Member Update

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Your volunteer leadership is what makes us strong

Kick your membership benefits up a notch

Get involved with the OAN

Dear OAN Member:

By participating in a committee or affiliate, you have the power to directly influence projects we will present to the membership. Do you have a good idea on industry promotion? Get involved with the Marketing Committee. Are there educational programs you would like to see changed? Join the Education Committee. Want to affect government legislation? Government Relations may be for you!

It is time to assess volunteer interest for the next governance year (October 2007 – September 2008). While not all committees or affiliates are seeking members at this time, we would like to know if you are interested in getting involved and where your attention lies. Please take a moment to look over the descriptions on the volunteer form to see which areas of service fit best with your expertise. Or, if you know someone that would represent your company well, please pass this form to them! Members are often chosen by their experience on the topic and availability for meetings. If you already belong to a committee or affiliate and no longer wish to participate, please let someone at the OAN office know.

Help develop Oregon’s nursery industry — join an OAN committee or affiliate. Your volunteer leadership is what makes us strong.

Thank you,
Bob Terry, OAN President-Elect
Fisher Farms LLC


» Committee/affiliate descriptions
» Volunteer sign-up form

MARCH 5, 2007

In this Issue:

Legal Access

Legal Access

Oregon Court of Appeals rules in favor of greenhouse operator in unemployment compensation insurance tax case

Pest and Disease Updates

APHIS formalizes P. ramorum restrictions

Buddleia davidii and Hedera helix listings change

Oregon State Weed Board actions

Education

Attention, horticulture students

Applications for ONF awards are due April 2

Spring term classes and workshops

Clackamas Community College horticulture department

Events

Many hands make light work

Thank you to volunteers at YGP

News from CFP

Can employers reduce health care costs?

Wellness programs offer a proactive approach

Metal theft bill

Jeff Stone honored

Environment

I-5 Charbonneau to Salem improvements

Reminder: Exit 282 northbound closed for four months

Industry news

State Board of Agriculture “State of the Industry” report

Trucks to Trade Shows

Time to consider summer and fall shows

Will you be there?


 

This month's fliers/downloads:

March Safety Topic

Basic Rules for Forklift Operation (English)

Reglas básicas para la operación de montacargas (Espanol)

APHIS P. ramorum restrictions

Federal Register

Clackamas Community College

Spring term flier

Problems downloading?

Legal Access

Oregon Court of Appeals rules in favor of greenhouse operator in unemployment compensation insurance tax case

© 2007 Jordan Schrader PC

Legal Access

Under ORS Chapter 657, Oregon employers generally must pay unemployment compensation insurance taxes based on their employment of Oregon workers. However, the statute includes exemptions for certain categories of work. Among those exemptions is ORS 657.045, pertaining to “agricultural labor.” However, there are sometimes questions whether certain agricultural sector employees fit within this exception.

On Feb. 21, 2007, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued an opinion that provides new guidance on this question. In Convention Foliage Service Inc. v. Employment Department, the court found that the term “agricultural labor” includes work performed at a company that primarily leases rather than sells plants that it grows and maintains in its greenhouses. As a result, the business in question was held to be exempt from payment of unemployment compensation insurance taxes.

The case involved an effort by the Oregon Employment Department to assess unemployment insurance compensation taxes against Convention Foliage Service (CFS) concerning tax assessments periods in the years 2001 through 2004. CFS did not pay unemployment taxes for its greenhouse workers during that period. In 2004, the Employment Department assessed unemployment insurance taxes against CFS for portions of the tax years 2001 through 2004, and CFS appealed the notices of tax assessment.

The administrative law judge who first heard the case found that the company was not entitled to an agricultural labor exemption from unemployment compensation insurance taxes under ORS 657.045(1), because the company leases, rather than sells most of the plants it grows. The Court of Appeals disagreed and overturned the decision of the administrative law judge.

CFS’s business involves leasing decorative plants, primarily for special events. The company maintains the plants in pots, which it stores in a number of large greenhouses. In order to maintain the plants, CFS workers must engage in extensive pruning, trimming, fertilizing, watering, re-potting, and treating with fungicides and pesticides. Many plants require extensive work after they are returned from an event to restore the plants to a condition suitable for decorative use. CFS also occasionally grows some plants from cell packs, which are small, thumb-size plants. It does not grow the plants from seeds. The majority of the work in the greenhouses consists of maintaining existing plants and not in growing new plants. CFS sells only a minimal number of its plants each year.

