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Comment on Worker Protection Standard Rulemaking

Posted on: December 8th, 2017

by Arwen McGilvra

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Grass Seed

By Arwen McGilvra –

To Garnet Cooke at OR-OSHA,

I am very concerned about the OR-OSHA WPS PROPOSAL. I am the fourth generation to live on my families Willamette Valley farm. The farm my great-grandfather bought after leaving the dust bowl in North Dakota. The farm my grandfather and grandmother struggled to keep going during some rough years when the economy of our country was changing and the way we farm was changing too. They were able to turn things around and now my uncle farms this same land. If we had not cared for our land it would not be possible to pass it down from one generation to the next.

The care of our land includes the responsible use of pesticides. Without these important crop protection tools, we risk losing our crop to slugs, glassy cutworms, mites, beetles, sawflies and more. We have always worked hard to responsibly use these tools and have worked closely with our extension agents to find new and better ways to manage them, utilizing current science and up-to-date information from Oregon State University crop sciences and on-site information from our farm.

The current proposal for worker protection standards for application seems to be driven not by current science, but by lobbying from environmental activists, and therefore my concern.

These rules would impact not only my families farm, but our ability to enjoy peace and quiet and the use of our own home, which is just steps away from the nearest field.

While I agree that allowing a “shelter in place” alternative is safer for workers than having them leave their homes or workplaces during an application. I wonder at some of the other language in the proposal. The storage of personal household items is particularly vague, and I am left wondering how much of our stuff would have to be put in storage. My family has lived here a long time and has never had to pack up personal items, secure door and windows, and turn off air intakes during pesticide applications before.

My grandmother is still living on the farm with us at the age of 92, and is in good health. My grandfather lived to be 95 and was in good health until the last couple of months of his life. Both have been on the farm for 50 + years. In all that time they have not felt ill effects from crop protection applications, and my grandfather was the one doing most of the applying. Neither has the rest of the family. Of course, when applying these crop protection products, we have always used personal protection equipment (PPE) we used what was available to us at the time (PPE in 1952 being much different than it is today,) and appropriate to current standards.

There is a lot more that could be said, but I will end with one last thought, Oregon-specific rules make Oregon growers less competitive. We want to see the farm passed down to a fifth generation this will not happen if Oregon farmers are at a disadvantage by burdensome and arbitrary regulations, that do not have a scientific basis.

Pesticide applications are already tightly regulated by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and off-target drift is subject to civil penalties. The current rules for application are working to protect our family, our home, our neighbors and employees. Any change should be based on new science, on understanding of our land and on corporation with farmers and extension agents.

I urge you to reject the current proposed rulemaking.

Sincerely,

Arwen McGilvra


OWA Positions State:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) & Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

·         OWA supports requirements for chemicals that are reasonable and realistic, at a set fraction of an unsafe exposure.  For example, medicine is allowed a 10% safety margin but 1% is common for pesticide application.

and Food Safety

·         Responsible use of crop protection chemicals (pesticides) is one of the important tools that have made this abundance and quality possible.  OWA supports continued use of crop protection chemicals.  OWA supports verifiable, scientific evidence to determine the benefits versus the risks before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (or any other regulatory agency) takes any precipitous action against their registration or use.

If you would like to submit a comment of your own use the Oregon Farm Bureau Advocacy Portal.

REAL Oregon Leadership Development

Posted on: October 12th, 2017

by Arwen McGilvra

By Helle Ruddenklau –

There is an effort to revive the agricultural leadership program in Oregon. There was a similar program about 18 years ago, which unfortunately only lasted for one year. The program will start this fall and consist of five two and a half day meetings in locations spread throughout Oregon. There will be one meeting each month starting in November and ending in March. Here is how the program is described in some of the promotional material I’ve seen:

REAL Oregon is an annual leadership development program that exposes a cross-section of representatives from Oregon’s natural resources community to the diversity of Oregon’s geography, economy and cultures through in-depth training. Not only will participants learn critical everyday professional skills, they will also gain valuable knowledge about other industries and perhaps more importantly, participants will be immersed with other classmates from around the state and will develop a unique and special network that will benefit them, and their organizations/ industry for many years after they complete this program.

REAL Oregon is designed for agricultural, forestry, and commercial fishing professionals, producers, affiliated industries, association staff, public agency personnel, and members of resource related boards, commissions, and associations. Class members will participate in one session per month at five different locations (from November through March) across the state learning important leadership skills while gaining an in-depth understanding of the natural resource sectors that define Oregon’s economy.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES:

  1. Improve personal leadership skills, enhance self-confidence, and develop agriculture and natural resource awareness.
  2. Encourage a network of leaders to take an active leadership role in community, state, and national issues.
  3. Promote Oregon’s Natural Resources and the development of strong rural communities.
  4. Continue to build a network of informed, trained and motivated rural leaders across Oregon.

