July 25, 2008

Wyden, Smith Announce Over $5 Million in Oregon Agriculture Projects

WASHINGTON, DC - Oregon Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) announced today that an agriculture appropriations bill headed for the Senate floor contains over $5 million for sustainable agriculture projects, infrastructure investment, and research. The bill has been passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the first step for appropriations funding.

"Oregon's agricultural producers have always been a pillar of the state's economy and we need to make wise investments to ensure they stay that way," said Wyden. "These funds will support infrastructure investment and research into vital agriculture projects that address issues such as energy, the environment and produce."

"Sustainable agriculture is a keystone of Oregon's history and economy," said Smith. "Whether it's educational programs to maximize Oregon's wood products, improving our environment or growing Oregon's specialty crop industry, every region of our state will benefit from this bill."

In addition to the funding listed below, the Committee expressed support for the City of Coburg wastewater reclamation system project, which is eligible for funding to be determined by a later date by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Additional projects include:

Wood Utilization Research (WUR) Center at OSU and other colleges - $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.

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.

Northwest Center for Small Fruit Research - $300,000
Funds for the Northwest Center for Small Fruit Research will support researchers and scientists to conduct a coordinated research program on berry and grape crops focused on genetics research, plant breeding, pest management, and processing and productions methods to improve quality.

Northwest Potato Variety Development Program - $750,000
Funds are used for lab and field research towards the development of new potato varieties aimed at overcoming the current weaknesses of the Russet Burbank, the dominant variety in the Pacific Northwest, which is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases.

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.