We know farmers' markets struggle to stay connected to state and federal policy developments -- let alone trying to influence policy. Our chances improve when we work together.
OFMA, as an all-volunteer organization, stays connected to state and federal organizations that share our concern for farmers, community food security and other aspects of the food system. We do this to stay informed and advocate where feasible.
We'll share action alerts here under Hot Topics, followed by links to some of our many policy partners.
On Feb. 7, 2013 the ODA adopted a rule expanding canola production in the Willamette Valley despite two hearings of testimony that ran heavily against adoption. It appears to be slightly different from the last version. The battle has shifted to the legislature, where HB 2427 would restore a Willamette Valley ban. Check here or on the Friends of Family Farmers site for legislative updates.
Bills to fund the WIC and Senior FDNP (HB 2921 and SB 456) are moving through their first hearings, and a bill to create a tax deduction for food donations has had a hearing. Another funding bill of interest is the OSU "statewides" bill -- Small Farms is part of Extension, which is funded in this bill.
We expect a work session in a few weeks on HB 2700, the Aggie Bonds bill. From there, it goes to Ways and Means, the money committee, and we will not expect action until the next revenue forecast is released. Contact Ivan Maluski at Friends of Family Farmers if you can help. Here's a one-pager on the bill, and his address is on it.
HB 2393, which fixes a land use permitting barrier to use of the new exemption, has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate.
March 18 was farmer and rancher Rally Day in Salem. Friends of Family Farmers had more than 140 RSVPs.
OSU Small Farms has created a page on the rules process for the Food Safety Modernization Act.
A few of of our policy partners
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is often the best source for policy affecting small farms and farm direct agriculture. Here is their blog.
Farmers Market Coalition works closely with NSAC and state organizations like OFMA.
The National Association of Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs tracks legislative and regulatory issues involving both the WIC and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs.