Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, April 01, 2022, Page 6, Image 6

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Editorials are written by or
approved by members of the
Capital Press Editorial Board.
Friday, April 1, 2022
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
Private enterprise shines in climate efforts
ot to be critical of govern-
ment, but if you want some-
thing done, you’re usually
best off looking to private enterprise.
It’s not that government can’t do it,
it’s just that government too often gets in
the way of itself — and everyone else.
Take, for example, efforts to slow
climate change. At the state and fed-
eral levels, a hodgepodge of climate
programs has emerged over the years.
Most are aimed at jacking up oil and gas
By doing that, they are supercharging
inflation, which is now 7.9%, the high-
est it’s been since 1982.
The federal government has been
particularly inept in its climate efforts. It
has subsidized “green” companies such
as Tesla, which in turn has built facto-
ries overseas, including China, the big-
gest climate polluter on the planet. That
country produces 30% of the world’s
carbon dioxide and continues to add to
its fleet of 1,110 coal-fired power gen-
eration plants to run all of those Chi-
nese-built Teslas.
By comparison, India operates the
second-largest number of coal-fired
plants, 285.
In the meantime, the federal govern-
ment has also discouraged domestic oil
and natural gas production while going
to countries such as Venezuela, Iran and
Saudi Arabia looking for more oil.
In Oregon, the unelected bureau-
Sierra Dawn McClain/Capital Press
The Organic Valley Cooperative has a new climate effort that will pay member farm-
ers to sequester or prevent carbon dioxide and methane from entering the atmo-
crats in the Department of Environment
Quality are doing an end-run around the
legislature with their “Climate Protec-
tion Program.”
In Washington, the Department of
Ecology is aiming at forcing refiner-
ies to reduce their greenhouse gases by
28% in four years.
That means consumers and busi-
nesses — you — will ultimately be sad-
dled with higher gasoline and diesel
The carbon footprints of Oregon
and Washington are minuscule com-
pared to those of China, India and Rus-
sia, or even California. What we in the
Inslee is unaware of
his broken relationship
with Washington ag
t is not often Gov. Jay Inslee
directly addresses Washington’s
agricultural community. Recently,
Capital Press ran a cover story featur-
ing our governor doing just that.
The interview revealed how out of
touch Gov. Inslee has become with the
farmers and ranchers of our state and,
yet, how certain he is of his own abil-
ity to maintain a relationship with that
same community.
When asked how he would “char-
acterize his relationship” with the agri-
cultural community, the governor
responded, “Maybe it’s a little easier
for me to do that than others, because
I spent two decades in Selah, trying to
set my little irrigation box to just the
right amount of water to water my hay
field, surrounded by orchardists and
people in the ag industry. So I think it’s
a little easier for me to have that rela-
tionship. …”
It is an odd statement from a gov-
ernor who celebrated passage of new
overtime pay requirements at the end
of the last legislative session, brought
maggot infested apples into a quaran-
tine area after the horrific fires of last
year, and surprised farmers with legis-
lation that would have devastated the
agricultural community by requiring
farmers to set aside large stream buf-
fers without compensation.
Washington state’s flagrant disre-
gard for its farmers and ranchers starts
from the top down.
Last year’s overtime pay law, touted
as promoting fair wages for farmwork-
ers, will very likely shortchange those
very farmworkers the governor pur-
portedly supports. Our state already
pays some of the highest farmworker
wages in the country — an estimated
average of $18/hour — and adding a
time-and-a-half requirement after 40
hours in 2024, will force employers
to reduce that hourly rate to minimum
wage and limit hours worked, thus
decreasing the overall take-home wage
for farmworkers.
After wildfire ravaged the city of
Malden last summer, the governor
thoughtlessly broke apple maggot
quarantine rules by bringing apples
from trees at the Governor’s Mansion
in Olympia to survivors of the fire.
Apple maggots are a highly inva-
sive pest that burrow into the soil,
lay eggs, and once established, can-
not be eradicated. Few parts of East-
ern Washington remain apple mag-
got free, and signs are prominently
posted on our roadways indicating a
prohibition on transporting fruit into
a quarantine zone. A rule a life-long
Washingtonian connected to the agri-
cultural community should be aware
This year’s legislative session posed
its own challenges to the notion the
governor is connected to the farm and
ranch community. The introduction of
HB 1838, a bill filed at the request of
the governor, proposed to expand ripar-
ian buffers to as much as 249 feet from
the high-water mark of 100-year flood-
plains throughout the entire state. It
was dubbed by many as a “farm killer”
and for good reason. In Whatcom and
Skagit counties, where lowland farms
were only just drying out after winter
flooding, the fear of losing generational
farms was all too real. Fortunately, the
bill died in committee.
Later in the interview, the gover-
nor was asked what his response would
be to critics who say his policies and
regulations are making farming more
“Well, I’d have to know what peo-
ple are referring to,” Gov. Inslee said.
Anyone with a relationship to farmers
and ranchers would already know.
Pam Lewison is agriculture
research director for the Washington
Policy Center.
Write to us: Capital Press welcomes letters to the editor on issues of interest to farmers, ranch-
ers and the agribusiness community.
Letters policy: Please limit letters to 300 words and include your home address and a daytime
telephone number with your submission. Longer pieces, 500-750 words, may be considered
as guest commentary pieces for use on the opinion pages. Guest commentary submissions
should also include a photograph of the author.
Send letters via email to Emailed letters are preferred and require
less time to process, which could result in quicker publication. Letters also may be sent to P.O.
Box 2048, Salem, OR 97308.
Northwest do to slow climate change
matters, but not very much. Washing-
ton produces about 0.19% of global car-
bon emissions, while Oregon produces
about 0.17%. That’s according to each
state and the Our World in Data website.
