ODA pulls back proposed increase in nursery license fees
The Oregon Department of Agriculture has pulled back a proposed rule that would have increased nursery license fees by 29 percent for 2016.
"When the proposed rule was released, many members contacted the association about their concerns over the size of the increase," OAN executive director Jeff Stone said. "We passed those concerns along, and I want to give the ODA a lot of credit for pulling back the proposed rule."
The OAN and the ODA have worked collaboratively over the years on the nursery licensing and inspection program, which the fee funds. The nursery program exists to preserve national and global markets, provide the necessary inspections and certifications, and do it in a cost-effective way.
"The industry will roll up its sleeves and work with the department to continue to promote and support the exceptional nursery program we have in this state," Stone said. "The ODA will use the coming weeks to spend more time working through concerns and issues prior to any adjustments to the program. We have urged the department to maintain contact with the stakeholders to set up additional meetings to work through the concerns and determine the best course of action."
OAN opposes governor's minimum wage plan
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown last week 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. 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 that they will oppose her final plan. Among these groups was the Oregon Association of Nurseries.
Supreme Court will review immigration executive order
This spring, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in U.S. v. Texas, the case in which 26 states challenged President Obama's immigration executive order, issued in November 2014.
The order would spare as many as five million illegal immigrants from deportation and let them apply for work permits — provided they are the parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents, aren't recent immigrants, and don't have a criminal record.
The order has been on hold since the states challenged it. The court's upcoming decision means the order, if upheld, could take effect before Obama leaves office. The ruling is expected before the end of June.
Obama said he took action due to Congress's lack of action on comprehensive immigration reform. Eight senators drafted a bipartisan reform bill that was able to pass the Senate in 2013. Under former Speaker John Boehner, however, the bill was never considered in the House of Representatives, despite apparent majority support for it.
ODA publishes list of pesticides for cannabis producers
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) released a pesticide guide for cannabis producers.
The guide lists 256 pesticides that are safe to use on cannabis plants, but it's important to note that there are no pesticide products specifically labeled for use on marijuana. Generally, a pesticide can be used on pot plants if it is intended for unspecified food products, is exempt from a tolerance and is considered low risk, according to the ODA.
Download the "Guidelist for Pesticides and Cannabis"
Sign up now for fall tour of Israeli nurseries and greenhouses
John and Kelly Schroeder of Valleybrook Gardens are leading a horticultural tour of Israel in October 2016. Israel is a world leader in irrigation technology and exports a wide range of horticultural products.
The tour will take in greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries, and includes opportunities to explore the incredible culture, history and sights of the country. Tour dates are October 24–November 7, with an optional two-day extension to visit Petra in Jordan. For more information, contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conservation district names new director
The West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District announced the selection of former state forestry official Jim Cathcart as its new district manager. He follows Dick Springer, who retired December 1, 2015, after nine years with the district.
Cathcart has 26 years of experience in forest policy, forest health and monitoring, management planning and communications, including 17 years with the Oregon Department of Forestry. As a Portland resident, he is familiar with the variety of soil and water resource issues facing landowners in the district, whether they own farms, forests or gardens.
The West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District works directly with landowners west of the Willamette River and all of Sauvie Island to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources on their land. The district covers over 86,000 acres, used in a variety of ways, from urban development to rural farmland and family forests.