Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passed by Senate Includes Funding for Oregon Projects

Washington, D.C.
– Working to improve agricultural research
capabilities in Oregon, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D- Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-
Ore.) announced that an agriculture appropriations bill passed by the U.S.
Senate contains more than nearly $7 million in projects for Oregon. Included in
the bill is funding for research into improving Oregon’s crops, utilizing
Oregon’s forest resources, and controlling invasive species.

agricultural producers play an important role in the state’s economy,” Wyden said. “This funding will help keep
Oregon farms competitive for years to come.”

“Oregon’s agriculture
industry is integral to the economic health of the entire state,” Merkley said.

The bill will be
reconciled with the version passed by the House of Representatives and then
sent to the President for his signature. Funding will only be available at the
end of the process.

Projects included in
the agriculture appropriations bill include:

Wood Utilization
Research (WUR) Center at OSU (shared with several states) – $4,841,000

The WUR Program
provides innovative science, technology and advanced business practices
research and graduate education.  Funds will support new initiatives in
the development of bioproducts, composite materials, bio-based energy and
nanotechnology that can help position Oregon to be a leader in these fields in
the Western US and enhance competitiveness of domestic industry.

Potato Research
(several states) – $1,037,000

The funds are used to
develop and identify varieties with high yield, improved processing quality,
genetic resistance to major pests and diseases, higher levels of resistance to
stresses, increased nutrient use efficiency, improved human nutritional value,
and high quality.  

Invasive Weed
Management – $500,000

Medusahead, and other
annual grasses, are destroying the agricultural sustainablility, ecology, and
fire regimes of the Great Basin and surrounding ecosystems. These funds will be
used for testing large-scale management strategies for medusahead and annual
grass infested rangeland and developing new, sustainable methods for managing
medusahead and other annual grass weeds in the Great Basin.

Small Fruit Research
– $300,000

These funds would
provide for competitive grants to enhance profitability and sustainability for
a number of crops including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries,
blackberries, cranberries, table grapes, wine grapes, huckleberries,
gooseberries, and black currants.

Northwest Center for
Small Fruits Research, Small Fruits Initiative Plant Improvement – $275,000

Funds will be used
for a Small Fruit Pathology Program, Site Feasibility Study and Phase-one
Design for Additional or New Research Facilities, and Competitive Research
Grants which involves cooperation between industry, State and Federal research.

Grass Seed Cropping
Systems for Sustainable Agriculture – $150,000

For research into
sustainable production of grass seed, a major Oregon export, aimed at
addressing critical environmental and economic challenges including the
phase-out of open-field burning.  The project covers Oregon, Idaho and
Washington, with Oregon-based scientists typically receiving more than half of
available funds.

Organic Cropping
Research for the Northwest – $149,000

Funds will be used for research into the improvement and support of Oregon’s
burgeoning organic agriculture industry.  A panel representing scientists,
industry representatives and farmers will evaluate proposals and distribute
available funds.

In addition to the
funding listed above, the committee included language in its report supporting
the following projects:

Benton County
Fairgrounds Waste Water Collection and Drainage Project

This project will use
green technology solutions to treat surface animal waste through a manmade

Relocating Seaside
School District Out of Tsunami Zone

This project will
move Seaside School District facilities out of the tsunami zone, as recommended
by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

Spalding Sewer Lift

This project will
install a sewer system to service a 65-acre piece of land currently zoned for
industrial use in the City of Grants Pass. This parcel is among the few
suitable industrial areas in the city and lacks only an adequate sewage system
in order to be a viable location for businesses.

Old Highway 62/Royal
Avenue Water Main Replacement

This is a
shovel-ready project to replace an old and aging 6-inch asbestos cement
waterline with a 12-inch waterline to provide additional capacity to the City’s
water system. All funds will be used for construction and construction
engineering of the project.

Hubbard Creek
Impoundment Improvement Project

This project will
enlarge the Hubbard Creek Impoundment, to ensure that the City of Port Orford
has sufficient water for the community’s needs.
City of Eagle Point
Reservoir Retrofit

This shovel ready
project will retrofit an existing 4 million gallon reservoir to expand the
water system.  All funds will be used directly for construction and
construction engineering of the project.  Design is 100% complete.