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We try to keep our news fresh and current, you won't find archived news info here, only the LATEST news!

Oregon Wheat specific Press Releases can be found here.



Emergency Haying & Grazing

FSA announced implementation of a 2018 Farm Bill requirement authorizing new emergency haying and grazing. Information can be found at the link below, and if you have interest in this provision we strongly encourage you to contact NRCS before taking any action!

Learn more at https://bit.ly/30I8tP4



New Hire at OWGL!

Cassandra Franklin joins the Oregon Wheat Growers League as of August 10! We are happy to welcome Cassandra and have the opportunity for her and Sally to train together over the next couple of months.

Cassandra has worked extensively in the non-profit sector and we are delighted to bring her experience and knowledge to OWGL. Oregon Wheat CEO, Amanda Hoey says “Cassandra brings experience in administrative functions, event coordination and membership development activities, most recently with the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute. I am excited about the range and depth of skills that she brings to the League.”

Cassandra will be taking over administrative and membership activities from Sally as she is gearing up to enjoy her long awaited retirement.



OR-OSHA Seeks to Increase Maximum Penalties

OR-OSHA Seeks to Increase Maximum Penalties & Lessen the Agency’s Burden of Proof When Demonstrating Employer-Fault

Generally, Oregon law says that for an employer to be liable for a serious violation, Oregon OSHA must prove that the employer knew, or with the exercise or reasonable diligence could have known, of the violation. It is a fault-based system. OR-OSHA proposes defining “reasonable diligence” to change our fair and reasonable fault-based system to a strict liability system that makes it easier for OR-OSHA to win a contested case. To be clear, this rule change is about agency convenience in contested cases, not employee safety.

Additionally, through a separate rulemaking, the agency seeks to grant Oregon OSHA’s Administrator unfettered discretion to impose maximum penalties on businesses up to $135,382. The agency has no persuasive explanation for this rule change. As explained in more detail below, these rules will have drastic impacts on Oregon’s family farms, and we must OPPOSE these changes to OR-OSHA’s authority and burdens under the law: 1. The proposed rule redefines “reasonable diligence” in a way that eliminates OR-OSHA’s obligations to prove that a violation was something a reasonable employer was capable of knowing about: The proposed rule states: For purposes of ORS 654.086(2), a standard of care where the employer identifies and anticipates hazards and violations that could occur in the workplace and then takes measures through the use of devices, safeguards, rules, procedures, or other methods that eliminate or safely control such hazards or prevent such violations.

Oregon OSHA’s Proposed Increase of Certain Minimum and Maximum Penalties for Alleged Violations

OR-OSHA Proposed Rulemakings



Grower Organizations make Difficult Decision

Grower Organizations make Difficult Decision to Cancel 2020 Convention

Due to the uncertain timeframes of current group restrictions and financial implications of delaying a decision, the small grain grower associations of Idaho, Oregon and Washington regret to announce the cancellation of the 2020 Tri-State Grain Growers Convention. The event was originally scheduled for December 1-4, 2020 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

The Tri-State Grain Growers Convention has become a premier annual event in the Pacific Northwest for small grain producers and industry partners. It attracts nearly 450 people from Idaho, Oregon and Washington. At the event, the grower associations hold their annual business meetings to direct their policy work and install new leadership. Jointly, the three states hear from nationally elected officials, high caliber keynote speakers, participate in educational breakouts, collaborate with industry partners, and more.

We want to express our sincere appreciation to the grower members, sponsors and exhibitors for your continued during these uncertain times. State leadership and boards will continue their work on behalf of the association members as we head in to critical legislative sessions.

The 2021 Tri-State Grain Growers Convention is slated for November 30-December 3, 2021 at the Davenport Grand Hotel in Spokane, WA. Idaho Grain Producers Association, Oregon Wheat Growers League and Washington Association of Wheat Growers hope to see you there!


Oregon will hold the annual Oregon Wheat Growers meeting on December 1, 2020. More details will be announved soon.


ODA FILES TWO PROPOSED PERMANENT RULES


On July 28, 2020, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) filed two Proposed Permanent Rules with the Oregon Secretary of State's (SOS) Office and will begin accepting comments on the following proposals starting Aug. 3, 2020 and ending Sept. 1, 2020.

  1. A proposed rule providing limitations on pesticide products containing the insecticide, chlorpyrifos, OAR-603-057-0545.
  2. A proposed rule to amend a currently existing rule to provide consistency between statute and rule, when listing a pesticide as restricted use, OAR 603-057-0205.

