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League Letter Submitted for the Record

January 29, 2024 - The League submitted a letter for the record for the House Energy and Commerce Committee Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee hearing scheduled for January 30, 2024. The letter discusses the importance of the Columbia Snake River system for Oregon's wheat farmers.

A Snapshot of Oregon Wheat Board Members

Each month in 2024, Oregon Wheat Growers League will highlight a member of our board with a profile story about their background, their farm, and the difference they are making in moving the wheat industry forward in Oregon. We are proud of all our board members and the work they do to steward their land and improve their crop every year. Stay tuned as we unveil each story on our social media!

League Annual Report Published

The annual report for FY 22-23 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) is now available.

Summary Baseline Report: Evaluation of Utilization

January 22, 2024 - The baseline report is a key component in evaluating the effectiveness of federal conservation programs in Oregon wheat systems and identifying opportunities for Oregon wheat producers to participate in these programs. The evaluation is conducted by the Oregon Wheat Growers League and is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Innovative Oregon wheat producers have been at the forefront of activities supporting the long-term sustainability of their agricultural lands. Effective utilization of NRCS conservation programs helps wheat producers further that work. This report assesses wheat growers' engagement with NRCS programs. It seeks to understand opportunities for new enhancements better matched to the environments in which wheat is grown. The assessment also seeks to identify obstacles to participation in federal conversation programs, focusing specifically on NRCS programs. The intent of establishing the baseline report is to define the current use of programs and recommend pathways to make NRCS programs more accessible to Oregon wheat growers to allow them to further their conservation efforts. Currently operating wheat producers in Oregon were the subject of the evaluation under this baseline report.

Oregon Wheat Responds to River System Sessions

April 5, 2023- Oregon Wheat Growers League had the opportunity to speak on the critical importance of the Columbia-Snake River System during a recent White House Council on Environmental Quality listening sessions. “The forum was limited and too many were not provided an opportunity to express their concerns. Wheat producers depend on this river system and the future of our region should not be determined by a private process that excludes the public and the voices of agricultural producers,” said Collin Crocker, President of the Oregon Wheat Growers League.

Unlike previous efforts by the federal government regarding the Columbia River System Operations, this CEQ-led mediation process has not allowed for meaningful participation from the general public and stakeholders not party to the litigation. Oregon Wheat will continue to support a fair and balanced approach that considers the importance of a healthy salmon population while supporting rural communities and farmers and ensuring that our growers are able to transport goods in a reliable and environmentally responsible way.

Survey Released: Baseline on NRCS Program Use

March 22, 2023- One of the ways the League supports Oregon wheat growers is working on increasing access to federal programs. We released our survey to establish the baseline to understand how USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services programs are being utilized by our members and barriers to accessing funds. Please take a few minutes to help us by completing the survey here:

Million Tons of Wheat For Food Aid

January 9, 2023- Oregon Wheat joined with wheat industry partners to celebrate an important milestone: one million tons of U.S. wheat shipped for food aid purposes in calendar year 2022. The 1 millionth ton of soft white wheat was sourced from Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Oregon Wheat takes pride in joining farmers and industry leaders around the country in providing in-kind wheat food aid as a source of nutrition that supports those in need overseas and enhances our development programs. Read more from World Food Program on the millionth ton of wheat shipped in 2022 here.

Wheat Research Receives Congressional Support

December 23, 2022- Through federal Congressional support and League advocacy, the Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center in Pendleton will receive a much needed $700,000 allocation to complete facility maintenance projects. The funds are an important step in expanding the capabilities of the Center and will bring the current facility up to code with new safety requirements, fortifying the buildings for long-term continued use. “The economic sustainability of Pacific Northwest wheat production requires healthy research facilities. This investment to maintaining infrastructure and facilities at the Pendleton Research station provides critical support for USDA agriculture researchers who are working to enhance wheat productivity in low and intermediate rainfall zones,” said Amanda Hoey, Chief Executive Officer, Oregon Wheat Growers League. The Oregon Wheat League has been advocating for more substantial funding that will allow for the expansion of the facility to create space for more scientists and more research capabilities. That funding will build on federal funds that have been secured for the station in recent years, including a $2 million Resilient Dryland Farming annual appropriation, $1.5 million in soil health carbon funding and new funding for the Pacific NW Herbicide Weeds Initiative.

Wheat Industry Applauds Trade Confirmations

December 22, 2022- The Oregon Wheat Growers League, NAWG and USW welcomed the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Alexis Taylor to serve as the USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs and Doug McKalip as the Chief Ag Negotiator in the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR). Both were confirmed by the Senate the week of December 19th.

The League had pushed forward a resolution at the 2022 NAWG annual meeting to support "the timely appointment of qualified nominees to federal positions of key importance to the grower community and, when appropriate, urge the timely consideration of such nominees by the United States Senate." We also actively supported the appointments for both Alexis Taylor and Doug McKalip. Both play crucial roles in trade, foreign market access, and promotion opportunities for U.S. agriculture.

USDA Names Appointees to Oregon FSA

October 2022- The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced appointees to serve on the Oregon USDA FSA state committee. Each FSA state committee is appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the committee is comprised of three to five members, including a designated chairperson. Individuals appointed to serve on the Oregon State USDA FSA Committee are:

  • Katherine Minthorn - Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation of Oregon, Committee Chair
  • Vern Frederickson - Irrigon
  • Bryan Harper – Junction City
  • Denver Pugh - Shedd
  • Anna Sullivan - Hereford

Wheat is well represented within the committee with three of the five individuals connected to the Oregon Wheat Growers League membership: Minthorn, Pugh and Frederickson. Committee Chair Katherine Minthorn is a member of the CTUIR Tribal Farm Committee within the Tribal Farming Enterprise. Denver Pugh is a sixth generation farmer and owner of Pugh Seed Farm. Vern Frederickson has an ongoing connection to Oregon Wheat through his farm operations and League membership and has previously served as the Morrow County League President. “We are lucky to have individuals serving on this committee with an understanding across a range of wheat operations and a clear connection to our industry” stated Oregon Wheat CEO Amanda Hoey.

Variety Trial Data Available

September 9, 2022- All of of the 2022 winter wheat location variety trial reports are now available through the Oregon State University Cereal Extension Variety Trial program. The OSU Cereal Extension Program annually works with public and private breeders to develop a panel of new and upcoming varieties to test throughout the state and uses that data to help inform growers on the best options for planting.The program is funded by the Oregon Wheat Commission through grower assessment funds. The data is presented with the following notes:

  • OSU will not be releasing a report for the Walla Walla soft white winter due to high field variability, but reports for the hard trial and the Clearfield trial are available.
  • OSU will not be releasing a report for the Klamath Falls soft white winter trial due to variability stemming from the drought
  • The La Grande winter trial was hit by severe hail the in second week of August, which caused 60-70% yield loss in the trial. Varieties appeared to have different levels of hail damage, so OSU suspects that each variety’s ability to resist hail was a driving factor in final yield values. 2022 La Grande data will not be combined with La Grande data from other years in multi-year averages.
The full set of winter wheat variety trial data is available here.

Columbia-Snake Benefits Must be Maintained

August 25, 2022- Washington Senator Murray and Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced their recommendations concerning a final Lower Snake River Dams (LSRD) Benefit Replacement Report. They state their belief that while breaching the dams would help salmon populations, breaching should not occur until economic impacts, including substantial negative effects on the U.S. wheat export system, are mitigated.
Reacting to the report, OWGL President Ben Maney stated: "We are fortunate to have the hydroelectric power and low-emission shipping here in Oregon. We need to protect the dams that provide it. I appreciate that the recommendations included in the most recent report recognizes the necessity of the river system to ensure viable farm operations. We continue to oppose dam breaching as the benefits of barge transportation cannot be replaced."

The final report was released in August. While already identifying that costs would run in the tens of billions, it still required more information to incorporate the true costs to farmers and rural communities. The Pacific Northwest Waterways Association summarized the report outcomes stating that: “The recommendations recognize that more information must be known before dam breaching can truly be considered as a viable option moving forward. The recommendations also note that the services provided by the dams must be replaced or mitigated prior to any decommissioning or breaching, and that near-term actions across the basin are needed to help ensure salmon survival.”

