Farm Bureau saves Christmas!

November 11, 2015


…Well, at least the business of Christmas tree farmers in Marion and Polk Counties that use helicopters for harvest.

At issue is a recently changed airspace designation around Salem Airport/Independence. On Aug. 20, the Federal Aviation Administration increased the designation of Class D airspace around the Salem Tower from approximately 5 nautical miles to 16 nautical miles. The rulemaking was a result of a biannual review that FAA undertook to address safety and topography concerns.

This change could have an enormous impact on the ability of pilots to operate anywhere within the enlarged Class D airspace if the weather was poor. This is because Class D airspace is designed to be controlled, and there must be full accountability of where aircraft are.

“Poor weather could effectively halt Christmas tree harvest by choppers that are located within the 16 nautical miles around Salem Tower,” said Gail Greenman, OFB director of national affairs.

Thanks to OFB’s work with our Congressional delegation, the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, local ag pilot Terry Harchenko of Industrial Aviation Services, and others, FAA has issued a revised rule that increases Class D airspace around the Salem Tower by only 1 mile instead of 11 miles.

“However, the proposed corrected rule will not be finalized until February 2016 at the earliest,” said Greenman.

That means that until February, helicopter and airplane operators are subject to the rule as it stands covering the 16 nautical miles of Class D airspace. And they must sign a Local Operator Agreement (LOA) with the Salem Tower to fly this year.

Jefferson Co. Farm Bureau proactive on spotted frog issue

November 5, 2015

frog2Photo: Members of Jefferson County Farm Bureau hosted two tours this fall to share with local, state, and federal lawmakers, conservation groups, and others about how farmers work closely with local irrigation districts to maximize water efficiency. Threatened lawsuits involving the spotted frog may jeopardize already limited water availability. 

Will the ESA-listed spotted frog become the spotted owl for Central Oregon? Not if Jefferson County Farm Bureau has anything to do about it.

This summer, two environmental groups— the Center for Biological Diversity and WaterWatch of Oregon — threatened to sue the Bureau of Reclamation and the North Unit, Central Oregon, and Tumalo Irrigation Districts under the Endangered Species Act, alleging that habitat for the Oregon Spotted Frog was being impacted. The groups want operations at Crescent Lake and Wickiup and Crane Prairie reservoirs to be changed to better protect the frog.

That’s a scary thought for farmers in Jefferson County, whose water availability is already stretched thin in the midst of an ongoing drought.

“Irrigators in North Unit, which is primarily in Jefferson County, have junior water rights. And those rights are associated with stored water in Wickiup reservoir,” said Kevin Richards of Jefferson County Farm Bureau. “With these potential lawsuits, there’s a threat that farmers will not have access to the amount of water we typically have.”

As of the writing of this article, no lawsuit has been filed.

In an effort to bring awareness to this issue — along with the challenges farmers face in a prolonged drought — Jefferson County Farm Bureau organized two tours to highlight the innovative work the North Unit Irrigation District and local farmers have done to improve water efficiency and conservation. The tours focused on the operations of the irrigation district and recent and ongoing efficiency investments and improvements, and also included visits to farms to discuss on-farm conservation practices in water use, soil management, and other environmental practices.

OFB Action Alert on wolf delisting

October 28, 2015


[ Oct. 30 UPDATE: ODFW officially recommends delisting gray wolf from state ESA throughout Oregon!]

The Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission is considering removing the gray wolf from the list of species protected under the Oregon Endangered Species Act (OESA). Oregon’s Wolf Conservation & Management Plan calls for the possible delisting of wolves when Oregon reaches the conservation objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon. This objective was met in 2014.

“When it was enacted, the wolf plan was negotiated between the state, environmental groups, and ranchers. Ranchers have honored their end of the bargain,” said OFB Director
of State Public Policy Jenny Dresler. “However, now that the population objectives are met, environmental groups are not honoring the commitments they made and are instead requesting greater protections for the wolves.”

What you can do to help:

1. Contact the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission and let them know that Oregon’s farmers and ranchers support honoring the state wolf plan and initiating the delisting process. Visit for help on drafting a letter.

2. OFB also asks farmers and ranchers to attend the next Commission meeting to testify about the impact of wolves on the health and safety of their animals and the
viability of their operation.

