Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, January 30, 2015, Page 3, Image 3

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    January 30, 2015
E. Oregon ranchers get more latitude to kill wolves
Annual survey
shows population
milestone met
Capital Press
An annual wolf population
survey shows seven breeding
pairs in Oregon, enough to
meet the state’s conservation
objective in Eastern Oregon
and to give ranchers more lee-
way to protect livestock.
The Oregon Department of
Fish and Wildlife, which reg-
ulates the state’s wolf recov-
ery plan, said the survey count
is a milestone.
“In the past seven years,
Oregon has gone from no
known wolves, to resident
and reproducing wolves, and
now to meeting our conser-
vation objective for the east-
ern part of the state,” ODFW
Courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
OR-7, the wolf that wandered to the Rogue River drainage from
northeastern Oregon, is seen in this file photo. An annual wolf
population survey shows seven breeding pairs in Oregon, enough
to meet the state’s conservation objective in Eastern Oregon and
to give ranchers more leeway to protect livestock.
wolf program coordinator
Russ Morgan said in prepared
The count moves Oregon’s
wolf plan, at least in Eastern
Oregon, to Phase 2. Livestock
owners are still encouraged to
use non-lethal means to pro-
tect livestock, but now may
shoot wolves that are chasing
livestock. Previously, produc-
ers could shoot wolves only if
they were “biting, wounding
or killing” livestock or work-
ing dogs, and then only if oth-
er conditions were met.
Todd Nash, a Wallowa
County rancher and chairman
of the Oregon Cattlemen’s
Association wolf committee,
told the East Oregonian it is
highly unlikely for produc-
ers to actually catch a wolf
causing trouble in the pas-
ture. The rule does, however,
make them feel a little more
empowered than they were
“We didn’t want wolves
to begin with,” Nash said.
“We’re trying to get along as
best we can in the political cli-
mate we live in.”
The next step in Oregon’s
wolf management may in-
clude removing wolves from
the state endangered species
list. Nash said the state Fish
and Wildlife Commission will
consider that at its April meet-
ing, take public comment and
vote on the proposal in July or
“I’m confident that the
commission will vote for it,”
Nash said. “I have confidence
that the department (ODFW)
supports delisting.”
The state listing covers
wolves only in Northeast Or-
egon. The federal Endangered
Species Act covers wolves in
the rest of the state.
Cascadia Wildlands, an en-
vironmental group that took
part in developing Oregon’s
wolf recovery plan, said the
survey result is encouraging
but “it is not the time to let up.”
“It is our hope that
(ODFW) continues to im-
plement the state’s landmark
wolf management plan and
rules that have served as a re-
covery model for other states
while preventing burdensome
conflict,” legal director Nick
Cady said in a news release.
Under the state wolf plan,
a breeding pair is defined as
a pair of adult wolves that
produce at least two pups
that survive to the end of the
year. Of Oregon’s nine known
packs, only the Imnaha pack
does not have a breeding pair.
The Umatilla pack has not yet
been surveyed. Six of the sev-
en breeding pairs are in East-
ern Oregon; the other is the
famous wanderer, OR-7, his
mate and their pups in South-
west Oregon.
The Cattlemen’s Associa-
tion passed a resolution at its
annual meeting in December
that supports lethal control of
wolves in three cases: live-
stock losses, human health or
safety and when game pop-
ulations dip below manage-
ment levels.
Expert: Rising blueberry House panel hears from ag reps on carbon tax
would be hurt if transportation
tide no reason for panic Producers, processors
and feed costs rise.
Capital Press
Farmers grew 1.2 billion
pounds of highbush blueberries
in 2014 — 20 percent more than
two years earlier — but a global
production expert says that’s no
reason to panic.
The size of world’s blueberry
crop has continued to swell due
to a past surge in plantings, but
the growth in new acreage is
slowing down, said Cort Bra-
zelton, director of business de-
velopment for Fall Creek Farm
& Nursery near Lowell, Ore.
In the Pacific Northwest,
many farmers who are still
planting blueberries often have
better “alignment” with the sup-
ply chain, he said.
In other words, their produc-
tion is based on forecast demand
from particular buyers, rather
than speculation.
“It tends to be a more verti-
cally integrated plan,” he said.
Brazelton compiles glob-
al production data for the U.S.
Highbush Blueberry Commis-
sion and presented his latest
findings at the annual Oregon
Blueberry Conference in Port-
land on Jan. 27.
Farmers must increasingly
manage complexity to be suc-
cessful, he said. For example,
export markets offer great op-
portunities but require discipline
in adhering to various protocols.
“What we have is a maturing
industry,” Brazelton said. “It’s
not a niche industry anymore.”
Another consideration is ris-
ing usage of blueberries around
the world, he said.
Between 2010 and 2014,
usage grew from about 600
million pounds to 900 million
pounds in North America, 123
million pounds to 215 mil-
lion pounds in Europe and 34
million pounds to 115 million
pounds in Asia and the Pacific,
Brazelton said.
Based on current trends,
projections indicate usage will
nearly triple over the next de-
cade, he said. “This is a conser-
vative projection of the oppor-
tunity for our industry.”
In the short term, however,
fluctuations in supply and de-
mand will generate mixed re-
sults for growers.
Blueberry harvests in ma-
jor North American growing
regions overlapped in 2014,
driving down prices for the
fresh crop during that period of
time, said Rod Cook, president
of Ag-View Consulting, who
tracks supply and demand data.
Higher frozen inventories
also reduced prices for the pro-
cessed crop compared to the
previous year, he said.
