What's in Store for Oregon Ag?

What's in Store for Oregon Ag?

What’s in Store for Oregon Ag? I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

The recent November elections signaled a change for a lot of states. Both Idaho and Washington have seen little change on the agriculture front but there may be some changes in Oregon as former Governor Kulongoski was replaced with former Governor Kitzhaber. What will that mean for a state that is struggling with budget issues.? Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba says there will certainly be legislative proposals this session that have a significant impact on farmers and ranchers. But a better balance in the makeup of the legislature bodes well.

COBA:  Moderation in political views, how we find the middle ground in the incredible challenges we are facing, how we can move the economy forward, how we minimize impacts to state agency budgets, how we find new ways of doing business. It's all going to require bipartisanship.

The state budget is the overriding issue in this session. ODA's agency budget is part of the mix. Coba says Governor Kitzhaber has shown a strong interest and understanding in the role natural resources play in any economic recovery:

COBA:  Translating that to the state budget, does that mean we are immune from budget cuts? No it does not. But I think we'll see attention and support of our budget issues. This administration will do the best it can, given the overall difficult budget situation, to support the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

She says this will be an extremely important legislative session for the agriculture industry and her message to the ag industry is to be active and aware in the State Capitol during this session.

COBA: I think this will be the most challenging session from a budget standpoint that we've had in my 25 years in state government. It's very important for the industry to be involved in those budget discussions.

Coba says a better balance between democrats and republicans in the legislature is probably a good thing for the industry, which will lead to moderation:

COBA: There will also be other legislation that is presented, on land use, pesticides, food safety. But given the closeness in the party control in the legislature this coming session, legislation that moves through is going to have to have bipartisan support.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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