Proposed Ruling on Canola Stalled for Now
ODA, Under Pressure, Struggles to Find Workable Solution
After much anticipation following the extended canola comment period, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) did not release a new permanent rule as expected on November 15th. The ODA is keenly aware that they are being watched as they try to find a way to push canola/rapeseed into the Valley, putting many agricultural industries at risk. As a result of the negative feedback they received during the public comment period, ODA convened a new Canola Advisory Committee in late October. The committee provided feedback on various rule drafts to ODA Director Coba and ODA came up with a new version that contained significant changes. After viewing the new proposed rule, however, the Department of Justice found it to to be unacceptable, sending ODA back to the drawing board again.
ODA is rushing to demonstrate progress on this issue because of the threat of possible legislation to ban canola planting completely in the Willamette Valley, taking this decision out of their hands. This might be the best solution to keeping canola/rapeseed out of the Valley as ODA's process has been fraught with controversy and errors from the start. Director Coba even admits that the temporary rule approach was not the best choice. Your long and sustained participation in helping us fight this ruling from the beginning has paid off, for now.
We're still hesitant to speculate what any new rule will look like, but you can rest assured that we will be monitoring the situation and letting you know what move ODA makes next. In the meantime, there are still some things you can do:
To receive action alerts on the canola issue please contact Leah Rodgers, Field Director.
Oregon Grows Partnership
Growing Better Food and Farm Policy
Back in 2010, Friends of Family Farmers and a group of other food and agriculture organizations from around the state developed a legislative coalition that would promote family agriculture and local food. The coalition became the Oregon Grows Partnership. In the 2011 Legislative Session Oregon Grows partners worked diligently on three priorities: 1. The Farm Direct Bill or “Pickle Bill” allowing low-risk foods (dried fruit, jam, etc) to be processed in a home kitchen for legal sale, 2. Recognition of the federal poultry slaughter exemption allowing on-farm slaughter of up to 1000 birds for direct sale to consumers, and 3. Development of a virtual state bank modeled on the North Dakota State Bank to increase credit and lending options for farmers and small businesses. The OGP work on these priorities helped see the passage of the Farm Direct and the Poultry Bill into law.
As we move forward into the 2013 legislative session, the Oregon Grows Partnership has chosen three priorities behind which we will be throwing our collective support:
You'll be hearing a lot more about these issues over the coming months, but you can learn more now by visiting the Oregon Grows Partnership website and by reading this article. Please mark your calendars now for our Farmer and Rancher Rally Day in Salem on March 18, 2013 where you'll have a chance to meet personally with your state legislators as well as showcase and celebrate the bounty of Oregon's small producers.
Amend land use laws to reduce restrictions for farmers using the poultry slaughter exemption on land zoned as Exclusive Farm Use (EFU)
Establish an "Aggie Bonds" program which will help small and beginning farmers obtain more favorable financing rates
Push for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement on proposed coal exports and their impact on grain growers, farmers and ranchers
Useful News for and about Farmers
Events & Offerings
Mark your calendar now to save the date for these upcoming gatherings and opportunities.
Nov. 28-29 - Oregon Board of Agriculture Quarterly Meeting (Portland)
Nov. 29 - Whole-farm Insurance Webinar (online)
Nov. 29 - Autumn Social & Food Gathering (Redmond)
Nov. 30 - Oregon Agritourism Summit (Corvallis)
Dec. 1 - OSU Sheep Producer Mentor Program and Educational Seminar (Dallas)
Dec. 2 - InFARMation (and Beer!):Canola in the Valley (Eugene)
Dec. 3-5 - Western SARE Conference (Portland)
Dec. 10 - FarmCommons CSA Farmer Webinar (online)
Dec. 11 - InFARMation (and Beer!): Food and Farm Movement (Portland)
Jan. 12 - OSU Sheep Producer Mentor Program and Educational Seminar (Prineville)
Mar. 2 - Oregon Small Farms Conference Save the Date! (Corvallis)
Mar. 18 - Family Farmer & Rancher Day at the Capitol Save the Date! (Salem)
Additional events can be viewed on our Community Calendar