We appreciate that the recommendations included in the most recent report recognizes the necessity of the river system to ensure viable farm operations. We continue to oppose dam breaching as the benefits of barge transportation cannot be replaced. The League submitted comments during the process and remains committed to advocate for our transportation system and investments that will improve the health and reliability of the Columbia-Snake River system. Read the full report at

Pendleton Flour Mill Loss

August 10, 2022- A fire reignited on Wednesday morning at the Pendleton Flour Mill. Grain Craft released a statement saying "Early (Wednesday) morning a fire erupted at the Grain Craft flour mill in Pendleton, Oregon. There have been no injuries reported and our focus remains on the safety and well-being of our team members and the surrounding community. We are supporting all authorities as they contain the fire and mitigate the damage where possible. We are still working to understand the situation, however everyone is safe, and we will update when we have more information."

Ben Maney, Oregon Wheat Growers League President stated that “We are heartbroken by the fire that erupted at the Grain Craft flour mill in Pendleton. These silos are a reflection of many years of hard work, time, and dedication from not only our wheat producers and their families, but also the team at Grain Craft Flour.” Read more from the Capital Press here and the East Oregonian here.

Farm Bill Priorities Issued by Wheat Growers

June 30, 2022- As Congress prepares for the next Farm Bill, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) shared their 2023 Farm Bill priorities. The Oregon Wheat Growers League (OWGL) expresses appreciation for the national wheat priorities and the active engagement throughout the process to establish priorities that reflect our needs and provide an opportunity for advocacy with our Members of Congress. OWGL supports members throughout the state who depend on the Farm Bill programs to manage risk and provide a safety net for producers, ensure market access overseas, and offer incentives for conservation.

OWGL President Ben Maney stated that “The NAWG priorities closely align with Oregon wheat priorities to advocate for the needs of our producers.” As lawmakers continue to review the 2018 Farm Bill and start crafting the next Farm Bill, wheat growers will be advocating for these priorities with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to develop programs that will help wheat growers manage risk, ensure conservation programs work on the farm and enhance U.S. trade that supports rural America. The priorities include:

  • Protecting crop insurance, to ensure growers have a strong and reliable safety net that provides assistance to wheat growers when needed in times of disaster.
  • Supporting the financial and technical assistance provided through voluntary conservation programs.
  • Increasing the reference price for wheat in Title I to cover the cost of production more accurately.
  • Enhancing USDA’s market access and development programs to enhance trade.

Continued funding for these programs in the upcoming Farm Bill is critical to maintaining the production of vital food crops, the productivity of our farmlands, and the continued flow of jobs, investment and tax revenues from our operations and supply chains. “From risk protection through crop insurance to enhancing market access, the Farm Bill provides essential support to wheat producers in Oregon,” stated Oregon Wheat Growers League President Ben Maney. “We are looking forward to working with our legislators on these priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill."

FDA Reaches Conclusion on Drought Tolerant Wheat

June 27, 2022- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reached the conclusion that it has no further questions regarding the safety of drought tolerant HB4 wheat developed by Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. The finding by the FDA is not an approval for this or any other transgenic wheat to be planted for commercial sale in the United States. To date, the HB4 wheat has been approved for commercial production within a closed system in Argentina only. The trait has been approved for human consumption by regulators in Brazil in the form of flour, and in Australia, New Zealand and now in the United States. Bioceres recently announced it will seek approval to plant HB4 wheat in Australia, but it has not announced plans to commercialize the trait in the United States.

With global demand for wheat increasing every year, the need to produce more wheat in sustainable ways is clear. Drought had already reduced world wheat supplies and pushed prices higher before the invasion of Ukraine cut off supplies from the world’s fifth-largest wheat exporting nation. A trait such as drought tolerance in wheat could help wheat growers in increasingly arid regions be more productive and ease food security concerns. Bioceres says the HB4 drought-tolerance technology has been shown to increase wheat yields by an average of 20% in water-limited conditions.

A joint statement issued by US Wheat Associates (USW) and NAWG notes that the U.S. wheat industry recognizes the benefits and value that can be created through the prudent application of modern biotechnology. USW and NAWG are guided by jointly approved “Wheat Industry Principles for Biotechnology Commercialization,” which lay out specific steps expected from plant breeding companies if they wish to commercialize transgenic wheat in the United States.In addition, USW and NAWG support the ability of domestic and overseas customers to make purchases based on their preferences for specific wheat traits, classes, qualities and characteristics.

Wheat Industry Welcomes Nomination of Doug McKalip

June 9, 2022- Yesterday, President Biden announced the nomination of Doug McKalip as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). “NAWG applauds President Biden nominating Doug McKalip to this critical role, and we encourage the Senate Finance Committee to work quickly in moving forward this nomination,” said NAWG CEO, Chandler Goule. “I know Doug very well from his decades of public service at the USDA, and he will be able to hit the ground running on day one. There are numerous challenges facing the United States when it comes to ag trade, but we are eager to see Doug’s nomination move quickly so he may begin important work at USTR to advocate for U.S. wheat farmers.”

“Trade is incredibly important to U.S. wheat producers, who export about half their production each year. That makes securing market access and the work of USTR critical,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman Vince Peterson. “We welcome the nomination and look forward to him being confirmed and in place to advocate for agriculture at USTR.”

Federal Disaster Aid Announced

May 16, 2022 – Today, the Biden Administration announced that it would be making a $6 billion disaster relief payment through the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Relief Program. The Emergency Relief Program is available to farmers to offset crop yield and value losses for crop years 2020-2021. The payments will cover losses from droughts in much of wheat country, excessive heat, hurricanes, winter storms, and other eligible disasters. FSA will be sending out pre-filled applications to producers soon with information about eligibility requirements and payment calculation.

The $6 billion in funding is part of a larger package of $10 billion that was included in the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which was signed by President Biden on September 30, 2021. Funds will be distributed in two rounds. The second round will fill gaps and cover producers that didn’t participate in or receive payments through the first round.

Oregon Wheat Applauds Nomination of Alexis Taylor

May 13, 2022- Today, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Alexis Taylor as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. Since 2016, Taylor has served as the Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The Oregon Wheat Growers League (OWGL) applauded the long-overdue nomination to fill this critical position. With 85 to 90 percent of Oregon wheat being exported to international markets annually, the role of the Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture has long term impact for the industry.

"Having an experienced advocate for Oregon wheat who understands the industry and the importance of robust trade markets is critical,” said Oregon Wheat CEO, Amanda Hoey. “As Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Alexis was effective, communicative, and responsive to the concerns of our wheat producers throughout the state. Having a collaborative leader willing to partner with the ag community as Director of the Department of Agriculture has been invaluable to our industry these last five years.”

The Under Secretary serves as the principal officer of the U.S Department of Agriculture, which plays a key role in developing and implementing USDA’s trade policies, oversees and facilitates foreign market access, and promotion opportunities for U.S. agriculture. The nomination must still be confirmed by the United States Senate.

“Like others in the agriculture community, the Oregon Wheat Growers League is excited and eager to see Alexis hit the ground running in this role that is key to the wheat industry,” Hoey said.

OR-OSHA Adopts Permanent Heat and Smoke Rules

May 11, 2022- OR-OSHA has released their final permanent “Heat” Rules. These rules are effective June 15, 2022 and apply to all public and private employers where an exemption or partial exemption does not otherwise apply. Employers are required to provide “heat illness prevention” training to all employees before they begin work that “should reasonably be anticipated to expose them to the risk of heat illness.” The rules are available here. OR-OSHA has also released final permanent 'smoke' rules which are effective July 1, 2022. A copy of the rules is available here. We will be scheduling training seminars shortly. Additional information and brief overview is available at

Wheat Industry Applauds USDA Food Support

April 27, 2022- Today the Biden Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are taking the extraordinary step to draw down the full balance of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) as part of an effort to provide $670 million in food assistance to countries in need as a result of Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The world is suffering from historic levels of global food insecurity, which is being exacerbated by the impact Russia's war on Ukraine is having on global food supplies. Specifically, this announcement will utilize the $282 million in the BEHT and USDA will provide an additional $388 million through the Commodity Credit Corporation to help cover the transportation costs. The funding will be spent on purchasing domestic wheat and other commodities as part of a food aid package to help feed people in countries experiencing food insecurity. The funding will also be used to cover the costs of transporting the commodities to their destination.