When developing these rules, the Department worked extensively with stakeholders in a Chlorpyrifos Workgroup for nine months.

Additional information regarding the proposed rules and workgroup efforts may be found at: https://oda.direct/Rulemaking.

CHLORPYRIFOS PROPOSED RULE SUMMARY: This rule places limitations on the insecticide chlorpyrifos. It classifies nearly all products that contain chlorpyrifos as restricted-use and requires that only certified and licensed applicators are able to purchase and apply such products. It prohibits and limits certain uses starting in 2020, and requires a minimum restricted entry interval of four days for all agricultural plants covered under the Worker Protection Standard. It increases respirator protection for applicators and requires records of chlorpyrifos applications. Buffers for permanent waterways and sensitive areas, which are considerably larger than those stated on the label, are required.As of December 31, 2023, it is prohibited to use, deliver, distribute, sell, offer or expose for sale pesticide products containing chlorpyrifos, except under very limited conditions. Cattle ear tags are excluded from limitations in this rule.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD: The Department will only consider comments on the proposed rules received during the open public comment period, which is 12:01 a.m. Aug. 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 1, 2020, Pacific Daylight Time.

Written comments can be emailed to chlorpyrifos-comments@oda.state.or.us; or mailed to,

Amy Bingham
2020 Rulemaking Comment
Directors Office
Oregon Department of Agriculture
635 Capitol St NE
Salem, OR 97301-2532

There also will be two virtual public hearings, on Aug. 19 and Aug. 27.



Seeds in the Mail...do not open!

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is aware that people across the country, including Oregon, are receiving unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days. Often the package is labeled as jewelry and the recipients say they did not order jewelry or seeds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is warning Americans not to plant the unsolicited package of seeds. ODA is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspections Service (APHIS) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection on this issue. The goal is to collect the seeds and test them to determine if they are a concern to agriculture or the environment.

Anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds from China should immediately contact their state department of agriculture or the APHIS state plant health director and follow these steps:

  • Save the seeds and the package they came in, including the mailing label.
  • Do not open the seed packets.
  • Do not plant any of the seeds.
  • If the packets are already opened, place all materials (seeds and packaging) into a zip lock bag and seal it.
  • If the seeds have been planted, leave the seeds/plants in the ground until you receive further instruction from your state department of agriculture or APHIS.

In Oregon, if you have received a package of seeds that you did not order, please include the packaging that includes the return address and send the shipment to:

Oregon Department of Agriculture

Plant Protection and Conservation

635 Capitol Street NE, Suite 100

Salem, Oregon 97301

If you have already opened the seed package, please place the entire package in a plastic bag and seal it and then send it to ODA. Do not plant any of the seeds. If you already planted the seeds, please contact Dr. Helmuth Rogg, ODA Plant Programs Director at 503-986-4662 or hrogg@oda.state.or.us.



People Not Politicians

This year's census results will reshape Oregon's political landscape. People Not Politicians is proposing a ballot measure to create an independent citizen redistricting commission comprised of Oregonians but needs more signatures of support gathered and put in the mail by Aug. 1 to make this happen.
Get the petition HERE, print it out, sign it, and drop it in the mail by Aug. 1.




NAWG Calls for 2020 Crop COVID Relief

NAWG Calls for 2020 Crop COVID Relief, Inclusion of All Wheat Classes in CFAP

On July 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and indicated that additional commodities could be announced as eligible in the coming weeks. Durum and hard red spring (HRS) wheat classes are covered under CFAP while hard red winter (HRW), soft red winter (SRW), and soft white wheat classes are not currently included in the program. On Friday, July 10, 2020 NAWG sent a follow-up letter to USDA calling on the Agency to make assistance available for all classes of wheat and to begin providing assistance for 2020 crop losses as wheat harvest is well underway. Read the press release here.

More Info




Oregon Drought Reporting

On behalf of the offices of Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden, you are encouraged to share observations about drought impacts in Oregon, through the Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR). CMOR is a way to collect on the ground observations from the public to help inform drought monitoring research.

We have heard that there are not many CMOR reports submitted from Oregonians. But these local observations are important, as they provide input into the US Drought Monitor process and inform agencies that make decisions based on dry and wet conditions.

We hope stakeholders will start providing input if they haven’t been, and consider providing regular reports (consistent data over time is particularly helpful to reviewers). The process is mobile friendly and accepts photos. For instance, you can comment on crop impacts, livestock impacts such as poor pasture conditions, and whether you are observing low or dry wells. Reviewers are not asked or required to send in data on all aspects, but can choose from the impact areas where they have the most direct knowledge.

