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Barenbrug Acquires Oregon Seed Enhancement

Barebrug

Barenbrug USA acquires Oregon Seed Enhancement, a high-output seed coating facility located down the road from Barenbrug USA’s headquarters in Tangent, Oregon. This purchase will continue the substantial investments by the company to enhance its supply chain with the overall goal to meet market realization of the value-creation of seed enhancement technology in both forage and turf.

Barenbrug USA has been an innovative and market leader in seed coating since the launch of Yellow Jacket Enhanced Seed Technology in 2006, chief executive officer James Schneider says.

“We are excited about the ability to become more vertically integrated which will allow us to more proactively invest in future innovations in seed coating technology. This investment will create future value for our distributors as well as the end-users.”

Read the original article on Seed World here.

OSA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO JOIN NATIONAL SEED ORGANIZATION

Blacker, Angie_0087 copy

WILSONVILLE, Ore. — The Oregon Seed Association announced that executive director Angie Blacker has been appointed to the board of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). OSA is a nonprofit agricultural trade association representing the interests of Oregon’s world-renowned seed industry.

Blacker has worked with OSA since 2011 and served as its executive director since 2013. In addition to her duties with OSA, she will now serve on ASTA’s board of directors, one of the oldest trade organizations in the U.S.

Blacker’s experience managing OSA includes coordinating all board and member meetings, overseeing legislative activities and updates to the board, as well as organizing OSA’s annual winter and summer conventions. Her knowledge and involvement running events, fortifying sponsorships and securing nationally-recognized speakers will be an asset to ASTA’s board and its members.

“We are excited to welcome Angie to the team. She has done an outstanding job with OSA, and I know her involvement with ASTA’s Board will be a great asset to the organization,” said Risa DeMasi, ASTA chair. “Her strong experience and passion for the industry, as well as her work at Pac/West Communications, will no doubt provide a valuable perspective. I look forward to having her at the table.”

Blacker, an account manager at Pac/West, serves other clients such as the Willamette Valley Specialty Seed AssociationOregon Building Trades Council, B.U.L.L. Session and others. She has more than 20 years of experience in project management, event planning, human resources and office administration. Blacker works on government affairs, public relations and business development projects at Pac/West.

Read the original article posted on Turf Magazine here.

Field burning starts early as heat hastens harvest

Field burning takes place at a grass seed field in the Lyons area in 2011. Field burning started Aug. 1 that year.(Photo: Statesman Journal file)

Field burning has kicked off early in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, as hot weather and drought conditions lead to an early grass seed harvest.

A test fire was conducted in the Silverton area Tuesday, with open field burning expected to follow.

“It’s probably two weeks earlier than a normal year,” said Roger Beyer, executive director of the Oregon Seed Council.

Grass seed is big business in Oregon, especially in the Willamette Valley counties of Linn, Benton and Marion.

Farmers burn fields to clear weeds and fight pests and erosion without chemical pesticides and herbicides.

But the plumes of smoke can enter communities, causing health problems and even traffic accidents.

As many as 200,000 acres per year were burned in the early 1980s, drawing thousands of complaints each year. Then, in August 1988, smoke caused low visibility on Interstate 5 near Albany, causing a massive pileup that killed seven people and injured 38.

In 1991, the Legislature established a phased-in cap on field burning of 40,000 acres per year.

And in 2009, lawmakers banned it entirely, except for a small area in Marion County, mostly near Silverton, where steep terrain and certain types of seed make alternatives difficult.

In the five years since, the industry has seen increased disease and pest problems, Beyer said.

“We predicted that and it’s coming true. The biggest one right now we’re facing is slugs,” he said. “We’re talking tens of millions of dollars of crop loss and treatment loss.”

Farmers also are using more chemicals, Beyer said.

Complaints, however, have fallen, from 3,783 in 1988 to just 76 last year, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which regulates field burning.

The state only allows burning when conditions promise to lift smoke up and away from populated areas, said John Byers, the ODA program manager who oversees field burning.