First Load of Tariff-Free Wheat Arrives in Vietnam

February 25, 2022- Following productive talks with the United States last year, the Vietnamese government eliminated a three percent U.S. wheat import tariff on Dec. 30, 2021. On Feb. 6, 2022, the first shipment of U.S. wheat purchased without a tariff arrived at port in Ho Chi Minh City carrying more than 68,350 metric tons of soft white and hard red spring wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains.

“With the import tariff reduced to zero, the Vietnamese buyer saved almost $1 million on this vessel load of U.S. wheat alone,” said Robert Hanson, Agricultural Counselor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Hanoi. “We thank the Vietnam government for ending the tariff, a decision that will hold the line on food costs and help make U.S. wheat more competitive in Vietnam’s growing market.”

“The Foreign Agricultural Service worked hard to cut this barrier and level the playing field for U.S. wheat in Vietnam,” said Vince Peterson, President, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). “Vietnam first reduced the U.S. wheat import tariff from five percent to three percent in July 2020. The talks continued until Vietnam published the final decree, and USDA and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced in November 2021 that the tariff would be eliminated.”Vietnam imports an average of about four million metric tons of wheat per year. Australia and Canada are large wheat suppliers to Vietnam and had enjoyed duty-free access to Vietnam for many years under regional trade agreements.

However, even with the applied U.S. wheat import tariff, Vietnamese millers doubled U.S. import volume to more than 520,000 metric tons between 2015 and 2021. In addition to soft white and hard red spring wheat, Vietnam imported U.S. hard red winter and soft red winter wheat in 2021. That returned about $130 million to U.S. farmers and the wheat supply industry. “Eliminating the U.S. wheat import tariff came at the right time for Vietnam given the run up in U.S. and global wheat prices,” said Peterson. “We will keep helping Vietnamese customers gain more value with the U.S. wheat supplies needed to meet the growing demand there for better quality wheat foods.”

David Prybylowski Appointed to OR Wheat Commission

February 22, 2022- The Oregon Wheat Commission welcomed its newest member, Dave Prybylowski, during its March Wheat Industry Advisory Council, Research Reviews and regular meeting. Dave will serve a partial term through June 2024, filling the position vacated by Travis Jones.

Oregon Wheat Commission Chair Jerry Marguth highlighted his appreciation for the service of Travis Jones reflecting that “Travis was a dedicated advocate for the Oregon Wheat industry. His background working with the Idaho Wheat Commission, then in the corporate world, made him an asset to Commission, particularly in our work with other entities in the state.” CEO Amanda Hoey echoed those comments noting the encouragement Travis supplied in external outreach. “Travis immediately engaged OWC in the World Affairs Council, introducing us to partners throughout the state concerned with matters of trade,” stated CEO Hoey.

Chair Marguth further welcomed Dave to the Commission during the March Commission meetings. “As I worked with Dave during his first meeting with the Commission, I am impressed by how he listens to issues and brings forth additional insight from his work in ag sustainability,” he stated. Dave most recently served as a consultant to the American Peanut Council, including representing the council at Field to Market meetings where the National Association of Wheat Growers is a member. He holds a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He spent 25 years in food and raw materials research and development and twelve years developing ag sustainability programs. He now lives in Bend.

“I believe my broad experience in large scale food processing, with other crops and in other regions of the U.S. will be valuable to the Commission. Since I have a talent in food processing and ag sustainability, I would like to use this to support the further development of Oregon Wheat,” stated Dave Prybylowski. ODA Director Alexis Taylor appointed Dave to the position at the end of February and the Commission welcomes him to his governance role.

House Members Call for Action Against India

January 13, 2022 – Today, 28 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai requesting the administration pursue a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against India’s domestic support for rice and wheat production. The United States has previously highlighted India’s non-compliance through counter-notifications at the WTO Committee on Agriculture.

Last month, Senator Boozman (R-AR), the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, led a parallel letter in the Senate. That letter included 18 U.S. Senators.

“Wheat and rice farmers rely on open markets and fair trade to facilitate trade, which plays a vital role in supporting our growers and jobs in rural America. NAWG appreciates U.S. Representative Tracey Mann (R-KS) and Rick Crawford (R-AR) for leading these efforts outlining the importance of open markets,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “It is important that as a WTO member, India adhere to international commitments and not continue to create unfair advantages for its domestic production and distort world trade. We appreciate the Representatives for bringing the issue to the attention of the Administration and will continue to work with the USDA and USTR in enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. wheat in the world.”

The letter states: “Trade distorting domestic support has always been a major challenge for farmers, and WTO rules were created to limit these practices. For the most part, the system has been successful, but there are repeat offenders, like China and India, where enforcement is necessary. Your teams have continually pressed India at the WTO to reform its price support program, but to no avail.”

OR Farmworkers Face Lost Wages /Reduced Pay

January 5, 2022- Oregon farmworkers face lost wages and reduced take-home pay if overtime is mandated over 40 hours Devastating to most of Oregon’s family farms.
A Coalition of Oregon Agricultural Organizations has released an economic report by Highland Economics LLC (“Economics of Agricultural Overtime Pay in Oregon: Potential Effects on Farms and Farmworkers”) to assess the potential impact of proposed changes to overtime requirements for Oregon agriculture. The results of the Highland Economics report indicate detrimental effects to both farmers and farmworkers.

Agriculture is critical to Oregon’s economy, as farming, ranching, food processing, and related industries are linked to over 8% of Oregon’s employment. About 5.7% of Oregon’s workforce is employed on a farm or ranch. The total market value of Oregon agriculture is over $5 billion, with crop production contributing approximately two-thirds and livestock, poultry, and animal production (including dairy) contributing the other third.

Labor expenses represent a large part of operating costs for growers of major Oregon commodities. Nearly 70% of the economic value of crop production in Oregon is from specialty crops (including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and nursery products), which rely on farm labor more than other types of crop production. Other top agricultural commodities include cattle, calves, and milk production, which have the highest farm labor expenses nationally compared to different farm types. Consequently, Oregon agriculture is more labor-intensive than agricultural production elsewhere in the United States, due to the larger share of labor-intensive specialty crops and the size of our dairy sector.

Source: Highland Economics survey of Oregon farm operators

Farm costs have increased significantly over the last 10 years, but farm income hasn’t kept pace. Most Oregon’s farmers and ranchers have faced significant challenges in the past 18 months that resulted in lost farm income. Complications range from drought and severe weather conditions to market access and shortages of skilled agricultural labor.

Nationwide, ag inputs and labor costs rose faster than the prices received for farm products. In the last 10 years, prices received by farmers have increased by approximately 9%, while fees paid by farmers for feed, seeds, fertilizer, chemicals, machinery, services, rent, and other needs have increased by 16%, cutting directly into profit margins.

Many agricultural commodities are traded on national and global markets where the farm producers are price takers, so farms will generally not be able to pass on much, or in some sectors, anything at all to consumers. Additionally, labor wage rates have increased the most in the last 10 years, rising by 41.5% nationally. Oregon farm labor costs follow that trend.

Facing changes to agriculture overtime, as well as rising costs of production and challenges over the last 18 months, farm employers may seek to maintain the viability of their operations by controlling labor costs, such as:

  • Employers may attempt to reduce hours qualifying for overtime pay to the extent possible through mechanization, crop switching, and switching to piece-rate income versus hourly to increase productivity with fewer hours.
  • Employers may try to hire additional laborers to reduce overtime pay, thereby restricting working hours for others.
  • Employers may reduce standard wage rates to offset increased overtime pay compensation.
  • Employers may reduce operation size, consolidate, or cease farming altogether.
  • Employers facing rising costs and decreased profits may lead to increased development of farmlands.

Most Oregon farmworkers are paid well above the state minimum wage. Data from the Farm Labor Survey for Oregon and Washington indicate that average hourly wage rates across all hired farmworkers in 2021 were between $16.87 and $17.44 per hour. The Oregon producers’ survey found a similar but slightly higher average pay rate for agricultural workers of approximately $18 per hour. Adding typical overtime pay at 1.5 times current pay rates will increase average wages to $27 per hour, which is not economically feasible for many family farms and ranches.

The reality is that many farmworkers already receive 1.5 times the regional minimum wage rate, yet the seasonality of farm work translates to lower overall annual income for many farmworkers. According to the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) survey for the Northwest region of the United States, the average farmworker was employed for only 35 weeks (67% of the year).

