Click HERE to find out where Legislators are Hiding!

28 Feb

If you’re just tuning in to Oregon politics, Republican legislators have walked out of the capitol and will not (as of yet) be showing up.  Democrats have been doing plenty of begging and pleading for R’s to return to Salem.  Yesterday they even went so far as to issue subpoenas for legislators.  It’s a crazy world we live in right now here in Oregon. 

So I’m going to just go ahead and tell you all where these folks are hiding.  Republican legislators are hiding in a place that is protecting rural and working Oregonians.  And I’m so glad they are!

Sorry, I’m sure that’s not what you all wanted to hear.  And spoiler alert, I don’t know where any of them are physically.  So if it was the click bait that brought you here, I apologize.  If you want to know more, keep reading, because what is going on in Oregon is important, what these folks are standing up for is truly for the good of Oregonians.  I can’t thank them enough!!!   

“This isn’t about my job, it’s about saving yours!”  And I know they are doing their jobs.  But that whole “doing your job” bit seems to be a hot topic, so I’ll get more to that in a minute.

Background on the current issue being debated: 
As the legislature moved through the last session, Democrats introduced a bill regarding cap and trade.  They worked on it all last session, at the end of session there was a walk out of senators which led to the bill not being passed in 2019.  Fast forward to 2020 and we are in a short session, one designed for fixes and budget items, and yet again we see this extreme bill come to the table.  The words of “common ground” and “bipartisan” keep coming up in the talking points of Democrats, but I argue that just isn’t the case.  Actually what seems more accurate is the “lovely” talking point from our Governor Kate Brown at the end of 2019 session, “Revenge is a dish best served cold and slowly.”

We can argue the merits and downfalls of the bill later, but for now I will say that there were many many ideas and suggestions, even amendments provided that would have helped this bill become at least not such a blatant disregard to the people of Oregon.  But luckily (or stupidly) Democrats just ignored them.  The common ground that they keep talking about doesn’t exist, and it’s their own doing, and at this point, also their undoing.

Where we are now:
Currently in the House and Senate here in Oregon Democrats are at a super majority, which means they don’t need any Republican support for bills to pass them.  Votes along party lines are an automatic pass, the only thing they don’t have is enough to make quorum.  So both the House and the Senate have to wait in order to conduct business until Republicans are there to make quorum.  This power of being able to walk and deny quorum has been used before.  It was used last session and before that in 2001.  The 2001 walkout was interestingly enough led by our very own Gov. Kate Brown.  You can read more about that here.

All but 8 counties (whose commissioners were elected by the people) have said NO to this legislation, they have said that it needs to go to the voters for a vote.  These counties represent over half of Oregonians, and still Democrats are digging in their heels and refuse to let voters make the decision.

Here is a poll done by KGW, it’s not even a close contest.  And yet still…still…they are saying the people shouldn’t vote on this bill!! 

The people are actively saying they want to vote on this legislation.  Maybe a better term would be “screaming” that they want a vote, and yet here with sit at a total impasse.

Are they Doing Their Jobs by Walking Out?
The debate seems to go back and forth about how if they are doing their job, doing what they were elected to do, they should be there to vote no, allow the bill to pass (because they don’t have the numbers to stop it) and move on.  I would argue that their job is to represent the people who elected them, the people of their district.  And when I look at the map of counties, when I look at the poll, heck when I look at any social media surrounding this issue, I have to say that using the only power that they have left is absolutely doing their job.  They are standing up for those of us who voted them in, who now sit here with our head in our hands, hoping that this devastating legislation doesn’t get passed.  Hoping that solutions that have been presented are looked at seriously.  Hoping that we don’t just get railroaded by those who were also voted in and are now ignoring their constituents.

But I also hear the follow up question, “Well would you get fired if you didn’t show up for work?”  And the answer can’t be simple, because there are rights in this country that allow for us to stand up.  In a way you could look at this as a protest, and can union folks who protest for their rights be punished and fired because they “didn’t show up for work” even though they were standing up for what they believed in?  You have to look at the WHY, not just the simple fact that they aren’t there clocking in for work.  They were left no choice but to walk and for that, no, I don’t think they should be “fired”.

The news has been inundated with all the Democrat talking points, and it’s getting a little old. 
So here’s a quick little game of “What the Democrats Say & What I Hear.”

Democrats: We need to you to come back to pass a bill to allow foster kids to be adopted.
What I hear: This is the best sob story to tug at emotional heartstrings we could find, we probably should have passed this earlier in the session but we were too busy with a bill that shouldn’t have even been introduced this session anyway.