The Court of Appeals analyzed the agricultural labor exemption question as follows:

"[A]gricultural labor” includes all services performed “[o]n a farm * * * in connection with raising * * * any agricultural or horticultural commodity[.]" ORS 657.045(3)(a) (emphasis added). “Farms” include, inter alia, “greenhouses * * * used primarily for the raising of agricultural or horticultural commodities.” ORS 657.045(5). Thus, putting aside for the moment the meaning of “commodities,” the “raising” of such products is a prerequisite to eligibility for the “agricultural labor” exemption.

Based on this legal framework, the court found that given the statutory definition of “farms,” and the ordinary meaning of “raising” and “horticultural commodities,” CFS’s raising of ornamental plants in a greenhouse constitutes “raising” a “horticultural commodity” on a “farm.” ORS 657.045(3), (5). Further, the court held that there is no requirement that plants must be harvested and sold on an annual basis in order for them to be “horticultural commodities” raised on a “farm” as those terms are used in ORS 657.045(3) and (5).

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APHIS formalizes P. ramorum restrictions

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently published a regulation on P. ramorum, its first since February 2002. The regulations were effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. The rule essentially codifies as a formal regulation the restrictions and requirements that have been in effect for the past two years under an Emergency Order.

The OAN does not expect the recently published rule will require significant changes in current inspection, sampling and certification requirements for Oregon nurseries. However, the OAN will review the rule and prepare comments, as well as notify members of any key issues or concerns we may have.

» Click here to get a .pdf copy of the Federal Register.

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Buddleia davidii and Hedera helix listings change

Oregon State Weed Board actions

The Oregon State Weed Board voted on the following actions concerning horticultural varieties on Feb. 16.

  1. Revise the B-rated weed list to read: Butterfly Bush - Buddleia davidii/varabilis and remove the exemption for horticultural varieties.
  2. Ask the Plant Division to go forward with the quarantine process of B. davidii/varabilis and all horticultural varieties under the following terms: Plants grown in a nursery must not be allowed to go to seed including stock plants and plants may not be sold in the State of Oregon. Similar quarantine requirements to the old Eastern Filbert Blight quarantine.
  3. Revise the B-rated weed list to read: English Ivy - Hedera helix/hibernica and remove the exemption for horticultural varieties.
  4. Ask the Plant Division to go forward with the quarantine process of Hedera helix/hibernica and all horticultural varieties under the following terms: Plants may not be grown or imported for sale. No exemption for selling out of the State. If someone feels they have a compelling reason to grow Hedera helix/hibernica or varieties thereof, they will need to apply for a Director's Exemption and make their case for doing so.

The quarantine process will take some time to go through Administrative Rule, but the listing of these plants as indicated is immediate. There will be a time for public input during the process and nobody will be expected to destroy current crops or stock plants. Retail and wholesale nurseries will be allowed to dispose of their current crops over time. But, they should not plan to propagate more unless they can comply with the recommended quarantine requirements.

Ultimately, it will be up to ODA Administrator Dr. Daniel J. Hilburn, and the Plant Division to move forward with the quarantine process, but it is expected that they will follow the recommendations of the Weed Board.

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Attention, horticulture students

Applications for ONF awards are due April 2

Do you have a son, daughter or employee pursuing a college degree in horticulture? Encourage him or her to apply for an Oregon Nurseries Foundation scholarship. Individuals and OAN chapters sponsor the awards as a way to support the next generation of green industry professionals. For the 2007-08 school year, 18 scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,500 will be awarded.

To make it easier, the application is available as an interactive PDF; students can fill out the form online and then print a copy to be included with the other required materials. To access the form and to find out more about the awards, visit http://scholarship.oan.org.

Completed applications must be postmarked or delivered to the OAN office no later than April 2.

Questions? Call Heather Stanley at (503) 682-5089 or send an e-mail to hstanley@oan.org.

