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:
- Opinion: To kick-start Alberta's return to the global economy, we need to think local first - The Globe and Mail - May 16th, 2020
- Working to find more opportunities to diversify economy | Opinions - Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman - May 16th, 2020
- Assam CM asks Numaligarh Refinery to play proactive role in promoting agro-based economy - Economic Times - May 16th, 2020
- In a Post-COVID-19 World, the Only One Way Ahead for India Is Economic Federalism - The Wire - May 16th, 2020
- Jitters, optimism with Gov. Bakers plan to reopen economy during the coronavirus pandemic - Milford Daily News - May 16th, 2020
- How To Avoid 'Revenge Pollution' While Reviving the Economy - Earth911.com - May 16th, 2020
- COVID-19 is a Budget Challenge for StatesBut There Are Solutions - The Pew Charitable Trusts - May 16th, 2020
- COVID-19 Crisis: Understanding the State of Economy during and after the Lockdown - Economic and Political Weekly - May 16th, 2020
- Healthy Oceans: Keeping Asia and The Pacific Afloat - Jakarta Globe - May 16th, 2020
- Northern Dynasty Minerals: Alaska's Pebble Project Approaches Key Permitting Milestone As COVID-19 And Collapsing Oil Prices Threaten State's Economy,... - May 16th, 2020
- Should Sierra Leoneans be pawns on the SLPP-APC political chessboard? A Rejoinder - Sierra Leone Telegraph - May 16th, 2020
- ADA provides COVID-19 update in first-of-its-kind press conference to dental media - Dentistry IQ - May 16th, 2020
- In light of the pandemic, government's policies and programmes target social sector - The Kathmandu Post - May 16th, 2020
- The future of recycling: 4 experts explain - News - The University of Sydney - May 16th, 2020
- Bright Blue and WSP: Net zero more urgent than ever for government and business - Rail Professional Magazine - May 16th, 2020
- Healthy Oceans Needed To Keep ASEAN Afloat - The Asean Post - May 16th, 2020
- China would be shooting itself in the foot if it bans Australian iron ore - Small Caps - May 16th, 2020
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: City should follow through with lowering taxes in midst of pandemic - Nanaimo News Bulletin - April 27th, 2020
- In the City: Resources and support for local businesses - Coloradoan - April 27th, 2020
- Why there isn't a one-size-fits-all plan for states to reopen their economies - Kiowa County Press - April 27th, 2020
- Absorbing the Shocks or Irreversible Damage? The Impact of COVID-19 on Africas Political Economy - Modern Ghana - April 27th, 2020
- Why States Need to Come up With Their Own Plans to Reopen Their Economies - The National Interest - April 27th, 2020
- Daily life grinds to a halt with empty streets, a rising death toll as coronavirus lays siege to Detroit - MLive.com - April 27th, 2020
- 'We will digitise assets to generate land-based taxes' - Guardian - April 27th, 2020
- Fortuna provides an update on its operations at the Caylloma Mine in Peru - Junior Mining Network - April 27th, 2020
- Thuli Madonsela: What if the poor mattered? - News24 - April 27th, 2020
- COVID-19: Steady Rewind Mode on Global Civilization - THISDAY Newspapers - April 27th, 2020
- Resource Based Economy | The Venus Project - April 26th, 2020
- RESOURCE BASED ECONOMY | Future by Design - April 26th, 2020
- Introduction to a Resource Based Economy - April 26th, 2020
- What is a Resource-Based Economy? | The Venus Project - April 26th, 2020
- Facts adjusts print schedule to adapt to changing economy - Brazosport Facts - April 26th, 2020
- Letter: The Earth can't breathe - Opinion - Columbia Daily Tribune - April 26th, 2020
- Reopening the U.S. economy is like walking a tightrope and Trumps guidelines may be too lax - MarketWatch - April 26th, 2020
- We need a better head start for the next pandemic | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal - voxeu.org - April 26th, 2020
- Free interactive tool launched to help businesses through COVID-19 - GlobeNewswire - April 26th, 2020
- The South's Handling Of Coronavirus Could Be 'A Macabre Game Of Whack-A-Mole' - OPB News - April 26th, 2020
- Why COVID-19 confinement is hitting people with intellectual disabilities hard - World Economic Forum - April 26th, 2020
- The Observer view on the domestic abuse bill failing women trapped in lockdown - The Guardian - April 26th, 2020
- Harmful tweets from high places: Why Is Twitter acting now? - Salon - April 26th, 2020