And the State Fire Marshal bans field burning when two of three conditions exist: Temperature over 95 degrees, humidity of 30 percent or less, or winds of 15 miles per hour or greater, Byers said.

“We go to such lengths to monitor the weather,” he said. “If we issue a permit for a burn, they have one hour in which to light it.”

Last year, 12,304 acres were burned, and ODA estimates communities were impacted by smoke for a total of 30 hours.

Read the original article on the Statesman Journal here.

Grass seed suffers from drought, heat

Courtesy of Ron Cooper – A combine empties an full bin of orchard grass seed into a truck during harvest on the Alan McKee farm in Polk County, Ore. The unusual perspective was taken by Salem photographer Ron Cooper using a photo drone camera piloted by Devin Fadenrecht.

Grass seed yields are expected to be substantially reduced due to heat and drought.

Drought and heat have stressed Oregon’s grass seed crops in multiple ways, which has farmers expecting a substantial decrease in yields now that harvest is underway.

It’s still too early to know the exact impact, but farmers are preliminarily reporting yield reductions of 20-50 percent, said Mark Simmons, executive director of the Oregon Grass Seed Bargaining Association.

“This year is extremely unusual. It’s the equivalent of the 50-year flood,” he said. “It’s really tough for farmers who grow grass seed.”

With less water available, grass cannot carry as much sugar to its seed, said Tom Chastain, seed crop physiology professor at Oregon State University.

That sugar is converted to starch that’s used to “bulk up” the embryonic plant and the “endosperm” that feeds it within the seed, he said. This year, dry conditions in spring have hindered grasses from filling the seed, reducing its weight.

Enzymes that convert sugars to starch are also affected by high temperatures, said Chastain. “The heat is exacerbating the problem because it interferes with some of those enzymes.”

Not only are seeds lighter, but there are also fewer of them — drought hinders pollination and causes the “abortion” of seeds, he said.

“We have a lot of producers who are very concerned right now,” Chastain said.

During 1992, which had weather conditions similar to this year’s, grass seed yields in Oregon’s Willamette Valley were cut by 11-14.5 percent overall, he said. That average includes irrigated acres, so dryland farmers likely experienced more severe impacts.

Chastain said the outlook for 2015 currently appears bleaker, with growers reporting average yield losses of 25 percent.

“Hopefully, that’s a worst-case scenario,” he said.

Ron DeConinck, a farmer near Woodburn, Ore., said he’s expecting a 20 percent reduction in yields despite irrigating his fields, though that figure remains speculative at this point.

Fields that were irrigated twice seem to be faring well but those only irrigated once are clearly damaged, he said. “There were a few days there, it literally burned it.”

Rodney Hightower, a farmer near Junction City, Ore., said growers in the southern Willamette Valley are expecting yield losses of 30 percent.

His farm produces several grass types, as well as specialty seeds and some grain, and the drought stress has affected most of them, he said. “This year, being diversified may not help a whole lot.”

Marion Ag Service’s seed cleaning operation is 10 days ahead of schedule due to the warm weather, which is the earliest that the company’s seed specialist, Scott Banyard, can remember.

An acre usually generates roughly 2,500 pounds of grass seed, but this year the range is about 1,700-2,000 pounds to the acre, said Banyard.

The only upside to the low yield expectations is that demand for grass seed may consume this year’s crop as well as leftover inventories.

If that happens, growers will be in a strong market position next year, said Simmons. “From that perspective, we’re hopeful.”

Farmers in the Willamette Valley have scaled back their grass seed production in favor of other crops in recent years, which has reduced supplies and improved prices, he said.

Prices are expected to exceed 80 cents per pound for perennial ryegrass and 70 cents per pound for tall fescue, Simmons said. To compare, during the market downturn between 2007 and 2009, perennial ryegrass was fetching about 46 cents per pound while tall fescue sold for about 30 cents per pound.

“We had a whole year’s extra supply of seed on hand,” he said.

Read the original article on Capital Press here.

