

capitol-bestBy Oregon Wheat Grower’s League

The OWGL has a great event planned for all wheat growers who wish to attend on February 12 and 13 in Salem. Thursday, February 12, a luncheon with special speakers and lobbying briefing from 12:30 – 4:00 pm; a legislative reception in the Salem conference center at 5:30 that evening. Friday morning the group will travel to the Capitol to lobby legislative offices with key wheat industry issues. Oregon’s Birthday celebration will be held that morning at 11:00 am, with cake served to Capitol visitors.

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Farm Bureau’s 2015 Action Agenda

January 16, 2015 --

By American Farm Bureau Federation

Following the delegate session of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention, which wrapped up this week in San Diego, the organization’s board of directors set AFBF’s strategic action plan to address public policy issues for 2015.

The board-approved plan focuses the organization’s attention on: advancing legislation that addresses agriculture’s long- and short-term labor needs; protecting farmers’ abilities to use biotech plant varieties and other innovative technologies; opposing expansion of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act; and advancing legislation that reforms the Endangered Species Act.

“We will work to advance all the issue positions approved by our farmer and rancher delegates this week, but this plan represents those issue areas where we believe the American Farm Bureau Federation and its grassroots members have clear opportunities to achieve success at this time,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “These are high-stakes issues that we must advance to help safeguard our members and their abilities to operate their farms and ranches.”

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Action needed on forest rule

January 14, 2015 --

Oregonians for Food and Shelter

ODA Seeking Restrictions on Neonicotinoids

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has initiated rulemaking to ban the use of four neonicotinoid products on the tilia species of trees (linden and basswood). The four active ingredients are imidacloprid, dinotefuran, thiamethoxam and clothianidin. The ban would apply regardless of application method.

The proposed rule and supporting materials can be found HERE

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NW sheriff : Fix the forests!

January 12, 2015 --

Healthy Forest, Healthy Communities

Next year Washington State can continue to play a leading role in efforts to improve the health of our federally-owned forests while restoring economic opportunity to our rural forested communities.  Help can’t come soon enough, especially for county governments. As timber receipt revenues remain low and an extension of “Secure Rural School” payments remain unclear, some counties are faced with massive budget shortfalls that can only be addressed with draconian cuts to services.

As one example, Skamania County will be forced to cut $1.2 million by end of this year, or about 16 percent of its current budget.  This does not include the potential loss of Secure Rural Schools payments, which would require an additional $1.3 million reduction in services.  It would be the latest round of reductions to a budget that has already been cut to the bone, and would result in further layoffs in a place where the county government is one of the largest employers.  Some believe Skamania will become a northern version of Josephine County, Ore. where similar cuts have led to the decimation of public safety services and a growing sense of lawlessness.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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