Friends of Family Farmers rally at Capitol
Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:42 AM
By MITCH LIES
SALEM -- Dozens of farmers and ranchers came to the Oregon Capitol March 18 to show their support for legislation aimed at helping small farms and ranches.
The members of Friends of Family Farmers visited lawmakers, set up a mini-farmers' market in the Capitol Galleria and held a rally on the Capitol steps.
Among speakers at the rally, Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, congratulated the group on its rapid growth.
"To see the growth of this organization has been astonishing," Clem said. "When I started, in 2007, there wasn't a voice for a lot of these issues."
Among bills backed by the organization, one would support affordable financing for Oregon's small farmers.
The "Aggie Bonds" bill, House Bill 2700, would create a beginning and expanding farmer loan program to assist beginning farmers in the acquisition of agricultural land and property.
Sponsored by Clem, Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, and Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, the bill is in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Other bills backed by the group include HB2427, which would ban canola production in the Willamette Valley.
The House agriculture committee has scheduled a hearing on HB2427 at 8 a.m. March 19 in Hearing Room D. The hearing also includes an informational meeting on canola research conducted by Oregon State University.