Canola Hearing Jan. 23
The next public hearing on the proposed new canola rule is Wednesday, January 23rd, 9 am at the Salem Fairgrounds.
The public comment period closes that following Friday, January 25th at 5pm. Written comments can be mailed to: Canola Hearings Officer, Department of Agriculture, 635 Capitol Street NE, Salem, OR 97301 or via send email to: email@example.com.
From Friends of Family Farmers:
The new proposed rule differs from the one ODA considered in September 2012. In the new version, the boundary remains the same and the total number of canola acres allowed is 2,500. ODA maintains authority to grant variances to growers 'near' the boundary to plant unlimited amounts of canola. Variances will not count toward the acreage cap, and ODA is not prohibited from raising the cap at any time.
The proposed new rule allows for any grower in the Willamette Valley 'Protected' District' to plant canola provided the grower treats the canola crop as a specialty seed and abides by the Willamette Valley Specialty Seed Association (WVSSA) rules for pinning and isolation distances. However, the WVSSA's current rules do not accomodate this scenario: "Canola/ rapeseeed may be grown only under permit [research] from the Oregon Department of Agriculture and GM Canola or Rapeseed is not allowed to be grown." For the proposed rule to work, WVSSA would have to change their guidelines, including a removal of the GM prohibition. This is not something that WVSSA is inclined to do.
Please attend the hearing if you can, and contact Friends of Family Farmers if you plan to attend: leah(at)friendsoffamilyfarmers.org