A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A yellow crop — and controversial

Written April 10th, 2013 by

I stopped my bicycle on Spring Hill Drive on Tuesday to take a quick look at this field. It looked like a field of rapeseed or, as we now call it, canola. I would have been surer of this if there had been a sign telling passersby what they’re looking at.

I’ve long had an interest in promoting the proliferation of crop signs in valley fields so that the public in general would become more knowledgeable about farming, the foundation of our civilization and our economy. Today I read in the local paper that Oregon Women for Agriculture plans to raise money for more such signs at its auction on April 20 at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. I wish them success.

Canola, grown for the oil in its seeds, has become controversial. Farmers of some other specialty seed crops in the Willamette Valley fear it can interfere with their produce. The state Agriculture Department in February issued a rule to allow canola but limit its acreage. But legislation, sponsored by Rep. Sara Gelser of Corvallis, now proposes to ban it in the Willamette Valley entirely. Under House Bill 2427, growers defying the proposed canola ban would be subject to a civil fine of up to $25,000. On Thursday, April 11, HB 2427 is up for action by the Oregon House Agriculture Committee in Salem.

I was not thinking of all the complications with canola when I stopped to admire that field on Tuesday. I just thought it looked nice on a cloudy day. (hh)

Mel. Tufteskog responds on April 10:  The state of Oregon is concerned about farmers growing canola. The farmers have got to able to grow what they can to make a living and also rotate their crops.
How about all the Scotch Broom around that is an invasive plant that the state and the counties let grow on their own land. Has the legislature done anything about that? I bet not.

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