Agricultural overtime pay, as implemented in other states, is a precursor to what will happen in Oregon. In a 2020 survey of California farmworkers, over half of the surveyed workers reported that their hours had changed because of the overtime requirement, and 40% said they felt more pressured at work after the overtime law was passed. California’s experience indicates that the overtime law contributes to the acceleration of industry changes already underway: farm consolidation, a switch from high-labor to low-labor crops, increased mechanization, increased use of farm labor contractors and H-2A guest workers, and reduced agricultural production.

All data sources suggest that farmers will use various means to reduce worker hours and minimize overtime wages; the impacts will be varied. Some farmworkers will see their compensation rise (data suggests more skilled/ higher-paid workers), some will see compensation stay the same with fewer hours worked (but potentially higher pressure for increased productivity on the hours worked), and some will see their compensation fall or their jobs eliminated through increased mechanization/automation.

Across farms, total cash costs could rise by 6–12% on average. An increase in 10% of farm cash costs would reduce statewide net farm cash income by 32–47%.

If farmers were to reduce the hours expected to control costs associated with ag overtime pay, many farmworkers would face a gross pay decrease of 3–6%!

Contacts: Anne Marie Moss (Oregon Farm Bureau, and Curt Kipp (Oregon Association of Nurseries,



Oregon’s Coalition of Agricultural Organizations represents a diverse array of farming operations and agricultural commodities and was formed in response to the Legislature’s proposal to require farmers to pay workers 1.5 times regular pay for all hours worked over 40.

With a total market value of over $5 billion, Oregon agriculture is a significant contributor to the state’s economy, and over 96% of Oregon farms are family-owned and operated. Family farms and ranches face serious challenges – including some of the highest labor costs in the country – trying to turn a profit every year. Farming is a unique industry due to the time-sensitive nature of harvesting crops and the unique hours needed to tend to livestock, which is why farms have been treated differently for as long as wage and hour regulations have existed. Because farming is also unique in that these families cannot set the price of the commodities and products they sell, a steep increase in their already high labor costs has the potential to simply put family farms out of business. Because of this, if the Legislature’s proposed overtime mandate is enacted, farmers will be forced to reduce hours and take-home pay for farmworkers, mechanize their operations, and transition away from the specialty crops that define Oregon agriculture.

The last two years have been devastating for farm families and farmworkers. Now is not the time to burden family farms and ranches with an additional unsustainable mandate that will harm both workers and family farmers.

Gov Brown Appoints Wheat Producer to Board of Ag

December 8, 2021 -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown has appointed two new members to the State Board of Agriculture. The appointments for Miguel Lopez, owner of Red Dirt Vineyard Management Company from Carlton, and Eric Orem owner/operator of a diversified dryland wheat, hay, and cattle farming operation in Heppner, took effect on December 8, 2021. Each will serve a four-year term with an option to reapply for a second term. Lopez fills the board’s public member and Orem fills a producer position. The Oregon Wheat Growers League recommended Eric Orem for the producer position replacing Tyson Raymond on the Board of Ag. “As a first-generation farmer with long term industry ties, Eric will bring a realistic view of the impacts of the Oregon Board of Ag’s policies and programs to producers on the ground. He brings a needed Eastern Oregon producer voice to the conversation,” stated Clint Carlson, OWGL President. “The Oregon Wheat Growers League is pleased that he will be able to bring his leadership and perspectives to the Board of Ag.” Orem and Lopez serve as part of the twelve-member Board of Agriculture appointed by the Governor. The Board advises the Oregon Department of Agriculture on agricultural policies and issues. The League welcomes Eric Orem and Miguel Lopez to the Oregon Board of Agriculture.

Oregon Wheat Launches Stewards Series

December 1, 2021-- Oregon Wheat is excited to announce the launch of the Oregon Wheat Stewards video series. Each video highlights how farmers are investing in practices to preserve the land for future generations The short teaser videos are posted on Oregon Wheat's social media pages @OregonWheat for Facebook, @oregonwheatgrowers for Instagram. We invite you to like, react, and share them! The longer version video is posted to our website at Thank you to our sponsors and to McFarland Productions for supporting this video series that will be distributed to help those less familiar with farming practices understand how farmers act as stewards of the land.

League President Testifies Before House Ag

November 17, 2021--This week as part of November legislative session days, Oregon Wheat Growers League President Clint Carlson provided his testimony to the Oregon House Agriculture and Land Use Committee as part of a panel on the impact of natural disasters on Oregon agriculture. His comments reflect the near and long term impacts of heat and drought stress and emphasized the need for the state to: 1) Assure continued access to crop protection tools, 2) Voice strong support for federal programs essential for sustaining a safety net; and 3) Continue to advocate for support for research.

Vietnam To Eliminate US Wheat Import Tariff

November 17, 2021 --In an earlier announcement that the Vietnam’s government will eliminate a three percent tariff on U.S. wheat imports effective December 30, 2021, is welcome news to producers at home and their customers and wheat food processors in Vietnam. As U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) reported in August 2021, USW and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) appreciate the efforts by the Biden Administration, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance toward eliminating this tariff, which follows a reduction from five percent to three percent in July 2020. Vietnam imported more than 500,000 metric tons of U.S. hard red spring, soft white, hard red winter, and soft red winter wheat valued at $129 million in marketing year 2020/21, second in volume only to Australia. Vietnam imports an average of about four million metric tons of wheat per year.

Oregon Wheat Responds on CSRS

November 3, 2021-- U.S. Senator Patty Murray and WA Governor Jay Inslee issued a joint statement on “Establishing a Joint Federal-State Process on Snake River Salmon Recovery.” In response, OWGL President Clint Carlson stated: "The infrastructure along the Columbia and Snake river systems is critical to the entire region. It is essential for Oregon’s wheat growers to get our wheat to market in the safest, most economically viable, and environmentally friendly manner. We agree that investments to improve the health of salmon populations are needed throughout their lifecycle and should be targeted to those with meaningful benefits for salmon recovery. Substantial and ongoing investment to advanced fish passage solutions at the dams has provided effective results. Salmon recovery needs to avoid a single approach focused on destroying necessary infrastructure and instead look at the full picture of the issues impacting these populations." "We have engaged in transparent regional processes in analyzing these issues, such as the 2020 Columbia Snake River System analysis conducted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration. That process had robust public participation, rigorous scientific analysis and resulted in a conclusion that does not include breaching the four lower Snake River dams. These dams are essential to the movement of wheat and are necessary to meet regional climate goals. We are concerned that an individual state would propose to develop a separate process in which the outcomes would have a widespread impact throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

OWGL Comments on Climate Protection Program

October 25, 2021 -- The Oregon Wheat Growers League provided comments to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality regarding rulemaking to establish a new 'Cap and Reduce' Climate Protection Program. Read the comments in the pdf below.

$10B Disaster Aid Funding Passes in Legislature

October 4, 2021 -- Last week Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 3, 2021. The stopgap spending bill includes a disaster aid component, which provides $10 billion in agricultural disaster aid through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) in 2020 and 2021. The bill also includes language that would provide drought assistance to be triggered when counties experience D2 conditions for eight weeks on the U.S. Drought Monitor. It also includes previous causes of loss for WHIP+ and makes assistance for additional causes of losses experienced over the current and past year. Funds will be crucial in providing relief to Oregon farmers recovering from disasters.
Read more Senators Wyden and Merkley here.
Read more from NAWG here.

Redistricting Maps Approved by Legislature

September 27, 2021 -- Governor Brown called Legislators into a Special Session Monday, September 20th to address redistricting and approve Congressional and Legislative maps. Legislators were charged with passing new Legislative and Congressional boundaries by September 27th. If they had failed, the Congressional map drawing would go to a panel of five judges named by the OR Supreme Court Chief Justice and Democrat Shemia Fagan would be tasked with drawing the legislative maps. Those maps would have been due October 18th. If maps are challenged in the Courts, the Oregon Supreme Court could end up redrawing the maps, with a deadline of February 7, 2022. Giving candidates one month (March 8th) to file for the May 17th Primary.

Adopted Oregon Congressional Map:

Adopted Oregon Senate Map :

Adopted Oregon House Map:

In the end the maps advanced on party line votes and now head to the Governor for her signature. It is possible a legal challenge could still be filed against either/both maps. Detailed analysis provided (members only access) in our legislative reports section.

