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Member Update 11_29_17
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Welcome to the Oregon Association of Nurseries weekly Member Update
November 29, 2017    |     EVENTS     |     ADVERTISE


Christmas tree prices up amid shortage this holiday season

Oregon — the nation's leading producer of Christmas trees — is facing a short supply of Christmas trees this year. Prices are increasing as a result, according to several reports cited by the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association.

The shortage is due to many factors, including the Great Recession that started in 2008. When the economic crisis hit the United States, Christmas tree farmers experienced a surplus of product, and some couldn't recoup production costs. This resulted in fewer tree plantings for the next cycle.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the amount of trees cut and sold by Oregon growers dropped 26 percent between 2010 and 2015. This underplanting is affecting the market now, because it takes 7–10 years for a tree to grow to full size. The shortage affects the whole country. As many as 90 percent of Oregon's 383 licensed Christmas tree growers ship out of state. The recent drought and hurricane devastation to tree producers in Texas and Louisiana are also diverting shipments, adding to the national shortage.

A lack of inventory has forced some farm owners to turn down business with up to 50 wholesale customers. California-based farms that usually purchase trees from Oregon and Washington are being forced to look as far away as Wisconsin.

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Dispute over Dreamers could prompt federal shutdown

An ongoing dispute over the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is threatening to cause a government shutdown.

December 8 is the deadline for Congress to fund continuing operations of the federal government. Some members of the Democratic Party have threatened to withhold their support unless Congress also acts to protect Dreamers — undocumented people who arrived in the U.S. as children through no decision of their own. Democrats alone don't have the votes to force the issue, but there are centrist Republicans also pushing for a DACA fix by the end of December.

The DACA program was enacted by President Barack Obama. This past September, President Donald Trump announced he would end the program by March 6. At the same time, he said he would support Congressional action to replace it and protect Dreamers if key demands are met, including funding for a border wall.

Trump has said DACA and the government funding extension should be dealt with separately and DACA can be dealt with after the first of the year. Without action, those eligible for DACA would lose work permits and become eligible for deportation.

Green industry pushes for higher H-2B cap

This month, AmericanHort has been leading a push to include H-2B cap relief in the federal spending bill that is required to fund the government beyond December 8. The federal visa program allows seasonal industries, including landscape installation and maintenance, to bring in seasonal guest workers to fill needs that can't be met with domestic workers. The program has a current cap of 66,000 workers, and that cap is quickly reached each year. Meanwhile, employers are struggling to fill more than 6 million job openings. The seasonal openings are hardest to fill because American workers prefer full-time, year-round work. Members of the industry are urged to send a message in support of raising the H-2B cap to their senator or representative using the Voter Voice tool.

Voter Voice: Write Your Senator or Representative

L.E. Cooke Co to close bare root nursery in 2018

L.E. Cooke Co has announced plans to shut down its bare root nursery at the end of the 2018 shipping season. Until the shutdown, the company will continue to take and fill orders from its full line of products.

The wholesale tree and shrub grower based in Visalia, California announced the plan in a blog post signed by company president Ron Luedkens and CEO/general manager David Cox, both part owners of the company and grandsons of company founder L.E. "Ted" Cooke.

The long and detailed post cited a number of factors in the decision, including government regulation, lack of a secure water supply due to drought, a decline in independent garden centers, and debt caused by failure to cut back sufficiently during the Great Recession. They said California's agricultural overtime mandate was the final brick that convinced them the business couldn't be profitably run. They said they regret the impact this will have on customers and employees — relationships that in many cases go back decades. The company was founded in 1944.

They will continue to operate a small nursery that produces grafted liners, as well as the L.E. Cooke Supply Company, which produces Miracle Garden Ties and imports MAX Tapeners, used in wholesale tree production.

More millennials leaving desk jobs for farm life

A new generation of first time farmers is seeing the benefits of agricultural life, according to an article in the Washington Post.

According to the 2014 USDA Census of Agriculture, the number of farmers under 35 went up by 2.8 percent from 2007–2012. It's only the second time this has happened in the last 100 years. Some 69 percent of these younger farmers have college degrees and many have been drawn by consumer demand for local and sustainable food.

A separate survey by the National Young Farmers Coalition indicates that most of these new farmers did not grow up in agricultural families. Many come from urban areas and are looking for something that's not a desk job.

But even with these new farmers, the number of people leaving the field due to retirement or other factors is far greater. Between 2007 and 2012, agriculture gained 2,384 farmers between ages 25 and 34 — and lost nearly 100,000 between 45 and 54. The young farmers must also contend with high land and equipment costs just to get a business going.

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Wilbur Ellis

Lane Forest Products

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Jordan Ramis

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Report: Food and agriculture drive one-fifth of nation's economy

More than one-fifth — 20.4 percent — of the nation's economy is linked, either directly or indirectly, to the food and agriculture sectors, according to a recent study commissioned by the Corn Refiners Association. The study also found that more than one-fourth of all American jobs — 28 percent — are similarly connected.

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Calculate your membership ROI and save!