COVER CROP AND SOIL HEALTH REPORT RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COVER CROP AND SOIL HEALTH REPORT RELEASE 

Washington, D.C.; July 3, 2015—Soon the National Working Group on Cover Crops and Soil Health will release a report outlining recommendations for cover crop and soil health reform. In February 2014, the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health was held in Omaha, Nebraska with 300 key stakeholders in attendance. One of our partners at Grassland Oregon met with the National Working Group while visiting Washington for the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) conference. One of the main recommendations from the report calls for public-private partnerships for cover crop research and reform.

When asked about the public-private partnerships mentioned in the report Risa DeMasi, Chair of ASTA and partner at Grassland Oregon, stated, “Public-private partnerships will keep us from being redundant with our resources such as trials and research. We can bring consumers solutions faster by walking down the path together rather than working separately.” As ASTA seeks public-private partnerships, companies like Grassland Oregon also hope to foster a partnership with the National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) and the USDA.

The report is a joint effort by all concerned parties about cover crops. The report’s call-to-action is to provide funding for more research, incentives for cover crop adoption by farmers, and insurance coverage reform specifically for cover crops. If over 6000 stakeholders can come together to promote these ideas, and 42 diverse organizations and corporations believe the recommendations in the report to be true, then their recommendations must be seriously considered and deemed a priority by government regulatory bodies.

To learn more about cover crops visit http://www.grasslandoregon.com/cover-crop.html or contact Risa DeMasi at RisaDeMasi@GrasslandOregon.com or at 503-566-9900.

 

Coexistence in the Oregon Seed Industry

Greg Loberg participated in the 27th Annual Conference of the North American Agricultural Biotechnology Council (NABC) on June 2, 2015. He was invited to speak on “Coexistence in the Oregon Seed Industry.” In addition to the presentation, he wrote a paper and was part of a three-person panel taking questions from the audience. Most participants came from leading U.S. and Canadian universities, with a few others from the federal government. A final report is issued by NABC and circulated among policy makers in Washington D.C.

Engaging in this conference furthers the strategic plan of OSA, particularly related to Domestic Policy goals. This was an opportunity to “Be a respected, leading voice on domestic policy issues impacting the seed industry.” In particular, OSA enhanced its partnership with a key technology organization, increased its visibility with government officials and regulators, and advanced stewardship policy concepts.

Some of Greg’s comments can be found in the magazine “International Innovation,” a selection of which is included here.

Media Release: Sprague Pest Solutions Named A Top 100 Company

MEDIA RELEASE: Sprague Pest Solutions Named A Top 100 Company

Sprague’s Next Generation of Leaders Recognized by NPMA

Tacoma, Wash. (June 19, 2015) – Tacoma-based Sprague Pest Solutions (www.spraguepest.com) moved up one spot to 28th on the 2015 Pest Control Technology magazine Top 100 List, an annual compilation of the leading pest management companies in the United States. The list was included in the magazine’s May issue (www.pctonline.com).

Sprague, a fourth-generation, family-owned company, is part of a nationwide industry that generated an estimated $7.4 billion in revenue in 2014 – a 3.5 percent increase from the previous year – and that has experienced consistent growth over the last five years.

The company provides vital preventive and remedial pest management and consulting services to leading food processing, healthcare, hospitality, education, agriculture, education and multi-family housing facilities in the Pacific Northwest and Western Mountain regions. It operates service centers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado.

In addition to protecting clients’ facilities from pests including rodents, ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, nuisance birds, stinging insects, stored product pests, and flies, Sprague offers specialty technical services including heat treatments, fumigations, fumigation alternatives, large-scale bird exclusion and employee training.

“We are proud and humbled to once again be named to PCT magazine’s Top 100 List,” says Alfie Treleven, CEO and president of Sprague Pest Solutions. “Being named to the list is more than just securing a position or ranking, it is a reflection of more than eight decades of consistently delivering quality, innovative pest management services to our valued commercial and residential clients, and investing in exceptional people to care for these clients.”

