Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Another spotted wing drosophila meeting planned

We just received the following announcement from Oregon State University:
On Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 1-5 p.m., Oregon State University will host a meeting to provide the latest information available on the Spotted Wing Drosophila pest which is threatening many fruits grown in California and the Pacific Northwest. The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Hotel at the Portland Airport and is open to all interested stakeholders. The session will include updates on research, trapping and monitoring, occurrence and available control measures from the perspectives of Oregon, Washington, and California universities, Oregon Department of Agriculture, USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Lab, and other scientists. A detailed agenda will be available by March 20; information on this pest can be found at http://swd.hort.oregonstate.edu/ where there are links to related Web sites. There will be no registration fee for this meeting.
Directions to the Portland Sheraton are available here.

Oregon, California growers sue to reopen South Carolina plant market

Nurseries can’t afford to let disease spread. They take seriously the threat of Phytophthora ramorum, commonly known as sudden oak death – and so does the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

For several years, APHIS has had rules in effect to protect ecosystems and plant material. Nurseries in Oregon and California have an outstanding record of compliance with these rules. That may explain why there is not one documented instance of a plant infected with P. ramorum making its way to South Carolina from either California or Oregon. However, in 2009, the South Carolina Assembly Regulation 27-78, which pertains to P. ramorum.

The regulation requires state documentation that doesn’t exist, effectively making it impossible for California and Oregon growers to ship any plants to South Carolina. As a result of these rules, plants valued at more than $1 million have been needlessly destroyed at owner expense.

On Monday, the Oregon Association of Nurseries and the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers sued South Carolina in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit (PDF) alleges that the rule violates the Plant Protection Act as well as the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and asks the court to overturn the regulation.

“Nurseries take very seriously the threat of plant diseases,” OAN Executive Director John Aguirre said. “Over 70 percent of Oregon's nursery sales are destined for buyers outside our state. Oregon growers cannot allow states to violate federal law in an effort to close their markets to our growers.”

Attempts to resolve the issue without turning to the courts failed. "We had no other option but to defend our nurseries from being cut off from their customers in South Carolina," CANGC Vice President Robert Dolezal said.

Read the full press release (PDF).

Friday, March 5, 2010

OAN secretary featured in lunchtime panel on workforce issues

There will be a luncheon on "Regional Competitiveness and Latino Integration: Developing Our Workforce," from noon-2 p.m. next Friday, March 12, at the World Trade Center, 121 S.W. Salmon Street, Portland, Ore. (Directions.) Keynote speakers will include Oregon Speaker of the House Dave Hunt and Portland mayor Sam Adams. Additionally, OAN secretary Gary Furr of J. Frank Schmidt & Son. Co. will participate in a panel discussion on "Workforce Development and the Latino Community." Joining him will be Wim Wiewel, president of Portland State University, and others yet to be named.

The luncheon is presented by the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, in collaboration with the Oregon Association of Nurseries, the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber and El Hispanic News. The cost of the lunch is $20. Advance registration is required. To sign up, browse the event Web page and then click through to event registration.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Energy audit program available through OSU

There's no question about it. Any form of agriculture, including the production of nursery stock, requires energy. And, energy costs money. Some may see that as a burden, which it is, but here's a chance to see it as an opportunity.

This spring, Oregon State University Energy Efficiency Center is offering rural energy audits, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Qualified, participating rural businesses can receive a comprehensive energy audit worth $1,480, and they'll pay just $370. As noted by OSU (PDF), "These audits are designed to help rural businesses and farms understand their energy use patterns and identify opportunities to save energy and reduce costs."

Eligible businesses must be a small agricultural producer located in a rural area as defined by USDA (see this PDF for more info). For more information on the audit process and program requirements, check out this information sheet (PDF).

This program ties in nicely with two initiatives currently being undertaken by the Oregon Association of Nurseries. OAN launched its Sustainability Initiative last summer as well as its Climate Friendly Nurseries Project (CFNP) (in conjunction with the Oregon Environmental Council). Several of the nurseries taking part in the CFNP have conducted energy audits, and all reported that they found ways to save energy and money.

In the June edition of Digger, we'll have more to say about sustainability, CFNP and energy audits. In the meantime, let us know if you decide to take part in the energy audits program.

Berry-producing plants headline the March issue of Digger

The baseball preseason has begun, spring is almost officially here, and best of all, the March issue of Digger has arrived!

This month's main plant feature (PDF) is on berry producing plants, which add beauty and encourage wildlife. We also have an article on "Defending your ground" (PDF) – meaning, the smart use of cover crops. And finally, it's time to meditate and study "Kaizen and the art of softwood propagation" (PDF). Learn how one nursery adopted Lean production techniques to streamline production, lower costs and reduce stress for employees.

Are you getting Digger? It is mailed free to qualified nursery industry professionals. Subscribe online, or call Debbie at 503-582-2004 to be added to the mailing list. Also, you can check out our back archive of Digger articles here.

If you want to advertise, here's the information you need. To learn more or sign up, contact Chris Sweet at 503-582-2012 or csweet@oan.org.

Growers urged to respond to USDA surveys

Officials with the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), Oregon Field Office, are busy collecting responses to two important nursery surveys: the once-every-decade 2010 Census of Horticultural Specialties (incorporating the annual Commercial Floriculture Survey), and the every-three-years Nursery and Floriculture Chemical Use survey.

According to Bruce Eklund, deputy director of the NASS Oregon Field Office, enumerators are trying to save operators time by combining the chemical use survey and the horticulture census into one site visit. Some 660 or so growers, fall under both surveys. Meanwhile, operators who only fall under the horticulture census received it in the mail earlier. Both of these groups still have time to answer their surveys. NASS officials will try to reach out to all of them over the next few months. Deadlines are more urgent for commercial floriculture operators, who are asked to reply to at least the Census of Horticulture soon as possible.

Eklund emphasized that it is to the benefit of growers and operators to answer the surveys that apply to them. The Census of Horticulture, he said, "shows the magnitude of the industry" as well as its issues, needs and economic importance. Likewise, he said, the chemical use survey leads more reasonable regulation because it "helps to educate EPA about the responsible use of pesticides." For details, contact Chris Mertz or Vernisha Bethea at 503-326-2131 or bruce_eklund@nass.usda.gov.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Enthusiasm reigns at the 2010 YGP Show

The Oregon Association of Nurseries is reporting a successful 2010 Yard Garden & Patio Show presented by Dennis' 7 Dees Landscaping & Garden Centers. The show ran Feb. 12-14 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., and drew some 25,000 people over its three days. However, the enthusiasm of the attendees may have been the true measure of the show's success. “This was truly a celebration of outdoor living,” event chairman Brian Baumann of Baumann Farms said. “I think more than ever we saw people lingering for extended times in the display gardens, walking the show floor with families and friends, and really being more participants than observers.” Read more here.