HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES

 

February 2, 2005   Hearing Room C

9:00 A.M. Tapes  12 - 13

Corrected 9/26/2005)

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Patti Smith, Chair

Rep. Brian Boquist, Vice-Chair

Rep. Arnie Roblan, Vice-Chair

Rep. Terry Beyer

Rep. Chuck Burley

Rep. Mark Hass

Rep. Mac Sumner

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Patrick Brennan, Committee Administrator

Jania Zeeb, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

                                                Oregon Department of Agriculture – Informational Meeting         

                                                            Animal Health Issues

                                                            Food Safety Certification

                                                            Buy Oregon Program

                                                            Brand Oregon Update

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 12, A

003

Chair P. Smith

Calls the meeting to order at 9:01 a.m. and opens the informational meeting on the Oregon Department of Agriculture food certification and fee restructuring.

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE – INFORMATIONAL MEETING

ANIMAL HEALTH ISSUES

015

Katy Coba

Director, Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA).  Gives an overview of what will be discussed in the presentation.  Discusses animal health issues, including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly referred to as Mad Cow Disease.

045

Dr. Don Hansen

State Veterinarian, ODA.   Updates the committee on what is happening with BSE.

068

Hansen

Details the prevention measures that the federal government adopted in response to the infected cow discovered in Washington in December 2003.  

115

Hansen

States that if countries comply with the prevention measures then live animals and meat products can be imported from other countries, including Canada.

125

Hansen

Discusses what is currently being done to watch for BSE.  Explains current studies and their significance. 

145

Hansen

Offers suggestions for opening the Canadian border to beef.  Maintains that scientific-based decisions are important, however if Canada is in compliance it would be good to resume trade with them.

172

Chair P. Smith

Inquires if Dr. Hansen believes that everything is being taken care of from the federal level, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is handling the situation appropriately.

175

Hansen

Responds that the USDA is showing an appropriate amount of restraint. 

181

Rep. Sumner

Inquires how BSE has impacted the retail cost of beef, both in Oregon and nationwide.

187

Hansen

Responds that he does not have that number with him but says that there was an effect.

192

Coba

Responds that she does not have specific dollar amounts.  States that when the incident happened the demand for beef actually increased, and has remained high since.  Remarks that USDA is doing as good a job as can be expected.

214

Rep. Boquist

States that he is interested in the market share impact on farmers of the demand for beef and suggestions for fixing the problem. 

229

Hansen

Gives information on West Nile Virus and how it is affecting Oregon.

249

Hansen

States that surveillance is in place but that the department is waiting for money from the Federal government.  Points out that there were five human cases in Oregon and that all five individuals recovered.

274

Chair P. Smith

Asks if they can vaccinate a horse before they contract the disease as a preventative measure.

276

Hansen

Answers that it is possible and that the department recommends it be done now.

280

Chair P. Smith

Inquires if humans get the virus from the same mosquito that infects horses.

282

Hansen

States that Chair P. Smith is correct.

284

Rep. Sumner

Inquires if something is being done to eradicate the carriers.

290

Hansen

Remarks that the department is currently working on a plan to do that.

301

Rep. Boquist

Asks if the case in Jackson County originated there or in Malheur County.

309

Hansen

Stated that no connection was made with Malheur County for the Jackson County case.

315

Rep. Bouquist

Comments that there are going to be some serious problems because there was no hard freeze this winter, meaning that the mosquito population will be large.

325

Hansen

Offers a brief overview of avian influenza and the affect on the human population.

347

Hansen

Reviews what is currently being done with the commercial and non- commercial poultry growers as a result of avian influenza.

371

Rep. Beyer

Inquires what Mr. Hansen means by keeping bird populations under surveillance.

378

Hansen

Clarifies that surveillance means physically sampling birds to test for the virus.

390

Hansen

Explains the animal health division emergency response plan. 

TAPE 13, A

010

Hansen

Continues explaining the emergency response plan.  Informs the committee that this spring there will be a test run of the plan with five counties.

020

Rep. Boquist

Inquires if the effort is being coordinated with Homeland Security and the police in order to keep everyone informed of the procedures.

028

Hansen

Responds that Rep. Boquist is correct.  Mentions that the department is building a group of accredited veterinarians that to be first responders in case of an emergency. 

040

Rep. Boquist

States that he would be interested in visiting with Dr. Hansen when the department tests the emergency response plan

043

Chair P. Smith

Inquires if there is going to be a video of the test run.

044

Hansen

Responds that he had not thought of creating a video.

045

Rep. Burley

Asks if the plan is being shared with user groups and if they are involved in preparing the plan.

047

Hansen

States that they are, particularly at local levels.

050

Coba

Expresses hope that the emergency response plan will never be needed.

052

Rep. Roblan

Inquires if there is an ongoing check of the wildlife population for diseases.

057

Hansen

Points out that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) does a certain amount of testing and is on the lookout for large die offs.  States that local farmers and ranchers report other unusual events.

068

Rep. Roblan

Expresses his concern about the disease spreading to other states.

FOOD SAFETY CERTIFICATION

070

Coba

Introduces Dalton Hobbs and details what he will be presenting on.

091

Dalton Hobbs

Submits and presents PowerPoint presentation on food certification (EXHIBIT A).

