Oregon Wheat Growers Take Cause to State & US Capitols

Below are excerpts from the Oregon Wheat Grower’s League “Oregon Wheat Magazine” 4/09.
By Jeff Newtson, President OWGL
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Busy would be the best word to describe the activities of the Oregon Wheat Growers League the past two months.  From Salem to Washington D.C. your organization has shared your views and concerns on upcoming legislation with numerous policy makers and agency officials…

In February, Kevin Porter, Tyson Raymond, Tammy Dennee, and myself traveled to Washington D.C. for NAWG meetings and lobbying efforts.  Tyson was our Wheat Organization Leadership for the Future (WOLF) attendee sponsored by Bayer CropScience.   We had the opportunity at the joint meeting with NAWG and U.S. Wheat to listen to our new Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.  He stressed we will be seeing more conservation payments in the future and even possibly tying the direct payment to conservation or climate change ideas.

He also mentioned CRP will look different and may be tied to climate change legislation.  The Secretary said this may take up to five years to develop before a new sign-up is announced.  These ideas need to be crafted soon by farmers on the ground before we are asked to partake in programs that do not meet our needs.

Secretary Vilsack had a very optimistic outlook for agriculture in the areas of trade and climate change legislation.  He will also be a strong supporter of the farmer stressing he will not support any regulations that “impede farmers” from doing their business…

In Salem we met with 83 of the 90 legislators by splitting up into teams consisting of Kevin Porter, Darren Padgett, Craig Reeder, Lisa Rietmann, Kurt Melville, Tanner Hawkins, Tyson Raymond, Bob Martin, Shannon Rust, Tammy Dennee, and myself.  As we worked our way through the Capitol, our groups worked on opposing increased weighmaster enforcement, opposing buffer zones on chemical use, and opposing a cap and trade bill implemented by the Oregon DEQ which would be distinctly different than a national program.  We also touted the importance of OSU Research Funding, water availability in aquifer storage and Columbia River access, and the Bushels for Betsy program.  The legislators were very pleased to see us in the Capitol and many said it speaks volumes to have actual farmers explaining how certain legislation will help or hurt your agricultural operation.  Thanks to all who helped and attended the activities in Salem…

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