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Spring term classes and workshops

Clackamas Community College horticulture department

Spring term horticulture classes at Clackamas Community College will start in April. These classes are for individuals desiring information to improve job skills, for completion of certificate and associate degree programs and personal interest. All classes meet for 11 weeks, unless otherwise indicated. The majority of the classes have no prerequisites. Classes may be taken as audit, where enrollment in the course is for the information and the student is not graded.

Download the spring term flier here (PDF format). For a complete listing of courses, visit the Clackamas Community College horticulture Web site at http://depts.clackamas.edu/hort/. Early registration is encouraged as several classes fill each term.

For technical information about these courses, telephone:

Elizabeth Howley503-657-6958
ext. 2389
ehowley@clackamas.edu
Bob Nelson503-657-6958
ext. 2236
bobn@clackamas.edu
Renee Harber503-657-6958
ext. 2785
rharber@clackamas.edu
Alison Heimowitz503-657-6958
ext. 2644
alisonh@clackmas.edu

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Many hands make light work

Thank you to volunteers at YGP

The OAN booth at the 2007 Yard Garden & Patio Show had a lot to offer attendees, thanks to the efforts of many volunteers. Container gardens, Le Tour des Plants trinkets and the newest edition of Oregon’s Retail Nursery Guide drew lots of attention.

Many thanks go to the volunteers staffing the booth during show hours: Cathy Caldwell, Bailey Nurseries Inc.; Ruth Estrada, Monrovia; Ruben Chavez, Oregon Acres LLC; Miles McCoy, Always Marketing; Nancy Junge; Dave Leckey, Oregon Small Trees; Debbie Knitz, Terra Nova Nurseries; Deby Barnhart, Cornell Farm; Chris Harling, Fisher Farms LLC; Kathy Carlson, Advantage Oregon; Nancy Buley, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.; Mallory Gwynn, Al’s Garden Center; Kimberly Galiano, Jaycee Newman Inc.; Jay and Natalie Sanders, Advanced Ornamentals Inc.; Gordon & Karen Watkins, Boring Square Garden Center; Michael McMahan, Fisher Farms LLC.

Thanks also to Oregon Small Trees and Ferguson’s Fragrant Nursery for providing the plants in the booth.
Thank you, volunteers!

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March 2007


Lifting and Moving Material

Basic Rules for Forklift Operation: how to be a safe operator, load up safely and use your truck correctly.

Basic Rules for Forklift Operation (English)
(PDF format)

Reglas básicas para la operación de montacargas (Espanol)
(PDF format)

You can find more fliers and posters for download at our Safety & Health Handouts page.

Note: you will have to log in to the Web site to view this Members Only page.

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News from CFP

Can employers reduce health care costs?

CFPThe rising cost of health care over the past two decades has captured the attention of employers across the U.S. Despite carefully negotiated contracts with health care providers, companies have consistently experienced increases in health care expenditures. For some companies, the first impulse is often to change the health care plan design and ask employees to share the costs through higher co-pays and deductibles.

With the average cost of health care plans expected to exceed $12,000 per employee by 2010, it’s no wonder than wellness programs are quickly becoming a staple in many companies’ employee benefits portfolio. Wellness programs offer a proactive approach to preventing or at a minimum reducing costly injuries, illnesses and conditions among employees, including obesity, hypertension, heart disease and cancer.

Not only can a comprehensive wellness program improve the physical and mental well-being of employees, but it also can improve the financial and operational strength of an employer through decreased health care costs and increased productivity, employee retention and morale. For many employers, health care costs already equal or exceed net profits. In order to remain productive, profitable and competitive, companies must create a long-term solution to rising health care costs by promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing high-cost conditions. The graph below illustrates the financial impact of multiple health risks on health claims costs.

Health Risk graph

The return on investment in wellness programs is well documented, with research indicating that for every dollar an employer invests in effective wellness programs, it realizes $3-5 in return through reduced heath care costs, insurance premiums and costs of attrition. But having a wellness program won’t deliver the health and wellness impacts required if employees don’t use it. To encourage participation, it is important that your wellness program is relevant to your employee’s medical and lifestyle risk factors.

Over the next few months, we will examine various components of wellness programs and strategies to implement a cost-effective program in your company.