The company also announced that two if its next generation of leaders – Ross Treleven and AJ Treleven – have been recognized by the National Pest Management Association as members of the Next Generation of Leaders in the Pest Management Industry. Ross is district manager for Sprague with responsibility for the company’s Seattle, Salt Lake City and Denver service centers. AJ is the service center manager for the company’s Utah operations. The pair was profiled in the May/June issue of Pestworld magazine (www.npmapestworld.org).

Sprague Pest Solutions, founded in 1926, is a Copesan Services partner (www.copesan.com).

# # #

Media Contact:
Carrie Thibodeaux
Sprague Pest Solutions
253.405.2590 / carriet@spraguepest.com   

Young farmers from New Zealand, Tasmania visiting mid-valley

Seventeen young farmers from New Zealand and Australia toured mid-valley farms and agribusinesses Wednesday, hoping to pick up pointers to use in their own farm and ranch operations.

The group, composed primarily of members of the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) in Templeton, New Zealand, will spend three weeks in the United States with stops in Oregon, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, and North and South Carolina.

The mid-valley tour was arranged by Halsey farmer James VanLeeuwen, who has made numerous ag-related trips to New Zealand over the years.

“The goal is to get them learning,” said FAR research manager Richard Chynoweth. “They really wanted to come to the States. We hope this helps upscale them and give them the confidence needed to grow their operations.”

According to Chynoweth, although similar crops are grown in Oregon and New Zealand, including wheat and grass seed, farms are much smaller in New Zealand.

The group arrived in Portland on Saturday and has been winding its way to the mid-valley, spending time in Amity and Silverton en route.

Wednesday’s tour included stops at Crop Production Services in Tangent, Mike and Tami Coon’s Oak Park Farms near Shedd, Smith Seed in Halsey, lunch at Larry and Margaret Warfel’s farm on Peoria Road, Ore Pac straw processing in Junction City, field tiling by Dave Neal, OSU Hyslop Research Station, and supper at Eats and Treats in Philomath.

Felicity Mason, 31, lives on a 6,000-acre farm and ranch in Tasmania.   She hopes to learn how American farmers can make larger, more expensive equipment work financially.

“We raise sheep and beef cows, plus some crops,” she said. “I’m interested in the economies of scale. How you can tie up so much money in equipment and make it work?”

Mason is touring on her own and connected with the FAR tour through VanLeeuwen.

“I’m really interested in field tilling,” she said. “I want to stay long enough to see some of the harvest, and then I’m meeting a friend and we’re going to tour central and eastern Oregon.”

Mason is also impressed that although farms here are larger in scale, they’re still primarily owned by families, not out-of-state corporations.

“That’s not always an easy thing to do,” she said.

Craig Clucas, 29, farms about 400 acres and raises rye, wheat, barley and kale that is used to feed dairy cattle. “We have a few sheep, too,” he said.

The Templeton area, which is near Christchurch, gets about 30 inches of rain annually and some crops are irrigated, much like the mid-valley.

“I’m picking up some ideas,” he said. “I really wanted to experience America, especially meet rural people.”

Stephen Blain and Tom Copland, both 27, said they were enjoying their visit, but said their farming area is much smaller than the Willamette Valley’s.

“We’re bordered by mountains and the ocean,” Blain said. “We grow wheat, grass seed, peas, radishes, spinach and hemp.”

Blain said 2,000 acres would be a big farming operation in his area of New Zealand.

“The average is probably 700 to 800 acres,” he said.

Read the original article here on Corvallis Gazette-Times here.

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Prepares For World Cup

All eyes will be on the U.S. team, which won the cup in 1991 and 1999 and is ranked second in the world. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to team member Megan Rapinoe, a midfielder for the Seattle Reign.

TRANSCRIPT:

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Women’s World Cup begins in Canada in a few weeks. All eyes will be on the U.S. team, which won the tournament twice in 1991 and in 1999. The team is ranked as the second best in the world according to FIFA. Megan Rapinoe is a midfielder for the Seattle Reign and is part of the U.S. national team. This will be her second World Cup. Megan joins us on the line from California. Hey, Megan, welcome to the show.