See examples of reports provided by folks via this map.

Access the CMOR reporting form here.

10 minute video explaining how and what to report.

Fact sheet about CMOR

Please note that this form is not part of the process to apply for assistance should a drought be declared. For more information on the Drought Monitor and how USDA uses the map as a trigger for programs that help agricultural producers recover from drought and other natural disasters, see this handout.

Unfortunately, Oregon has several areas experiencing drought currently; a list can be found here.


Thank you in advance for your participation and for sharing this information far and wide!


CFAP Disappoints Wheat Again

Oregon Wheat is disappointed all classes of wheat did not make it on the updated CFAP commodity list. USDA declined an appeal from the National Association of Wheat Growers to expand the types of wheat that are eligible for payments for 2019 crop. Hard red winter, soft red winter and white wheat are not eligible for CFAP, while durum and hard red spring wheat are. We are encouraged that NAWG will continue to work with USDA to ensure all classes of wheat are included in any aid for 2020 crop losses.

Read the USDA release here, https://bit.ly/2ZQwmSM

Read the Article here, https://bit.ly/3iMjPsh



Making it Official: USMCA In Force

The US Mexico Canada Agreement officially entered into force on July 1, 2020. This final step means that all required legislative and regulatory changes needed to implement the agreement have been put into place or are scheduled to take effect.

The Oregon Wheat Growers’ League celebrates this critical trade agreement taking effect. “The majority of Oregon wheat is exported, so stability in our overseas markets is essential for Oregon wheat producers” stated OWGL President Clint Carlson.

“USMCA provides that certainty and market stability, benefiting wheat producers.”

One of the key wheat provisions in USMCA is continued tariff free access for US wheat exports to Mexico. While Mexico is not a top market currently for the Pacific Northwest, it is the nation's largest wheat importer. In the marketing year 2019/20, which ended May 31, 2020, Mexico purchased more than 3.87 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. wheat valued at $881 million. Its ability to continue to source U.S. wheat into the future strengthens the entire market, to the benefit of Oregon producers as well. A second key provision in USMCA is improved grading treatment for US wheat shipped to Canada. The new rules, allowing U.S. grown wheat brought across the border to Canadian grain elevators to be graded on a level playing field, are a significant step in furthering equal trade between the countries’ wheat growers. Other measures that benefit the wheat industry include the Agreement’s language around agricultural biotechnology which supports 21st Century innovations in agriculture and new language to strengthen disciplines for science-based SPS measures.

OWGL celebrates USMCA’s entry to force and appreciates the hard work of Congress and the Administration for helping to put this trade deal into effect.



Wheat Organizations Welcome USMCA Entry into Force

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is set to cross its final hurdle to entry today as the three countries certify the agreement’s “entry into force.” This final step means that all required legislative and regulatory changes needed to implement the agreement have been put into place or are scheduled to take effect.

“A completed USMCA finally gets us past the uncertainty and that is welcome news to U.S. wheat growers,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, wheat farmer Doug Goyings. “Especially as we now see an opportunity for U.S. negotiators to take this as a gold standard agreement and launch negotiations with other countries, where U.S. wheat growers face tariff and non-tariff barriers.”

Read More


natural disaster designation

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated two Oregon counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Crook and Umatilla counties who suffered losses due to recent drought, may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Producers in the contiguous Oregon counties of Deschutes, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Morrow, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler, as well as Benton, Columbia, and Walla Walla counties in Washington, are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is Feb. 11, 2021.



NAWG & USW News Release

Wheat Industry Applauds Bipartisanship Around the Grain Standards Reauthorization Act

(6.24.2020) Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture held a business meeting to markup the United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act (GSA) of 2020. The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) applaud the Committee for their bipartisan work to move the bill forward and reauthorize the GSA through September 30, 2025.

“Thanks in part to the advantage and premium international buyers place on the grain inspection system, U.S. wheat continues to maintain its competitiveness in the international market. Given the current uncertainty in trade agreements and many of the bearish factors working against U.S. wheat exports, it is critical we maintain one of our key advantages,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Cass City, Mich., farmer Dave Milligan. “To avoid any disruption in inspection services and keep the flow of grain moving NAWG encourages Congress to act quickly to reauthorize the Grain Standards Act before expiration in September.”

