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Nursery Industry Issues

Workforce

  • What we need: The Green Industry is reliant on a stable, willing and adequately skilled workforce to cost-effectively propagate and grow specialized plant stock.
  • What’s at stake: Three main threats could compromise the Green Industry’s access to labor. The first threat is state, federal and local proposals to single out employers with job-site-based enforcement. These are inherently unfair, confusing and counterproductive. The second threat is proposed state and federal card check legislation, which would tilt the scales in favor of organizers at the expense of fairness and democracy. The third threat is already a reality. Growers must deal with “one size fits all” state minimum wage indexing that automatically increases labor costs annually, ignoring rural economics.
  • Our goals: Participate in a broad and powerful coalition advocating for a comprehensive federal solution to that immigration issue that ensures an adequate workforce and effective enforcement of the law. Urge rejection of card check legislation at the state and federal levels. Speak out for reform of minimum wage laws to give rural employers relief from requirements dictated by urban economies like Chicago or New York.

Environment

  • What we need: The Green Industry is an important stakeholder in, and supporter of, efforts to protect water supplies, preserve agricultural land and restore damaged ecosystems.
  • What’s at stake: Various plants and pathogens threaten to damage the health of ecosystems and the marketability of plant material. Increased pressure on water supplies could leave nurseries without water needed for irrigation. Inadequate or unbalanced pesticide regulations could endanger the environment, while taking away safe and effective tools against pests and pathogens. Long-term development pressures threaten prime agricultural lands.
  • Our goals: Continue to work with state officials, federal officials and the agricultural community to ensure a fully-funded and cooperative effort to address pest and disease threats. Be a leading advocate for the emerging “systems approach” to pest and disease prevention, and urge full funding for research and implementation. Participate in water issue discussions as an advocate for a balanced approach that increases supplies while protecting against pollution. Favor land use regulations that preserve property rights while not promoting inappropriate or destructive development patterns.

Transportation

  • What we need: The Green Industry will benefit from an improved transportation network to move goods to market.
  • What’s at stake: The current transportation system, unless improved, is inadequate in the face of ever-increasing demand. Unless addressed, increased congestion threatens smooth freight movement, increases time spent on the road, and wastes both labor and resources, all of which cost businesses money. State and federal investments in the system may not only stave off congestion, but create opportunities for nurseries to provide plant material to mitigate impacts from pollution, water runoff and the urban “heat island effect.”
  • Our goals: Support federal and state transportation improvement programs and urge lawmakers to include provisions for the inclusion of plant materials in projects to achieve environmental goals and increasing the livability of communities accross the U.S.

Security and Property

  • What we need: The Green Industry is rooted in the free exercise of private property rights, the security of each business in its land and capital improvements, and the free transfer of assets to succeeding family generations.
  • What’s at stake: Nursery businesses are threatened by the loss of equipment due to metal thefts, as well as changes to land use laws making it more difficult to do business, either by promoting undesirable development or over-regulating existing business practices. Although landmark reform to state estate tax law was achieved in the 2007 and 2008 Legislatures, modest adjustments are needed to fully achieve the intent of the legislation.
  • Our goals: Support greater penalties and stronger enforcement against metal thieves. Follow state and regional land use policy proposals addressing the Big Look, urban/rural reserves, gas lines and changes to exclusive farm use zones, and provide input where appropriate. Work with legislators to implement effective estate tax reforms so businesses can be passed on to succeeding generations.

Industry improvement

  • What we need: The Green Industry is made up of highly technical and specialized processes, and therefore relies on continued scientific research and education to confront natural and economic challenges and remain competitive.
  • What’s at stake: At the federal level, the 2008 Farm Bill included authorization and/or funding for pest and disease efforts, specialty crop research, and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. At the state level, OAN and the Green Industry have been longtime partners with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon State University Research and Extension, and the Oregon Sustainable Agricultural Resource Center. This relationship is a key element in maintaining the health and quality of plant material from Oregon.
  • Our goals: Work with officials from USDA to implement the federal Farm Bill, and with officials from ODA, OSU/Extension and OSARC to continue beneficial Green Industry research, support and other initiatives.

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