League focuses on water quality, farm bill
Water quality issues are at the forefront of the Oregon Wheat Growers League 2013 agenda, incoming president Walter Powell said, but equally important is for Congress to pass a farm bill.
"We've got to know what's the playing field," Powell said.
"If you are a major corporation and you're sitting on cash right now, are you going to invest it until you know what the rules are?" he asked. "It's no different if you're a grower."
Also of concern in 2013 for wheat growers is state funding for Oregon State University's statewide public services and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
The Oregon Wheat Commission has given the OSU Experiment Station about $2 million the last two years to help fund operating expenses at several Oregon State University branch stations and for specific research projects.
"So far, we've been blessed with good crops and have had the liberty to make that kind of backfill," said Blake Rowe, CEO of the wheat league. "If we have a poor crop year, (whether to continue the funding) is a decision the commission will have to wrestle with."
Also of concern for the wheat league in 2013 are efforts in at least two Oregon counties to institute county-specific regulations for genetically engineered crops.
"The question is whether Oregon is going to regulate genetically engineered crops at the local level, or make it consistent across the landscape," Rowe said. "We think that if we're going to regulate genetically engineered crops, it should be consistent across the landscape."