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Bill targets grains, bentgrass commissions


SALEM -- The Oregon Grains Commission and the Oregon Highland Bentgrass Commission may be on their last legs.


The Oregon Senate on April 12 approved a bill 30-0 that abolishes the two commodity commissions.


Under Senate Bill 946, grains commission functions will be transferred to the Oregon Wheat Commission and bentgrass commission functions will be transferred to the Oregon Fine Fescue Commission.


Currently 25 commodity commissions operate in Oregon.


The two small commissions were no longer viable, according to testimony.


Annual Oregon production of highland bentgrass has fallen from 9 million pounds in the mid-1970s to less than a million pounds today, according to figures from the commission. The grass is used in turf blends and sold primarily into the European market.


The commission collected just $8,834 in assessments in 2009-10, according to figures from the Oregon Department of Agriculture.


The grains commission collected just under $29,000 in assessments.


By comparison, the Oregon wheat and dairy products commissions collected more than $2 million in assessments in 2009-10.


The grains commission voted in December to disband in part to save on administration costs, Oregon Wheat Commission Chairman Tom Duyck said.


"Most all producers growing wheat are growing barley, too, or other grain crops," Duyck said.


The Oregon Grains Commission represents barley, rye, triticale, canola and mustard.


--Mitch Lies



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