There are a variety of approaches we could take to boost the economy of Oregons rural counties. We can look back, and try to recapture a fragment of Oregons old economy based on resource extraction, or we can look forward to more stable and sustainable opportunities.
Organic agriculture and commerce is one such opportunity; however, the clean air, water, and soil needed for this industry to flourish are threatened by Oregons weakest in the West environmental rules. New research shows why Oregon should embrace organics and ensure that organic farming can be a big part of our states future.
Unfortunately, the rear-view mirror vision often presented by Oregons industry and policy leaders overlooks diverse, vibrant and modern economic drivers, such as organic farming and the organic trade. Instead, the focus is often on a return to industrial forestry and mass clear-cutting practices whose harm outstrips the potential economic benefits.
A recent Environmental Protection Agency report shows that one-half of Oregons 10 biggest polluters are in the wood products industry. According to the director of Oregons Office of Economic Analysis, even if we went back to peak harvest of the 70s, wed only have one-third of the workers in the mill as we did in previous years, due to technology alone.
The organic industry provides a stunning contrast. Nationwide, organic food sales in 2015 jumped by 11 percent to almost $40 billion, far outpacing the 3 percent growth rate for the overall food market. Oregon companies such as Mountain Rose Herbs, Organically Grown Co., and Hummingbird Wholesale are just a few clear examples of how organic businesses can benefit local economies, while supporting high-quality jobs in organic agriculture.
Research published by the Organic Trade Association in May 2016, from Penn State agricultural economist Dr. Edward Jaenicke, shows that supporting the growth of organic businesses can be a major boon to rural economies. Jaenickes research links economic health at the county level to organic agriculture, and shows that organic food and crop production and the business activities accompanying organic agriculture creates real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities.
Most importantly: Counties within organic hot spots have lower poverty rates and higher median annual household incomes. On average, poverty rates drop by 1.3 percentage points and median income rises by more than $2,000 in these counties. The same benefits are not found in general agricultural hot spots.
Clearly, organics can and do benefit Oregons economy, but the organic trade relies on organic agriculture, and organic agriculture depends on clean water and air.
Industrial clear-cutting practices, such as aerial herbicide spraying, threaten both the economic potential of organics and the health of our state. Herbicides that drift onto neighboring properties during routine timberland aerial spraying are a direct threat to small organic farms and businesses.
Many would-be organic farmers simply cannot afford to risk their farm becoming contaminated with Atrazine or Glyphosate by neighboring corporate landowners, which may necessitate the loss of their crop and the associated investments and income.
Protecting the environment has benefits far beyond nurturing a successful organic industry. People want to live, work and grow in places with drinkable water, breathable air and a sustainable future. Lawmakers in Oregon should take meaningful steps to protect people, farms, and drinking water. Gov. Kate Brown deserves recognition for committing to working hard for rural Oregons economies; lets also talk more about empowering communities with innovative organic ideas supported by data and science, in line with modern values.
After all, what could be better for Oregon than growing more good clean food, and protecting clean, pure water for us all?
Stacy Kraker chairs the Oregon Organic Coalition and is director of communications and marketing for Organically Grown Company in Eugene.
