Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, February 12, 2021, Page 8, Image 8

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Editorials are written by or
approved by members of the
Capital Press Editorial Board.
Friday, February 12, 2021
All other commentary pieces are
the opinions of the authors but
not necessarily this newspaper.
Editor & Publisher
Managing Editor
Joe Beach
Carl Sampson |
Our View
Without any details, HB 1117 is a nonstarter
bill proposed in the Washing-
ton House by Democrats is
long on promise but so short
on specifics as to be dangerous.
Current Washington law requires
that public works projects do no eco-
logical harm. House Bill 1117 goes
at least a step further, requiring pub-
lic works projects to actually bene-
fit salmon and have a “net ecological
The bill doesn’t define net eco-
logical gain, besides requiring road,
sewer and other projects to aid salmon
recovery. Fish and Wildlife, other state
agencies and tribes would write the
The bill’s prime sponsor, Skagit
County Rep. Debra Lekanoff, said the
“very essence of net ecological gain”
incorporates “a standard of leaving it
Don Jenkins/Capital Press
Washington lawmakers are considering
a bill that would require public works
projects to have a “net ecological gain.”
better than how we found it.”
“Shifting from (a) no-net loss stan-
dard to one of net ecological gain will
start us on the road to improving our
environment rather than keeping the
status quo,” Lekanoff said.
Building our way to a better envi-
ronment sounds promising. In reality,
the bill will likely make many proj-
ects too expensive or impractical to
HB 1117 is like too many measures
conceived and passed by state legisla-
tures and Congress. It proposes a big
idea without any indication how that
would really work.
But the devil is always in the
details, which are left entirely up to
the Department of Fish and Wildlife
and other state agencies and Indian
tribes to fill in later. Fish and Wild-
life is chomping at the bit to have this
authority, which should be enough to
give pause.
HB 1117 exempts projects on pri-
vate land, but that doesn’t mean that it
wouldn’t impact agriculture.
How could a project go from not
causing any harm to improving the
environment? One way to bene-
fit salmon would be to earmark proj-
ect dollars to buy up private farm and
grazing land and retire the attached
water rights for salmon restoration.
Just how much would need to be
bought up would depend on how “net
ecological gain” is defined.
Criticism of HB 1117 is perhaps
unfair because we don’t know how its
goals would be achieved. But that’s
the very reason why bills like this
should never be considered. With the
guts left to the bureaucrats, it’s impos-
sible to judge the costs and impacts of
HB 1117 before it is passed.
Beef Checkoff, what have
you done for me lately?
Our View
Opponents of a trail across farmland in Oregon’s Yamhill County hold up signs protesting bridge work
authorized by the county government. The county commissioners have now dropped the trail project.
Rail-to-trail project is
rightfully withdrawn
ommissioners in Oregon’s Yamhill
County have finally decided to pull
the plug on a controversial rail-to-trail
project opposed by neighboring farmers.
They have made the right decision.
In 2017, Yamhill County paid $1.4 million
for the “quit claim” deed to a 12.5-mile stretch
of unused rail corridor that it intended to turn
into the Yamhelas-Westsider trail for walkers
and cyclists. The following year the county’s
board of commissioners approved immediately
developing nearly 3 miles of the trail between
the towns of Yamhill and Carlton.
The rail right-of-way passes through active
farming operations. Farmers adjoining the
trail argue that a recreational trail will compli-
cate pesticide applications due to required “set-
backs” from such sensitive areas. They are also
worried that their farms would become targets
for activists who oppose pesticide application.
Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals
blocked the project’s approval three times,
most recently finding that Yamhill County
didn’t sufficiently analyze the trail’s impacts on
agricultural practices.
Despite the ongoing controversy, early last
year the county approved a construction con-
tract to start work on a trail bridge over Stag
Hollow Creek.
Although abandoning the project will likely
mean repaying a $1 million state grant for the
nearly completed bridge and other project com-
ponents, commissioners Mary Starrett and
Lindsay Berschauer said they didn’t want to
continue spending money on litigation over the
No doubt the trail would have been a boon
for Yamhill County’s tourism industry. A
12-mile trail through the heart of Oregon’s
wine country would have been popular and
of benefit to the wineries, restaurants, hotels
and shops in the communities it would have
But it would negatively impact producers
adjacent to the trail. And despite their ongoing
efforts to show these impacts would be mini-
mal and easily mitigated, the county and trail
supporters have not been able to sway LUBA.
It’s unfortunate that Yamhill County could
be on the hook for repaying state money. But
there’s no use throwing more money into a los-
ing legal proposition.
Editorial was
right on
Your call to end the hate and
violence and come together (Jan.
15 editorial “We must stop this
now”) spoke to me. I wholeheart-
edly agree. We would do well to
remember our common values of
love of country, acceptance and
compassion, tolerance and trust,
freedom and justice for all. They
are fundamental to who we are.
