The Oregon Association of Nurseries is supporting Senate Bill 256, which would allow the state to work with the industry in updating nursery license requirements and fees.
"The Oregon Department of Agriculture nursery license and inspection program is nationally respected and is a model for federal policy," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone testified at a March 11 Environment and Natural Resources Committee hearing. "The members of the nursery and greenhouse industry pay for the program through our license fees. We have made the strenuous case over the years that these dollars have been raised to keep markets open, (keep) our plants disease free, and allow a constructive relationship between regulator and business to be established."
The bill — written by OAN and ODA in collaboration — does not directly raise license fees. However, it does allow the current fee cap and millage to be raised if circumstances warrant. This way, inspection programs can be adequately funded in the future. This in turn will preserve Oregon's reputation for clean plant material, and protect grower access to national and global markets.
The inspection process is geared towards solving problems and helping growers ship clean material. The bill also contains a "nuclear option" that can be used in those rare cases where those shipping diseased material refuse to cooperate with remediation efforts. In such cases, and only after due process, their nursery license can be revoked. If necessary, any diseased material would be subject to mandatory destruction.
"Most — 98 percent — of Oregon's nurseries do it right," Stone testified. "They ship clean plants."
View Stone's full testimony »
CNN reported that a federal appeals court has rejected the U.S. Justice Department's request to fast-track the review of a Texas judge's decision, which three weeks ago put a halt to President Obama's executive action on immigration. As a result, millions of undocumented immigrants were left in legal limbo since they cannot apply for the two programs created by the action that would have eased deportations.
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On March 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared Grant and Jackson counties in southern Oregon as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought. Farmers and ranchers located in these counties may now apply for natural disaster assistance.
Producers in 11 other Oregon counties also qualify for assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are: Baker, Crook, Douglas, Harney, Josephine, Klamath, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wheeler.
All qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
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Brown marmorated stink bugs are a huge problem in North Carolina, and now that state's cotton producers are battling a new pest: neonicotinoid-resistant thrips.
"We don't know a lot about this resistance, but we know that in some locations thrips are only thiamethoxam-resistant and in some locations they're only imidacloprid-resistant," said Dominic Reisig, North Carolina State University Extension entomologist.
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The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) is surveying OAN member growers on the production of street and shade trees in Oregon.
Portland's tree program is currently in its seventh season of planting urban trees in the city. In partnership with Friends of Trees, the program has planted nearly 30,000 street trees and over 10,000 trees in yards. Street trees are regulated by Portland Parks and Recreation – Urban Forestry, including an approved street tree list.
"We are in the process of taking a comprehensive look at tree availability based on the approved list," tree program manager Matt Krueger said. "We would like to know current availability for planting this spring as well as upcoming availability for planting next fall. We will use this feedback to purchase trees for upcoming plantings, to plan for future plantings one to two years out, and possibly to propose changes to the approved lists."
The city is looking for broadleaf trees with 1–3-inch caliper and conifers that are 4–8 feet tall. To be considered, trees must meet ANSI Z60.1 standards and have healthy, intact root systems; single trunk form; and balanced canopy.
Interested growers may download the survey in Excel spreadsheet form. It includes a column to enter availability for each approved street tree species currently, and next fall. "We understand it will take some effort to provide feedback and we truly appreciate your time," Krueger said.
Responses must be returned by Friday, April 17. Submittals and questions should be directed to Matt Krueger at 503-823-2978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.