Oregon poised for minimum wage hike (Corrected)
Last Thursday, the Oregon House of Representatives passed
Senate Bill 1532 on a 32–26 vote. The Oregon Senate passed the bill the previous week with a 16–12 vote along party lines. The bill has now moved on to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown to be signed into law. Brown released a statement saying she intends to sign it.
The bill, when signed by Brown, will steadily raise Oregon's minimum wage in an approach that splits the state into three separate tiers: Portland, rural counties and everywhere else.
Beginning July 1, 2016, the minimum wage will jump from $9.25 to $9.75 inside Portland's urban growth boundary (Tier 1), as well as in the following Tier 2 counties: Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Deschutes, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington and Yamhill. The Tier 3 minimum wage — which applies to employees in Malheur, Lake, Harney, Wheeler, Sherman, Gilliam, Wallowa, Grant, Jefferson, Baker, Union, Crook, Klamath, Douglas, Coos, Curry, Umatilla and Morrow counties — will increase to $9.50 per hour.
Wages in the three tiers will rise steadily until 2023, when they will be $14.75 (Portland UGB), $13.50 (middle tier) or $12.50 (rural counties). From then on, they will be adjusted according to the cost of living index.
"It's a highly disappointing outcome for agriculture and nurseries," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "We worked hard to help legislators understand the economic consequences a raise will have on those who compete on a national and global scale. Only in the waning days of the legislative session did Republicans and Democrats come together to try to fix the legislation that passed. There were choices to be made and the industry was a leader in trying to forge a compromise. The final bill contained no provisions for a training wage, nor wage support or flexibility to help growers absorb the impact."
Online and local events mark National Invasive Species Awareness Week
National Invasive Species Awareness Week takes place this week, February 21–27. Events across the nation will raise awareness and identify solutions to invasive species issues at local, state and national levels.
Webinars covering a wide range of subjects will be held daily during the week. A Congressional Reception and Fair will take place on Thursday, Feb. 25 in Washington, D.C.
Local events such as community weed pulls and native plantings will take place in Lake Oswego, Vancouver and elsewhere.
Oregon nurseries launch Lean consortium
A consortium of four Oregon nurseries announced a year-long effort to learn and apply principles of Lean — also known as the "Toyota Production System." Lean is a method for eliminating waste that results in more value to customers, delivered at a lower cost, in a shorter time, with fewer defects and less human effort.
Smith Gardens, Robinson Nursery, PRT Oregon and Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas currently make up the Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium, which is organized by new OAN members The Peters Company. Other nursery operations that wish to participate are welcome to join.
New York bans, regulates certain 'invasive' plants
Last year, the state of New York began implementing sweeping invasive species legislation that bans several plant species deemed invasive, including some that are produced in Oregon. Click to download a list (PDF) of the prohibited plants. They may not be sold, imported, purchased, transported, introduced or propagated in the state of New York.
Among the prohibited plants is Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii). However, a one-year grace period was granted for that particular species. It is due to expire March 10. Representatives with the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association are hoping to get the grace period extended so that growers and retailers can clear existing stocks of the plant.
Additionally, the cultivar Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea' has been declared conditionally exempt, along with three others. They are listed here. Efforts continue to add other plants to the exempt list by demonstrating them to be sterile.
The new rules also list several plants as not banned, but regulated. They include Norway maple (Acer platanoides), Japanese virgin's bower (Clematis terniflora), burning bush (Euonymus alatus), winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei), Chinese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) and black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). These plants may not be introduced into a free-living state, but may be possessed, bought, sold, propagated or transported.
Those who sell the regulated plants in the state of New York are now required to include tags indicating they are invasive. The state of New York has approved a tag template that utilizes 14-point type; the template is linked here.
PEST ALERT: Winter cutworm
Damage from winter cutworm — the common name for the larval stage of the large yellow underwing moth — is a growing concern in Oregon and Washington. In 2015, large numbers of larvae were observed around homes, golf courses and field crops.