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Metal theft bill

Jeff Stone honored

The Construction Industry Crime Prevention group honored OAN government relations director Jeff Stone last month for his work on the metal theft bill.

Metal theft at nurseries, construction sites and utilities has become a real problem. Over the past several months, the OAN has been working with a coalition that involves agriculture, construction, utilities, railroads, metal recyclers and all levels of law enforcement. The group asked Stone to chair a process to create legislation to be introduced in the ’07 Oregon Legislature.

The result has been a coalition working together to agree on what the problem is and what the solution may be. Stone has been instrumental in leading this diverse group of stakeholders to create legislation to effectively address the problem.

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I-5 Charbonneau to Salem improvements

Reminder: Exit 282 northbound closed for four months

I-5 Charbonneau to Salem improvementsAccess to the North Willamette Research and Extension Center, as well as several nurseries in the Canby area, will change during bridge construction on Interstate 5.

Work began in September on ODOT’s project to replace the two Interstate 5 bridges over Route 551, located just south of Charbonneau District Exit 282.

The I-5 northbound off-ramp to Exit 282 will be closed until late May while a northbound bridge is removed and a new bridge is built. A detour route will be posted, directing northbound traffic headed to the Charbonneau area to use the Donald-Aurora Exit 278.

Southbound Route 551 will be reduced to one lane for the duration of bridge construction, which is expected to continue through July 2007. I-5 will remain open during bridge construction, with traffic diverted to a temporary bypass that is being built in the freeway median.

Work will continue on I-5 with repaving and guardrail repair along a 22-mile section of freeway from the rest area south of Wilsonville (near Exit 282) to the north Salem city limits. Paving and guardrail work is scheduled to be finished in October 2007.

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Upcoming chapter events:

Central Oregon Chapter
Scott Winkleman - soil biology and the "water wise"program

Christmas Tree Chapter

Clackamas Chapter
Pesticide Recertification

Emerald Empire Chapter
Lorena Young - Weyerhaeuser's Recycling Program; Isabela Mackey - Pesticide Applicators' Training

Greenhouse Chapter
Forum discussion with garden writers

Mt. Hood Chapter
Dr. James Altland - Weed Control in Container Crops; earn 1 pesticide recert. credit

Retail Chapter
Jan & Ray McNeilan - Top 10 Plant Diseases, Insects and Weeds; Treda McCaw

Sunset Chapter
Phil Volker - Global warming vs. 30 year weather cycle (long term trends)

Willamette Chapter
Pesticide Recertification

State Board of Agriculture “State of the Industry” report

The 2005 Oregon Legislature passed HB 2196 requiring the State Board of Agriculture to prepare biennial reports to the governor and legislative assembly regarding the status of the agriculture industry. The initial “State of the Industry” report was delivered to the Legislature and the governor last week.

This document is a comprehensive overview of many topics and issues related to, impacting, and affected by agriculture. An executive summary outlines the current highlights, while the report delves into the background and details of these topics.

This comprehensive document provides a broad overview of Oregon's agricultural industry diversity, innovation, challenges, and opportunities. It should be a relevant document for policy makers, the public, agricultural organizations, producers, students, and anyone interested in agricultural issues.

An online version can be found at
http://egov.oregon.gov/ODA/bd_rpt_toc.shtml

You can also find the ODA Biennial Report on the department at
http://egov.oregon.gov/ODA/news/pub_0612br.shtml

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Trucks to Trade Shows

Will you be there?

Planning is now under way for the Trucks to Trade Shows summer/fall show program, and we would like to know what shows you are planning to attend. Interest has been expressed in the following:

  • PA Green: July 17-19, Harrisburg, PA. So far this is only a partial load, so no TtoTS truck will be sent.
  • PANTS: July 24-26, Atlantic City, NJ. TtoTS will have one or more trucks going to this show.
  • SNA: Aug. 9-11, Atlanta, GA
  • CanWest: Sept. 12-13, Vancouver, BC
  • MTNA: Oct. 5-6, McMinville, TN
  • Garden Expo: Oct. 16-17, Toronto, Ontario

If you will be showing plants at these shows (or others), please contact Ann Murphy (amurphy@oan.org) or Trish Anderson (tanderson@oan.org).

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