Democrats: Come back and do your job!
What I hear: You need to ignore the people you represent, just like we are!  It’s super important to not listen to your constituents.

Democrats: Republicans are on a tax payer paid vacation, must be so nice!
What I hear: Republicans are giving up so much to be away.  They are sacrificing family time, their kid’s sporting events, heck just dinner with your spouse.  This is not and was not a choice that was made lightly, this is no vacation.

Democrats: We really wish you would come back so we could hear your opinions on issues that we are discussing.
What I hear: We truly need your butt to physically be in that chair so we can pass this legislation without you getting a say.

Democrats: We were voted in by the people to pass this bill.
What I hear: We will pass this bill even though everything has changed since we were voted in.  Example, public records requests are not allowed.  New options have been put forth that don’t hurt our state and they have been ignored.  We have learned more about how much this will actually help our environment (not at all).

Democrats: This is an emergency and we have been working on this for over a decade, the time is now!
What I hear: So…..in the next 9 days, after a decade of working on this legislation, that’s it, the world is going to end and only Democrats in Oregon can stop it.  (Give me a break).  This might be the only time that we have the numbers to pass this bill without any Republican input, so yes, the time in NOW!

Democrats: This needs an emergency clause….”This is an emergency….”, see comment above.
What I hear: If we have an emergency clause on this bill it can’t get referred to the voters.  And there is no way that we want the people of Oregon to vote on this bill….see comment below.

Democrats: We need to vote on this bill, it’s too complicated for voters to understand.
What I hear: Voters are dumb, except that they aren’t and our fear is that they will vote this down.  AND….it’s going to cost Democrats a boatload of money to try to get this passed on the ballot and we have so many races coming up that we need to win so we can get more power in this state.  (Follow the money!)

I’ll leave you with this from House Republican Leader Representative Drazan, “Voters should remember this in November. It would also serve the Democrats well to remember who their boss is in this state – Oregonians. Only in politics can an employee (politician) get away with inferring their boss (Oregonians) are too inept to understand the difficulties of a job (bill) and not face termination. The truth isn’t that it’s too complicated for voters to understand. Voters have taken up many complicated issues over the last few decades. The truth is that the Democrats know cap and trade will fail at the ballot because voters absolutely can understand what the bill does to them – not for them.”

So maybe the question shouldn’t be “Are Republicans doing their job by walking out?” 
It should be, “Are the Democrats doing their jobs by keeping this bill from the voters?” 

And to all the legislators who are standing up, thank you for all you have sacrificed for me and for all Oregonians!  Thank you for listening and for doing what is right.  Thank you for walking out!  Because at the end of the day, for me as a third generation farmer and fourth generation Oregonian, I want my children and my grandchildren to continue this Oregon legacy.   And we can only do that if brave folks like you stand up and say, “Enough is Enough!”.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Call, write, email legislators and tell them THANK YOU!
  • Call, write, email legislators and tell them you want this to go to the voters! To Find Your Legislators Click Here
  • Share this blog and other stories about what this means!
  • Follow #timberunity to get real time updates

 

 

Timber Unity Rally February 6th….See you there!!!

4 Feb

****ALERT: There are rumors going around that “Ag is exempt” from the Cap-and-Trade legislation. That is much too broad and not accurate.

The greater “Ag” is NOT exempt. They are not a “regulated entity”, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay all the increases in energy, which is the reason why we disagree with this legislation.****

This coming Thursday, February 6th is another Timber Unity Rally at the Capitol.  This rally is bringing together everyone; loggers, truckers, farmers, ranchers, working class people, rural folks, and generally anyone against cap and trade legislation!Details can be found at www.timberunity-convoy.com.

I posted a quick video on why this effects every single Oregonian!  Check it out here…..

Hope to see you Thursday!!

More posts about Cap & Trade from my blog can be found here:
Cap & Trade Testimony
More on Cap & Trade
Why I’m Supporting the Walkout
Natural Resources Rally at the Capitol 2019

Why do we grow grass seed in Oregon??

17 Jan

Here’s a good question, “Why are you growing grass seed on those acres and acres of fields when you could be growing food?”  Well with the recent closing of yet another food processor in this state, the answer to this question can get very complex.  So what I thought I would give you here is the answer to another question, “Why is grass seed an important crop to grow?” 