Read More


Cover Crop Survey

Please take an important survey about cover crops to help improve outreach and inform cover crop incentive programs to better serve farmers. Did you know the Western region now has a cover crops council? The Western Cover Crops Council aims to promote the successful use of cover crops in our diverse agricultural systems. In order to do that, they are asking farmers/ranchers like YOU to share your perspectives on cover crops. Whether you plant them now, planted them in the past or have never planted them—your perspective is important! The survey is being conducted by partners at the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, and Boise State University with funding from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. This brief survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey is confidential, and your responses cannot be linked to you.
Take Survey


OSU Field Days Online Recordings

The virtual canola crop tour and pest management recording is now posted on YouTube at


The Alfalfa Weevil webinar is still being processed and will be available in the coming days on the OSU Extension Service North-Central Oregon YouTube Channel.

The entire OSU CBARC series of videos and the online Zoom discussion recording from June 9, can be viewed here.



CFAP; Additional Commodities Request Info

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) helps agricultural producers impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. As provided in the CFAP regulation, this document requests input to help USDA identify information about additional commodities that are not already identified with payment rates in the CFAP regulation for inclusion in CFAP.

Comments considered on additional commodities must be submitted by June 22, 2020.

We invite you to submit comments to provide information about additional commodities and comment on the information collection specified in this document. In your comment, specify [Docket ID: FSA-2020-0004], and include the volume, date, and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

  • Federal Rulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID FSA-2020-0004. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Director, SND, FSA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0522, Washington, DC 20250-0522.

Comments will be available for viewing online at http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, comments will be available for public inspection at the above address during business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays.


More


PNW-All Wheat Farmers Need to be Supported

PNW Wheat Associations call on USDA to Reconsider Coronavirus Food Assistance Program; All Wheat Farmers Need to be Supported

USDA released details of its Coronavirus Food Assistance (CFAP), which provides direct financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities affected by COVID-19. The PNW wheat associations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho welcomed news that eligible commodities for the program include durum, hard red spring wheat and malting barley.However, leaders from all three state wheat associations expressed significant reservations because most of the wheat produced in the region is excluded from program eligibility.

Read More



OWGL Responds to CFAP Assistance

OWGL President stressed the challenges facing Oregon Wheat farmers stating “We are struggling with cash flow like all other farmers and ranchers throughout the nation. Unfortunately, unless USDA reevaluates, we will not have access to these critical resources. Most of our wheat production is soft white wheat, which is specifically excluded from these payments.”

Read More


USDA RELEASE


NAWG STATEMENT


Mental Health is VITAL.

COVID-19 brings new challenges, awareness to rural mental health crisis
05/27/20 6:40 AM By Hannah Pagel
View AGRI-PULSE Article

COVID-19 brought a wave of new economic challenges that producers are still working through. But for beginning farmers, the pandemic has added a new level of stress that's making it that much harder to get started in agriculture, echoing the psychological toll of the 1980s.

“There's a lot at stake in the first place with getting started in farming, especially trying to get started as a young farmer. But for me, I bought my farm and two weeks later the coronavirus hit and everything is completely in the tank,” said Lillie Beringer, who closed March 2 on a northeast Iowa farm previously owned by her grandparents.

“To be honest, if the markets don't come back up, I don't know what’s going to happen or how I'm going to make my land payments,” she said.

To add to Beringer's challenges, only 28 of the farm's 110 acres are tillable. She seeded those acres to pasture for her herd of 20 cows, but she needed to take on more cattle in order to cash flow. By her estimation, she needed about 60 calves, "and whatever I had left for profit was supposed to make my land payment."

Beringer not only increased her herd from 20 cows to 60, but she also signed up to custom-contract calving another 120 cows for another producer. With the help of her mother, who assists with calving and other tasks associated with the cow-calf operation, Beringer is now balancing care for 180 head of cattle and a full-time job as a livestock production specialist for Purina Feeds.

Bob Worth, a southwest Minnesota farmer who has battled his own depression, told Agri-Pulse these are historically tough times to start farming.

"If I was a young person with a with a heavy debt I would feel the same stress that I did in the '80s. The difference is I'm a lot older. I healed myself up from the '80s, so I could survive the 2020s,"

Economic stress and agricultural hardships are nothing new to farmers of all ages and across many different forms of production agriculture. There are many familiar factors that lead to farm stress, but a global pandemic has added a new dimension.

“Some of the stress we are seeing was here before COVID, but much of COVID has exacerbated that stress,” said Anne Hazlett, senior adviser for rural affairs at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Agriculture was already in flux prior to COVID-19 hitting. Producers were experiencing ongoing trade wars with many U.S. trading partners, low commodity prices, years of uncontrollable weather conditions and much more.