In response, Oregon State University announced the publication of "Winter Cutworm: A New Pest Threat in Oregon." Free to download, this useful publication has color images and general information about winter cutworm, including identification, scouting recommendations and potential control measures.
Scholarships available for Clackamas County students
The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District is offering two $2,000 scholarships for the 2016–17 school year. Students must submit their application by April 29.
To be eligible, students must have graduated from a Clackamas County high school or currently reside in Clackamas County. Applicants must have completed their freshman year and will be considered a sophomore or higher in fall 2016.
The scholarships are available to college students majoring in the field of agriculture (including horticulture), natural resource science or a related discipline. Students may apply the scholarship money toward receiving an associate, bachelor or graduate degree.
The scholarship applications can be downloaded at www.conservationdistrict.org or sent via mail by calling 503-210-6000. For all other questions, contact Lisa Kilders at 503-210-6002.
Energy Trust offers cash incentives for greenhouse controllers
The Energy Trust of Oregon is currently offering rebates and cash incentives to nursery operations that install greenhouse controllers.
Greenhouse controllers can save money on fuel costs, improve crop production and provide a healthier, more comfortable environment. By maintaining consistent conditions within set parameters, greenhouse staff is freed up to do more than adjust temperatures and ventilation. Many controllers now offer Internet connectivity, too.
Mid-Valley Winter Ag Fest debuts this weekend
The first Mid-Valley Winter Ag Fest will take place at the Polk County, Oregon, Fairgrounds this Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27–28. Held in conjunction with the ninth annual Polk County Home and Garden Show, the event will build on "this exciting time in agriculture with the resurgence of the family farm and Saturday markets," said show coordinator Deb Thomas. The OAN will have a booth to distribute the newly published Retail Nurseries and Garden Centers Guide, along with Plant Something materials to promote the love of gardening.
Ken Smith of Furney's Nursery
The OAN is saddened to report the passing of Ken Smith, general manager of Furney's Nursery. He died Dec. 7, 2015 at age 68.
Smith started working for Furney's at the age of 17 and remained working there for more than 50 years. As general manager, he was credited with establishing Furney's as a premier wholesale nursery with locations in Oregon (Damascus) and Washington (Des Moines), as well as an outstanding retailer in Washington.
Friends and family said he made many great contributions to the nursery industry and was hardworking, dedicated, generous and kind.
Apply for USDA crop insurance by March 15
The deadline to apply for Whole-Farm Revenue Protection and insurance coverage on spring crops is March 15. Crop insurance provides protection against a loss in production due to natural perils, such as drought or excessive moisture.
Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) Agent Locator. Producers can use the RMA Cost Estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online.
Free pesticide collection coming to Southwest Oregon
Attention: Growers in Southwest Oregon. The Medford Water Commission and the Pesticide Stewardship Partnership are sponsoring a FREE Pesticide Collection Event for agricultural, commercial and industrial users. Events will take place in Grants Pass on March 4 and in Medford on March 5.
Any farm or agricultural business that has old or unusable materials can take this opportunity to properly dispose of hazardous materials. Even if you don't know what the material is, it can still be brought in. Questions? Contact Amy Sager Patton at Patton Environmental LLC (541-690-9983) or Graham Gadzia at Clean Harbors (206-900-3930).
New PlantSomethingOregon.com website launches
House committee passes bill to relax hemp licensing laws
Cultivate'16 announces show details
Members hear update on nursery license fee increase
Pear pathogen quarantine lifted in three more counties
ODA orders stoppage of use and sale of Guardian pesticide
Varroa mite and deformed wing virus pose deadly double threat to bees
February Digger looks at issues involved with cannabis production in Oregon
New study details 'weed blasting' control method for organic growers
Supreme Court will review immigration executive order
Oregon horticultural sales hit $932 million for 2014
Spraying for Asian gypsy moth to begin this spring in Portland
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