NAWG Responds to Advancing Reconciliation

September 16, 2021 -- Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committees advanced its contributions to the proposed $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, which included provisions to offset components of the bill. NAWG is glad to see that proposals to tax capital gains at death were not included in the committee advanced package, preserving stepped-up basis benefits. However, the current estate tax exemption will be lowered. NAWG CEO, Chandler Goule, said that he appreciated the preserving of tax codes that helped protect family farms from being driven out of business. He also commented that NAWG will continue to work to protect the tax code and educate on how it is important in preserving family farms. To read the full press release, click here.

USDA RMA Publishes Harvest Prices

August 31, 2021 -- USDA RMA crop insurance harvest prices for wheat are now available. Use the Price Discovery App here. RMA will use a price of $9.86 per bushel for conventional winter wheat and $9.21 per bushel for conventional spring wheat.

Fusarium head blight controls

August 27, 2021 -- If your operation has corn production as an opportunity, it is critical to consider breaking the disease cycle with a non-grass crop following corn. When possible, tillage following the corn rotation before planting wheat is highly encouraged to help bury and break down corn residue and reduce the inoculum source.

Watch the short field day video about Fusarium head blight or our latest update from OSU here. The document is compiled as a follow up to the video, and is aimed as an informational resource for producers who plan to plant winter wheat, directly following corn.

Vietnam Wheat Import Tariff Suspension Welcomed

August 25, 2021-- As part of a bilateral package announced in August during Vice President Kamala Harris’ Indo-Pacific trip, Vietnam will reduce or eliminate import tariffs on several U.S. commodities including wheat. The newly announced reduction follows one from July 2020, when Vietnam reduced its tariff on imported U.S. wheat (excluding durum) from 5% to 3% in a revision of its Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates. Vietnam is the last remaining Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) country applying a tariff against U.S. wheat imports but not against Canadian and Australian wheat, making the announcement particularly noteworthy for U.S. wheat growers.

Despite the tariffs, Vietnam’s imports of U.S. hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat exceeded 500,000 metric tons in marketing year 2020/21, second in volume only to Australia. Vietnam currently imports an average of more than 3 million metric tons of wheat per year.

The suspension was granted because of the dedicated work between USDA/FAS, cooperator organizations through US Wheat Associates and the Vietnamese importers who petitioned their government to reduce or eliminate certain MFN tariffs to help hold down rising food and feed prices.

See the full release here:

Magic Leads 2021 Plantings; Percent Share Lessens

August 25, 2021 -- Annually, the Oregon Wheat Commission compiles a variety survey, taking a historical look at estimated plantings across the state. For the 2021 crop, the survey for wheat and barley is now available on our website. Overall, the state had 86% of planted wheat acres to Soft White Winter, 7% to Hard Red Winter, 6% to Soft White Spring and 1% to Hard Red Spring.

On an individual variety level, while UI Magic CL+ continued to dominate the top of the list in planted acreage for the 2021 crop, the percentage share has decreased. With so many options, there are resources for growers in making the critical planting determinations:

  • View variety trial data to see what performed in relation to yield, disease resistance, and other controls.
  • Find the preferred variety brochure, with information of quality performance.
Read more and fine the full 2021 Variety Survey here:

USDA RMA Issues FAQs on Price

August 24, 2021 -- USDA RMA has issued responses to a series of "Frequently Asked Questions" regarding prices.

  1. Soft white wheat protein levels are really high this year, is RMA taking that into consideration and does the RMA price reflect the value of SWW at 10.5 percent protein instead of SWW value generically?
  2. In the Commodity Exchange Price Provisions – Wheat document, it states prices for the Portland Merchants Exchange (PME), soft white wheat are used to compute the winter type harvest price for crop insurance. I can’t find the PME prices, where can I look to see prices that RMA is using?
  3. How is the winter wheat harvest price determined?
  4. Does RMA have a tool that shows the winter wheat harvest price?
  5. Is the same price used across the state or other areas?
  6. I am an elevator and I reported bids to Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – are my prices reflected in the AMS prices used to establish the harvest price for crop insurance?
  7. Why don’t the bid prices reported by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) match the bids at my local elevator?
  8. Why is there sometimes such a large range between the low and high bid prices Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) reports?
  9. Does RMA plan to adjust the prices reported by AMS in early August higher, since these early prices are lower than prices reported later in the month?

View Responses to these Frequently Asked Questions.

USW - Biggest need is face-to-face contact

Darren Padget is ready for another year as chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates. But he hopes to meet customers face-to-face again.Personal contact is the biggest need in the coming year, he told the Capital Press from his combine in Grass Valley, Ore."We've got everything else going, the exports have been flowing," Padget said. "That never got interrupted. "U.S. Wheat, the overseas marketing arm for the industry, has been able to have limited contact with overseas buyers."But we don't have the board trips and the farmer-to-end user contact that we relish," Padget said.

Read More

Oregon Delegation Pushes Feds for More Relief

Oregon’s entire congressional delegation today joined with Western colleagues in the House and Senate to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to secure more relief for farmers, ranchers, and other agriculture producers in the West affected by historic wildfires, droughts, and extreme heat. Wyden, Merkley, DeFazio, Blumenauer, Schrader, Bonamici, Bentz: “Although the extent of damages relating to the extreme heat has yet to be fully determined, agricultural producers expect these impacts to be severe”

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, Suzanne Bonamici and Cliff Bentz, the Western lawmakers seek to open USDA relief programs up to more producers that have lost crops and livestock to the ongoing droughts, extreme heat, and wildfires.

In addition to droughts and wildfires, an extreme heatwave hit the Pacific Northwest in June with temperatures reaching as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In response, Secretary Vilsack issued several disaster designations, unlocking vital federal resources. However, many of the producers who suffered the greatest heat-related losses were either located in counties not covered by the drought designations, experienced losses not covered by drought assistance programs, or both.

The letter also encourages USDA to work with Congress to provide technical assistance as lawmakers craft additional authorities and appropriations to address the 2020 and 2021 seasons that include wildfire, drought, and excessive heat-related losses.

Wheat Research Funded By Oregon Legislature

The Oregon Legislature advanced the allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars directed by area Legislators. Senator Bill Hansell-R from Athena was able to secure critical funding for wheat research.

Oregon’s Wheat industry has been focused on a project to enhance its markets and competitiveness by expanding and upgrading the Oregon State University Research Bakery. Senator Hansell secured $100,000 for the project which will directly benefit eastern Oregon wheat producers, in cooperation with Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center branch of OSU’s Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, and all wheat growers throughout the state.

“This funding will allow Oregon’s wheat industry to seize new opportunities, enable a full spectrum cereal quality testing in-house and will ensure maintenance of grain samples in a food-grade-compatible manner. We are incredibly appreciative of Senator Hansell’s effort to prioritize wheat research,” said Amanda Hoey, CEO of the Oregon Wheat Growers League.

Senator Bill Hansell said “supporting Oregon’s wheat growers remains a priority for me in Salem. Our area growers need access to the best research and these funds will make a difference.”

RMA Strengthens Insurance Policies for Wheat

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced a final rule that provides wheat growers new options designed to improve crop insurance delivery and risk management options for producers. Specifically, these changes will allow enterprise units by type for wheat, which will enable producers to separately insure all the acres of a type of wheat in the county.

In October, Oregon Wheat Growers League advocated in favor of additional new Enterprise Unit options, with a need to assure additional options did not add cost for producers. The League supported enterprise unit divisions by practice and by type. While a change in unit divisions by practice was not included Small Grains Crop Provisions Final Rule, the League is pleased that RMA is expanding the availability to Oregon wheat producers regarding the enterprise unit by type (eg winter/spring wheat). The comment period on the rule is open for 60 days and the League will be expressing appreciation for the changes incorporated that support wheat producers and seeking to provide input on additional areas for improvements.

“Crop insurance provides a critical risk management tool for wheat growers and today’s announcement helps provide additional coverage options in areas where both winter and spring wheat are grown,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Previously, wheat producers could only get enterprise units for wheat, but this change breaks it out by type and prevents one type of wheat from impacting payments on another. Today’s announcement is welcome news, and NAWG will continue to work with its membership and RMA to provide feedback on how crop insurance can continue to provide additional flexibility and options to protect wheat growers and help manage risk on their operations.

Changes will be effective for the 2022 and succeeding crop years.

SB 590 Ensures Rural Lands are Fully Protected!