A forecast released last month by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute estimates net farm income in 2020 at $86 billion, down 11% from USDA’s estimate of farm earnings for 2019. The new forecast doesn’t account for billions of payments that the Trump administration is sending to farmers or the $1.2 billion in surplus food distribution through the agency's Farmers to Families Food Box program.

“The situation has become even more uncertain. And I think that’s the word that capitalizes everything in this situation — uncertainty,” said Michael Rosmann, psychologist, farmer, and agricultural behavioral health specialist located in Harlan, Iowa, “The producers are having a hard time making ends meet, and I'm getting quite a few phone calls from people.”

The stress of the agriculture industry has led to increased mental health issues and a swelling concern about farmer suicides. However, a lack of solid data on the subject adds another layer of difficulty to an already sensitive conversation.

“I think it's actually ironic that farmers are struggling to put food on their table when they grow food for everybody else,” said Theresia Gillie, a Minnesota farmer who lost her husband to suicide three years ago.

Farmer suicides have been a topic of concern since the 1980s farm crisis, and many farmers today are starting to speak out to help share their story in hopes it might help a struggling farmer.

“Farm stress is certainly not a new concept," said Worth, the Minnesota farmer. "My father saw rural suicide rates spike in his farming days in the 1930s and when I was a young farmer just getting started in the ‘80s, I got super depressed. … I didn’t want to get out of bed or go to work. I didn’t care about harvest and just wanted to stay in the house.”

Worth recently shared his story to help bring awareness to farmers who are also struggling.

“There is no shame in getting the help you need. Farm stress isn’t something you need to take on alone — sometimes you can’t just do it yourself. I was on medication for three years before gradually weaning off — but every so often, when I can tell that I am sliding back into depression, I reach out,” said Worth.

When asked why farmers won’t reach out more often, almost every person interviewed by Agri-Pulse said the same thing — farmers are proud.

“Farmers are very private people and don’t like to talk about their own personal problems, but we need to start talking,” Worth said.

Rosmann also pointed to "economic threats to the farm itself — that is the loss of the land. Farmers cling desperately to the land, and other assets that are needed to farm."

Meredith Bernard is a North Carolina farmer who lost a friend to suicide. She actively speaks out on the stigma and concern of mental health to help provide awareness to those around her. In her mind, a major issue is not necessarily a lack of resources, but the funding and access to those resources.

“I believe there are more resources available than most realize, the problem seems to be in making people aware of how and where to access them. I believe there are gaps in access, as well, due to costs of professional health and lack of available, sufficient insurance for a lot of the farming population,” said Bernard.

Hazlett commented that a big piece of the puzzle in terms of accessing mental health resources is access to rural broadband.

“We need the broadband to be able to power much of the telemedicine and so there are dollars that have been put into some USDA programs to build additional broadband. It's going to take all of these pieces working together I think to help people get the care that they need,” said Hazlett.

She also stated that because of the COVID-19 pandemic these issues have been able to gain the attention they’ve needed in terms of funding.

“There's been a silver lining in the COVID pandemic — it has really been the opportunity that we've needed to increase access to care through policy changes around telemedicine.”

Beringer, the beginning producer in Iowa, said she doesn't regret the purchase of her farm despite a turbulent first few months of ownership.

“It's definitely not a great time in agriculture, especially for a young person to get started and then to have coronavirus (outbreak) on top of it — it’s just stressful," she said. "But the farm is what drives me, and it all goes back to crediting my grandpa, as far as why I want to continue on.”

The National Suicide hotline is available 24/7 and can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. An online chat option is also available.

Prevent Farmer Suicide

Studies show that 𝐬𝐮𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐬 than any other job group and 𝐭𝐰𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞 of military veterans.

Watch this news clip about increased farmer suicides and learn how you can 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐧𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐬.

𝐏𝐋𝐄𝐀𝐒𝐄 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝!

MSU resources, http://bit.ly/MSU-FarmStress
News Clip, http://bit.ly/Farmers-Reach-Out



U.S. & UK Trade Talks

The United States and Britain launched formal negotiations on a free trade agreement on Tuesday, vowing to work quickly to seal a deal that could counter the massive drag of the coronavirus pandemic on trade flows and the two allies' economies. The talks, to be conducted virtually, will involve over 300 U.S. and UK staff and officials in nearly 30 negotiating groups, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and UK trade minister Liz Truss said in a joint statement. "We will undertake negotiations at an accelerated pace and have committed the resources necessary to progress at a fast pace," they said. "A Free Trade Agreement would contribute to the long-term health of our economies, which is vitally important as we recover from the challenges posed by COVID-19," the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Learn More




OSHA issues temporary rule

Oregon OSHA has adopted a temporary rule to increase protections for workers against the spread of coronavirus in employer-provided housing and in labor-intensive farm operations.

