I want to start by saying thank you to everyone that attended the Mid-Winter Meeting in Lebanon. A record number 160 guests attended, making it one of, if not the best attended winter meeting in the history of the OSA. We did get off to a bit of rough start with technical difficulties and a missing speaker (due to the government shutdown), but we were able to finish the meeting on time. There was a lot of great debate over some of the issues, which is very helpful guidance for the Board and gives us a better idea how you wish us to move forward.
Since the Mid-Winter Meeting in January, the entire Board has met to determine our positions of support or opposition on legislative bills that we feel could have an effect on our industry, both at the farmer level and/or dealer. The executive committee is conferencing weekly with the lobbyists from Pac/West to keep apprised of the status of those bills and to get strategic advice on progressing our own bill (SB 863) through the legislature. We will work harder to keep membership informed of any engagement we need from you, as well as the status of any actions we have taken.
OSA now also has a seat at the weekly Ag Lobby table—a group comprised of ag and natural resources lobbyists, such as the nursery, Christmas trees, etc.—thus helping us to continue building political capital.
On February 22, you should have received an email from me about a testing change that USDA APHIS PPQ was considering with regard to soil. With the help of our partners at ODA, ASTA, and the members who made calls or sent emails, the decision was reversed and it is back to business as usual regarding how phytosanitary certificates will be processed. Thank you to all parties involved.
Make plans to join us for the 50th Summer Convention at the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton, June 25-26. We will be kicking if off on June 24 with pre-convention golf at the Willamette Valley Country Club in Canby. That evening, we will host a Texas Hold-Em poker tournament fundraiser. Half of the proceeds will be donated to the scholarship fund and the other half will be paid to the winners. More players mean bigger payouts for players and scholarship recipients!
On Tuesday after business meetings, we will enjoy an outdoor reception honoring OSA past presidents, with musical entertainment by our very own past president Steve Tubbs. Wednesday will be the annual golf tournament during the day, with an evening banquet honoring as many as the past presidents and lifetime members that can attend, as well as a few surprise honors along the way as we celebrate our 50th year as an organization.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who joined the Board for the 3rd annual OSA advocacy day at the Capitol on March 4. Over 25 meetings were held with legislators to discuss how certain bills could have an effect on our industry. Our educational booth highlighted the lifecycle of seed from research to market, and brought many people by to ask questions and receive free flower seed for their gardens. A special thank you to S&S Seeds for donating the seed. And thank you to the labs for providing examples of testing in purity and germ tests, and Pure Seed Testing for turf samples.
If you have any questions about the content in this newsletter, do not hesitate to contact me or any other Board member. Thank you.