Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Smart sprayer demo set for August 14

A team of researchers is developing a Smart Sprayer, which will be demonstrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 14 at Hans Nelson and Sons Nursery, 31020 S.E. Waybill Road, Boring, Oregon. The sprayer, which is still being tested, uses a laser to detect the height, width and volume of the plants in a row. With this information, it can adjust the application of chemical sprays, thereby saving on input costs. The team includes researchers from Oregon State University, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Ohio State University and the University of Tennessee. The demonstration is free and open to the public. For details, download the flyer (PDF).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

ODA issues emergency action on neonicotinoids

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has instituted an emergency action regarding the use of two neonicotinoid pesticides. The mandate is in response to a rash of bumble bee die-offs that have been reported around the state over the past several weeks. The emergency action specifically prohibits the use of dinotefuran and imidacloprid on linden and other Tilia species of trees — regardless of label instructions.

During its preliminary investigations into recent incidents in Eugene, Sandy and elsewhere, ODA has determined that inventoried products are still in wide use. The old packaging of these insecticides containing dinotefuran and imidacloprid are missing the bee advisory warning labels that were mandated this year.

Effective at the start of 2014, ODA imposed label language specifically prohibiting the use of products containing dinotefuran and imidacloprid for use on trees in the Tilia genus, which include linden and basswood trees. Additionally, effective Feb. 28, 2014, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated a revised label statement with a bee advisory box.

The emergency action stated that:
Some applicators that read old labels that are on products containing dinotefuran or imidacloprid are still applying such products to Tilia species, despite the substantial educational and outreach efforts of the Department. In June 2014, the Department received several reports of bee kills because of pesticide use on linden trees. The Department is currently conducting pesticide investigations, and documenting the active ingredients that are involved. The Department currently has two documented incidents of imidacloprid use related to bumble bee deaths. The first incident occurred when imidacloprid was foliarly applied to linden trees in bloom in Eugene, Oregon. The second incident occurred when imidacloprid was injected into linden trees (pre-bloom) in March and May in Beaverton, Oregon.

This temporary rule will protect pollinating insects while the department completes its evaluation and investigation of the incidents, and determines future regulatory action. It will also allow the department time to collaborate with Oregon State University bee experts, the Joint Interim Task Force on Pollinator Health (HB 4139), and federal partners including the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The emergency action will apply to all users, including professional applicators and homeowners. Failure to comply with the new rule could result in license suspension or revocation, as well as imposition of a civil penalty.

“Although we took significant steps last year to restrict the use of these pesticide products, we’ve seen more cases involving bumblebees attracted to blooming linden trees and pesticide applications,” ODA Director Katy Coba said. “In order to protect our pollinators, we feel it’s important to adopt additional restrictions.”

The temporary rule will be enforced for 180 days, thereby allowing ODA to complete its investigation of recent bee death incidents as well as determine any future regulatory actions. ODA is contacting all pesticide license holders in Oregon regarding the new rule and will continue to provide outreach and education on pollinator protection. Additional information can be found on the ODA website at http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/Pages/Pollinator.aspx.

Friday, June 20, 2014

ODA suspends tree care company's license over bee deaths

The Oregon Department of Agriculture issued the following press release today, regarding the recent bee death incident in Eugene:
The Oregon Department of Agriculture has suspended the license of a commercial pesticide operator based in Eugene following an incident that has left an estimated 1,000 bees dead at a north Eugene apartment complex this week. The action taken against Glass Tree Care and Spray Service comes as ODA continues to investigate violation of the Oregon Pesticide Control Law. The company must comply with specific conditions before the license will be reinstated.

ODA’s investigation has found that an employee of the company applied a pesticide product containing the active ingredient imidacloprid on the grounds of the apartment complex earlier this week, including 17 linden trees– the same tree species involved in bee death incidents last year in Oregon. The trees in the Eugene incident were in full bloom and attracting pollinators. Most of the pollinators impacted by the pesticide application were bumblebees. However, some honeybees were also found dead and dying following the application.

Last year, based on the high profile incidents of bee deaths, ODA adopted a required label statement on pesticide products containing imidacloprid and dinontefuran prohibiting the application of these products on linden trees and other Tilia species.

For 2014, labels on these products distributed into Oregon must state the restriction. Products with the old label are still in channels of trade and may be used, but not when plants are in bloom. Applicators using products with the older label are urged to follow the restrictions on the newly revised products. The product used in this case had an older label, which alerts the user that the product is “highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or residues.”

Because of ODA’s extensive outreach and education regarding pollinator protection over the past year, the department believes that the pesticide applicator should have been aware of pollinator activity and should not have used the product in this case based on the label statement.

As a condition of license reinstatement, Glass Tree Care and Spray Service must have its applicator in this case retake and pass examinations required for a commercial pesticide applicator; the company must cooperate with ODA, to the department’s satisfaction, in preventing or mitigating further harm from incident; and the company must provide to ODA a written plan describing how it will set in place policies or protocols to prevent recurrences of incidents involving pesticide applications to plants in bloom.

