For Immediate Release: June 27, 2019
Contact: Blake Rowe, CEO, Oregon Wheat Grower League
Defeat Cap and Trade Legislation (HB 2020)
Pendleton, OR - The Oregon Wheat Growers League is absolutely opposed to the current Cap and Trade legislation (HB 2020) under consideration by the 2019 Oregon Legislature. If passed and implemented as written, it would be devastating to rural Oregon, to Oregon agriculture, and to Oregon’s wheat growers. As such, we appreciate all the legislators who have worked so diligently, but with little success, to amend this bill and reduce the impacts on agriculture and rural Oregon. With no other option available, we strongly support the decision of the Oregon Senate Republicans to leave Salem in order to block the passage of the bill.
HB 2020 provides no significant reduction in Oregon’s carbon emissions but would inflict large cost increases on all sectors of Oregon’s economy, costs that wheat growers would be unable to pass on to our customers. Higher costs, that increase further over time, for virtually all forms of fuel and energy and higher costs for all our inputs to the farm and higher transport costs to ship all our crops to our markets. This is on top of big regulatory cost increases, tax increases, and higher wage and benefit costs already inflicted on our growers by legislative actions earlier in this session. 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, new and young farmers, out of business in the years ahead.
The money extracted 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, 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.
Since HB 2020 will not significantly change carbon emissions and the trajectory of future climate change, our growers will still face all the impacts of the changing climate, in addition to the costs inflicted on us by implementing HB 2020. This is the worst of both worlds; costs from a bill that provides no real climate benefits along with the actual impacts of climate change.
We participated in the process to develop this legislation over the last several years, but found that our input about what would work for rural Oregon and Oregon’s wheat farmers was routinely ignored in favor of “experts” from California, Alberta, Washington, DC, and advocacy groups that know little about Oregon agriculture, have never grown a crop, operated a farm, paid for a $500,000 combine, dealt with disasters, lived through market crashes or any of the many other challenges that farmers face every day. A workable program for Oregon can’t be developed by not listening to those who know the most about the real Oregon.
Oregon can do much better than HB 2020. We hope that this legislation will be defeated so we can develop something that actually helps with climate change, strengthens Oregon’s rural economy, Oregon agriculture, and Oregon’s other natural resource industries.
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About the Oregon Wheat Growers League
OWGL is the primary representative for Oregon’s wheat growers; working to enhance the profitability of wheat growers by communicating with and educating growers and the public, assuring markets, conducting important research, and advocating for sound business, trade, and environmental policy.