The rule, which mostly takes effect May 11, 2020, addresses the COVID-19 emergency in such housing and operations by strengthening requirements in three areas: field sanitation, labor housing, and transportation.


Articles to read in regards to the rule:
My Columbia Basin

Oregon OSHA workplace guidance and resources

Summary of Key Provisions





Items of Interest

Effects of 1980 Grain Embargo


 More>

Effects of 1980 Grain Embargo Echo Through the Years

Originally published April 14, 2020, By Vince Peterson,USW President


As a new decade and a new future for wheat export market development dawned in January 1980, the urgency facing the wheat-producer boards of both Great Plains Wheat and Western Wheat Associates could not have been much greater.


They were under the strain of discussions and negotiations for months in the effort to merge the two existing regional wheat market development groups into one, single national association. Then, on January 4, these farmer leaders and all U.S. wheat producers sat in disbelief hearing President Jimmy Carter address the nation and summarily cancel 17 million metric tons (MMT) of existing wheat, corn and soybean sales contracts between U.S. exporters and the former USSR. That was 17 MMT of production that had already been grown and harvested and scheduled for movement by truck, barge, rail car and ocean vessels through the U.S. grain export system; 17 MMT of system revenue, margins and farmers’ annual income – all cancelled.

Read More

U.S. Wheat Around the World

U.S. Wheat Supply Chain System: Research and Plant Breeding

Professional millers and bakers know that the appearance and taste of every product depends on the specific characteristics imparted by its flour ingredient. And those characteristics are deeply rooted in the ancient craft of plant breeding. [Plant breeding is an ancient craft.] As far back as 10,000 years, farmers looked for traits that helped them grow more and better food. Egypt became the breadbasket of ancient Rome as its farmers adopted a type of wheat from the “fertile crescent” in modern Iraq to plant along the Nile River. Over time, the Egyptians found ways to grow a grain that was sturdy enough to transport long distances and stand up against pests. The Egyptian wheat traded with the Romans may not be what we are used to today, but the process for how it was grown to meet the needs of the consumer is by no means ancient history.

Learn More
New Tool to Combat Major Wheat Disease

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their colleagues have discovered a gene that can be used to develop varieties of wheat that will be more resistant to Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), a disease that is a major threat both overseas and to the nation's $10 billion annual wheat crop.

Learn More

USTR to Work With Congress on Strengthening Brazil Trade Ties

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is making it clear to Brazil that the U.S. is serious about strengthening trade and economic ties between the two countries whose leaders appear to be fond of each other.

Learn More

Ukraine Wheat Prices Hit Seasons High Amid Strong Export Demand

Ukraine has exported around 18 million tonnes of wheat so far in 2019/20, leaving an additional 2 million tonnes available for export over the rest of this season that runs until June 30, in line with a memorandum signed with traders.

Learn More


Legal Waivers Help Keep Commercial Drivers on Road

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Oregon DMV have taken steps to help keep the holders of commercial driver licenses (CDL) and commercial learner permits (CLP) on the road during the COVID-19 response.

DMV is continuing to provide CLP knowledge tests and first-time CDL issuances by appointment only at six offices across Oregon.


Learn More


Check out the U.S. Wheat Associates "Dependable People" spotlight.

Member: Oregon Wheat Commission
USW Member since 1980

Location: Portland, Oregon

Classes of wheat grown: Soft White (SW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Hard Red Winter (HRW)

USW Leadership: William L. Hulse, 1981/82 Chairman; Stan Timmermann, 1993/94 Chairman; Darren Padget, incoming 2020/2021 Chairman

The Oregon Wheat Commission works to enhance the profitability of Oregon wheat growers by communicating, educating, assuring markets and conducting and stimulating research. Oregon grows primarily soft white (SW) wheat in the vast expanses of Eastern Oregon, and in the lush Willamette River Valley.


SPOTLIGHT


NORTHWEST WHEAT STATES RESPOND TO DRAFT EIS

On behalf of the Northwest wheat-producing states, we strongly support the findings in the Columbia River System Operations Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), specifically the Preferred Alternative for the operations, maintenance and configuration of the Columbia River System.

Together, our four states produce over 500 million bushels of wheat annually. Much of that wheat is bound for export markets. Pacific Northwest wheat growers are uniquely positioned to access the global marketplace by moving grain through the Columbia-Snake River system to Portland or Vancouver, then onto foreign customers.