If you can, plan to attend the next meeting on Nov. 9 at 8:00 a.m. at the ODFW Salem Headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE in Salem — and share your story.


Court halts Waters of the United States rule

October 22, 2015


Check out this video by American Farm Bureau that explains why the WOTUS stay is great news — and what needs to be done to quash the government agency’s regulatory

[[ OCT. 30 UPDATE: Senate Action on WOTUS Expected Next Week

As early as the week of Nov. 1, the Senate is expected to schedule debate and votes on legislation to undo the waters of the U.S. rule finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. The Senate is first expected to take up S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation requires the agencies to withdraw the final WOTUS rule and re-propose a new regulation. If the bill fails to garner the necessary 60 votes for cloture, the Senate will likely take up S.J. Res. 22, legislation that provides for congressional disapproval of the WOTUS rule. That resolution will be considered under provisions of the Congressional Review Act and thus would require only 51 votes to procced with an immediate vote.

The House previously passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which also requires withdrawal of the WOTUS rule.

 Visit to send a message to your senators urging them to support legislation that would halt the WOTUS rule. ]]

On October 9, Farm Bureau was thrilled to hear that the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to stop enforcement nationwide of the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

This is very promising news and a testament to the work of Farm Bureau members in Oregon and nationwide who joined the Farm Bureau-led grassroots campaign beseeching the EPA to #DitchTheRule.

By making this order, the Cincinnati-based court recognized that this rule has serious flaws and cannot go forward until the courts have had an opportunity to understand its effect on farmers, ranchers, and landowners of all kinds, said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman in a statement.

“The judges expressed deep concerns over the basic legality of this rule. We’re not in the least surprised: This is the worst EPA order we have seen since the agency was established more than 40 years ago. The court clearly understood our arguments,” Stallman said.

The decision expands a stay that a North Dakota judge imposed in August, the day before the rule took effect, and that only applied to 13 states.

While farmers and ranchers are confident the courts will strike down this rule, cases like this almost always take years to win — and stays don’t last forever, Stallman noted. “So we again ask the Senate to pass legislation to nullify this rule just as the House has already done. Farmers and ranchers cannot afford to wait.”

To learn more about WOTUS, visit

Columbia CFB donates “Get Oregonized” to schools

October 7, 2015


Fourth grade students in Scappoose School District will be learning about Oregon agriculture and history out of brand new textbooks thanks to the generosity of the Columbia County Farm Bureau.

The group donated $1,500 worth of new Get Oregonized student history books to be placed for use in fourth grade classrooms. Otto Petersen teacher, Kristy Larson (left in photo) helped make the arrangements with the school.

Get Oregonized is a recently updated history book written for grades three and four as they study regions of the state and Oregon’s history. The text is designed to help students understand and appreciate the rich history, people and natural resources that shaped the state of Oregon. The book includes maps, illustrations, graphs and historical photographs that complement the easy to read and understand text.

“It is very exciting for us to be able to participate in updating the textbooks for the fourth grade students at Otto Petersen School in Scappoose” said Marie Gadotti (right in photo).   Gadotti is the Vice President of Columbia County Farm Bureau. These textbooks replace outdated textbooks from 1991.

“It is wonderful to see the Columbia County Farm Bureau dedicated to the education of Oregon students,” says Jessica Budge. Budge is the executive director of Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom, the non-profit organization who publishes the textbook. The foundation is committed to teaching Oregon’s youth about agriculture and natural resources so important to the Oregon economy and way of life. “School budgets are constantly dwindling and new resources like updated textbooks are often the first to go, says Budge. “When community groups step up like this, the students are able to learn and teachers are able to teach with the best possible tools.”

Get Oregonized highlights various Native American tribes, Lewis and Clark and the fur trapping trade. Important historical figures include Henderson Luelling, Asahel Bush and Abigail Scott Duniway. Also featured are regions of the state and their agricultural contributions to the state’s economy. From cranberries on the southern coast to grass seed in the Willamette Valley, and from wheat in the Columbia Plateau to ranching in Oregon’s high desert, Get Oregonized captures the state’s agricultural diversity.


More information about the textbook and information on how you can support this project can be found online at

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