The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


Timber trends: From dismal to different

November 30, 2015 --

By Rick Sohn, PhD
Umqua Coquille LLC

Last month’s uncertainty for producers continues, but for homeowners and homebuilders, it could be a nice opportunity. Homebuilding is up, interest rates are down, and products are cheap. The weather is uncertain. Recent trends of lumber, home construction, and housing markets, are compared to 2006.


Interpretation and Looking Ahead.
Last month was a dismal report. This month will be different, in part.

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Sen. Whitsett: Wolf delisting also ends political abuse

November 25, 2015 --

whitsett-doug-senatorby Sen. Doug Whitsett

Some of the first governance meetings held in Oregon were convened in 1843, due to concerns over wolves killing livestock. It required more than 100 years of concerted effort before the last Oregon wolf was presented for bounty in 1946. Due entirely to their ill-advised reintroduction, the same issue is being actively debated today, more than 170 years after the first control efforts began.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4-2 to delist the Canadian Gray Wolf from the state’s endangered species list. The Commission’s decision came following an entire day of testimony from more than 100 people who signed up to sound off on the matter.

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OSU’s $2.7M effort against potato disease threat

November 23, 2015 --

Potato psyllid infestationBy Oregon State University Extension

Photo: This potato plant is severely infested with potato psyllids, carriers of zebra chip disease. Photo by Silvia Rondon

Researchers at Oregon State University are teaming with colleagues in Washington and Idaho to help farmers combat an insect-transmitted disease that could devastate the Pacific Northwest’s $9 billion potato crop.

Silvia Rondon, an OSU Extension entomologist, and Oregon State colleagues Stuart Reitz and Molly Engle, are collaborating with Northwest university and industry partners on a five-year, $2.7 million study of zebra chip disease, which discolors the flesh of potatoes and makes them unmarketable.

The disease is caused by a bacterium carried by a tiny flying insect called the potato psyllid. It has caused serious problems in the southwestern United States, severely damaging the potato crop and causing millions of dollars in losses, according to Washington State University entomologist Bill Snyder, the study’s co-leader.

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GMOs save HI Farms & Forests from Extinction

November 20, 2015 --

 By American Farm Bureau Federationfarm-bureua-usa

By Joni Kamiya

More evidence is cropping up all the time to support the environmentally friendly nature of biotech seeds and crops. As we’ve learned in Hawaii, GM papayas are a great example of how biotechnology keeps forests intact and decreases the amount of pesticides needed to grow marketable fruits. I call this “GMOrganic” because it’s earth-friendly, farmer-friendly and good for the consumer.

Our three-generation farm has been growing papayas since the 1960s and continues to grow these delicious, highly sought after Hawaiian staple. The papaya is a fruit that many locals buy religiously, every week for years. But for a long time, this local favorite was under constant threat.

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What Wolf Delisting means for Oregon Ranchers

November 18, 2015 --

By Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

ODFW Salem Wolf Delisiting Meeting 1-9

Monday evening the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, in a 4-2 vote, decided to remove wolves from the state endangered species list. The question many are now posing is as follows: What in the world does a delisting mean?

Todd Nash, a rancher from Enterprise Oregon and wolf committee chair of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association helped illuminate what kind of impact this verdict will have. “A delisting unfortunately does not change the Oregon Wolf Plan. We are still bound by the same rules that we were before.” Nash said what will change, now that the state listing has been removed, is the ability to produce litigation against the Oregon Wolf Plan.

Jerome Rosa, executive director for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, was pleased that the commission decided to delist. “This will give our producers another set of tools when moving into phase two of the plan,” Rosa said.

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Reaching youth on Ag

November 16, 2015 --

Urban Ag Fest Clear

By Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

In Oregon, many fear there is becoming a major problem when it comes to youth and agriculture. The problem? Many youth don’t understand what agriculture is or where their food comes from. The challenge? Finding a way to bring agriculture back to the classroom. One solution? Urban Ag Fest.

Several groups representing various agricultural commodities joined together to create an educational, agriculture fair of sorts for children third grade through middle school. One of these groups was the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.

Brenda Knobloch is the director of the Learning Gardens program from Salem-Keizer Education Foundation and was a key player in putting together this year’s Urban Ag Fest. “It’s a way to teach students about Oregon agriculture and it connects to their science standards,” she said. Knobloch was excited to have the cattlemen present at the event. “Cattle are the number one agricultural commodity and we want them (students) to know about all aspects of Oregon agriculture.”

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Avg. farmer age up 10%. Who’ll replace them?

November 13, 2015 --

Picture1By Corn Commentary
National Corn Growers Association

“They keep farming even when their eyesight is failing and their hearts are going bad.” So starts a great story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune  regarding escalating farm accidents among older farmers. “They get back on their tractors after farm accidents have put them in the hospital, sometimes with permanently disabling injuries.”

And it is very true that unlike most of us farmers might slow down but they rarely stop working at 65. As the article points out many die on the job, “because they gamble with their aging bodies once too often.” This is an accurate and tragic story, and likely not one that is going to go away.

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The future of pot in Oregon

November 11, 2015 --

whitsett-doug-senatorState Senator Doug Whitsett,

Political coincidences are uncommon. Political accidents are even more exceptional. The seemingly piecemeal progression toward the legalization of marijuana in Oregon and other states has been well-planned and orchestrated, and could not be described as either an accident or a coincidence. It has also, unfortunately, lead to unintended consequences for residents of the states who have opted to be first in line to be a testing ground for these new policies.

The efforts to legalize marijuana in Oregon have generally corresponded with the timeline for doing the same in Colorado. For the most part, the same organizations have implemented similar methodology to successfully advance legalization of pot in both states, as well as Washington.

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Western farmers brace for El Nino storms

November 9, 2015 --

California Farm Bureau

By Christine Souza

Heavy downpours, potentially catastrophic flooding, mudslides, debris flows: Forecasters have begun issuing predictions about the possible impact in California from storms generated by the El Niño condition brewing in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Farmers around the state who have endured four years of drought say they’re now preparing for how an El Niño winter might affect their land.

Almond grower Dan Cummings of Chico said he’s begun planning for potentially strong storms.

“We’ve been having meetings about all of the preparations we’re going to do to be ready: working on drains, some mechanical topping of trees and certainly applying zinc sulfate to get the leaves off of the tree early,” he said.

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Farming plagued by risk and loss

November 6, 2015 --

By Oregon Farm Bureau

Noma, one of the world’s best restaurants known for its new Nordic cuisine, will close at the end of next year and reopen on a different site in Copenhagen as an urban farm. Chef René Redzepi says he wants to grow all the produce on his menu. He’s nervous about the decision, and who wouldn’t be? Running a first-class restaurant is risky enough; running a farm is even riskier. One would think that with all the advancements in agriculture over the last half century surely the risky business of farming has become more predictable and stable. Farming is less intuitive and more data-driven, but that hasn’t eliminated the uncertainty of it. Risk is the probability of an unwanted event occurring, and every year farmers and ranchers brace themselves for these unwanted events. In 2015, the spring outbreak of avian influenza and the western drought were at top of the list.

Nationwide more than 50 million birds were lost, affecting the production of eggs, chickens and turkeys at a cost of over a billion dollars. Consumers noticed a price ripple at the supermarket, but hard-hit producers may need a couple of years to recover.

The drought will result in losses of nearly $2 billion to California agriculture this year alone. Nearly a half million acres of cropland were left fallow in the Central Valley. Mountain snowpack was historically low, forcing cutbacks in irrigation.

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