Oregon agriculture leaders to be honored

Oregon’s agriculture leaders and innovators will be honored at the Agricultural Progress Awards dinner March 12.

The event, hosted by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, celebrates progress in agriculture made through partnerships among business, higher education and state government.

ODA Director Katy Coba will present the following awards:

Oregon Product Retailer of the Year:  Wilco, headquartered in Mt. Angel and the largest farm supply cooperative in the Pacific Northwest, for its service and support of Oregon agriculture.

Excellence in Marketing:  The Oregon Potato Commission, for its innovation and promotion of potatoes in local, domestic, and international markets.

Cooperator of the Year:  The Clackamas and Wasco counties Soil and Water Conservation Districts, for commitment to conservation and working with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to support its Agricultural Water Quality Program.

Excellence in Education:  The Summer Ag Institute, for its education of Oregon K-12 teachers about agriculture and its application in the classroom.

Individual Contributions to Agriculture: John McCulley of Salem, for his many years of leadership, promotion, and marketing efforts as administrator of several Oregon agricultural commodity commissions, associations, and organizations; Jim Krahn of Vernonia for his years of service to Oregon’s dairy industry as executive director of the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association; and Carol Mallory-Smith of Albany, for her work and research as a weed scientist with Oregon State University’s Crop and Soil Science Department.

The Agricultural Progress Awards Dinner will begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Spinning Room of the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill, 1313 Mill Street SE in Salem, preceded by a no-host social hour and reception at 5:30 p.m.

For more information or to register for the event, please contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture at (503) 986-4550 or visit http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/Pages/ap2014.aspx

Click here for the original article from the Statesman Journal.

John Patton joins Landmark Turf and Native Seed

Golf Course Industry  
January 29, 2014 —

Spokane, WA — Landmark Turf and Native Seed, a leading producer and supplier of high quality, value-added seeds for turf, reclamation, forage & cover crop use, announces the hire of John Patton as vice president of international sales.

Patton’s experience in the seed sales and distribution industry began while working on his family’s sod farm in Maryland. He then established his own landscaping business before beginning his seed career. Patton’s work experience in the industry includes Lofts Seed, Sunbelt Seeds, GreenTech, Seed Research of Oregon and, most recently, DLF Pickseed USA, where he was the vice president of international sales. Patton graduated from Virginia Tech in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy.

“The experience John is bringing to Landmark will be invaluable for the business,” says John Brader, co-owner at Landmark Turf and Native Seed. “His relationships and knowledge of the seed industry will help to propel us into new markets. He’s going to make a great addition.”

For more information on Landmark Turf and Native Seed, visit turfandnativeseed.com.

To read the original story in Golf Course Industry, click here.

Oregon slows the loss of farmland

A study shows Oregon is still losing farmland to development, but the pace slowed dramatically as land-use planning took hold.

Oregon continues to lose farmland to development and other conversions, but the pace has slowed dramatically since statewide land-use planning kicked in, a state Department of Agriculture specialist says.

Data from aerial surveys done every three years by the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service show Oregon has lost 700,000 acres of agricultural land since 1982, or about 4.4 percent of the state total, said Jim Johnson, land-use specialist with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

California has lost 2.6 million acres during that time, Johnson said, and Washington has lost 552,000 acres. Idaho figures were not immediately available. For the study, agricultural land is defined as land used for crops, pasture, rangeland or as conservation reserves.

Johnson said the impact of Oregon’s statewide land-use planning system is evident in the data. The system is intended to prevent urban areas from sprawling onto prime farmland, primarily through requiring cities to adopt comprehensive land-use plans and establish urban growth boundaries. While cities and counties may expand growth boundaries, the process is strictly defined, slow, contentious and subject to legal challenge.

The system has persistent critics, largely because it eliminates or restricts development options for many rural property owners, but there is no doubt it’s done what was intended. Travel outside any Oregon urban area and there is a sharply defined point where development ends and farm or forest land begins.

The loss or conversion of land for crops — usually the most valuable, flattest and easiest to develop — slowed as cities adopted comprehensive land-use plans in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Johnson said. Almost 400,000 acres of crop land was converted from 1982-87. About 60,000 acres of crop land was lost from 2007-10.

“You can tell when land-use laws kicked in, you can really tell,” he said.

Johnson said development pressure will continue in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, from Portland to Eugene, where most of the state’s people live and also home to extensive, valuable and diverse farming operations. As population increases and cities expand growth boundaries, “We’re going to lose a lot in the Willamette Valley,” he said.

Other rapidly growing areas, such as Hermiston in eastern Oregon, will face the same problems.

“Sometimes those cities forget why they exist in the first place — agriculture,” Johnson said.

Agricultural land also will be lost to “non-farm development” such as energy facility sitings, parks and recreation areas and gravel mining, Johnson said. The cumulative impact of such land conversion deserves attention, he said.

“It’s not just the footprint of the development, but the shadow cast by development” that has an impact on farming, Johnson said.

Click here to read the original article in the Capital Press.

Grassland Oregon Introduces Online Resource for Novel Seed Solutions

Grassland Oregon has launched a dramatically redesigned site which embodies its forward-thinking vision and commitment to the growing needs of today’s seed industry professionals.