Power and corruption, discrim-
ination and hate, and meanness of
spirit, take our focus away from our
Your editorial reminded me of
John McCain, who walked the walk
of American values. In his farewell
address he emphasized unity:
“We weaken our greatness
when we confuse our patriotism
with tribal rivalries that have sown
resentment and hatred and violence
in all the corners of the globe. We
weaken it when we hide behind
walls, rather than tear them down,
when we doubt the power of our
ideals, rather than trust them to be
the great force for change they have
always been.
“We are 325 million opinion-
ated, vociferous individuals. We
argue and compete and sometimes
even vilify each other in our rau-
cous public debates. But we have
always had so much more in com-
mon with each other than in dis-
agreement. If only we remember
that, and give each other the benefit
of the presumption that we all love
our country we will get through
these challenging times. We will
come through them stronger than
before. We always do.”
Amen to that. I agree with these
American values and the values
expressed in your editorial. Thanks
for keeping us focused on the heart
of America.
Joe Fioretti
Auburn, Wash.
hen it comes to
relationships, peo-
ple can be fickle.
On the one hand, it’s often
easier to remember a decades-
old answer to “Does this shirt
make me look fat?” than the
kindness from the day before.
On the other hand, trust
grown over years can quickly
be forgotten due to society’s
lately mentality.
Even within the beef indus-
try, it’s tempting to view the
35-year-old Checkoff with
skepticism. But if you look at
the many value-added ways
it serves producers’ interests,
you may come away with a
different perspective.
Here are just a few of the
things that Beef Checkoff
contractors have delivered
over the past few months:
Consumer trust
• The “United We Steak”
campaign reached more
than 283 million consum-
ers through paid advertising,
social media, earned media
and influencer outreach.
• A video series featured
feedyard manager Tom Fan-
ning showing Chef Kathryn
Mathis how cattle are cared
for at feedyards.
• Two livestream events
educated more than 1,000
educators on how beef pro-
duction provides an excellent
context for middle school and
high school science.
• Webinars hosted by nutri-
tionist Marianne Smith Edge
provided insights to Northeast
dietitians about consumers
during the pandemic and sus-
tainable food systems.
• Six new blogs were
posted on,
including one by meat sci-
entist Janeal Yancy, Ph.D./
the University of Arkan-
sas addressing veal and meat
• Meat Demand Monitor
research revealed what post-
COVID vaccine consumer
behavior may look like, helping
the Checkoff determine the best
future use of producer dollars.
Export growth
• Tracking efforts revealed
November beef exports were
up 6% from a year ago (larg-
est since July 19) and export
values climbed 8% year over
• Market development
programs paid dividends
in November as U.S. beef
exports to China were up
700% from a year ago.
• Beef export value aver-
aged $338.43 per head of fed
slaughter (Nov. 20); 14.8% of
total beef produced in the U.S.
during this time was exported,
much of which was underuti-
lized cuts not popular in the
• The holiday “drool log”
commercial ran more than 50
times on the Hallmark Chan-
nel last month.
• The #WienerWednesday
campaign on TikTok received
more than 27 million views.
Investor relations
• “The Drive” print and
e-newsletter now reaches
nearly 100,000 producers with
details about how the Check-
off dollar drives beef demand.
Nutrition and health
• Registered dietitians,
nutritionists and nurses are
advocating beef’s role in a
healthy diet and affirming pre-
pared beef’s role as a bal-
anced protein source.
• The “Guide to Meat Pro-
cessing for the Nutrition Com-
munity” helped health and
nutrition experts advise about
dietary needs and provided
valuable details about meat
consumption and processing.
• A new study showed that
beef consumption is positively
associated with better mental
health; the companion article
has been downloaded more
than 50,000 times by health
and nutrition experts.
• The Meat Demand Mon-
itor issued its first-ever multi-
month report providing
insight into consumer pur-
chasing behaviors, demand
and consumption during the
• The Sustainabil-
ity Research and Scientific
Affairs program completed
an update to its beef environ-
mental lifecycle assessment
in 2020; findings will be pub-
lished in 2021.
• More than 75 Beef
Quality Assurance educa-
tors attended a virtual event
to learn about meat quality,
biosecurity, foreign material
avoidance and international
trade from industry experts.
• The Veal Quality Assur-
ance program provided U.S.
veal farms with a clipboard
outlining best management
practices for calf health,
nutrition and handling.
• At the annual Antibiotic
Symposium, beef producers
collaborated with veterinar-
ians, animal health profes-
sionals and animal ag lead-
ers on how to become better
stewards of antibiotics while
combating antimicrobial
So, what has the Check-
off dollar done lately? As you
can see, quite a bit. And the
best part? 2021 is just getting
Greg Hanes is CEO of
the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
To learn more about Check-
off programs, projects, and
resources, visit DrivingDe-