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OAN rolls out first-ever Plant Something™ art contest

April is a month to celebrate trees, Earth Day and spring. The OAN is asking elementary school-age kids to create colorful artwork around the theme "Plants Make Our Lives Better." Winning artwork will appear on the cover of Digger, in a 2015 e-calendar, on the www.Plant-Something.org Facebook page and www.PlantSomethingOregon.com website, at the 2014 Farwest Trade Show and other venues.

Please help us get the word out by contacting your children's elementary school teachers and by sharing the contest rules. To be eligible, artwork must be completed in class and postmarked by May 12, 2014. A team of OAN members will select the winning artwork. If you have questions, please contact Ann Murphy at amurphy@oan.org or 503-682-5089.

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EPA proposes new pesticide rules

For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new worker protection standards for the application of pesticides. These new rules would apply on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses, and would cover workers who handle and apply pesticides, as well as those who handle treated products. "The EPA and the administration are attempting to use the rulemaking process, rather than legislation, so they have an easier path to setting new standards," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "That concerns us greatly. As far as the specific provisions of these rules, we're still analyzing them, and our input will be forthcoming." (Read more)

OAN members are encouraged to share input on the proposed rules by emailing Jeff Stone at jstone@oan.org.

U.S. House approves 30-hour work week change in Affordable Care Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved HR 2575, which would change the Affordable Care Act definition of full-time worker from 30 to 40 hours. "For businesses with more than 50 employees, this bill could be a big difference maker," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "It could alter the number of employees they are required to offer coverage to, and provide businesses with more flexibility in managing staffing needs." The OAN backed the bill and sent out two action alerts encouraging members to speak to their representatives in favor. The bill was cosponsored by Oregon Reps. Greg Walden (R-2) and Kurt Schrader (D-5), who voted yes. Oregon's other three House members, Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio, voted no. The bill faces an uncertain future, at best, in the U.S. Senate.

Early registration opens for Duffers Classic Golf Tournament

The 25th annual Duffers Classic Golf Tournament, sponsored by Jordan Ramis PC, is scheduled to take place at the Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City, Ore. on Thursday, June 12. A benefit for the Oregon Nurseries' Political Action Committee, the event is a great way to reconnect with friends, have a lot of fun, and support a strong nursery industry voice in Salem and Washington, D.C. And, if you sign up before June 6, you'll save $10 off the regular registration fee of $109! Sign up early and save.

OSU plans to fill nursery research position at NWREC

Oregon State University is seeking candidates for the vacant nursery crop production research position at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC), OSU Horticulture Department Head Dr. Bill Braunworth told members of the OAN Government Relations Committee last week. The job has sat vacant for the last three years due to budgetary concerns. The last person to hold the position, Dr. Jim Owen, left for a job at Virginia Tech in 2011. Braunworth said he will seek nursery industry people to review the job description and serve on the selection committee. Ideally, the position will close in May and a new person will be in place by September. The job will be funded with existing state and federal funds, plus grants. For those with questions or input, Braunworth can be reached at bill.braunworth@oregonstate.edu.

OAN supports Arbor Week activities across Oregon

To commemorate Arbor Week (April 7–11), the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) has teamed up with Oregon Community Trees (OCT), a nonprofit organization of arborists, urban planners, foresters and others that promotes healthy urban and community forests. The organizations awarded grants totaling $2,760 for Arbor Day activities in six Oregon cities: Medford, Tualatin, Klamath Falls, Forest Grove, Coburg and Cottage Grove. The cities will take part in the national Tree City USA program by hosting a variety of events, from tree pruning demonstrations and tree plantings, to educational presentations held in coordination with local schools. This is the second year OAN and OCT have collaborated on Oregon Arbor Week Celebrations. For more information, visit the OCT webpage

Plant Something vehicle wrap artwork now available

Plant Something™ now offers a new way to increase your business and spread the word about how growing plants helps enrich the lives of gardeners. Plant Something is partnering with Exhibit Experts to offer vehicle wraps; four themes are available to choose from, from "Play Dirty" to "Chill Out." More information about the vehicle wraps

House approves bill creating Pollinator Health Task Force

As reported recently in the Capital Press (Salem, Ore.), a proposal to reclassify neonicotinoids as "restricted use pesticides" has been removed from a bill currently before the Oregon Legislature. The classification would have meant that only licensed applicators could use the class of chemicals. Instead, the bill calls for creation of a Pollinator Health Task Force to address the issue. Read more on the Daily Digger blog

Senate approves Farm Bill; president to sign it

The U.S. Senate approved the conference version of the $1 trillion, 10-year Farm Bill on a 68-32 bipartisan vote. The House had approved it last week, so all that's left now is for President Barack Obama to sign it, which he reportedly will do on Friday.

Passage followed more than a year of disagreement between Republicans and Democrats, largely over program costs, and how much to cut from the food stamps program. [Read more]

OSU names new head of Department of Horticulture

Bill Braunworth has been named head of the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University (OSU). Braunworth earned a doctorate in horticulture from OSU in 1986, and since 1992 has led OSU's Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Extension Program. He has also worked as an agronomist on water use and management in Egypt and as a horticultural researcher in Malawi. [Read more]

USDA revises P. ramorum regulations

After receiving input from the OAN, AmericanHort and others, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it is revising the Phytophthora ramorum domestic regulations for nurseries located in California, Oregon and Washington. [Read more]

Oregon gets a B- in invasive species management

Oregon, as a whole, could be doing better in its fight against invasive species. That's the verdict from the Oregon Invasive Species Council (OISC), which gave the state a B-minus on its annual Invasive Species Report Card(PDF). [Read more]

OAN member briefing on ACA now available online

The Oregon Association of Nurseries recently hosted a series of four members-only briefings on the Affordable Care Act. An expert panel comprised of OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone, attorney Heidi Mason of the Jordan Ramis P.C. law firm, Randy Skinner of Leonard Adams Insurance, and Marisa O'Brien of Cover Oregon explained ACA requirements, and answered member questions. The Nov. 26 session at the OAN office was video recorded, and is now available for viewing by OAN members. To join the OAN, click here.

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Calendar

4/26/2014 » 4/27/2014
Willamette Chapter Plant Sale

5/20/2014
Mt. Hood Chapter Pioneer Dinner

5/28/2014
Urban Forest Symposium

6/12/2014
Duffers Classic

9/16/2014 » 9/17/2014
Preventing, Detecting, and Controlling Invasive Plants

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