The landing page is designed as a portal to keep visitors engaged and up-to-date with a wide variety of factors that affect the seed industry.  Included are daily updates on commodities futures, industry news, local weather, and the ability to choose a language of preference for viewing.

The site provides technical, yet easy to understand, information and research data on cover crop, turf, and forage seed products.  It also includes timely blog entries, research updates, an industry dictionary of terms and much more.  ‘We are continually innovating and fine-tuning our products and services to meet the needs of seed industry professionals” stated Risa DeMasi, Partner.  ‘The new site was the natural next step in our philosophy of providing novel solutions for growing concerns’.

Ongoing changes and expansions to the site are expected regularly as science, research, and our changing world bring new opportunities and challenges.

Click here to read the full press release (pdf).

Lawmakers reach deal on farm bill

Congressional negotiators reached a final deal Monday on a five-year, $500 billion farm bill that cuts $24 billion over a decade, with the largest cuts coming in the food stamp program.

WASHINGTON — Congressional negotiators completed work on a new five-year $500 billion farm bill Monday, bringing closer to an end more than two years of struggles over the much-delayed legislation.

The farm bill would save an estimated $24 billion over 10 years, with about a third of the spending cuts coming from the popular food stamp program. The proposed legislation also would mark the end of $5 billion in annual direct payments, increase the number of crop insurance programs available to farmers and require farmers to follow conservation compliance measures to receive subsidies.

The 41 House and Senate lawmakers on the conference committee completed the legislation Monday, with the bill expected to advance to a vote in the full House Wednesday. The Senate could act as soon as next week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday that the farm bill is one of his top priorities.

“We are so close to having a new bill that we need to concentrate on getting it done,” said Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat who is a member of the farm bill conference committee. “This is basically a sound, balanced, bipartisan bill.”

Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, said a farm bill is “desperately needed” to provide a stable source of funding for nutrition programs and give agriculture producers a strong safety net while allowing them to more easily make long-term plans.

“We support swift movement forward on this immensely important legislation, because so much is hanging in the balance when it comes to food production and food security of our nation,” Hill said. “We cannot keep delaying a farm bill passage; the time to act is now.”

Final passage of the farm bill would cap a lengthy process that has seen discussions collapse more than once, most recently last summer when the GOP-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate were far apart on how much to cut food stamps — officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The program is used by an estimated 47.5 million people. The House had been looking for nearly $40 billion in cuts while the Senate targeted $4.5 billion.

The compromise on food stamps was settled by farm bill negotiators weeks ago. Lawmakers are expected to cut about $8 billion during the next decade in food stamp spending by making changes to a heating assistance program used by some states to determine whether an individual qualifies for the SNAP program.

In some states, if a resident receives as little as $1 a year in heating assistance, they automatically qualify for an average of $1,080 annually in additional food stamps. The farm bill is expected to set the new minimum at $20, limiting potential abuse of the food stamp program.

Originally published by USA Today on 1/24/2014: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/01/27/farm-bill-deal/4947383/

OSU 2014 Seed Quality Management Workshop

May 1-2
May 8-9

Seed quality is a powerful biological technology.Oregon is the world leader in grass seed supply. To maintain that edge, there is a continuous need to strengthen our seed quality management in each and every step of the system including: seed field management, seed conditioning, seed testing, seed storage, and distribution. Furthermore, the world is becoming more competitive, meaning that we have to compete successfully with high quality seeds.

For these reasons, the OSU Seed Laboratory continues to offer two-day workshops in Seed Quality Management. In 2014, the workshops will be on May 1-2, and May 8-9. If there is demand, an additional session (May 15-16) can be added. Only 20 participants are accepted in each group to maintain the hands-on approach.

These workshops are most useful for grass seed growers, seed conditioners, and seed dealers. However, others who are interested in seed quality management in general, can also join us. The instructors are: Dr. Adriel Garay, Dr. Sabry Elias, Dr. Andrew Hulting, Mr. Dennis Lundeen, manager of Seed Certification, and the team of seed testing specialists from the OSU Seed Laboratory.

To register or get more information, please click here.

Phill Lindgren named Logistics Manager at Grassland Oregon

Risa DeMasi
Grassland Oregon Inc.,

Salem, OR, January 10, 2014 – Grassland Oregon Inc. is pleased to announce the hiring of Phill Lindgren as Logistics Manager. “As we have been experiencing rapid growth, it became imperative that we add an experienced logistics manager to our staff” stated Jerry Hall, President of Grassland Oregon. “We look forward to the wealth of knowledge Phill will contribute as we reorganize our shipping department to better meet the needs of our customers.”

Phill has over 24 years of experience in the seed industry, most recently as Logistics Manager at Seed Research of Oregon. ‘I am very excited to be joining the Grassland Oregon team and look forward to serving Grassland Oregon’s customers’ stated Phill. His expertise includes all facets of supply chain management including shipping/receiving, warehousing, and inventory control.

About Grassland Oregon Inc.

Grassland Oregon, Inc. is a leader in the development and marketing of science-based cover crop, turf, and forage seeds. With research locations across North America and exclusive global partnerships, Grassland Oregon is at the forefront in the development of products that deliver novel solutions for growing concerns.

For complete information about Grassland Oregon and their products visit: GrasslandOregon.com or contact Risa DeMasi at RisaDeMas@GrasslandOregon.com