Senate Bill 590, a wildfire bill that expands protection options for cropland areas, passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support. The bill was a priority bill for the Oregon Wheat Growers League. The League thanks Senator Hansell, the bill sponsor, for his tireless efforts on SB 590 to ensure access to wildfire protection resources for all of Oregon’s wheat producing areas.

With the passage of Senate Bill 590, the state ensured the most efficient and effective use of limited resources to reduce the impacts of fires. The bill expands the areas that can be covered through a Rangeland Protection Associations (RPA) to include lands that are used primarily for cultivating crops. The legislature further extended resources to the Oregon Department of Forestry for additional positions to support the modernization of RPA’s and new RPA formation, providing access to assistance programs from the State Forester with organizing, training, acquisition of equipment, and insurance obligations.

Fire is a constant and annual threat to Oregon’s wheat producers, causing extensive damage to crops, farm equipment, structures, critical infrastructure, and livelihoods. The damages to Oregon’s wheat farmers from wildfire events extend beyond the immediate fire impacts and include sustained impacts from the loss of habitat, grazing land and vulnerabilities to soil erosion. OWGL President Clint Carlson stated: “We have been working since 2018 on a range of fire protection policies and supports following the devastating fires in our cropland areas. We appreciate the work of the legislature to ensure passage of this critical bill.”

The statutory change provided in the bill enhances coordination of limited fire resources for our rural communities and ensures tools are available to conduct effective fire suppression as safely and efficiently as possible. It is a big win for rural producers, especially Oregon Wheat Growers! OWGL is thrilled with the passage of SB 590 to ensure rural lands, including croplands, are fully protected.

Wheat Organizations Welcome End to U.S.-EU Dispute

ARLINGTON, Virginia -- U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) congratulate the Biden Administration and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai for resolving the long-running World Trade Organization dispute over aircraft subsidies and suspending retaliatory tariffs that were a barrier to U.S. wheat exports to the European Union.

Under the dispute, the EU placed retaliatory tariffs on non-durum U.S. wheat, which effectively blocked average annual imports of more than 538,000 metric tons of mainly U.S. hard red spring and some hard red winter wheat. Three months ago, the United States and the EU agreed to temporarily suspend all retaliatory tariffs and imports resumed almost immediately.

The agreement announced this week suspends the retaliatory tariffs for five years, pending how negotiations on aircraft subsidies go. That is welcome news for wheat farm families in the Northern and Central Plains.

For more information, visit the USW website .

USDA to Begin Payments for Producers by Disasters

More than $1 billion in payments will be released over the next several weeks starting June 15 for agricultural producers with approved applications for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program and for producers who have already received payments through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). These U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs provide disaster assistance to producers who suffered losses to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

Oregon Wheat Growers League actively advocated for resources to support our producers impacted by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including those suffering losses from devastating wildfires. I am pleased to see the release of additional funds to cover a portion of the qualified losses sustained by Oregon producers. The League appreciates dedicated staff at USDA-FSA who were able to fight for our producers.– Clint Carlson, OWGL President

Producers weathered some significant natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provided support for crop value and production losses through QLA and crop quantity losses through WHIP+.

Producers with 2018 qualifying losses: For QLA, eligible producers will receive 100% of the calculated assistance. Additionally, the second round of WHIP+ payments (40%) was for 2018 losses. The first round payment was 50%, which brings the total WHIP+ payment to 90% with this announcement. USDA noted that should additional funds become available, a third round of WHIP+ payments may be issued.

More information and to apply visit

Hessian fly pest alert!

There is one severe infestation that OSU Extension in Northern Willamette area has confirmed on Rosalyn winter wheat near Forest Grove and another less severe, but apparent, infection on Alturas spring wheat just south of Monmouth. Oregon State University Extension Service professors have visited these fields and/or examined samples brought in and confirmed that the Hessian fly is present. OSU sent an alert last week, and as more reports come in they will figure out how wide spread the issue is. The understanding is that neither of the spring varieties have Hessian fly resistance and that an insecticidal seed treatment was not used on the Alturas field.

Please contact your local extension educator for more information or to report any infestations.

Grower Feedback Heard!

Recently, Oregon was successful in securing a modification to an enhancement under the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) program. Conservation Practice 328: Conservation Crop Rotation “E328L – Leaving tall crop residue for wildlife” received a variance for very dry landscapes. For this specific enhancement, feedback provided by Oregon producers on challenges with the stubble height requirement in dryland areas resulted in USDA staff submitting a variance request for areas with low precipitation.

Through CSP, producers currently select from over 200 enhancements to address resource concerns in their operations. However, given the wide variation in landscapes for our wheat growing regions, there is a lot more opportunity for identification of new enhancements. In partnership with USDA NRCS, we want the program to work for producers in all of our wheat growing areas for that highest level of conservation and stewardship! OWGL encourages our member producers to be thinking ahead into next year and bringing forward ideas about other new enhancements – or modifications to existing enhancements- that would ensure CSP-Enhance can better work for wheat growing areas.

Talk with your OWGL county president and NRCS staff about what enhancements may be most beneficial for your environment and what could be proposed as a new or modified enhancement in the future. Growers know their environments and feedback to these programs for the varying areas is important.


United against SB 137-2 - NO MORE TAXES!

The Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Wheat Growers, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Oregon Dairy Farmers Coalition, Oregon Seed Council, Oregon Wine Coalition, Associated Oregon Hazelnut Industries and Oregon Family Farm Association have united against SB 137-2 which would tax emergency PPP loans given to businesses and farmers during the pandemic.

Read SB 137-2 here.

These groups signed a coalition letter of Ag and other business groups stating:

“PPP funds were intended to keep as many employees on payroll as possible when states were experiencing massive spikes in unemployment benefit claims due to the government-ordered business closures and other impacts of the pandemic. Congress was clear that these funds should not be considered income, and after the IRS issued a ruling that these funds would not be allowed as regular deductible business expenses, Congress responded by expressly fixing this unintended consequence with the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. A Surprise Tax Increase – SB 137-2 would require forgiven PPP loan amounts in excess of $100,000 be added back as “taxable income” for Oregon businesses that used the program exactly the way it was intended. It is an unfair, retroactive tax increase on Oregon small businesses at time when Oregon is already projected to bring in more revenue than ever before. The Legislative Revenue Office estimates this unnecessary tax increase will cost Oregon businesses $450-$600 million.”

NAWG President Responds to Joint Session Speech

Washington, D.C. (April 28, 2021) – Tonight, President Joseph Biden delivered his remarks before a Joint Session of Congress. NAWG CEO Chandler Goule provided the following statement in response:

“While the President addressed many issues of importance to the American people, we are eager to hear more about agricultural-related policies, specifically how we can improve farm program delivery and advance a trade agenda that ensures a level playing field for wheat growers. However, what our farmers saw in President Biden’s American Families Plan earlier today includes changes in the stepped-up basis, which raised a lot of questions in wheat country.

“We understand the American Families Plan’s goal is to target the ultra-wealthy and corporations who are able to evade taxes. However, farmers have several concerns about how changes to stepped-up basis and higher capital gains taxes on inherited assets could negatively impact families looking to pass along the farm to the next generation. Although the President’s plan says these reforms will be designed with protection in mind for family-owned businesses and farms, we want more details about how this would be achieved.

“The new administration plans to address climate-related issues by implementing environmentally-friendly practices. Last week, NAWG launched the new Special Climate and Sustainability Committee. The committee will work together to review wheat sustainable practices that benefit farmers in diverse climates and guide the development of NAWG policy priorities on climate policy. With the committee’s recommendations, NAWG will continue to work with Congress to educate the Hill on the progressive and sustainable tactics farmers practice every day.

“As the Administration considers a new approach on the world stage, let’s make sure that we continue to work on trade deals that develop, maintain, and expand international markets that keep American wheat producers in a strong position.

“NAWG looks forward to continuing to work with the Administration on ways to improve the livelihood of the American wheat farmer.”

Oregon Redistricting

4.9-21 - An Oregon Supreme Court decision today ensures the State Legislature’s role in the redistricting process is preserved and provides an extended deadline of September 27, 2021. The news was welcomed by both Senate Republicans and Democrats in press releases today.

Senate Republican Press release: Supreme Court Strikes Down Secretary Fagan’s Argument As Flawed, Sides With Legislature on Redistricting

Senate Democrat Press release: Redistricting Chairs Laud Oregon Supreme Court Decision

Biden Unveils Infrastructure Proposal

President Biden released his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan investment in the nation’s roads, waterways, airports, electric grid, and broadband. The package would invest about 1% of the GDP per year over eight years. A second economic proposal focused on human infrastructure is expected later in April. This infrastructure plan includes significant corporate tax provisions that NAWG is currently evaluating.