Your OAN membership saves you money — both through members-only discounts on things you need, and through the association's strong advocacy efforts.

The OAN Member Savings Calculator takes the mystery out of it. Just punch in a few numbers and answer a few questions, and see for yourself how much membership can save you now and in 2018.

Don't forget — return your dues statement for 2018 or pay your dues online, and your benefits will continue for all of 2018. Save even more and avoid the dues increase by renewing before December 31, 2017.

Contact the OAN office at 503-682-5089 if you have any questions or to renew over the phone. We appreciate your continued support!

Renew now

Winter Trucks to Trade Shows Member Benefit Program

Sign up now through December! OAN Members can ship plant material to the green industry trade shows held in January and February across the country — MANTS, The Western, MGIX, NorCal and several others.

Reservations taken on first-come, first-served basis; payment is required to reserve space. To sign up, contact Kristen Urban at

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Trucks to Trade Shows

Chapter Events

Willamette Chapter luncheon set for Tuesday, December 5

OAN Willamette Chapter will host a luncheon meeting, entitled "Earth, Wind, Fire and Water," from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Friday, December 5 at Black Bear Inn Conference Center, 1600 Motor Court N.E., Salem. The program will outline ways in which the green industry is working towards sustainability, from four perspectives — earth, wind, fire and water. Download the event flyer for details.

Sponsors include Arbor Grove Nursery Inc., Brooks Tree Farm, Columbia Bank, Crop Production Services, Dayton Bag & Burlap, Decorative Bark Products, Ernst Irrigation, Evergreen Growers Supply, F & L Lumber, Grower's Nursery Supply Inc., Leonard Adams Company, Marion Ag Service Inc., Northland Express Transport, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Northwest Shade Trees LLC, PacWest Transport, Stettler Supply Company, Wilbur-Ellis Company and Zepak Corp.

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Mt. Hood Chapter Christmas Party

All chapters are invited to the Mt. Hood Chapter Christmas Party! The evening will start with hors d'oeuvres and a no host bar. The dinner to follow will include holiday salad, potatoes and gravy, vegetables, prime rib and dessert. Following dinner, we will have announcements, a Map App update, raffle drawings, and a visit from Santa. The event starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 5 at the Persimmon Country Club, 500 S.E. Butler Road, Gresham. The cost is $20 for adults, and kids under 18 years eat for free.

Please RSVP here by Thursday, November 30, or contact Rhonda at or 360-693-5131.

Register today

Sunset Chapter Christmas Party

The Sunset Chapter Christmas Party is back, along with the white elephant gift exchange (the cowboy hat and ball and chain will be making an appearance). Spend the evening eating great food, connecting with old and new friends as we celebrate the past year and the Christmas season. The whole family is invited. The first drink is sponsored, thanks to Robinson Nursery Inc., Wilbur Ellis Company and The HC Companies Inc., ProCal.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, December 7 at the Michelbook Country Club, 1301 N.W. Michelbook Lane, McMinnville. The cost is $40.

Register today

Clackamas Chapter Christmas Party

All OAN members are invited to join the Clackamas Chapter for an evening filled with holiday spirit and a visit from Santa Claus! Starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 19 at the Willamette Valley Country Club, guests will enjoy amazing appetizers and a superb buffet. Santa Claus will have toys for the kids and door prizes for the adults.

The Canby High School Cantalinas will be entertaining everyone with their beautiful holiday carols to get us all in the festive Christmas spirit.

Please RSVP by December 10. Admission to the dinner is $30 per adult, $15 per child 5–12 years old, and free for kids 4 years old or younger.

Please help those in need by bringing a donation of nonperishable food items to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry.

Register today

In case you missed it...

Oregon OSHA proposes up to 150-foot exclusion zone for some pesticide applications

Members honored at Convention for outstanding service

European strain of P. ramorum found in Curry County fir trees

NW Ag Show cancelled for 2018

Survey to guide boxwood blight research

Bill seeks to clarify seasonal worker health care mandate


Grow your business with OAN Advertising and Sponsorships

Our range of respected and engaging publications can strategically deliver your message to nursery industry decision-makers and help achieve your sales and marketing goals. From print to digital, all OAN publications offer advertisers the power to connect with a targeted industry audience and impact their buying decisions.

Our cost-effective opportunities include the monthly Digger magazine, the Nursery Guide website and annual print version, the weekly Member Update e-newsletter, the annual Retail Nurseries & Garden Centers Guide, the Farwest Show and more. And all OAN members receive exclusive advertising rate discounts so download our new 2018 Media Kit for all the details and contact Blair Thompson at 503-582-2012 or to learn more about how we can help your business grow.

The 2018 OAN Media Kit is now available
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© Copyright 2017 Oregon Association of Nurseries
29751 SW Town Center Loop W., Wilsonville, OR 97070
Ph: 503.682.5089 | 888-283-7219 | F: 503.682.5099 | |

Email your story ideas, tips and comments to Curt Kipp, Director of Publications and Communications, or call him at 503-582-2008.

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