- Cannabis cultivation could be a key economic driver for reconstruction after Covid-19 - Daily Maverick - April 26th, 2020
- Tom Gordon: Holyrood's finances are out of step with the Covid crisis - HeraldScotland - April 26th, 2020
- They will pay you to take oil off their hands - and panic is deepening COMMENT - Express - April 26th, 2020
- More than a quarter of the US economy is shut down - AL.com - April 7th, 2020
- Elizabeth Warren on coronavirus, the presidency, and the economy - Vox.com - April 7th, 2020
- Summit Chamber of Commerce forms economic recovery team to assist local businesses during and after shutdown - Summit Daily News - April 7th, 2020
- It is necessary to worry about health, but pessimism about the economy will hurt us - The Conversation AU - April 7th, 2020
- Highways England and the circular economy - New Civil Engineer - April 7th, 2020
- Working Washington Emergency Grants Now Open to Small Businesses in Thurston County Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis - ThurstonTalk - April 7th, 2020
- Culture, Resilience, and Sustainability of the Salish People - State of the Planet - April 7th, 2020
- RJ Corman: From Iron Horses to Race Horses - The Pressbox - April 7th, 2020
- Akdere invited to join G20 taskforce on economy, employment and education - Purdue Polytechnic Institute - April 7th, 2020
- Covid-19 live updates, April 7: Mental health resource Getting Through Together now available - The Spinoff - April 7th, 2020
- 5 Unexpected Impact Investments in COVID-19 Recovery | Karma - Karma - April 7th, 2020
- Corona: What have you done to our economy and society? - Elets - April 7th, 2020
- ESDS Software Solutions recognized as Asias 15th Best Workplace by Great Place To Work Institute - Elets - April 7th, 2020
- Trudeau to destroy another resource industry in the west but to the chagrin of the Feds Alberta could benefit - Brooks Bulletin - January 19th, 2020
- Bringing Consensus Politics Back to Environmental Issues - State of the Planet - January 19th, 2020
- PNGs economy rebounds in 2019, a year in review - POST-COURIER - January 19th, 2020
- B.C. cheers high tech in its rural communities - but financial support is missing - The Globe and Mail - January 19th, 2020
- Hello, Hanover - The Post - Ontario - January 19th, 2020
- Ghana And World Bank Sign $570 Million Agreement | Banking/Finance - Peace FM Online - January 19th, 2020
- Carbon pricing: Research on carbon taxes and cap-and-trade - Journalist's Resource - January 19th, 2020
- Focus on demand creation reforms in budget: PHDCCI to govt - ETAuto.com - January 19th, 2020
- Union Budget 2020 | PHDCCI urges govt to focus on demand creation reforms in budget - Jagran English - January 19th, 2020
- Shadowfax Ties Up With ASSOCHAM To Upskill And Employ Youth Under The Skill India Mission - IndianWeb2.com - January 19th, 2020
- Timipre Sylva: Nigeria to focus on five critical areas in oil and gas sector in 2020 - TODAY NEWS AFRICA - January 19th, 2020
- Digital citizen rights need to have teeth for Canada to succeed in data-driven economy - The Globe and Mail - December 27th, 2019
- Azmin: Malaysia to realign economy in the next decade - The Malaysian Reserve - December 27th, 2019
- The Malaysian economy in 2020 - Malaysiakini - December 27th, 2019
- There's a Genius, Sustainable Economic System We Could All Be Using. Here's How - ScienceAlert - December 27th, 2019
- Diane Francis: If Ottawa won't listen to the West on resources, perhaps the West should stop listening to Ottawa - Financial Post - December 27th, 2019
- How Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign changed Big Tech forever - CNBC - December 27th, 2019
- Abe says planning to visit Middle East in early Jan. - The Mainichi - December 27th, 2019
- The Next Big Thing - The Maritime Executive - December 27th, 2019
- ANCHORAGE PRESS PERSON OF THE YEAR: At 95, Vic Fischer continues to fight for the Alaska Constitution he drafted - Anchorage Press - December 27th, 2019
- Year in Review 2019: The five fastest-growing jobs in Singapore - Yahoo Singapore News - December 27th, 2019
- Moe has no regrets about divisive 2019 as he targets more autonomy in New Year - Regina Leader-Post - December 27th, 2019
- 65 Outstanding Black And Hispanic Men Leading In Cannabis - Benzinga - December 27th, 2019
- The Triad of Commoning - Resilience - December 21st, 2019