More Guest Viewpoint articles
Go here to read the rest:
- Canada Nickel Signs Groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding with Taykwa Tagamou Nation on The Crawford Nickel-Cobalt Sulphide Project - PRNewswire - December 17th, 2020
- VOBA: We're all in this together - Vermont Biz - December 17th, 2020
- The post-COVID benefits of the gig economy - Open Access Government - December 17th, 2020
- The Biden presidency and a new direction in education policy - Brookings Institution - December 17th, 2020
- Circular economy in the dairy industry: Processing wastes to P-rich bio-based fertilisers - Open Access Government - December 17th, 2020
- Where Do We Stand Five Years After the Paris Agreement? - Sierra Magazine - December 17th, 2020
- Alexander: $6 Million To Be Used For 50-75 Miles Of Mountain Bike Trails In Cocke County - The Chattanoogan - December 5th, 2020
- New ICMM reports reinforce mining's role in economic development of host countries - International Mining - December 5th, 2020
- 'Bayelsa is Blessed with Major Revenue Derivable Resources' - THISDAY Newspapers - December 5th, 2020
- LTE - Rahall and Boustany - December | Journal-news - Martinsburg Journal - December 5th, 2020
- Cloud banking seen to aid economic recovery The Manila Times - The Manila Times - December 5th, 2020
- First Person: 'people with disabilities are the greatest untapped resource on the planet' - UN News - December 5th, 2020
- Indian think tank predicts post-COVID economic recovery in GCC - WAM EN - December 5th, 2020
- Online directory aims to help Black businesses thrive in nation's whitest state - PenBayPilot.com - December 5th, 2020
- Connectivity Issues in the North East - Economic and Political Weekly - December 5th, 2020
- Recognition of Native Treaty Rights Could Reshape the Environmental Landscape - In These Times - December 5th, 2020
- 5 things we learned about workplace mental health this year - World Economic Forum - December 5th, 2020
- Take the Meritocracy Stress Test to find out the truth about diversity in your company - World Economic Forum - December 5th, 2020
- 31st United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic - Statement by H.E. Volkan Bozkir, President of... - December 5th, 2020
- UMass Amherst Study Will Assess Impact of Dual-use Solar-agriculture Installations in Massachusetts - UMass News and Media Relations - December 5th, 2020
- FirstLight Files to Relicense Western Massachusetts Hydroelectric Assets for 50 More Years of Clean, Reliable Energy and Community Benefits - Business... - December 5th, 2020
- As Seplat takes STEAM education a STEP higher - TheCable - December 5th, 2020
- Transient workforce: How high turnover affects the workplace and the mental health of hourly wage workers - Summit Daily News - December 5th, 2020
- B2Gold Recognized as Industry-Leading Responsible Miner - PRNewswire - December 5th, 2020
- COVID-19 Recovery, Planetary Repair 'Two Sides of Same Coin', Secretary-General Says in University Address, Warning More Viruses Could Jump from... - December 5th, 2020
- Class 1 Nickel and Technologies Reports Further Increase to NI 43-101 NI-CU-CO Mineral Resources - Junior Mining Network - December 5th, 2020
- Virtual Photography on the Bay Class starts Oct. 8 Tillamook County Pioneer - Tillamook County Pioneer - October 10th, 2020
- What's a 'circular bioeconomy' and how can it save the planet? - World Economic Forum - October 10th, 2020
- COVID-19 and the new age of copper | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal - voxeu.org - October 10th, 2020
- Weekly Digest of Central Asia - Times of Central Asia - October 10th, 2020
- Sirajul Haq rules out joining hands with Opp alliance - The News International - October 10th, 2020
- Rising temperatures leave Russia's Arctic ambitions on thin ice - S&P Global - September 9th, 2020
- Angola and the EU strengthen their multidimensional partnership and increase the Covid-19 response by 20 million - EU News - September 9th, 2020
- Texas named top state for infrastructure and corporate investment by Site Selection Magazine - KVUE.com - September 9th, 2020
- Global Saas-based Enterprise Resource Planning Market 2020 | Know the Companies List Could Potentially Benefit or Loose out From the Impact of... - September 9th, 2020
- The global Renewable Chemicals market is projected to reach US$125. 6billion by 2025 - GlobeNewswire - September 9th, 2020
- Solvay and Veolia Partner to Renew the Life Cycle for Electric Car Batteries - Business Wire - September 9th, 2020
- Neighbors are gathering online to give and get the things they need right now - Vox.com - September 9th, 2020