The draft EIS evaluated the 14 federal dam and reservoir projects that comprise the federal Columbia River System. It has taken nearly four years of analysis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration to put the draft EIS together. The federal agencies identified their Preferred Alternative in the draft EIS, which focuses on fish recovery using water management measures, including flexible spill, while balancing the need for hydropower production and water supply. The Preferred Alternative does not include dam breaching.

Our organizations applaud the approach taken in this comprehensive study and support the recommendations put forth. Continued improvements to fish passage at the four Snake River dams enable fish to pass the dams with remarkable success. Dams with navigation locks providing barge transportation can in fact coexist with fish.

Meanwhile, the ability to barge wheat is a pillar of our industry – it is also the most environmentally-friendly mode of transportation available. Over a period of just nine months in 2017, more than 3.5 million tons of cargo were barged on the Snake River; it would have taken more than 35,140 rail cars to carry this cargo, or more than 135,000 semi-trucks.

The four Lower Snake River dams alone provide enough clean energy to power 1.87 million homes. Eliminating the clean power and efficient transportation provided by the Lower Snake River dams would increase CO and other harmful emissions by over 1.25 million tons per year, the equivalent of adding more than 101,000 vehicles to the road.

We are pleased the draft EIS recognizes the Congressionally authorized uses of the river system for power generation, navigation, recreation, irrigation and a measure of flood control, all while working to bring the greatest benefit to fish through strategic operation of the system.


Clint Carlson, President - Oregon Wheat Growers League

Walter Powell, Chair - Oregon Wheat Commission

Jamie Kress, President
Idaho Grain Producers Association

Ned Moon, Chairman
Idaho Wheat Commission

Vince Mattson, President
Montana Grain Growers Association

Ryan Poe, President
Washington Association of Wheat Growers

Gary Bailey, Chairman
Washington Grain Commission



USDA Expands Market for U.S. Wheat:

Adds Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to List of States that Can Export Wheat to Kenya

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that, effective immediately, U.S. wheat may now be shipped to Kenya regardless of state of origin or port of export. This important step will allow U.S. wheat from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to be added to the list of states that can ship wheat to Kenya.

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Cap and Trade Legislation Still Not acceptable

February 13, 2020

Pendleton, OR - The Oregon Wheat Growers League has carefully considered SB 1530, the 2020 version of Cap and Trade legislation, and the many proposed amendments to the bill being considered by the Legislature.While there have been changes from last session’s HB 2020, that would delay some elements of the Cap and Trade system for some areas of Oregon, the fundamental provisions that are most troubling to Oregon’s wheat growers are essentially unchanged.

SB 1530 provides no significant reduction in Oregon’s carbon emissions but would eventually inflict large cost increases on all sectors of Oregon’s economy.Costs that wheat growers would be unable to pass on to our customers. As an industry with many centennial and sesquicentennial family farms, we are keenly aware that these delayed costs will eventually come due, including higher fuel and energy costs that increase further over time, higher costs for all our farm inputs, and higher transportation costs to ship our crops to markets.This is on top of significant regulatory cost increases, tax increases, and higher wage and benefit costs already inflicted on our growers by legislative actions in the last few years.

The global wheat market is hyper-competitive, and we are already unable to compete on price in many markets.Further raising our costs will simply drive wheat farmers, especially smaller operations and new and young farmers, out of business in the years ahead. We see no changes in world markets that will make us any more able to absorb these costs in the future than we are today.

We continue to believe that the money extracted, now or later, from rural Oregon and our natural resource industries will largely be redistributed on social programs that have little to do with carbon reductions or climate adaptation.There will be no funding for practical research to improve crop varieties and agronomic practices to further reduce our carbon footprint. No funding to reward growers for the work they’ve already done through no-till practices, precision ag, new technologies or any other innovations, and nothing to offset the real cost increases to our operations.

SB 1530 offers little true reduction in carbon emissions and no significant change in the trajectory of future climate change.We hope the bill will be rejected by the Legislature.We want the Senate to do whatever they can to block the legislation. If SB 1530 moves forward in the legislative process, it should be referred to the voters.

Oregon can do much better than SB 1530.We hope that this legislation will be defeated so we can develop a carbon plan that actually helps with climate change, strengthens Oregon’s rural economy, Oregon agriculture, and Oregon’s other natural resource industries.



Local wheat farmers at National Leadership!

