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Light brown apple moth detected in Polk County

Officials with the Oregon Department of Agriculture have detected at least two light brown apple moths (LBAM) at a nursery and orchard in Polk County.

LBAM is a federally regulated quarantine pest detected in several California counties since 2007. It can kill seedlings and affect the appearance of ornamental plants. Several nursery, orchard and food crops are considered hosts, including alfalfa, apple, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, clover, cottonwood, currant, grape, hops, kiwi, peach, pear, poplar, potato, raspberry, strawberry, willow, and even young conifers such as pines. Read the ODA pest alert for more information.

These are the first detections of LBAM in Oregon in the last five years. In 2010, one of the moths was detected, but after further trapping, no additional moths were found and the pest was considered gone from the area.

Federal officials currently consider this a one-time detection. As such, it would not result in a quarantine. ODA officials will try to determine how LBAM made its way to Oregon this time. They will also do further trapping to track and hopefully eradicate the pest. Farmers and growers are urged not to interfere with any traps, as it impairs their pest control efforts. That in turn could cause a federal quarantine and great economic harm to all Oregon growers.

Town hall meeting discusses pros, cons of raising Oregon's minimum wage

At a recent town hall meeting, held on the campus of Portland State University, discussion centered around whether Oregon should raise its $9.25 hourly minimum wage and what impact it would have on workers and businesses. Panelists included Jeff Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries; Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland); and Dr. Tom Potiowsky, chair of PSU's Economics Department and former Oregon state economist.

Debate was lively, with questions posed by journalists from The Oregonian, Portland Business Journal and the PSU Vanguard. Moderator Steve Dunn of KATU also encouraged questions and comments from the 200-member live audience.  Watch the full program.

ODA officials urge participation in voluntary boxwood program

Oregon Department of Agriculture officials are urging boxwood growers to participate in a voluntary cleanliness program designed to prevent the spread of boxwood blight, a fungal infection that causes branch dieback.

"It's difficult to detect and very difficult to eradicate once you have it," said Gary McAninch, manager of the ODA Plant Program. "Because it is unregulated (by the federal government), we don't feel we can go in and force some kind of program."

The blight is nonetheless a serious concern. It could prompt individual states to establish quarantines if not kept under control. In such an event, a voluntary program could then become mandatory, and at greater expense to growers.

Click here for more information on boxwood blight. For information on the voluntary boxwood cleanliness program, download this informational flyer (PDF). Those with questions are urged to call the ODA Plant Division at 503-986-4644.

Nursery tours provide policymakers a behind-the-scenes look at today's green industry

Representatives from the Oregon Legislature and Oregon Department of Agriculture attended a series of nursery tours organized by the Oregon Association of Nurseries over the past month. Owners and general managers at several area operations led field and greenhouse tours, providing policymakers a behind-the-scenes look at the industry and an opportunity to discuss important issues such as labor, workplace safety and water resources.

The OAN wishes to thank the nursery tour hosts — Eshraghi Nurseries/Farmington Gardens, McPheeters Turf, Alpha Nursery, J. Frank Schmidt & Son, and Fall Creek Farm & Nursery.

Brown marmorated stink bug activity heats up in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is receiving numerous calls about brown marmorated stink bug populations. The invasive insect species, which was first detected in Oregon in 2004, has established itself in several urban areas of the state and is now spreading to suburban and rural communities. Similar to the box elder bug, which is native to Oregon, the brown marmorated stink bug is currently looking for places to overwinter.

While brown marmorated stink bug is not a structural pest and is not a human health concern, it releases an unpleasant odor when disturbed and can cause damage to agricultural crops as well as home gardens.

The bugs are expected to disappear from view over the next few weeks as the weather turns colder at night. The best long-term hope for pest management is biological control. ODA is the lead regional agency for conducting research involving Trissolcus japonicus, a tiny imported wasp that acts as a parasite of the brown marmorated stink bug. Read more » 

Farwest offers a 'Far From Ordinary' experience

The 2015 Farwest Show promised members of the nursery industry a "Far From Ordinary" trade show experience — and it delivered. More than 6,000 industry professionals turned out for the expo August 27–29. The attendance was a 10 percent jump over 2014. Over 40 new exhibitors took part.

"The industry wanted an enhanced trade show experience, so we made that our goal," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "We launched the Far From Ordinary campaign, featuring the unmistakable, hort-headed Farwest Fanatics. We know it connected because advance registrations were way up. The people attending told us they enjoyed the new look, but more importantly, they liked what was under the hood. The show now has strong forward momentum, and we hope to continue that momentum in 2016."

Save the date for the 2016 Farwest Show: August 25 - 27, 2016

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