2011 Legislative Priorities
Legislative Priorities- HB 2222
As we move into the New Year, we are excited to announce that pieces of the Agricultural Reclamation Act are going to Salem in the form of HB 2222, the Friends of Family Farmers Act of 2011.
MEAT and POULTRY:
1000 Limit Exemption for Poultry: This would align state statute with federal statute that exempts poultry producers who grow and slaughter 1000 birds or less from USDA or State Inspection. This would make lawful the sales of un-inspected poultry if the producer raises, slaughters and sells less than 1000 birds per calendar year.
MILK and DAIRY:
Expand the three cow/nine goat limit for raw milk producers who are willing to participate in a fee-based licensing program for facilities that process and distribute unpasteurized milk: Modeled after the State of Washington’s raw milk rules, this would allow for producers with more than three producing cows or nine producing goats to sell raw milk for human consumption legally if they have a milk producers and milk bottler’s license. This would not eliminate the three-cow/nine goat exemption for producers of raw milk who want to continue selling without expanding the herd. If operating under the exemption, producers would not require licenses.
NEW and YOUNG FARMERS/ FARM and LAND VIABILITY:
Allows property owners to earn farm deferment benefits if owner makes sufficient farming-related investments in the property: Currently, farmers are required to demonstrate they are making income from the farm for three consecutive years before there can be a change in the designation of land being used for agricultural purposes. This can be very costly for young or beginning farmers attempting to get a toehold with their agricultural business. If it can be well documented and demonstrated that there is concerted effort being made to build an agricultural enterprise from the land, a change in land use designation could take place in less than three year’s time.
ODA SUPPORT, CLARITY and COOPERATION:
Requires that two agricultural commodity producers serving on the State Board of Agriculture be persons engaged in marketing their products primarily for consumption within the state: Until there is true representation from small to mid-size farmers and ranchers who are growing food for their communities on the Board of Agriculture, there will be no change in the kind of support provided to this constituency by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Progress on Other Fronts
In addition to the legislative priorities outlined in HB 2222, we have been working other angles to accomplish some of the priority action items. There are also a few other bills we will be keeping our eye on this session as they support our mission and are outlined in the Agricultural Reclamation Act.
ISSUE: NEW and YOUNG FARMERS
- Oregon Farm to School and School Gardens: this bill will support the reimbursement of school meal programs for purchase of Oregon products and creates school gardens and a food-based grants program.
- The State Bank Initiative: this would provide low-interest loans for people who are not able to access capital through traditional lending sources.
- We continue to assist in partnership and transition options through our iFarm Oregon database and land connection program.
- We are working with Rogue Farm Corps and Rogue Community College to create an accredited program for on-farm internships that would provide a model for the state and be seen as safe and legitimate in the eyes of the Bureau of Labor and Industries.
- We have signed on as collaborators with Plots to Plates in Central Oregon as they work to establish a farm school and sustainable agriculture vocational program.
- FoFF is also working on the Southern Oregon Farmer Incubator Project with Thrive!, OSU Small Farms Program, and the Rogue Farm Corps in order to develop a comprehensive, three-year farm business incubator project for the Rogue Valley that can also serve as a model for the rest of the state.
ISSUE: ODA SUPPORT, CLARITY and COOPERATION:
- In October, Laura Masterson of 47th Avenue Farm in Portland was appointed to theOregon State Board of Agriculture. Nearly 30 farmers and ranchers from across the state took time to apply for this position, resulting in more interest and applications than they have ever seen.
- The ODA now has a “Resources and Info for New or Small Farms” web page up to assist new and small farms.
- They have also designated two specialists who are dedicated to helping small or new producers and processors with food safety issues. Read more…