With that in mind, we were greatly
interested in a new private enterprise
effort that appears to have all of the
trappings of success. Organic Valley, a
cooperative of organic dairy farmers,
last month announced its Carbon Inset-
ting Program as a means of achieving
carbon neutrality by 2050.
This program is the essence of sim-
plicity. Instead setting up some confus-
ing government-style effort that requires
a battalion of new employees, Organic
Valley will pay co-op members for
reducing their carbon footprint. More
efficient lighting and coolers, install-
ing solar panels, planting trees and bet-
ter manure management are among the
activities that will reduce or offset car-
bon dioxide and methane production.
The efforts will be certified by a third
party, SustainCERT, to determine the
In return, the farmers will receive the
market rate, about $15, for every metric
ton of carbon that is either sequestered
or otherwise prevented from entering
the atmosphere.
Others in agriculture are developing
efforts that will similarly reduce their
impact on the climate.
They all have several characteristics
in common. They are simple, meaning-
ful and effective.
Those are three characteristics gener-
ally missing from government climate
A suggestion: Maybe the govern-
ment should stick to encouraging pri-
vate enterprise to reduce its carbon
footprint instead of pushing programs
that will cost consumers, businesses,
farmers and ranchers.
Our confidence is in private enter-
prise. If government wants to help,
that’s fine. It just shouldn’t get in the
Cultivating the
leaders of tomorrow
iolence broke out, people were arrested,
some were beaten, shots were fired,
vehicles were damaged, a bridge was
burned. This could be the news from last week,
but I want to take you back to Washington’s
“Fish Wars” of the 1960s and 1970s.
Sport and commercial fishing industries
were competing with Native American tribes.
The lawsuit that followed redefined the roles
of tribes in natural resource management in
the Pacific Northwest, leading eventually to
the Timber/Fish/Wildlife Agreement (TFW),
which was signed in the early 1980s as a new
way to manage natural resources with tribes,
loggers, environmentalists and agencies work-
ing together on practices.
Credit for TFW is given to two strong lead-
ers: Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal leader,
and Stu Bledsoe, an Ellensburg rancher turned
politician. What these two men accomplished
with TFW showed all natural resource indus-
tries, including agriculture, the need for and
value of aggressively pursuing their needs and
explaining them to the public — especially as
it related to public policy.
As he worked on TFW, Bledsoe also drove
the first efforts to build a natural resources
leadership program in Washington state, pat-
terned after other state programs.
Leadership. Some will say, “I know it when
I see it.” What if you didn’t have to wait to
stumble upon someone with leadership skills?
What if you could build leaders? Take raw tal-
ent and allow that talent to grow, to bloom, to
excel? Would you be interested?
Now in its 45th year, the AgForestry Lead-
ership Program has graduated over 1,000 lead-
ers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Lead-
ers that help advance their industries through
understanding, education and empowerment.
Leaders who understand and navigate issues in
the public policy arena.
The program spans 18 months with 11 mul-
tiday seminars, plus a week in Washington,
D.C., and two weeks in a foreign country. The
seminars build leadership skills but also group
dynamics and public speaking; working with
the media; social issues; state and federal gov-
ernment; forestry issues and agriculture issues;
transportation; the Columbia River system; and
crime and corrections.
But the AgForestry program of 1977 will
not be effectual in 2027.
To continue intentional impact and deliver
adult leadership development through training,
programming and experiential learning, well,
one needs to look to the future: a future with
Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z — then comes Gen-
eration Alpha! It is already clear that the target
audience of tomorrow is different and has very
different values, learning styles and expecta-
tions. AgForestry needs to evaluate and retool
to ensure its leadership program remains rel-
evant, attracts high-quality candidates, makes
an impact with graduates and continues to res-
onate with grantors, alumni, contributors and
I am a graduate of Class 10 and was barely
30 years old at the time. AgForestry changed
my life and my professional trajectory and
taught me much, most importantly to help oth-
ers find their voice and facilitate the “process”
toward public policy. A process that is often
like watching paint dry, but necessary, needed
and often long overdue. I found I could make
a difference by not being the loudest voice in
the room.
If you look closely, you can spot an AgFor-
estry graduate. And if you know a recent grad-
uate, you are no doubt amazed and impressed
with the transformation that occurred before
your eyes. Graduates emerge as different peo-
ple. As they should, after a highly competi-
tive selection process, seminars covering 18
months, and at least 58 days of required time
and attendance. Astonishingly, the cost to a
participant is just $6,000. The actual cost is
over $40,000 — offset by contributions from
grants, alumni and other stakeholders who
value leadership. The total investment in each
class is $750,000.
The Agriculture and Forestry Education
Foundation, which oversees the AgForestry
Leadership Program, looks for production
candidates — key or up-and-coming deci-
sion-makers from farming, forestry, fishing
or natural resource entities or who spend their
time in hands-on activities. Agriculture, for-
estry and natural resources include produc-
ers (farmer, forester and fisher), processor/
shippers, and marketing/salespeople. It also
includes education, law, finance, insurance
and government agencies who serve the natu-
ral resources sector. Those in fields such as the
environment, media, research, labor and pub-
lic relations who demonstrate strong connec-
tions to natural resource industries are also
Applications for Class 44 will be accepted
until April 30. The first seminar is set to start
in October at Washington State University.
To learn more, there are Q&A sessions on
Wednesday, April 6 at 10–11 a.m. and the last
one is on April 18 at 1-2 p.m.
To learn more or to start the application pro-
cess, go to:
To invest in future leaders, go to: agforestry.
We cultivate leaders.
Vicky Scharlau (Class 10) is the interim
executive director of the Agriculture and For-
estry Education Foundation.