MEGAN RAPINOE: Thank you.

MARTIN: So what’s going on with the team at this point? I mean, do you start to taper down your practice tempo?

RAPINOE: Yes. Definitely. At least we’d hope so. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but they’re like, trust us, we’re tapering. And I’m like, I’m so tired.

MARTIN: (Laughter). This is not a taper.

RAPINOE: Yeah. No, we are starting to kind of taper down. This is sort of our last kind of, like, you know, major preparation camp. We have a game at the end of this camp, and then we have one more game in New York. So this is kind of our last thing, and then we’ll really be properly tapering off after that.

MARTIN: So I know you’ve talked a lot about this because it’s been a big headline in the sports world. Some of our listeners might not have heard about this, though. There is a controversy surrounding this World Cup over the playing field, over the turf because this is going to be the first international tournament played entirely on artificial turf. You and others have been really critical about this. Why? How is that going to affect the games do you think?

RAPINOE: I just think that it’s – and I don’t really think this can be argued with. I just think it’s a second-rate surface. And if FIFA is really serious about arguing that it wasn’t a second-rate surface, well, then they would put other major championships or other major games around the world – not just men’s games, but women’s game as well – I think they would put those all on turf.

MARTIN: Does it say anything about the status of the women’s sport? I mean, do you think this would be happening to the Men’s World Cup?

RAPINOE: Well, no, it would never happen to the Men’s World Cup. I think – I don’t know if it says to the status of the women’s game because I think we’ve come a long way. And I think a lot of people really respect it, and it’s such a high level. But I think it says a lot about what FIFA thinks about the women’s game.

MARTIN: Let’s talk about the tournament, the games, the teams you’re going to face. Who are you most worried about?

RAPINOE: You know, I think within our group, I think Nigeria’s going to be a really interesting team to watch. They’ve done really well at the last couple youth championships. France has played extremely well all year. They gave us a hell of a game back in February. So I think that they are still there just with a lot more experience under their belt.

MARTIN: And lastly, can I just have you describe the U.S. game? You know, every team has kind of a style or adjectives people use to describe the game that the team plays. How is the U.S. women’s team described? What’s your game like?

RAPINOE: I think traditionally, we’ve always been very fit and fast and physical, and we have that sort of physical element that we can just outlast teams. And we have that grit and that mentality that we’re never going to quit. But I think that we’ve added a lot of flare and creativity. And I don’t think we get enough credit for how technical we are across-the-board.

MARTIN: Megan Rapinoe. She’ll be competing with the U.S. national team at the Women’s World Cup next month in Canada. Megan, good luck.

RAPINOE: Thank you very much. And thank you for having me on.

Listen to the original story on NPR here.

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association Announces New President/CEO

(May 20, 2015) — Paul Adams, Chair, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Fawad Shahas the new President/CEO of the association effective June 1, 2015. Dr. Shah will take over as President/CEO upon the retirement of Ben Lang, who has served as the association’s President/CEO since June 1, 2008.

Dr. Shah received a Bachelor and a Master of Science from the University of Ag, Pakistan in 1989 and 1991, respectively. He received a PhD in Seed Technology – Agronomy in 1997 and obtained a Masters in Business Administration in 2001 from Mississippi State University. Most recently, Dr. Shah served as the Director of the Seed Regulatory and Testing Division at the United States Department of Agriculture. Previously in his career, he served as Grain and Seed Administrator for the Commodity Inspection Division at Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA); as Seed Program Manager, WSDA; and various other positions.

His experience working with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) program, Federal Seed Act enforcement, seed and variety testing, seed certification, phytosanitary inspections, and regulatory services as well as fiscal, strategic and operational leadership will benefit MCIA as the organization continues to fulfill its mission of serving the needs of its clients.

For over 100 years MCIA has provided programs and services for an ever-changing agricultural world. These include seed certification and quality assurance services, organic certification, foundation seed services, and customized programs for seed and IP grains. MCIA operates from facilities on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.

Read the original article on Seed Today here.