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Ag News | February 17, 2017

Ag News Roundup

In todays Ag News Roundup, a new source of jet fuel can be grown almost anywhere, a farm incubator takes root near Mount Vernon, residents asked to help end beetle population, record snowfall damages the onion industry, and Oregon takes a careful look at its forests.

OSU Find Camelina Oil Could be Source of Jet Fuel

A new Oregon State University analysis found that the camelina plant could be a promising source of biofuel, specifically as a jet fuel. The crop, which can be grown on marginal land and rotated with wheat, preserves soil and is relatively easy to grow. However, current jet fuel prices make the use of camelina oil cost prohibitive.

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Farm Incubator Trains Tomorrow’s Farmers

Borrowing the incubator idea from the tech industry, Viva Farms near Mount Vernon is helping train future farmers. The program is being ran in conjunction with Skagit Valley College. Students in the program have the chance to lease land at the incubator where they get hands-on instruction on farming and the business side of the industry.

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Oregon Plans to Wipe Out Japanese Beetle

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is hoping to end a Japanese beetle infestation. The plan requires cooperation from homeowners in a 1,000-acre area where annual treatments will be administered for five years. The infested area includes Portland suburbs of Bethany and Cedar Mills. If left unchecked, the beetle has the capacity to cause damage to several Oregon crops, including nursery plants, wine grapes, cane berries, and hazelnuts.

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Onion Industry Damaged by Snow

Due to record snowfall, dozens of onion storage and packing buildings have collapsed in Idaho and Oregon’s Treasure Valley area. It’s unclear how much damage was caused by the snowfall, but growers estimate it could reach $100 million.

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Decision Makers Delay Climate Change Policy

Already, Oregon’s forests store 150-times as much carbon dioxide as the state emits per year, which is why the Oregon Global Warming Commission has urged a delay in establishing any new forest policies. Decision makers want to weigh the options and possibly allow further logging to reduce forest fires and benefit Oregon’s economy.

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