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Local wheat farmers selected for National Leadership Program

Washington, D.C.: Clint Carlson, a Morrow County producer currently the Oregon Wheat Growers League (OWGL) State President, Brent Cheyne, a producer in Klamath Falls currently the National Wheat Growers Secretary and Erin Heideman, a Morrow County producer currently OWGL county president, just returned from the Syngenta Leadership At Its Best Program in Raleigh, NC and Washington, D.C.

Now more than ever, public opinion, government policy, regulation, and even consumer attitudes have direct impact on the way farmers and agribusiness operate.As a result, the need for effective leadership and advocacy for agriculture has never been greater.To help meet this need, Syngenta sponsors Leadership At Its Best program, partnering with ag organization to develop and prepare their leaders with a robust ag advocacy conference.

Participants experienced refreshed modules based on today’s leading thoughts, ideas and techniques while focusing on various aspects of leadership training and priority issues facing agriculture.The conference ended for the group on Capitol Hill with time spent using their recent training visiting with congressman from around the nation. “As agriculturalists, we know we need to tell our story and be advocates of our industry,” said Erin Heideman. “The Syngenta Leadership program helped give us the skills and confidence to actually do it.”

In addition to the National Wheat Growers Association, other organizations represented included the Agriculture Retailer Association, National Soybean Growers, National Corn Growers Association and National Agricultural Aviation Association. For over 90 years after Oregon wheat producers first came together to work for the common interest, OWGL remains hard at work promoting wheat interests and providing a means for wheat growers to work together. From advocacy work in Salem to providing key input on federal farm legislation, the voice of Oregon grain producers is being heard through the efforts of their Oregon Wheat Growers League.



A New Definition of WOTUS (from EPA Headquarters)

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule ends decades of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. For the first time, EPA and the Army are recognizing the difference between federally protected wetlands and state protected wetlands. It adheres to the statutory limits of the agencies’ authority. It also ensures that America’s water protections – among the best in the world – remain strong, while giving our states and tribes the certainty to manage their waters in ways that best protect their natural resources and local economies.

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USACE: New turbines improve fish passage

A newly-designed, fixed-blade hydroelectric turbine installed June 2018 at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam recently concluded fish survival testing. The advanced technology turbine is designed to increase power efficiency by four percent and to optimize the safety of fish navigating through Snake River dams. Testing showed survival of tagged juvenile Chinook salmon migrating through the turbine unit was 98.25 percent.

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U.S. Wheat Launches 40th Anniversary Campaign

ARLINGTON, Virginia -- On January 12, 1980, wheat farmer leaders with Great Plains Wheat and Western Wheat Associates officially merged to become one organization, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), to focus on building overseas demand for U.S. wheat. To mark its 40-year anniversary in 2020, USW has launched an outreach effort to recognize and celebrate the people who produce the wheat and their enduring partnerships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wheat buyers and wheat food processors around the world.

“This anniversary is a platform for us to reinforce our authentic story—that behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people,” said Steve Mercer, USW Vice President of Communications. “In online media, new marketing materials and face to face with overseas wheat buyers, we are going to talk about the legacy of commitment from farmers and the important partnerships that are a unique and differential part of importing U.S. wheat.”

The primary component of the USW campaign is a new landing page on www.uswheat.org titled Our Story.” The page includes historical background and profiles of U.S. wheat farm families and overseas customers. The campaign also features a new video that defines the value created by farmers, the U.S. wheat export supply system and the service the USW organization offers to flour millers and wheat food processors around the world.

“Many of the millers and bakeries USW works with overseas are also family-owned and going through the same generational changes as U.S. farm families,” Mercer said. “That is one reason why we will emphasize past and present connections between our farmers and customers in those stories, through our Wheat Letter blog and in Facebook and Twitter posts as we continue to update content throughout 2020.”

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service.

WATCH VIDEO!



Neonics and Chlorpyrifos information sheets



Be Road Safe!

To help keep both motorists and farmers safe, the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) Health & Safety Committee offers a video and free brochure with important tips on how to share the road safely with farm equipment.

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Related Important Links

OR-OSHA "Fighting farmland and rangeland wildfires" publication

Guide to Farm Trucking in Oregon – ODOT, online version

OSU Extension Cereal Newsletters – online reports by county


Crop Quality Oregon State Reports


Podcasts

Washington Grain Commission Podcasts


Worker Protection Standards

Web-Based Training for Trainers of Agricultural Workers and Pesticide Handlers under the National Worker Protection Standard (WPS) – Train the Trainer course – online, 24/7 training

WPS Compliance Assistance Library – A comprehensive guide with links to FAQ and more.

WPS: A Manual for Trainers of Ag Workers & Pesticide Handlers

PERC website – Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative

“How to Comply” Manual


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