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Aug-06-2009 02:00printcomments

Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passed by Senate Includes Funding for Oregon Projects

Wyden/Merkley-Requested Funding for Agriculture Research Contained in Bill.

Oregon farm
Salem-News.com

(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.

“Oregon’s 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. “These funds will sustain groundbreaking agricultural research programs, promote sustainable farming, and support critical infrastructure improvements.”

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 wetland.

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 Station
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.

Source: U.S. Senate news release




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