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Another farmer issue and lesson for us all
Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:20am
Long Post Alert!

Farmers in the Klamath Basin and elsewhere have many difficult issues to deal with. One in the Oregon Legislature these days has to do with Pesticide Use Reporting. Sounds pretty harmless, right? Just tell the state how much pesticide you use on your crops. But, most farmers on this forum know there's more to it than that.

This is part of the battle for the minds - of farmers and ranchers - using vague, feel-good terms to ensnare them. All they have to do is get the ag-world fighting among themselves and ... game over!

1. Below is an [edited] note from Paulette Pyle of Oregonians for Food and Shelter (OFS), a lobbyist group that attempts to protect farmers from excessive state regulations. Paulette is a straightforward, strong woman, but she rarely uses language this strong. Take heed!

"Please keep in mind when you are dealing with Oregon Environmental Council's(OEC) Karen Lewotsky that she is not in communications with the OEC Salem lobbyist Matt Blevins--so she tells us. One of the most glaring issues before us at the moment is PESTICIDE USE REPORTING. While Karen does not mention PURS [in a letter to OEC supporters], her lobbyist has been trying to get some of our farmers to sign up with OEC on this issue to demonstrate to legislators that Agriculture supports PESTICIDE USE REPORTING!
"OFS has surveyed this issue many ways and have been told on numerous occasions overwhelmingly that Ag does not support a PESTICIDE USE REPORTING SYSTEM. With the current political leaders (Governor Kulongoski and Peter Courtney in the Senate) it is clear that the environmentalists (OEC and others) collude with the Governor and Peter, and cannot be trusted.
"Trust flows both ways. At this time, OFS does not trust OEC and many of their counterparts and neither should you. We ask that you please trust your OFS staff instead of trusting the OEC. They do not have your best interests in mind. They have an agenda and intend to use you to assist them to accomplish it at your expense.
"If you have any questions about my directness on this issue, please feel free to call me at 503-559-1279.
"Thank you, Paulette
"P.S. Here's a classic example of why we have ZERO trust in working with environmental coalitions folks. In 1998, they started O.P.E.N., a three-group coalition created to lobby for PESTICIDE USE REPORTING. OPEN consists of OEC, OSPIRG and NCAP (Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides). Last week NCAP was a co-plaintiff in yet another EarthJustice lawsuit against the US EPA regarding pesticides and the ESA."

2. This is the letter [edited for length+my commentary] from Karen L. that Paulette referred to. Note that K.L. is getting funding from the Kellogg Foundation - I thought they used to be good guys! Note that she does not refer to the PUR bill her group is working to pass this year:

"I have been focused on raising money to keep OEC's ag-related work funded, and I am happy to say that we have been successful in that endeavor. Earlier this week, the WK Kellogg Foundation notified us that they are fully funding our "Growing Stronger: Sustainable Agriculture As An Engine Of Economic Development In Oregon" project. That means we will have $325,000 over three years to accomplish some really important goals.
"The purpose of this project is to make Oregon a national model for successful, sustainable and community-based [does this mean no more exported or imported food?] agricultural production in 21st century America by harnessing the power of state economic development policies. Working with a diverse array of partners, OEC will pursue two major complementary objectives:
" * Develop and implement new innovative economic development policies that build and support sustainable, community-based food systems while identifying and eliminating barriers.
" * Build support for new policies by strengthening collaborative voicesí role in the public policy [hint, hint] process.
"It is our belief that this project will benefit individuals using sustainable agricultural practices on locally owned and managed farms and ranches; food-related businesses that employ local people; and rural communities throughout the state.
"I am particularly pleased that part of the grant funds are earmarked for supporting my work with you all, including not only travel expenses, etc. for future meetings of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, but funds for expanding the committee as well.
"I have had the opportunity to speak with some of you in person, by phone or by email during the past year as I worked on the grant for this project. I will be touching base with each of you individually to tell you more about this work as we move through summer."





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