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Congressman Schrader: Timber Innovation Act

March 29, 2017 --

Congressman Kurt Schrader Kurt-schrader

Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Oregon’s Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader, have joined Senate and House colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Timber Innovation Act, which aims to find new and innovative uses for wood as building material.

“Oregon’s rural economy depends upon innovative thinking around the challenges and opportunities facing our timber mills and manufacturing businesses,” Senator Jeff Merkley said. “Oregon has a powerful opportunity to be a leader in cross-laminated timber and mass plywood panels. This legislation supports our rural economy, while also promoting lower-carbon, more sustainable tall wood building construction in urban Oregon.”

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Oregon Farmers make DC splash

March 27, 2017 --

Oregon-Farm-BureauBy Oregon Farm Bureau,

Farm Bureau members advocate for Oregon ag in DC

Farm Bureau members from Oregon were in Washington D.C. Feb. 27-March 1 to meet with federal legislators, sharing their stories and describing how public policy impacts their farms and ranches. They also joined hundreds of Farm Bureau members from other states at an American Farm Bureau Advocacy Conference.  “Tell your story or someone else will,” said Angi Bailey of Multnomah County Farm Bureau.

Major Farm Bureau goals at the national level include tax reform, immigration reform, and regulatory reform.

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Does Ag have a voice in the Capitol?

March 24, 2017 --

DSC_2550

By Oregon Cattlemen Association

In the midst of an over 1.6 billion-dollar budget shortfall, Oregon’s Legislature is filled with tension as Legislators, agencies, non-profits, and coalitions alike pour through House Bills and Senate Bills day in and day out from February 1st through July 10th.

Does any of this really matter? Is there a purpose? What can you do to help ensure your livelihood?

Natural resources are facing a variety of bills that impact them from all sides including, but not limited to the property we live on, the vehicles we drive, the animals we raise, the crops we harvest, the products we use to grow some of the best crops in the country, and the wildlife we provide homes too.

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Alarm raised over water tax bills

March 22, 2017 --

By State Senator Dennis Linthicum,

If a Democrat House member gets his way, the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) will load stiff economic, land and water management problems right into the lap of Oregon’s farmers, ranchers, cattle and dairymen.

All water right holders will find themselves in a swamp-like slough of muddy ground composed of fees, regulatory efforts and exceedingly stiff fines – up to $500 per day.  All of these water bills (HB2705, HB2706, HB2707) enlarge government efforts through needless regulation and direct intervention in land and water use.

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Bill undermines seed preemption law

March 20, 2017 --
By Oregonians For Food and Shelter,
Last week there were two OFS priority bills up for hearings. In the morning, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on HB 2469. This bill would undermine the seed preemption law by exempting regulations on GMO crops from preemption. This would mean that local governments and citizen initiatives would be able to regulate what crops farmers are able to plant.
Farmers at the Capitol on Thursday speaking against 
HB 2469 and HB 2739
There were 17 people speaking in opposition to the bill, including farmers from across the state. There were also many emails sent to legislators asking them to protect our seed preemption law. Speaking in favor of the bill were organic farmers from Southern Oregon, and a couple of activists groups.
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BLM bill before President

March 17, 2017 --

American Farm Bureau

The Senate joined the House in approving a Farm Bureau-supported resolution (H.J. Res. 44) to stop an Obama administration rule that would weaken the influence of local and regional input on Bureau of Land Management decisions. The resolution now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Known as “Planning 2.0,” the far-reaching rule incorporated numerous Obama-era presidential and secretarial orders, along with internal agency guidance and policy documents. By reducing the opportunity for public comment, minimizing federal requirements to coordinate with state and local governments and imposing new mitigation requirements, Planning 2.0 would have caused significant problems in the federal land use planning processes.

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Oregon lawmakers rally against Monument taking

March 15, 2017 --

By American Forest Research Council,

The American Forest Resource Council (AFRC) filed a legal challenge to Presidential Proclamation 9564, an order signed by President Obama in his final days of office nearly doubling the size of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument in Southern Oregon and Northern California. AFRC President, Travis Joseph, issued the following statement:

“This lawsuit is about two things. First, it’s about following the law. We are asking a simple, but important, question: can the President of the United States unilaterally designate public lands for a specific purpose, in this case a national monument, that directly nullifies and contravenes an Act of Congress that requires these exact same lands to be managed for an entirely different purpose – supporting local governments though sustainable forest management?

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Ag bills update in Legislature 3/13

March 13, 2017 --

ofs-foodshelterBy Oregonians for Food and Shelter

While there were no OFS priority bills up for hearings this week (3/6-3/10), it was encouraging to see farmers in town testifying on a couple other important issues. The first was on Wednesday in the Senate Workforce Committee where SB 779 was up for a public hearing. That bill would fix the new “sick leave” law by clarifying that family members should not be included in the employee count for determining if a business is required to offer sick leave benefits. Several farmers testified. talking about the need for the clarification for family farms.
On Thursday, a group of dairy farmers were in town to testify on SB 197 which would impose new clean air requirements on dairies. The bill was in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, where scientists and farmers opposed this unnecessary bill.
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Farmers seek Family Leave repair

March 8, 2017 --

Oregon-Farm-BureauBy Oregon Farm Bureau,

On Wednesday, March 8, at 3:00 PM in Hearing Room A, the Senate Workforce Committee will hold a public hearing on Farm Bureau’s bill to clarify the Oregon Sick Time law. SB 779 (and HB 2936) provides a necessary fix for family businesses that are trying to comply with Oregon Sick Time. 

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Forest region hits grim milestone

March 6, 2017 --

Covering Idaho, Montana and portions of the Dakotas, Region 1 of the U.S. Forest Service has reached a grim milestone.

Over 35,000 acres of forest projects on Region 1 National Forests are stymied by litigation. The amount of timber tied up in lawsuits (355 million board feet) is now more than region’s entire timber harvest of 321 million board feet.  The situation will only get worse as activist groups sue the Forest Service to halt the Stonewall Vegetation Project in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest and pursue other lawsuits thanks to the Cottonwood decision. Here’s a breakdown from data the Forest Service provided:

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