ODA will continue its investigation and will pursue additional enforcement action.

Glass Tree Care and Spray Service has been cooperative throughout ODA’s investigation.

ODA, in cooperation with Oregon State University, is monitoring the apartment complex site and will take appropriate steps as needed to minimize further impacts on pollinators. ODA has also contacted all pesticide license holders in the state reminding them of restrictions in the use of the specific pesticide active ingredients, imidacloprid and dinotefuran. Additional information has also been placed on the ODA website regarding use of these products at http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/Pages/Pollinator.aspx.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stone appointed to Task Force on Pollinator Health

Gov. John Kitzhaber announced the appointment of OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone to serve on the Task Force on Pollinator Health. The task force was created as a provision of the “Save Oregon’s Pollinators Act” (House Bill 4139); its job is to bring to the 2015 session new legislation to address the threat that pesticides pose to pollinator health.

According to the press release:
"So much of Oregon’s natural landscapes and agricultural lands rely on bees and other pollinators," Governor Kitzhaber said. "These large-scale die-offs are troubling, and we need to ensure we’re encouraging best practices across the state to protect pollinators and the people and plants that depend on them."
The legislation was prompted by several bumblebee die-offs in 2013 related to inappropriate pesticide use. The Task Force will study issues relevant to pollinator health, including pesticide regulations, public education and outreach, and best practices for pesticide management.
Representative Jeff Reardon, who sponsored House Bill 4139, said, "It is imperative that Oregon makes a strong commitment to protecting pollinators without making it impossible for farmers to do their jobs. I'm looking forward to working with this diverse group of stakeholders. I am confident they will work together to find solutions that all Oregonians will applaud."
The Task Force expects to begin meeting in June and will submit a report to the Legislature by October 1. Voting members represent one of eight interest groups specified in the bill. The legislation also requires one legislator each from the Oregon Senate and House of Representatives to participate as nonvoting members.
Also serving on the task force are Senator Chuck Thomsen (R–District 26), Rep. Jeff Reardon (D–District 48), Ramesh Sagili (Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University), Scott Dahlman (Oregonians for Food & Shelter), Aimee Code (Xerces Society), Christy Splitt (Oregon Environmental Council), Betsy Earls (Associated Oregon Industries), and George Hansen (Foothills Honey Company). The final spot on the task force, reserved for a master gardener, is pending confirmation.

Meetings are open to the public and will begin in June. For more information about meeting times and locations, contact Beth Patrino, Legislative Committee Administrator, at 503-986-1751 or beth.patrino@state.or.us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Willamette Chapter raises $4,700 at Ag Fest Plant Sale

OAN’s Willamette Chapter just made a sizable deposit into its educational fund — and an investment in the green industry’s future workforce.

The chapter raised $4,700 at its annual plant sale, which took place this past April 26–27 at the Oregon Ag Fest in Salem. The money will be used to grow and train a new generation of nursery workers. 

Over the past few years, the chapter has made several contributions to the Horticultural Program at Chemeketa Community College (CCC). To date, the chapter has contributed $17,500, which has been used to purchase a pickup truck, various tools and planting supplies, new benches, irrigation and HVAC systems.

For the third year, the chapter contracted with the CCC students to grow annual flowering baskets, which were in full bloom. “This is a good learning experience for the students and the public loves the product,” Val Tancredi, president of the Willamette Chapter, said.

The majority of the beautiful plant material sold at the event was donated by chapter members. The Willamette Chapter extended its thanks to the donors who made this another successful fundraiser: Adelman Peony Gardens, Alpha Nursery, Arbor Grove Nursery, Blue Heron Farms, Brentano's Tree Farm, Heritage Seedlings, Holden Wholesale Growers, J & S Farm & Nursery, Kraemer’s Nursery, St. Christopher Nursery, Tree Frog Nursery, Van's Nursery, Van Essen Nursery, Weeks Berry Nursery, Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas, and Youngblood Nursery.

The chapter also thanked the booth volunteers — Brenda Knobloch, Denece Messenger, Janet Poot, Victoria Ernst, Kyle Fessler, David Malcolm, Bradley Weeks, Robert and Eric Van Klaveren, Josh Zielinski, Val and Joanne Tancredi.

The chapter gave special thanks to Alpha Nursery and Brentano's Tree Farm for their help setting up and loading trucks, and to the members of the Future Farmers of America's Gervais High School Chapter for their help delivering plants to customers’ vehicles, watering plants and keeping the booth clean.

Small business loans for nurseries affected by drought

Small, nonfarm businesses — including nurseries — in 13 Oregon counties and neighboring counties in California are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are intended to offset economic losses caused by drought conditions in the following Oregon counties: Grant, Josephine, Baker, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Harney, Jackson, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wheeler. Neighboring California counties include Del Norte and Siskiyou.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million are available to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the drought not occurred. Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage.

These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for small businesses and 2.625 percent for private, nonprofit organizations, and a maximum term of 30 years. The deadline to apply for these loans is January 14, 2015.

Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

For more information, contact SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or log on to http://www.sba.gov/disaster.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Clint Smith of Four Mile Nursery passes away

We are saddened to report the passing of Clint Smith of Four Mile Nursery in Canby, Ore. He died Saturday, May 3, 2014, at home, following a long battle with prostate cancer.

He was born August 15, 1942 in Oregon City, Ore. to Evelyn and Howard Smith. He grew up in Canby, graduating from Canby High School in 1960. In 1962, he married his childhood sweetheart, Linda. He attended both Oregon State University and Portland State University, where he graduated in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing.

He joined the family business, Four Mile Nursery, in 1972. His father, Howard, had established the business 20 years earlier. Clint was active on several industry and non-industry boards, groups and associations. He served as President of the Clackamas Chapter of the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) and was on the Executive Committee from 1992 to 1998. He was president of the OAN from 1996 to 1997.

He was recognized throughout the industry for his hard work and dedication. He was awarded the 1994 President’s 5-Star Award; 1997 Voice of the Industry Award, 1998 Political Awareness Award, 1999 Clayton Hannon Distinguished Service Award and 2001 Pacific Coast Nurseryman Outstanding Service Award. In 2003 he was awarded an OAN Honorary Life Membership.

Clint was appointed in 1999 to the Oregon Board of Agriculture by Governor John Kitzhaber and later served as chairman. He also served as lieutenant governor of the American Nursery and Landscape Association for the state of Oregon. In 2006 Clint was inducted into the Oregon Nurseries’ Hall of Fame, becoming one of just 38 individuals to date who have been so honored.

Clint’s pride and joy was his family, and he was proud to see his son, Ryan, pursue the family business. He loved spending time with his grandchildren. You could count on seeing a sparkle in his eye when the grandkids were around. He enjoyed spending winters in Palm Desert, Calif., and golfing with his friends at the Oasis Country Club.

He is survived by his wife, Linda; mother, Evelyn Smith; sister, Linda Buelna; children, Jenni Beatty, Jill Guinosso and Ryan Smith; their spouses, Phil Beatty, Dave Guinosso and Corey Smith; and grandchildren, Bryce, Cortney and Kaitlyn Beatty; Katie and Ellie Guinosso; and Ainslee and Dani Smith.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 10, 2014 at Zoar Lutheran Church, 190 S.W. Third St., Canby. Memorial donations may be made to the Zoar Lutheran Church building fund.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Judge sides with growers in 'hot goods' issue

A federal judge has confirmed an earlier ruling that two Oregon blueberry farmers were coerced into signing a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor over alleged labor law violations. According to the ruling, the farmers had little choice but to sign the agreements, because the department had impounded "hot goods." Without an immediate settlement, these goods would have spoiled. Consequently, the judge has vacated the settlement. It was deemed a big victory for blueberry growers, and also the U.S. Farm Bureau, which has lent the farmers critical support in the case. The OAN, which has several blueberry shrub growers as members, has also monitored the issue and worked towards a resolution. Despite the loss in court, Department of Labor has not ruled out an appeal. The Capital Press agricultural newspaper (Salem, Oregon) has coverage here.

Oregon launches loan program for young farmers

Demographic tides are moving farmers, as a group, in an older direction.

The average U.S. farmer is now 59.6 years old — up from 57.5 in 2007 and 54.9 in 2002. Oregon is not immune to this trend; in fact, Oregon farmers are, on average, even older. It's a trend that state officials and industry leaders would like to see reversed. After all, future farms will need people who are qualified and skilled at running them.

Enter the Beginning and Expanding Farmer Loan Program.

This program, otherwise known as the Aggie Loan program for short, has existed in various other states. Now, thanks to action by the 2013 Oregon Legislature, it is coming to Oregon. The idea is to encourage young people to farm, by helping them overcome the significant capital hurdles needed to get their business going.

From an Oregon Department of Agriculture press release:
“We recognize the challenges faced by young or beginning farmers and smaller farm operators who just don’t have the money to move forward,” says Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba. “It takes capital to succeed in agriculture. These farmers are able and willing to do all that it takes to have a viable operation, they just need a financial shot in the arm. The Aggie Bond Program can be an effective tool to make it happen.”

Borrowers must get through a qualification process, just like any other bank loan. Proceeds can be used for land, equipment, livestock and other needs, including the purchase of the business from parents or relatives seeking to hand off the family business.

Those interested in this program can find more information here, and the application here (PDF).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Extension workshop on April 29 to cover biological controls

For those interested in using biological control to manage pests in the greenhouse or nursery, Oregon State University will be hosting an all-day program titled Bugs in the System from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29 at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (15210 NE Miley Rd., Aurora, Ore.).

Those attending will learn how to use biological control for aphids, fungus gnats, whiteflies, thrips and spider mites, and meet with growers, consultants and biological control suppliers. The class size is being kept limited, so that those participating can get personal attention and have their questions answered.

The cost is $25, which includes lunch. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. To learn more, download the flyer (PDF). To register, contact Jan Egli at 503-678-1264 ext. 110 or jan.egli@oregonstate.edu.