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Feds clarify Hemp farming rules

September 28, 2016 --

Kurt-schrader Congressman Kurt Schrader

After Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representatives Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici raised concerns about funding for industrial hemp pilot projects last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has taken a key step by clarifying which industrial hemp research programs are eligible for existing federal funding.

The guidance from the USDA provides a response to a bicameral letter the legislators sent last year for funding for industrial hemp research pilot projects. Specifically, it clarifies that industrial hemp would be eligible for National Institute of Food Agriculture (NIFA) funding, though research must take place in one of twenty-eight states with certified pilot industrial hemp programs. Eligible applicants are institutes of higher education and state departments of agriculture.

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Trump and Federal Lands

September 26, 2016 --

by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

Trump and Federal Lands: The newly-approved Republican national platform document expands support for transfer of some federal lands to states. Although the platform is largely a ceremonial document, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said the revised federal lands platform highlights the gridlock that hobbles federal land managing agencies across the West. Congressman Walden has met with Trump presidential campaign officials—who said “Mr. Trump was all aboard” about needed congressional action aimed at boosting harvest and grazing management on national forests and BLM lands. The Trump campaign said it preferred a more moderate position to take action to improve forest management, giving states a larger role in managing those lands, rather than outright transfer to states.

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Farmers urged to comment on sick time rules

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It’s not too late to comment on BOLI’s new sick time rules!

Since enactment of Oregon’s sick time law (SB 454) in January 2016, BOLI technical assistance has heard from thousands of employers who have struggled to understand the new law. BOLI reopened the rules in Summer 2016 to address some of these concerns, and OFB participated in rulemaking with other business groups. Unfortunately, many of OFB’s requests for clarity were unheard, and BOLI’s revised rules will significantly burden family farmers and ranchers in Oregon.

Proposed changes to Oregon Sick Time rules:

SUPPORT: Temporary location language
BOLI clarified that a business with a temporary location in Portland (i.e. a farm stand) will not be required to pay Portland Sick Time (6+ employees). This is a necessary fix that will help farmers who have temporary farm stands in Portland.
OPPOSE: Changes to employee count
SB 454 states that family members are exempt from the employee count for the purposes of qualifying for paid sick leave. However, in the proposed rules, BOLI determined that only family members working under a Sole Proprietorship are exempt from the employee count, not those of C-Corps, S-Corps or LLCs. This narrow interpretation of the law will burden small and mid-sized farm families. OFB urges BOLI to redraft this provision to lessen the regulatory burden on Oregon’s family run businesses.

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Ag talks Immigration & Security

September 23, 2016 --

farm-bureua-usaBy Robert Giblin,
American Farm Bureau Federation,

Just about everyone running for a major federal or state office is talking about immigration reform, and it will likely be a top item on 2017 political agendas. Responsible immigration reform will need to balance homeland security and food security. Otherwise, consumers may be faced with a choice of imported workers or expensive, imported food.

Immigration reform means different things to different people. Reform proposals span from building border walls, closing borders, mass roundups and deportation of illegal immigrants and selective bans on immigration and travel for certain groups, to general amnesties, quick pathways to citizenship and completely removing any restrictions on U.S. immigration.

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Tell EPA to follow the science

September 21, 2016 --

ofs-foodshelterBy Oregonians for Food and Shelter

The future of your crop protection tools is at stake. Now is the time to tell EPA to follow good science and let them know what simazine and/or atrazine mean to your crop production!

Who is really running the Environmental Protection Agency?

Recently, the EPA released a draft Ecological Risk Assessment on atrazine and simazine, popular herbicides used for weed control in growing a variety of crops in Oregon. Unfortunately, the federal agency is refusing to follow the law. Instead of using sound science in today’s review process, political activism is driving the re-registration of these important products.

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Gov. Brown addresses Farm Bureau Board

September 19, 2016 --

brnfbBy Oregon Farm Bureau,

Farm Bureau thanks Oregon Governor Kate Brown for speaking to the OFB Board of Directors on Sept. 14, 2016.

Governor Brown discussed her work with a variety of stakeholders to avoid a sage grouse listing via the national Endangered Species Act, her signing the bill this session to ratify the removal of the gray wolf from the state ESA, and her support of the TPP, which would open new markets for Oregon ag exports.

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Farmers win big privacy case

September 16, 2016 --

farm-bureua-usaAmerican Farm Bureau Federation,

A unanimous ruling from the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the Environmental Protection Agency violated the personal privacy rights of farmers and ranchers. Chad Smith has more.

Smith: Danielle Quist is the Senior Counsel for Public Policy with the American Farm Bureau Federation, and she said it’s a big win for agriculture.

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Cattlemen fund fight monument mandate

September 14, 2016 --

cttlmnchckBy Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has invested $5,000.00 in a campaign led by Malheur County families to oppose a national monument designation that would restrict access to public lands, hurting Oregon’s economy by curtailing ranching in the state’s No. 1 cattle producing region.

It seemed only fitting that during a class on locally born and bred cattle at the Malheur County Fair, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association presented to the Owyhee Basin Stewardship Coalition $5,000.00 from the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s Oregon Public Lands Council in front of over a hundred spectators.

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Japanese beetle outbreak in Washington Co.

September 12, 2016 --

Japanese_beetleBy Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

A record number of invasive Japanese beetles have been detected in Washington County within the city of Portland this summer. To date, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has found 265 Japanese beetles in traps placed in the area as well as numerous live beetles causing feeding damage on roses and other plants. The evidence suggests a breeding population of the non-native insect has been established.

“What we know right now is that this infestation is localized yet producing enough adult beetles that we can find them feeding on roses and other plants in this area,” says Clint Burfitt, manager of ODA’s Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program. “Without community action, this pest will spread and cause an increased use of pesticides by homeowners and producers of agricultural crops such as cannabis, hops, nursery plants, and wine grapes.”

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Shaping the 2018 FarmBill

September 9, 2016 --

farm-bureua-usaBy Zippy Duvall, President,
American Farm Bureau Federation

It has been said that if it takes five weeks to build a barn, a wise carpenter should spend the first three drawing up plans, gathering material and preparing the site. In Farm Bureau’s mission to advance sound public policy that helps America’s farm and ranch families earn a living from the land, we know essential spadework must be tackled before any nail can be driven and any rafter hoisted into place.

In the vast barnyard of national issues that affects agriculture in one way or another, one structure rises above all others in offering shelter from the storm – the farm bill. As the 2018 farm bill approaches, we have already begun preparations. This barn raising is one of the biggest events coming up on the ag calendar, and it’s important that we do everything in our power to make sure Congress gets it right – with squared-up corners and leveled-up beams.

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