- Jobs, billions at risk as Husky announces sweeping review of White Rose extension - CBC.ca - September 9th, 2020
- Science and Innovation calls for increased efforts to improve innovation in the country - Marketscreener.com - September 9th, 2020
- Covid-19 Created an Elective Surgery Backlog. How Can Hospitals Get Back on Track? - Harvard Business Review - August 10th, 2020
- AHIP's John Mathewson is shaping the association's strategic planning, focus on equity - FierceHealthcare - August 10th, 2020
- Canada should support Taiwan's admission to the CPTPP - iPolitics.ca - August 10th, 2020
- The long-awaited IEEE standard that paves the way for more energy storage on a smarter grid - Energy Storage News - August 10th, 2020
- Tawazun to create satellite assembly, integration and testing center - SpaceWatch.Global - August 10th, 2020
- [What's Next in Communications Technology?] Defining the Boundaries of Communications - Samsung Newsroom India - August 10th, 2020
- Government of Canada invests in Saskatchewan Indigenous businesses and communities - Canada NewsWire - August 10th, 2020
- COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Heres whats happening Monday - Chicago Tribune - August 10th, 2020
- Final webinar on coal transition offers advice and resources for communities - Uinta County Herald - August 9th, 2020
- What's Next: Fragile nonprofit safety net facing tests that threaten survival - Crain's Detroit Business - August 9th, 2020
- Alberta's oil-based wealth fund misses a $433 billion opportunity - WorldOil - August 9th, 2020
- BMO forecasts full recovery of Canadian economy next year - Daily Commercial News - August 9th, 2020
- Opinion: Investing in Philly artists during the pandemic could help - WHYY - August 9th, 2020
- Protecting 30% of the earth will bolster economy - thethirdpole.net - August 9th, 2020
- Ben Franklin to Invest $114500 in the Regional Economy - bctv.org - August 9th, 2020
- BCG economy thriving on rich biodiversity and technological strengths - Bangkok Post - August 9th, 2020
- Why special education funding will be more equitable under new state law - EdSource - August 9th, 2020
- Microsoft commits to achieve 'zero waste' goals by 2030 - Microsoft - August 9th, 2020
- Business Council of BC urges province to 'fast-track' economic recovery measures - Daily Commercial News - August 8th, 2020
- India Must Plan New Strategy for Cities to Reap Full Benefits of 'Self-Reliance' Initiative - TheCityFix - August 8th, 2020
- Embrace the circular economy - Daily Pioneer - August 7th, 2020
- Lake Cowichan says its Not The Wild West - My Cowichan Valley Now - August 7th, 2020
- BC's opportunity to move toward watershed security - Policy Options - August 7th, 2020
- Supply Chain Canada is Proud to Announce its Fellow Inductees for 2020 - Canada NewsWire - August 7th, 2020
- Guest column: Mullins and Sharpe were pivotal in Tyler's growth - Tyler Morning Telegraph - August 7th, 2020
- COVID-19 having big impact on outdoor recreation industry, public lands - WXYZ - August 7th, 2020
- Lake Cowichan says it's Not The Wild West - My Cowichan Valley Now - August 7th, 2020
- The Pandemic Has Resulted in Record Savings, but Only for Some - NextAdvisor - August 7th, 2020
- For all Marape's achievements in PNG, the biggest challenges await - The Interpreter - August 7th, 2020
- Opinion: Pandemic, floods, fires, hurricanes, extinctions nature is telling us it's time to build our economy around inclusive wealth - Ensia - August 7th, 2020
- Amid the pandemic, can Colorado still lead on a just transition from coal? - Energy News Network - August 7th, 2020
- UAE partners with Airbus to launch satellite testing and assembly centre - The National - August 6th, 2020
- June TechCred to Fund Record-Setting Number of In-Demand Credentials WKTN- A division of Home Town Media - WKTN Radio - August 6th, 2020
- Managing air quality: Urban intergovernmental institutions appear to be logical choice - The Financial Express - August 6th, 2020
- Trump Tries to Make It Hard for Anyone Else to Behave Ethically, Either - The New Yorker - August 6th, 2020
- Teva and Alvotech Announce Strategic Partnership to Collaborate in the U.S. Biosimilar Market - Business Wire - August 6th, 2020
- These states are happiest with their standard of living - YouGov US - August 5th, 2020
- Tawazun to build, develop Satellite Assembly, Integration and Testing Centre - Emirates News Agency - August 5th, 2020
- Here's how we can make health a core part of the global economy - World Economic Forum - August 5th, 2020
- Crowns and Hops Brewing Launches 8 Trill Pils Initiative to Support Black-Owned Craft Breweries - Brewbound.com - August 5th, 2020