Seed conference to include wheat

Wheat marketing and risk management will be discussed at the Oregon Seed Growers League's 69th annual conference Dec. 7-8 in Salem.

Participants also can learn about world seed production, seed law and agricultural contracts.

The topics are designed to help growers weather today's tough market conditions, said Oregon State University Marion County Extension agent Tom Silberstein, who helped develop the agenda.

"We're trying to bring them some tools to use," Silberstein said. "There is a lot of head-scratching going on as far as what to do."

Featured speakers include Raleigh Curtis, past general manager of Mid-Columbia Producers Inc.; David Wong of Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development; and David Leonard, a Salem lawyer specializing in agricultural law.

Curtis will speak on risk management and wheat marketing; Wong is speaking on international grass and legume seed statistics.

Jim Cramer from the Oregon Department of Agriculture will conduct a session on Oregon's "slow-pay, no-pay" law. And Brent Searle from the department is conducting a session on the department's farm mediation program.

ODA Director Katy Coba is the special guest speaker.

The conference is being held at the Salem Conference Center, 200 Commercial St. SE.

-- Mitch Lies

Second run for canola rules

The Oregon Department of Agriculture plans to open a public comment period on a rewrite of its canola control district rules.

The state had intended to restrict canola production in parts of the state -- including Central Oregon and most of the Willamette Valley. The rewrite became necessary after the state unintentionally restricted the seed production of turnips, mustard and other Brassica crops.

The new rules are refined to specify the Brassica species restricted are those produced "where seeds of high oil content are the economically valuable product."

The department plans to hold a formal comment period on the new rules Dec. 1 through Jan. 4.

The department is not proposing to hold a public hearing, said Dan Hilburn, director of the ODA's plant division.

"Nothing in this amendment changes the intent of the updated rule that took effect this fall," Hilburn said.

The state has restricted canola-for-oil and canola-for-seed production in areas where high-value vegetable seed is produced. Some fear canola will cross-pollinate with the vegetable seed crops and increase insect and disease pressure.

Comments should be sent to Sue Gooch, rules coordinator; Oregon Department of Agriculture; 635 Capitol St. N.E.; Salem, OR 97301; or e-mailed to dhilburn@oda.state.or.us.

-- Mitch Lies

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