Last week, on May 17, 2017, the Sherman County Court held a discussion regarding the Sherman County Weed Control Ordinance violation associated with Azure Standard Farm. After a social media blitz and the Sherman County Commissioners office receiving a staggering 57,000 emails as of last Wednesday, all parties involved met to discuss the issue. As a follow-up to this meeting, NCAP spoke with Tim Butler, Program Manager of Noxious Weed Control for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. There were two points that Butler wanted to clarify: 1) that the county has not switched its statutory code interpretation from management to eradication and 2) that the county has not insisted that Azure Standard Farm use conventional herbicides to eradicate weeds on their property. Butler confirmed that neighbors on surrounding land (who are growing certified weed-free wheat seed and are at risk of losing their certification) are concerned with the proliferation of weeds, which has been a consistent problem since 2006. Butler made it clear that this is a unique problem and that many organic farms in the area do a great job of managing weeds. He continued by saying that it’s in everybody’s best interest to manage noxious weeds and prevent them from damaging our natural ecosystems and the agricultural landscape. Azure Standard Farm has proposed an organic weed management plan, which is currently under review by county commissioners.
(by Sharon Selvaggio, Healthy Wildlife and Water Program Director)
The Willamette Basin has sustained salmon and steelhead (salmonids) for fifteen million years. Despite their recognized economic, cultural and ecological significance, fish populations are in trouble. Hope for recovery rests on a concerted, broad-based effort to implement actions in a recently developed recovery plan.