It sounds like an outstanding program for some of our members.  Applications are closed for 2017, but put this on your radar for 2018.

You should be aware that the cost for each participant is $2,500 in addition to the cost associated with traveling to the locations and the time involved.

I will be part of the program this year, as well as OWA members Macey Wessels, and Andrea Krahmer. It would be wonderful if other OWA members would also join this leadership program.

OWA is OPPOSED to Ban on Aerial Spraying

Posted on: April 25th, 2017

by Marie Bowers

Oregon Women for Agriculture are opposed to Lincoln County ballot measure 21-177.  This letter to the editor was submitted to the Newport Times on February 21st by OWA Past President and Lincoln County resident, Deanna Dyksterhuis.

To the Editor:

The ballot measure language banning all aerial  spraying in Lincoln County is misleading. (Same for the flyer dropped on your doorstep Sunday, February 12.)

These “corporations” are families (some large and many small) who have been responsibly managing their farms and timberland for generations.

The class of pesticides used on small woodlands, farms and timber have been researched extensively for over 50 years with solid data proving they are safe (not harmful) when applied as directed.

These pesticides are formulated only for specific brush control and insects that damage trees.

There is a required buffer area of 60′ or more around all creeks, rivers and water sources.

These pesticides do NOT contaminate the soil.

In eliminating dense brush, the sun can reach the forest floor vastly improving wildlife habitat.

These pesticides are applied only on timber acreage, which do NOT include urban neighborhoods, recreational areas, neighbors who do not want their timber sprayed or waterways.

This ballot measure authorizes “any person” to “take direct action” for enforcement. This “action” is defined as “self-government”. This is not true. This is criminal activity outside the law. The proponents also demand immunity from “civil or criminal action”. In other words they cannot be punished for causing physical harm or property damage.

Vote NO on Ballot Measure 21-177

Deanna Dyksterhuis, retired farmer

From OWA’s policy positions: 

OWA supports the pesticide pre-emption statute that says that all regulation of pesticides can only be done at the state or federal level.

OWA supports current RIGHT-TO-FARM laws. This protects farmers and ranchers from complaints and legal action by neighbors who are irritated with noise, dust, smoke, odor, etc. which are an integral part of producing food and fiber.
 
OWA supports flexibility and choices by individuals as opposed to regulatory command and control in making management decisions.

2017 Oregon Women for Agriculture Auction Success

Posted on: April 17th, 2017

by Jessica Jansen

Nearly 1,000 guests from around the state attended the Oregon Women for Agriculture’s 30th annual auction and dinner on Saturday, April 15. Proceeds help fund year-round programs that educate the public about the many facets and values of Oregon agriculture, including Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom, the Summer Agriculture Institute and the truck wrap project.

Thanks to all attended and supported! See you next year!

For complete article about the auction, including photos visit the Albany Democrat-Herald story here.

 

1,000 Expected at 30th Annual Auction

Posted on: April 13th, 2017

by Jessica Jansen

More than 120 volunteers will stage the 30th annual Oregon Women for Agriculture auction Saturday evening at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center.

The organization, whose goal is to support and educate the public about the benefits of agriculture, hopes to gross $110,000 to help fund numerous statewide projects, according to President Debbie Crocker of Monroe.

“More than 900 people attended last year’s auction,” she said. “Our most recent ticket count has already topped 800. It’s fun to enjoy the great supper and fellowship with fellow ag people.”

 Auctioneer Mac Stewart will offer several new items this year, including a vacation package to a condominium in Hawaii, four 4-day passes to the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival; tickets to a Tim McGraw concert in Portland; and .17 caliber Henry Golden Boy lever-action rifle.

“We also have a very nice package from the Inn at Diamond Woods near Monroe,” Crocker said. “The lodge sleeps eight with four master suites. Golf is included, as is a tour of the Benton-Lane Winery.”

Crocker said this year’s Fund-a-Need project will sponsor truck wraps promoting agriculture. Shelly Boshart Davis said last year’s Fund-a-Need raised enough money to add five truck companies and six trucks. There are now eight companies and nine wrapped trucks in the program.

The wraps promote the theme, “Almost Everything Starts on a Farm or Ranch.”

Read the full article here.

Portion of complete article by Alex Paul, Albany Democrat-Herald.

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