Bill to limit canola farm advances

A decision on legislation to limit canola production in the Willamette Valley to 500 acres a year lies with the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

After the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources voted 3-2 in favor of Senate Bill 885 April 4, it was referred to Ways and Means with a “do pass” recommendation to find money in the budget to fund its implementation.

Rep. Sprenger: Plan to revive steelhead

Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R. HD 17, currently serves on eight, count them, eight committees this during the 2019 Oregon Legislative Session – almost as many committees as years she’s been an elected legislator.

Her strong work ethic serves her well as she is a chief sponsor of HB 3016 that will appropriate dollars to Department of Fish and Wildlife for restoration of steelhead fish hatcheries on the Santiam River. “Wild fish and hatchery fish can co-exist just fine,” said Sprenger. “Sports fishing and for that matter hunting is an economic driver in rural communities like mine.”

5 bills that would drive up farm labor costs

There are several bills in the Oregon Legislature that would drive up already high labor costs for Oregon family farms and every small business along Oregon’s agricultural food chain.

HB 3031 paid family leave tax bill: This bill would create a new 1% tax on businesses to pay for a new statewide family leave program. A 1% tax on payroll would be taken from both the employer and employee, leaving less wages for the worker.

Oregon has enough marijuana to last 6 years

By Oregon Family Farm Association,

Oregon cannabis growers have enough marijuana to meet the demands of users for more than six years, and the oversupply has prompted Gov. Kate Brown to propose curbing the number of pot-growing licenses issued.

In a report to the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission said the cannabis industry produces twice as much as the state consumes, according to a Portland Business Journal article. It said recreational retailers account for 55 percent of adult demand while the rest are supplied by homegrown, medical or illegal marijuana.

Oregon rancher: Air dancers to ward wolves

Like farmers use scarecrows to protect seeds and crops from birds, a Jackson County rancher is employing an inflatable dancing tube man to keep gray wolves from killing his livestock.

Ted Birdseye set up a lime-green inflatable dancer, such as those seen in used-car lots, in his pasture after Oregon-7’s Rogue Pack killed a calf in the field. They had previously slain five cows and a dog, according to The Mail Tribune. Early results proved promising, although Birdseye didn’t know how well it would deter the wolves in the long term.

Walden’s bi-partisan wildfire bill now law

US Representative Greg Walden,

President Trump signed into law legislation introduced by Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) to protect a central Oregon community from wildfire. Walden’s Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act (H.R. 524) will allow for needed management of the fire fuels that surround Crooked River Ranch in Jefferson and Deschutes counties, which will reduce the risk of wildfire for the approximately 5,500 residents living at the Ranch. Walden released the following statement:

Trump restores Hammond’s grazing rights

Photo: Dwight Hammond after his Presidential pardon.
By Oregon Family Farm Association,

A Burns, Ore., rancher convicted of unlawful field-burning that burned federal land was pardoned by President Trump in July and now has received a 10-year renewal of their grazing permit.

In one of his last moves before stepping down from office, former Interior Secretary Ryan K. Zinke ordered renewal of the grazing permit for Hammond Ranches Inc. through 2024. That’s a decade after the federal Bureau of Land Management refused to renew the permit because of their past criminal convictions.

Capitol Watch: Farm ditch bill HB 2437

Capitol watch by Oregon Family Farm Association,

There is a bill in the Legislature that has gotten people’s attention. HB 2437 would allow farmers to clean out 3000 cubit yards of dirt per mile of drainage in wetland areas. This would be up from 50 cubit yards of dirt. The Capital Press reports several environmentalist spoke against the bill saying it would interfere with fish habitat while Ag groups spoke in favor.

Here is the House Bill summary:

Ore. Congressman: Regulate marijuana like beer

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat who founded the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has proposed regulating marijuana like alcohol.

HB 420, a bill introduced in Congress recently, would take marijuana off the list of federally controlled substances. Since the 1970s, the number 420 has been used in cannabis culture to refer to smoking marijuana around 4:20 p.m. and on April 20 (aka 4/20).
Blumenauer discussed the proposed legislation in a press release posted on his House website.