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Spending Bill: Defunds EPA rule, Ag exemptions, more

May 27, 2016 --

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Statement by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Tracy Brunner on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies mark-up of the fiscal 2017 spending bill:

“The spending bill marked up by the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee contained a number of priorities for cattlemen and women. Specifically this legislation would defund EPA’s ‘waters of the United States’ final rule. Cattle producers continue to voice their opposition to the flawed WOTUS rule and defunding by Congress would prevent our members and taxpayers from expending future resources on continued litigation. The bill also clarifies the agricultural exemptions in the section 404 permitting process and continues defunding of new regulations under the Clean Air Act and Greenhouse Gas reporting for manure management systems.”

Read the full article and discuss it »

Farmers take on Fred Meyer for misleading GMO ads

May 25, 2016 --

ad

By Oregon Farm Bureau,

When some Oregon farmers discovered an ad by Fred Meyer for “GMO-free” herbs, tomato, and cucumber starts last month, they were not impressed.

Why? Because of the nine GMO crops that are commercially available, these are not among them. Even if they were, a grocery store wouldn’t be able to sell GMO seeds or plant starts because growing a genetically engineered crop requires a signed contract from a seed supplier.

“There are no such things as GMO herbs, and there are no such things as GMO tomato plants, lettuce, onions, eggplant, or peppers,” wrote Marion County Farm Bureau’s Brenda Frketich on her blog nuttygrass.com. “So what the heck, Fred Meyer? What’s with the misinformation? Are you trying to confuse consumers more? As a consumer, do you feel duped?”

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Judge Overturns Josephine County GMO Ban

May 23, 2016 --

ofs-foodshelterBy Oregonians for Food and Shelter

Josephine County Circuit Court Judge Pat Wolke granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment yesterday, overturning the county ballot measure that banned farmers from growing genetically engineered crops in the county.

Judge Wolke made clear that the crop ban is expressly preempted by state law.

“In this case, the conflict could not be more clear that the County’s GMO ordinance, and ORS 633.738 are incompatible. The state law says that the localities may not legislate in this area; and the voters of Josephine County have attempted to legislate in the exact same area. It is impossible to read the two enactments in harmony; so that the local ordinance must give way.”

The entire opinion can be found HERE.

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Congressional Testimony: EPA harms farmers

May 20, 2016 --

By American Farm Bureau Federation

Three Farm Bureau members today called on the federal government to use more carrots and fewer sticks with farmers who care for land that has often been in their families for generations. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Richard Ebert, former Ohio Farm Bureau President Terry McClure and Florida Farm Bureau member Kate English testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.

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Ag awards wolf grants to stem 36% rise

May 18, 2016 --

wolf-or10The Oregon Department of Agriculture

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has approved $129,664 in funding distributed to 13 counties as part of the Oregon Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance County Block Grant Program. Funds for 2016 have been distributed for actual livestock losses or injuries caused by wolves, for missing livestock above the normal historical levels in areas of known wolf activity, for proactive efforts to prevent wolf and livestock interactions, and for county wolf program implementation.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon’s 2015 wolf population increased 36 percent from the previous year to 110 wolves.

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Reasons for optimism in timber, logs

May 16, 2016 --

By Rick Sohn, PhD
Umqua Coquille LLC

Timber Industry Report April 27, 2016

While lumber production is slow and prices are low, there are favorable trends in mortgage rates and steady increase in home value nationally. Pockets of demand for homes and apartments in cities has created serious localized shortages and price increases. Recent trends of lumber, home construction, and housing markets, are compared to 2009 and 2005.

chart-sohn-may16

Interpretation and Looking Ahead.

Log prices and especially stud prices are ho-hum, compared to the last 2 years. Housing starts also took about a 9% dip this month. This kind of fluctuation is common and it is reasonable to assume construction (housing starts and building permits) will be higher next month.

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Farmer’s Right to (data) Privacy

May 13, 2016 --

 farm-bureua-usaBy American Farm Bureau Federation

Farmers and ranchers want to control the information their equipment collects every time it passes through a field, a survey released today by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows. Farmers also believe that creating a cooperative-style central repository for their data is the best way to enhance its security and maximize its value.

“We asked our members what they thought about data, and it is clear that boosting farmer confidence in security and data management will be critical to unlocking the potential this technology holds,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “This survey also shows that we are on the right track with various ag group initiatives designed to improve data integration and promote transparency about how the data is collected and used.”

Read the full article and discuss it »

BOLI over-reaches on minimum wage rule

May 11, 2016 --

Oregon-Farm-Bureau

By Oregon Farm Bureau,

The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recently released draft rules to implement the new minimum wage law passed in Feb. 2016. We need your help to make sure the voice of small businesses and farmers is represented during the public comment period!

BOLI’s draft rules are a significant overreach! Even though legislators confirmed that an employers’ location is based on where the employee reports to work, the draft rules ignore legislative intent. Instead, BOLI proposes a complicated regulatory system–requiring employers to track the amount of time EACH employee spends in higher wage tiers and pay different wages across wage tiers. The draft rules:

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Ag Dept. unveils Hemp rules

May 9, 2016 --

hemp-crop-marijuanna-potBy the Oregon Department of Agriculture

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has adopted temporary administrative rules to implement legislative changes to the state’s industrial hemp program. The rules, which take effect immediately, modify production and handling requirements for registered growers and handlers of industrial hemp.

Several modifications are now in place:

· There is no longer a minimum acreage requirement.

· Growing in greenhouses or other indoor areas is permitted.

· Planting in pots or other containers is permitted.

· Any method of propagation is allowed including planting seeds, starts, or the use of clones or cuttings.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Labor Visa backlogs put 2016 crops at risk

May 6, 2016 --

farm-bureua-usaBy American Farm Bureau Federation

Agency delays in processing visas for workers who tend and harvest America’s food crops are fast approaching crisis proportions, all but guaranteeing that crops will rot in the field on many farms this year, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said today.

Communications with state Farm Bureaus across the nation have revealed worker shortages in more than 20 states.

“Many farmer members have called us and state Farm Bureaus asking for help,” Duvall said. “They face serious hurdles in getting visas for workers in time to tend and harvest this year’s crops. Paperwork delays have created a backlog of 30 days or more in processing H-2A applications at both the Department of Labor and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.”

Read the full article and discuss it »
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