USDA puts $15 million into drought relief for Klamath basin farmers
The Klamath Drought Response Agency was awarded a $15 million grant by the USDA to reduce demand for irrigation water in Klamath River basin of southern Oregon and Northern California. The money “will assist in allowing the limited amount of water to be used for practices that are vital to …
Oregon adopts heat safety rule to protect farm labor and other workers
In the wake of a heat wave blamed for the death of a farmworker, Oregon adopted an emergency rule on Thursday that guarantees workers rest breaks in the shade and plenty of cool water to drink during hot weather. Farmworker advocates called for the passage of federal protections against heat stress on the job.
As drought limits irrigation in Klamath Basin, feds offer aid
Growers in the Klamath Basin, in the Pacific Northwest, will receive the smallest amount of water ever from the federal government due to unrelenting drought, said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Wednesday. The water will be available around June 1, weeks later than usual.
Farmworkers on the front lines of coronavirus and wildfires
Few farmworkers in Oregon report getting tested for the coronavirus despite knowing infected people or being directly exposed to Covid-19, according to a survey of 200 workers across the state. And unprecedented wildfires are only make things worse.
In Oregon, an effort to build grassland biodiversity while helping ranchers succeed
In eastern Oregon, an experiment is underway to determine whether conservationists and ranchers, two groups often at odds, can work together to stave off development, support ranch economies and preserve biodiversity on the Zumwalt Prairie, America's largest remaining native bunchgrass prairie.(No paywall)
Across the country, a call grows for moratoriums on huge livestock farms
As the number of massive livestock farms balloons in states like Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska, communities are scrambling to figure out how to control the pollution and waste produced by thousands — or tens of thousands — of animals. In some places, officials have opted to ban the mega-farms altogether, and the idea of a moratorium on the biggest animal farms is gaining support in local governments, statehouses, and even in Congress. (No paywall)
Animal advocates sue Oregon cheesemaker, alleging false claims
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed suit against the Tillamook County Creamery Association, alleging it has misrepresented its products as being sourced from small-scale, humane farms.
Oregon joins Pacific Coast bloc for cage-free eggs
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a law last Friday that will require eggs sold in the state, whether they come from commercial flocks in Oregon or are produced elsewhere, to come from cage-free hens beginning in 2024. California and Washington State already have similar laws.
USDA identifies two Monsanto strains in rogue GMO wheat in Washington State
The GMO wheat discovered growing wild in a Washington State field this spring actually sprouted from two different strains developed by Monsanto, the USDA announced over the weekend. Genetically engineered wheat is not approved for cultivation anywhere in the world, yet "volunteer" herbicide-resistant plants have been confirmed four times in the U.S. Northwest more than a decade after field trials ended.
In Oregon, a failed mega-dairy spurs call for CAFO moratorium
The troubled tenure of Lost Valley Farm in Boardman, Oregon, a mega-dairy that housed 15,000 cows, has sparked calls for reform of the permitting process for such operations. Some farm and environmental advocates want the state to pass a bill that would issue a moratorium on new mega-dairies, …
Grocery-tax referendum in Washington state would block soda taxes
The three largest soft drink companies in America have donated more than 98 cents of every $1 given to a campaign in Washington state to ban local governments from imposing new taxes on groceries, including soda and other sugary beverages. Voters will decide whether to enact Initiative 1634 in a statewide vote as part of the Nov. 6 election, 10 months after a soda tax took effect in Seattle, the largest city in the state.
Iconic Northwest organic produce company sold, without selling out
Call it the paradox of the organic food industry: Small companies that position themselves as alternatives to mainstream food brands become popular, grow quickly, add employees, and eventually get sold — often to Big Food companies. Now one company is trying to avoid that fate by selling itself to what’s known as a purpose trust. No paywall
As a dairy scandal settles, a fight in Oregon about the future of farming
A scandal involving Lost Valley, Oregon’s second-largest dairy, illuminates a broader debate in the state: whether or not it should welcome more industrial, large-scale farming operations, and particularly large-scale dairies. No paywall
Reduce two more national monuments, Zinke says in final report
Days after President Trump cut 2 million acres from a pair of national monuments in Utah, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended reductions of two additional monuments, Gold Butte and Cascade-Siskiyou, to allow “traditional use” of federal land.
Oregon frets about NAFTA and Christmas trees
One in six of the Christmas trees harvested in Oregon is sold south of the border in Mexico, so state officials are keenly monitoring negotiations for the new NAFTA. If talks collapse or the United States withdraws from the free trade agreement, "it could result in Mexico imposing a retaliatory tariff on the U.S. and pivoting to Canadian suppliers," says Bloomberg.
California and Oregon urge feds to send relief to salmon fisheries
Officials in California and Oregon are calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division to release emergency funding after salmon fisheries were closed in both states.
Farmer group wants Interior to convene ‘God Squad’ over salmon
A group representing farmers in Washington State and Oregon is urging the Interior Department to convene the “God squad” — an interagency committee empowered to override the Endangered Species Act — over complaints that the act's protections on salmon are hurting growers and others.
Blogger releases sensitive info about Malheur occupation
Prosecutors in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge investigation in Oregon are calling on a judge to order blogger Gary Hunt to remove sensitive material about the trial’s informants from his website Outpost of Freedom.