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Plants make life better
Plants make life better! Research has proven that plants benefit all of us in many ways — some obvious, and some not so obvious. As part of the nationwide Plant Something campaign, the OAN has created downloadable PDF flyers highlighting the many benefits of plants. Head on over to www.plantsomethingoregon.com/pmlb and see for yourself. A new flyer will be posted every month in 2016 (and printed in Digger magazine). Whether you sell retail or grow wholesale, you can print and post these simple and appealing flyers, and share them with your customers. Feel free to include them in your marketing efforts, whether in print or online. We've even included references in the fine print, so they can see the research. Please help us spread this information far and wide, because together, we will make it a greener and healthier world. Visit www.Plantsomethingoregon.com
OAN Conference Room renamed for Dick Joyce
Volunteer leadership is one of the true strengths of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. The association has benefited tremendously over the years from many members giving their time, leadership and expertise.
But among them, Dick Joyce stands alone. That's why the OAN Conference Room recently was renamed the Dick Joyce Conference Room.
"Since anyone can remember, nobody has poured more time into the critical functions of the association," OAN President Leigh Geschwill said. "Dick is a past president of the association (1983), and has dedicated countless hours to helping with the Farwest Show, the Yard, Garden & Patio Show, and various committees. But perhaps his greatest impact has been on the Government Relations Committee, where his front-line defense on issues that impact the industry has been exceptional."
Xylella fastidiosa testing almost complete
The Oregon Department of Agriculture reported it is making good progress at testing for Xylella fastidiosa, a quarantine pathogen that causes Pierce's disease in pear trees and other plants. Upon completion of testing, they hope to be able to release, from an emergency quarantine, counties where the pathogen is not found.
'Plant hackers' look to develop futuristic plants
A new generation of "plant hackers" is looking to develop new — some might say bizarre — plant varieties, according to a recent story published by The Wall Street Journal.
This "millennial niche" of bioengineers is tinkering with plant genetics to create heretofore unheard of plant varieties: glowing plants (inspired by the science fiction movie "Avatar"), fragrant mosses (which could replace air fresheners) and the long sought-after "true" blue rose.
Their quest is partly inspired by advances in do-it-yourself genetic modification techniques, but also by the potential for big earnings. In the annual $10 billion cut-flower industry, new and novel plants can earn big profits. Read more
Alert: OAN Opposes Governor's Minimum Wage Plan
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown yesterday
announced her new plan to increase the state's minimum wage. Under the governor's plan, increases would be phased in over six years, beginning in 2017. The end result? By 2022, the minimum wage would be $15.52 per hour inside the Portland Urban Growth Boundary, and $13.50 in the rest of the state.
Still looming are proposed initiatives for the 2016 general election ballot that would raise the benchmark wage to either $13.50 or $15 statewide, with a faster phase-in.
Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) announced that they will support the governor's plan when the Oregon Legislature meets in February.
However, business groups the governor consulted
announced on Thursday that they will oppose her final plan. Among these groups was the Oregon Association of Nurseries. [Read more]
Oregon's statewide snowpack at 123 percent of normal
According to the first water supply outlook report for the year, released last week by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), all basins in Oregon are experiencing above-normal snowpack levels, already surpassing the peak levels of last year's snow season in all locations statewide.
Following a year of record-low snowpack, water shortages, fires and widespread drought across the state, there's cautious optimism that a successful start to 2016 will enable drought recovery.
"This is the scenario we had hoped for following last year's extreme drought conditions," Melissa Webb, NRCS snow survey hydrologist, said. "The fall and early winter precipitation have started to fill reservoirs across the state that were heavily depleted going into the fall. Also, the snowpack that we have right now in the mountains is more than we had at any time last year, which is very encouraging." Read more
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.