Find the Fact Sheet here.

USDA Announces Additional CFAP Assistance

On March 24, USDA announced additional CFAP assistance of $20 per acre for producers of eligible crops identified as CFAP 2 flat-rate or price-trigger crops beginning in April. This includes alfalfa, corn, cotton, hemp, peanuts, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets and wheat, among other crops. FSA will automatically issue payments to eligible price trigger and flat-rate crop producers based on the eligible acres included on their CFAP 2 applications. Eligible producers do not need to submit a new CFAP 2 application. For a list of all eligible row-crops, visit USDA estimates additional payments of more than $4.5 billion to more than 560,000 producers, according to the mandated formula.

NAWG and OWGL had advocated for the inclusion of wheat in CFAP payments. OWGL is pleased to see the release of these additional funds to provide critical resources for our producers.

Read the full press release here.

Socially Disadvantaged Farmers & Rancher

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Monday, April 5, announced the availability of $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The funding was made possible by USDA’s new Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, an effort to distribute resources more broadly and to put greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers impacted by the pandemic. Today also marks the reopening of FSA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) signup as part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Farmers and ranchers will have at least 60 days to apply or make modifications to existing CFAP 2 applications.

Cooperative Agreements

The cooperative agreements will support participation in programs offered by FSA, including those that are part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Interested organizations must submit proposals by May 5, 2021.

“USDA is committed to making financial assistance available to a broader set of producers, including to socially disadvantaged communities, and we know that we need partners to help make that happen,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “This funding will support grassroots organizations and public institutions as we support their producers. I am excited to see their innovative, results-driven proposals to help us reach our producers, especially those who have not taken full advantage of the available assistance.”

Outreach and technical assistance cooperative agreements support projects that:

  • Increase access and participation of socially disadvantaged applicants in FSA programs and services.
  • Improve technical assistance for socially disadvantaged applicants related to county committees focused on urban agriculture as well as FSA programs, including loan, disaster assistance, conservation and safety-net programs.

FSA will prioritize review of proposals that support outreach on CFAP 2. To ensure effective outreach during the signup period for CFAP 2, these applications will be reviewed immediately following the submission deadline for prioritized approval and project initiation.

Read the full release here.

Toolkit for Stakeholders

Protecting the Lower Snake Dams - Letter

We are a diverse group of stakeholders of the integrated Columbia Snake River System of dams and navigation locks that provide hydropower, transportation, irrigation, flood control, and recreation in the interior Pacific Northwest. The use and management of this remarkably important system impacts the lives of millions of Americans throughout our region.

We write today to raise our serious concerns with a recent proposal by Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho to breach the four Lower Snake River dams and provide compensatory and reconstruction funding to those who rely upon their benefits, which we understand comes with a $34 billion price tag. The four lock and dam facilities on the Lower Snake River between Washington’s Tri-Cities and Lewiston, Idaho were authorized by Congress in 1945 and are foundational to the Pacific Northwest economy. They enable clean and reliable power generation, irrigation of some of America’s most productive farmland, and safe and efficient marine transportation of agricultural products to global markets.

Read Full Letter

Employer Toolkit: COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Oregon Health Authority thanks you for helping your employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. Your partnership will help save lives. We are committed to sharing information with you as we continue to roll out Oregon’s vaccination program. Please feel free to customize this content for the workers you reach. You are an important part of the state’s effort to make sure workers have accurate information about where they can go for a
If you have questions about this toolkit, please reach out to the OHA Health Information Center at

Check for updates to the Communications Toolkit at

Helping Your Employees Get COVID-19 Vaccinations

Wheat Grower Orgs Welcome USTR Confirmatiion

The Senate unanimously confirmed Katherine Tai to be President Joe Biden’s U.S. Trade Representative with a bipartisan 98-0 vote last Wednesday.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Katherine Tai as the next U.S. Trade Representative. During the confirmation hearing process, Tai said she understands the values and rules that guide global commerce and the importance of enforcing those terms “vigorously.”

Most encouraging is Tai’s past work as a chief enforcer against China’s unfair trade practices under the Obama Administration and involvement in final negotiations for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Tai addressed these topics during her confirmation process.

“Tai’s confirmation comes at a crucial time for U.S. wheat trade,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “After seeing early, encouraging returns on the Phase One agreement with China, we are looking ahead as the WTO moves to the compliance phase of the 2019 dispute case won by the United States against China’s unfair administration of their grain tariff rate quotas. U.S. wheat farmers will also want Tai to hold China to the additional enforcement language in the Phase One agreement.”

Read more from NAWG & USW here.

Managing Wheat Stripe Rust in Eastern Oregon

Information in this article may be of interest to eastern Oregon growers who produce winter wheat varieties susceptible to stripe rust. The article summarizes the wheat stripe rust situation in eastern Oregon last year and discusses issues of wheat stripe rust management of relevance as we approach spring.

Wheat Stripe Rust in 2020
More than 70% of the eastern Oregon winter wheat acreage was planted to the variety UI Magic CL+ (hereafter called “Magic”) in the 2019-20 winter wheat season. This clearly set-up a scenario for increased virulence of stripe rust on that variety. Data collected from replicated trials (Table 1) show that high levels of rust on Magic in 2020 were specific to Magic and not to wheat varieties in general. Though Magic has always been susceptible to stripe rust, its degree of susceptibility was highly elevated in 2020. Table 1 lists stripe rust levels of some well-known non-Clearfield varieties in comparison to Magic, as well as rust reactions of more recently released two-gene Clearfield varieties that may be of future interest to Oregon growers. In the statewide soft white wheat variety trial at the CBARC station outside of Pendleton (Adams, Oregon), the susceptible variety Mary and the moderately resistant variety Stephens had substantially lower levels of rust as compared to the 47% observed on Magic. Similar, but even more striking results were found in an elite soft white winter trial at the “Ruggs site”, 5 miles east of CBARC, where much of the OSU wheat breeding work is conducted. Rust was generally low, yet averaged 89% on Magic.

Welcome Tom Vilsack Back to USDA

Wheat Organizations Welcome Tom Vilsack Back to USDA
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are pleased with the bipartisan U.S. Senate vote today approving the appointment of former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to that important post again under the Biden-Harris Administration.

“We welcome Secretary Vilsack’s return to USDA in a year that is projected to see record U.S. agricultural exports,” said USW President Vince Peterson, who currently serves on the USDA Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade. “We look forward to working with him again to continue building on the successful export market development partnership between U.S. wheat farmers and USDA.”

“NAWG applauds the Senate for its timely consideration and strong bipartisan support for confirming Secretary Vilsack to lead the USDA once again,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Like many farmers across the country, wheat growers are facing economic challenges, and we are pleased to see the Senate and President work to fill these leadership positions at the USDA with qualified candidates, so we can continue to work on policy that benefits rural America. Secretary Vilsack is uniquely qualified to head up the USDA, having served there previously, and has an exceptional understanding of agricultural and rural issues. We look forward to working with him and continuing to build our relationship with the USDA.”

OWGL opposes Idaho Congressman proposal

Oregon Wheat Growers League strongly opposes the proposal floated by Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson to breach the four Lower Snake River dams. The Columbia-Snake River System provides the most environmentally friendly and safest mode of transportation for getting wheat to market. The loss of those dams would significantly increase emissions, requiring wheat and other products to move from barge to rail and truck transportation, directly conflicting with our region’s climate goals. The Congressman’s plan to create a “Columbia Basin Fund” for regional economic and environmental transition does not address the harm that would be caused to both the economy and environment by his proposal. We join our partners in firmly opposing this proposal which targets the lower Snake River Dams and the long-term viability of our agricultural economy.

USDA Extends General Signup for CRP!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Signup period, which had previously been announced as ending on Feb. 12, 2021. USDA will continue to accept offers as it takes this opportunity for the incoming Administration to evaluate ways to increase enrollment. Under the previous Administration, incentives and rental payment rates were reduced resulting in an enrollment shortfall of over 4 million acres. The program, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides annual rental payments for 10 to 15 years for land devoted to conservation purposes, as well as other types of payments.