WHY DO WE GROW TURF TYPE GRASS SEED??
I should start by saying that this is the seed that you would plant for your lawn or is used on sports fields.  Our farm is about 60% turf type grass seed fields.  A mix of variety, but overall it’s either perennial ryegrass or tall fescue (both cool season grasses).  Theses fields stay in the ground anywhere from as little as two years and upwards of 15 years.  On average our fields are in the ground about 5 years.  Which means we are not tilling the soil those years, we plant in year one and we harvest every year the same plants that were originally planted until we have to take the field out.  We have a good climate here in Oregon to grow these grasses, we have an industry that has a long history of investment and research dedicated to making us as farmers able to more with less.  Efficiency on a farm has always been a big concern and when it comes to turf type grass seed that story is no different.

That’s a little background (questions can be left below), but the WHY is what we are trying to get to here.  And that is where the environment comes into the conversation, new technology, and even the simple idea of just getting outside, all play a role. 

Environmental:
If you think of any major environmental disaster, hazard spills, floods, landslides, earthquake, really any situation where there is bare soil, what is the first thing that is usually done to protect that soil from further damage?  They have to plant something, and grass is an excellent tool that can sprout to protect the soil it’s growing from on the surface and also put down roots that hold soil in place.  Roots that also can clean up the ground as a natural filtration system.  Grass in these situations is a tool used that will continue to work for them usually with little oversight and management so they can deal with the larger issues at hand.  It’s also a tool used in combating air and water pollution.  As an example of air specifically, (see carbon sequestration below), China has made an effort to increase plantings of grass to help with their air pollution problem.  The photo below is from India just this year, there are many places similar to this that can use the help from the smog.

Carbon Sequestration:
These plants that stay in year after year aren’t just sitting there doing nothing.  Like all plants they are busy year round taking in carbon.  Yes they have periods where they don’t sequester as much, but overall, grass seed crops are a carbon sequestering tool.  Think of all the good that these acres and acres of crop ground are doing for our atmosphere!  And that’s just above ground, the roots and plant material that is its own ecosystem below the ground is always working.  Our soil is our best resource and grass seed has shown to be a crop that continues the trend of soil health and fertility. 

Interesting fact: Just one acre (about the size of one football field) of tall fescue has been found to sequester 5.45 ton of carbon per year!!

New Technologies:
Our industry is always researching ways to continue to be relevant and solve problems.  One problem how to have grass in areas where water doesn’t fall from the sky with enough volume, or water sources are too expensive or being depleted.  I’m taking about drought resistance.  These varieties use less water, stay greener longer, need less inputs to look good and be healthy.  We are seeing this out in our fields as varieties are greener to the eye when we harvest, but often the seed is mature and ready to harvest.  Another example would be salt tolerant varieties of grass seed.  This serves the market not only of salty soil that’s naturally occurring, but also for roadsides where salt is used to protect motorists in the winter.  That salt can create an issue on roadsides where you need stability, this fits that niche.  Have a soil issue, have a weather issue, let’s see if grass seed can be developed to solve those problems!

Getting Outside, Being Active:
This might seem like such an obvious piece of the puzzle, but I truly believe that grass helps kids (and adults) get outside.  This grass is on sports fields, it’s out your back door, it’s in parks where you can run with your pets.  It’s in all those places that naturally reduce stress and encourage movement.  I think that as a society, this is a big part of continuing down a path of mental and physical health.  Not to mention how much cooler the ground is where there is grass growing, especially in the summer. 

Interesting Fact: It’s been shown that the temperature of ground covered with grass can be 30 degrees cooler than concrete!!

Can you imagine if all around us was just concrete and rocks?  I don’t see that as a place I’d hang out if it was 100 degrees, even if it was in the shade! And what about artificial turf?  Seems like an easy replacement right?  But did you know…..

Interesting Fact: Artificial sports turf field has a budget of $2 million over the life of 20 years, while a nicely cared for natural grass field still budgets in at under $1 million!

You know what all that maintenance and money goes to?  Rubber, labor, and zero carbon sequestration.

Side note: My own personal favorite natural grass turf field….Go Packers!

So while you’re driving around Oregon thinking how irresponsible this is to have all this grass seed growing all around us, think about the end product and markets.  Think about how important that above ground protection and coverage is, think about the carbon sequestration, think about how fun it is to go play catch in your back yard!  And that is where you will find many of the answers as to why we grow turf type grass seed here in Oregon.  Clearly this is just a snapshot of some interesting examples, but as always if you have questions or comments please feel free to type them below!

%d bloggers like this: