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East Coast researcher developing blight-resistant filbert seedlings

Thomas Molnar, associate professor at Rutgers University, shared the progress that is being made toward breeding blight-resistant filbert seedlings for East Coast growers with Nursery Management. Creating a blight-resistant orchard stock would be an ideal solution to hazelnut shortages worldwide. Currently, hazelnuts are only produced in Oregon's Willamette Valley and the nation of Turkey.

Most of the Corylus avellana found in the Pacific Northwest (e.g., Jefferson, Yamhill, Dorris, Wepster, and McDonald) were bred with the pollinizer 'Gasaway' for its ability to sidestep eastern filbert blight (EFB), however the cultivars continue to develop cankers on the East Coast. Over a five-year period, 31 different progenies were exposed to EFB and examined for their disease response. The research has found that there is some single dominate allele present that provides blight resistance, but long-term field evaluation is still needed.

"I urge nursery growers to stop growing Corylus avellana 'Contorta' as it is what we call an 'EFB magnet'. It is highly susceptible to the disease and also works very well to spread the it within your town to other people's hazelnuts," Molnar explains. » Read more

Survey predicts demand for native plants and low-maintenance landscapes

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) published results of their 2018 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, asking landscape architects to weigh in with their thoughts on what will be popular business trends in the 2018 year. In release by Business Wire (Washington D.C.), expectations have grown slightly for native plants (up 83.3 percent from 81.6 percent in 2017) and low-maintenance landscapes (up 80 percent from 79.3 percent in 2017). Landscape and garden elements such as rain gardens, food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) and water-saving xeriscape or dry gardens remain high on the list, given the large market for residential design. » Read more

Japanese beetle treatment begins in Washington County

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the contracted staff of General Tree Service have treated more than 2,000 properties for Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) with granular applications of larvicide in Washington County, and will continue through mid-May into Douglas County and near Portland International Airport, where there were separate detections. Applicator crews have been working to ensure the treatment remains on schedule as outlined in the five-year eradication response plan.

The beetles can wreak havoc on agricultural crops, residential lawns and landscaping, making it a clear concern for growers within the region. As a preventative measure, a federal quarantine remains in place for plants shipping into and within Oregon for the pest, requiring that all plants in soil or growing media from 35 states, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces must be certified as fumigated or otherwise treated for Japanese beetle. » Read more

Sign up for crop insurance by May 1

Growers in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington have until May 1 to apply for crop insurance coverage or make changes to their existing coverage. Crop insurance provides protection against a loss in production due to natural perils such as storms and freezing weather. » Read more

Longtime growers discuss tough business conditions

Trapped between with the difficulty of finding willing employees to work the fields and finding the money to invest in expensive machinery to automate the jobs, The Outlook (Gresham, Oregon) recently interviewed four Portland-area growers about keeping their growing operations open for business.

Mark Bigej (Al's Garden & Home), Barry Bushue (Bushue's Family Farm), Dan Rickel (Rickel's Tree Farm), and Steven Sobella (Sobella Farm) outlined the tough conditions they face and their thoughts on the future of the industry. » Read more

Sponsorship funds granted to Mt. Hood, Retail/Greenhouse chapters

The OAN Mt. Hood Chapter and the OAN Retail and Greenhouse chapters have each been granted $400 in sponsorship money to support upcoming events, thanks to Northwest Farm Credit Services (NWFCS).

The Retail and Greenhouse chapters will use the money towards the upcoming OAN/Griffin grower workshop, while Mt. Hood Chapter will use the funds in support of this summer's annual Pioneer Dinner.

NWFCS created the sponsorship fund and endowed it with $3,000 for the purpose of supporting chapter programs that benefit the OAN membership. All chapters are invited to apply. Each chapter is eligible for one $400 award in the first round of funding, which ends May 31. After that date, all chapters are eligible to apply or reapply for any funds that remain, with the same limit of $400 per event.

"This new program is part of the overall plan to fortify the OAN chapters," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "Chapter strength will be further addressed through the Chapter Revitalization Task Force that continues to meet on an ongoing basis."

Chapter leaders have been provided with the application form. Those interested in applying for this program may contact OAN Director of Events Allan Niemi at, 503-582-2005 or FAX 503-582-5099, with any questions.

Endangered Species Act lawsuit may affect Willamette basin

Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to protect wild Chinook salmon and winter steelhead in the Upper Willamette River, which could impact Willamette Project dam operations and future water allocations.

Mary Anne Cooper, public policy counsel for the Oregon Farm Bureau, told the Capital Press (Salem, Oregon), "[Endangered Species Act] lawsuits around federal system management are very terrifying for farmers." The resolutions resulting from these lawsuits can create a critical economic problem for agricultural enterprises. » Read more

Need help with your safety program?

A great safety program is crucial to ensure your workplace is safe. OAN members have access to our online library of 150 safety and health related handouts and posters. Downloads include attitude and awareness, confined spaces, fire safety and emergency response, hazard communication, lifting and moving material, safety posters, and personal protection. Each document is offered in both English and Spanish. Visit the safety page to browse the safety handouts (Members only).

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