OWGL appreciates Senators Merkley and Wyden in their support of our Oregon wheat producers in seeking an extension to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) deadline. Early last week both Senators sent a letter to USDA urging them to extend the short CRP sign up by one month. The current opening of January 4 to February 12, 2021 has been difficult for producers to complete paperwork due to the current pandemic climate and lack of availability to meet with Farm Service Agency (FSA) in person.

Read the full press release from USDA here.

New wireworm control a 'game-changer'

OWGL received word last week regarding approval of a new wireworm seed treatment in Oregon. The new seed treatment that helps wheat growers kill wireworms was recently approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and a Washington expert calls it a “game-changer.”

Teraxxa, manufactured by BASF, was approved in mid-January by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in 2021, just in time for spring seeding. The ODA approved the label last week. According to BASF, the active ingredient in Teraxxa seed treatment, broflanilide, is a new class of chemistry that delivers a new mode of action to protect against wireworms. The product binds to the wireworm’s central nervous system, causing hyperactivity of nerves and muscles, ultimately killing the wireworm. Field trials showed 80-90% reduction in wireworms.

See BASF’s announcement.

Read more from the Capital Press.

Keep momentum going on trade for wheat farmers

Keep momentum going on trade for wheat farmers

With the United States bringing in a new administration, one of a different political party, some changes in trade policy and strategy could be expected. As the Biden Administration takes shape, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) encourages it to build upon the trade successes of the Trump Administration. Additionally, NAWG stresses the importance of coalition-building in pursuing solutions to trade disputes and to work towards restoring a functional appeals system at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Further, NAWG urges the Biden administration to advocate for wheat on the world stage by continuing to support export market development programs through the annual budget process and to work collaboratively to reduce trade barriers. The U.S. exports 50% of its wheat crop, making it a priority for America’s farmers, which should also mean a priority for the new administration.

Read more.

USDA, USTR Name New Agricultural Trade Advisors

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced the appointment of 67 members to serve on seven agricultural trade advisory committees. The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of senior representatives from across the U.S. agricultural community who provide advice to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on trade policy matters including the operation of existing trade agreements and the negotiation of new agreements. Members of the six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs) provide technical advice and guidance from the perspective of their specific product sectors.

This group of appointed advisors will serve until 2025. Applications are encouraged at any time and will be considered for future appointments. Application information and a complete list of committee members are available at

Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee appointment: Congratulations to Vince Peterson of U.S. Wheat Associates!

One Year Later - Phase One Trade Deal with China Producing Results for U.S. Wheat

Just over a year ago, on Jan. 15, 2020, the U.S.-China “Phase One” agreement was signed, leading to the eventual waiver of China’s retaliatory tariffs against U.S. agricultural products. Those actions opened the door again to the largest wheat consumer in the world after nearly two years in which U.S. wheat producers were all but shut out. While the final results of the Phase One agreement will not be written for several months, early returns show the agreement paid off in a big way for U.S. wheat producers and their Chinese customers.

The Phase One agreement contained both specific purchase targets for agricultural commodities, and structural changes to China’s import systems. To date, much of the celebration and criticism has centered on the purchase targets — with very little attention paid to the structural changes that in some instance resolved disputes decades in the making.

Read more.

Finalizing Quality Loss Adjustment in WHIP+

NAWG Applauds USDA for Finalizing Quality Loss Adjustment in WHIP+

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced that it has finalized quality loss coverage in its Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Cass City, MI wheat farmer Dave Milligan made the following statement in response: “NAWG welcomes the news from USDA’s Farm Service Agency that it has finalized quality loss coverage in WHIP+.

This new Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) is intended to help growers who suffered crop quality losses due to extreme weather conditions in 2018 and 2019. Many wheat farmers in the northern Plains and across to the northwest experienced significant falling numbers problems as a result of excessive moisture at harvest time.

“Congress included language and funding for WHIP+ to be expanded to include quality losses as part of the FY 2020 funding bill, with additional funding being added as part of the FY 2021 omnibus appropriations bill passed last month. From the onset of the disaster conditions and throughout 2020, NAWG worked with its state associations and other national stakeholders in engaging FSA officials by demonstrating the quality losses that were experienced and exploring options for WHIP+ quality loss implementation.

“The news culminates important work done to get needed support to impacted producers. NAWG is diving into the details of the program and looks forward to working with FSA and our producers during the sign-up period.”

More information on the Quality Loss Adjustment program is available on the website:

Newly Released BMP's Publication

Best Management Practices for Managing Herbicide Resistance, can be found here.

FY 2021 Omnibus and COVID-19 Relief Package Signed

On December 21, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed H.R. 133, the Consolidated

Appropriations Act of 2021, sending it to the President’s desk for his signature. The legislation includes all 12 fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, $900 billion in coronavirus relief, and authorizations.

The President’s signature on the extensive stimulus package and government funding bill agreed to by Congress included several elements for agricultural supports. Among those are an extension to a third round for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments. Included in the COVID-19 relief is an additional $13 billion for the agriculture industry, including $11.1875 billion to aid agricultural producers.

Other highlights:

• Supplemental CFAP payments of $20 per eligible acre for the 2020 crop year to producers of price trigger crops who meet a defined market trigger.

• Secretary of Agriculture may extend the term of marketing assistance loans to 12 months.

• Provides for additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) assistance and provides clarification that deductions are allowed for otherwise deductible expenses paid with proceeds of a PPP loan that is forgiven. Includes a provision establishing a specific loan calculation for the first round of PPP loans for farmers and ranchers who operate as a sole proprietor, independent contractor, self-employed individual, who report income and expenses on a Schedule F – these entities may utilize their gross income in 2019 as reported on a Schedule F – lenders may recalculate loans that have been previously approved to these entities if they would result in a larger loan. This applies to PPP loans before, on, or after the date of enactment, except for loans that have already been forgiven.

• FY 2021 Agriculture Appropriations also include several OWGL and NAWG priorities. Report language is included directing that no less than FY 2020 levels be spent on several ARS activities including resilient dryland farming.

OWGL appreciates Congress including the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, which will provide critical infrastructure improvements to maintain the flow of grain throughout the PNW.

Read the NAWG press release.

2020 News & Updates

Congratulations to Erin Heideman

Congratulations to Erin Heideman, the Oregon Wheat Growers League, Morrow County President, on her appointment to the DEQ Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) on Greenhouse Gas Emissions/Cap and Reduce Program. DEQ made two important additions to the RAC Thursday to provide representation for industries most affected by this rulemaking: adding a dedicated, experienced, and well-rounded agricultural-centered individual with Erin Heideman as our working lands/production representative and adding a well-known and respected face, Jana Jarvis from the Oregon Truckers Association, to provide representation for freight and trucking.

During DEQ town halls prior to the formation of the committee, OWGL members repeatedly reinforced the need to include working lands and production agriculture as a dedicated voice on the committee. We are pleased Erin will have the opportunity to serve in this capacity. Having a seat at the table to discuss the impacts of rulemaking on ag producers and rural communities is critical. The work of the committee includes making recommendations on program and policy options; Reviewing, evaluating, and suggesting draft rule language; and Evaluating the fiscal, environmental, and public health implications of draft rules.

All Rulemaking Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public and each meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to comment. Comments are only open for a time period during and following the meeting. Visit to learn more about how to comment and attend the meetings.

Rulemaking contact: Nicole Singh, or call 503-706-7210.

View here:

Congratulations- and thank you- to Erin for stepping up to serve on the RAC!

ODA Issues New Chlorpyrifos Rules

Oregon Department of Agriculture Issues New Chlorpyrifos Rules

ODA released their final rules for chlorpyrifos use in Oregon this week. The agency received over 1000 comments on the draft with the vast majority from the environmental and farmworker community asking them to go even further and supporting an immediate prohibition. The new rules significantly limit chlorpyrifos' uses immediately and phases out nearly all use by December 31, 2023 with few allowances in seed treatments and granular use.

Congressional Passage of GSRA

The House of Representatives passed the United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act (GSRA) of 2020, S. 4054. OWGL applauds both the House and Senate for their bipartisan work to move the bill forward and reauthorize the GSA through September 30, 2025. OWGL in collaboration with our national organizations of NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates have worked collaboratively over the last year and a half on this key issue of reauthorization, given the critical importance of the United States’ weighing and inspection system to our competitiveness in the world market.

Read more here.

Enhanced Coverage with RMA