Packers are receiving rough-
ly $1.20 per pound of premium
frozen blueberries — less than
growers would like to see but
nonetheless a price that moves
product, Cook said.
Cold storage supplies are
hefty, but with healthy global
consumption, those inventories
don’t suggest “a gold mine era
but they don’t look devastating-
ly horrendous either,” he said.
warn about
economic change
Capital Press
OLYMPIA — Agricultural
representatives Tuesday criti-
cized a proposal to cap and tax
carbon emissions as a House
committee held the first hearing
on the centerpiece of Gov. Jay
Inslee’s climate change agenda.
“Our maker gave us domin-
ion over this earth, which means
we need to be good stewards and
take care of his creation, but that
doesn’t mean we have to subor-
dinate our life to environmental
utopianism,” National Frozen
Foods Corp. General Manager
Gary Ash said.
House Bill 1314 would lim-
it how much carbon some 130
industries could release. The
industries, which include a fer-
tilizer manufacturer and several
food processors, would have to
bid for permits to emit green-
house gases.
Inslee and other proponents
say the program would curb
greenhouse gases while raising
roughly $1 billion a year for
government services. The Of-
fice of Financial Management
has not released a fiscal analysis
of the bill.
The legislation has a remote
chance of passing the Republi-
can-controlled Senate, where a
bill has been introduced but no
hearing scheduled.
The House hearing was an
Don Jenkins/Capital Press
Mary Hath Spokane of Rainier, Wash., joins demonstrators Jan.
27 on the Capitol Campus in Olympia before a House committee
holds a hearing on Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to require industries
to buy permits to emit greenhouse gases.
opportunity for opponents and
proponents to pack a hearing
Supporters included environ-
mental groups, renewable ener-
gy developers and ski resorts.
The bill’s prime sponsor,
Environment Committee Chair-
man Joe Fitzgibbon, said the ef-
fects of climate change include
less irrigation water.
“The threats of a changing
climate are real. We are already
seeing them. They demand we
act on this issue,” said Fitzgib-
bon, a Burien Democrat.
Opponents — which in-
cluded manufacturers, small
business owners, fuel distrib-
utors and workers — largely
steered clear of debating climate
change science. But many tes-
tified about potential financial
hardships if manufacturers are
forced to absorb or pass along
the cost of buying carbon-emis-
sion permits.
“If the price of fertilizer goes
up, our small operation will
probably not be able to afford
the new equipment, which is
more fuel efficient,” Grays Har-
bor County farmer Terry Willis
Washington Cattlemen’s As-
sociation Executive Vice Pres-
ident Jack Field said producers
Ash said Frozen Foods’ three
Washington plants consume a
lot of energy as they process
vegetables from nearly 40,000
acres in the Columbia Basin.
The plants have a full-time
workforce of about 500, which
usually doubles during harvest,
he said.
“We are in a very compet-
itive global market with slim
profit margins,” he said. “Every
time a new regulation or tax is
imposed, our costs increase,
forcing us to reduce other ex-
penses, like wages or jobs.”
Ash said the company al-
ready spends heavily to comply
with environmental laws.
“Regulatory agencies con-
tinue to raise the bar, increas-
ing onerous requirements that
are often unreasonable and
costly. Because of this, we
find ourselves forced to invest
in mitigation systems instead
of production machinery,” he
Deal on Oregon water fund struck
Capital Press
An agreement about the
key functions of a $10 million
Oregon water supply fund was
struck recently, but the specific
rules have yet to be ironed out.
Two task forces spent five
months negotiating over the ba-
sic operations of the fund, which
state lawmakers approved in
The groups have now an-
swered fundamental questions
about the level of environmental
scrutiny for water storage proj-
ects and the process for develop-
ers to obtain money.
In the coming months,
though, a new committee must
turn those concepts into detailed
rules that meet the approval of
state water regulators.
Only then can the $10 mil-
lion fund begin disbursing
grants and loans to water proj-
ects in the state.
The funds were originally
supposed to become available
by the spring of 2015 but that
timeline now looks onerous
under even the most optimistic
A rulemaking advisory
committee, which is expected
to consist of former task force
members, will try to hammer
out the specifics by early April,
then receive public comments
and submit its proposal to the
Oregon Water Resources Com-
mission in June.
This schedule is particu-
larly challenging because the
rulemaking process will coin-
cide with the upcoming legisla-
tive session, a busy time for task
force members who lobby for
various interest groups.
While task force members
have outlined concepts for gov-
erning the fund, tricky details
must still be haggled over.
For example, the system for
determining whether projects
are worthy of funding is subject
to further debate.
During the final task force
meeting on Jan. 16, members
agreed they have not yet reached
consensus on scoring and rank-
ing methods and decided to tem-
per recommendations for such a
system in a report to legislators.
They also decided to shelve
discussions about handling proj-
ects that request a disproportion-
ately large portion of the $10
million in available funds.
Recommendations for how
lawmakers should vet future
state-funded water projects were
scrapped from the report after
some members said such sug-
gestions exceed the scope of the
task force.
“We can’t tell folks in the
capitol how to do things,” said
April Snell, executive director
of the Oregon Water Resources
The most contentious aspect
of the water supply fund per-
tains to the amount of water that
can be withdrawn from streams
during peak flow periods.
The topic is controversial be-
cause irrigators don’t want bur-
densome environmental hurdles
to discourage developers from
using the fund.
Most task force members
have agreed that projects will
be analyzed based on a “matrix”
of possible environmental im-
pacts and available stream data.
Those with major potential ef-
fects on streams that haven’t
been closely studied will re-
ceive the most scrutiny.