Oregon Grows Partnership Priority Bills and other legislation:
The 2013 legislative session adjourned in early July 2013. It was a very successful session for OGP. While we have not yet identified priorities for the 2014 February (short) session, we worked to advance the following legislation in Salem in 2013:
HB 2700 – One of OGP’s priority bills coming into the session, HB 2700 is known as the Aggie Bonds bill, and establishes a Beginning and Expanding Farmer Loan Program to assist new and beginning farmers with acquisition of land, agricultural improvements and depreciable agricultural property. Read more about HB 2700 here. Signed into law.
HB 2393 – Another of OGP’s priority bills and an important addition to 2011’s poultry bill, HB 2393 clarifies that small-scale poultry producers utilizing the state’s 1000 bird exemption would qualify as an approved on farm use within Oregon’s land use system. Without this clarification, small-scale poultry producers would face high fees and time consuming conditional use permits. Read more about HB 2393 here. Signed into law.
In addition to these two priority bills, OGP groups mobilized to support other state legislation in 2013, including a bill to expand Oregon’s Farm to School and school gardens program (passed); legislation to provide new state funding for Farm Direct Nutrition programs for low-income seniors and WIC (women with infant children) participants (passed); a bill to maintain funding for the Oregon State University statewide public service programs which provide technical assistance and research for small farms (passed); re-establishing the tax benefit for farmers donating to food banks and food pantries (tabled until 2014/15); and maintaining restrictions on canola in the Willamette Valley to protect specialty vegetable seed and fresh market vegetable growers (passed).
HB 2872 – The ‘poultry bill’, created an exemption from Oregon Department of Agriculture food establishment license requirements for persons that slaughter not more than 1,000 poultry per year and meets other conditions. This bill creates new economic opportunities for small farmers across rural Oregon while expanding the availability of local, sustainable meat. Signed into law.
HB 2972 Would have established a State Bank for Oregon, which would have provided a new source of affordable loans and access to capital for farmers and ranchers across Oregon, while circulating investment dollars through Oregon’s economy rather than out-of-state. While this bill did not pass in 2011, it created an important discussion in the legislature about the lack of access to capital and affordable loans for small farmers and ranchers, and spurred follow up legislation in 2013 that would enable the state to utilize federal Aggie Bonds to address some of these needs. Did not pass.
HB 2336 Known as the ‘farmer’s market bill,’ this legislation exempted agricultural producers selling low risk canned and dried goods directly to general public from state laws designed to regulate commercial food establishments. This bill provides greater economic opportunity for small family farms while increasing access to nutritious, value added, locally produced food to consumers. Signed into law.