Oregon: Protect an Agricultural Sector Worth $100 Million

Support HB2427 and SB433 for a Willamette Valley Canola Ban

UPDATE: The Oregon Legislature's Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources has just approved HB 2427, a moratorium on canola production in the Willamette Valley through 2018. The bill now moves on to the House and Senate - many thanks to Rep. Paul Holvey for his efforts to keep this bill alive. Contact your lawmakers today!

On February 7, 2013, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) decided to throw caution to the wind and let canola be grown for the first time in the Willamette Valley, even though it’s clear that canola will cross with seed crops, spread pests and diseases, and contaminate valuable crops worth $100 million.

The ODA decision is final, but there's one way to keep canola out of the Valley: Get the legislature to pass HB2427 and SB433!

Please sign the letter below. Ask your state legislators to pass HB2427 and SB433 to keep canola out of Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Allowing for canola production in the protected zone of the Willamette Valley would be ruinous for several high-value industries, including the world-renowned specialty seed and clover industries, and organic and fresh market vegetable growers.

Canola is the trade name for rapeseed, a plant in the Brassica family of vegetables. It can be used as fodder for animals, or grown for seed and then crushed into oil for bio-fuels or refined further for edible cooking oil. Sounds great, but unfortunately, rapeseed is a prolific plant that readily cross breeds with many other Brassica species, including wild mustard, which is already a well established roadside weed. Because rapeseed seed pods are prone to shatter, it's difficult to rid fields of the plant once it's been grown there. Most troubling for fresh market growers and organics is the fact that rapeseed is a host to several serious plant diseases and pests.

Rapeseed can be grown just about anywhere else in Oregon. There's just no need to expand production in the Willamette Valley, an ecological gem and one of the few places left in the world where quality specialty seeds can be grown. It is known that conventional grass seed farmers are seeking a winter rotation crop to break up pest and disease cycles. This need and attempt to diversify makes the canola issue particularly complex. However, there are several alternative crops these farmers could grow like vetch, camelina and field peas that wouldn’t bring about the potentially devastating effects rapeseed would.

Please spread the word, engage your friends and family and educate yourself on the issue. Use the form below to contact your legislators to get HB2427 and SB433 on their radar as an important issue for constituents.

Source: Friends of Family Farmers