179

Hobbs

Explains ODA’s involvement in the certification process.

220

Rep. Burley

Inquires about the meaning of the acronyms contained within the materials (EXHIBIT A, Page 5).

225

Hobbs

Explains Good Agriculture Processes (GAP), the Good Handling Processes (GHP), and European Good Agriculture Practice (EurepGAP).  States that these programs are critical for assuring a high quality food product and they lessen the risk of illness and food recall.  States that EurepGAP is a hightened version of GAP that is socially responsible as well as environmentally responsible. 

289

Coba

States that Oregon producers are in a good position to take advantage of EurepGap, with the current problem being documentation.

303

Rep. Sumner

Inquires how people become certified organic growers.

308

Hobbs

Answers that USDA has descriptions of organic certification. States that organic means that it was produced using only approved pesticides, not necessarily produced without pesticide.

338

Coba

Adds that ODA does not do organic certification, it is done by a private nonprofit group.

344

Hobbs

Expands on ODA certification (EXHIBIT A, Page 6).

378

Rep. Burley

Inquires what $1.50 per hundred weight is in percentage of total sale value. 

381

Hobbs

Gives an example of a packing house in the Klamath Basin.

390

Rep. Burley

Asks what premium the packers are getting for their efforts.

396

Hobbs

Responds that $1.50 per hundred weight represents about a 10 percent premium.  Continues the presentation by discussing the challenges of certification programs.

TAPE 12, B

014

Rep. Boquist

Inquires what the department’s rationale is for how it is allocating its resources against the certification.  Lists three reasons why certification is important.  Asks what the department’s percentage of efforts is to address certification and what are the outcomes.  Wonders if the state is putting its money where it should be.

034

Coba

Offers to explore the issue with Rep. Boquist at a later time.  States that certification is a piece of what they do overall in the department. 

050

Rep. Boquist

States that the agriculture community can alleviate consumer fears.  Asks if the department’s input is on how much is legal liability. 

063

Rep. Burley

Remarks that there is not a lot of premium in the certification programs, but they are necessary to eliminate trade barriers.  Inquires what the costs of the certification process is. 

073

Coba

States that Rep. Burley is correct and gives example of the nursery industry. 

BUY OREGON PROGRAM

081

Coba

Introduces Pat Dudley, and gives background on what Ms. Dudley will be talking about.

092

Pat Dudley

Member, Oregon Board of Agriculture.  States she chaired a work group on increasing sales of Oregon grown products.  Says that the state only purchases food for the Department of Corrections, which can have only a small impact on Oregon’s agriculture industry, therefore they need to address the consumer public.

139

Dudley

Discusses the fact finding effort that was a result of the work group, which interviewed local producers and distributors of food. 

148

Dudley

Talks about the need to move beyond fresh produce and identify processed locally grown products.

158

Dudley

Lists the organizations that were interviewed.  Remarks that processors and distributors have a way of identifying where ingredients come from.  They need and incentive to share this information with the public.  Notes that all distributors are conscious of the trend in the market of people wanting to know where their food is from. 

193

Dudley

States that there is also an interest in knowing where the product came from also in specialty crops such as wine.  Discusses a flow chart that was created by the work group to show how to develop a system to identify producers of products with locally grown ingredients.

234

Dudley

Mentions the idea of looking at what other states are doing to promote locally grown food to help give us models.  Expresses hope that this will help the work group prepare a good recommendation for the board.

278

Rep. Roblan

References the food program in Washington.  Inquires if the work group looked at that to see if that program worked.

281

Dudley

Responds that it is unknown, when the work group met the program had just began so the numbers were unavailable.

291

Rep. Boquist

States that wholesalers and purchasers want to put a face with the products. 

298

Dudley

States that Rep. Boquist is correct and gives an example of Japanese grocery stores.

305

Coba

Gives an example of how such efforts have enhanced the blueberry market in Japan. 

BRAND OREGON UPDATE

356

Hobbs

Submits and begins PowerPoint presentation on Seafood Oregon update (EXHIBIT B).

390

Hobbs

Gives information on the seafood Oregon program and the history of the program and what it has done.

TAPE 13, B

032

Hobbs

Continues presentation and expands on the Wild Oregon program  (EXHIBIT B).

049

Rep. Roblan

Inquires if the department has looked at other markets in Washington or California.

060

Hobbs

States that on the West coast the consumers like to buy locally, so they want to look at markets in the midwest because there is less competition.

090

Brent Searle

Analyst, Department of Agriculture.  Submits and presents a handout on the Renewable Energy Position at the Oregon Department of Agriculture (EXHIBIT C).

136

Searle

States how the ODA has been involved in educating people and linking growers with business interest. 

146

Searle

Expands on the dilemma between supply and demand, states that the issues are currently being addressed, and economics are encouraging.  Renewable energy has potential for money for local growers.

170

Searle

Refers to the renewable energy specialist list (EXHIBIT C, Page 2).

184

Chair P. Smith

Closes the informational meeting on the Oregon Department of Agriculture Food Certification and Fee Restructuring, and adjourns the meeting at 10:37 a.m.

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Food Safety Certification, PowerPoint presentation, Dalton Hobbs, 6 pp
  2. Brand Oregon Update, PowerPoint presentation, Dalton Hobbs, 2 pp
  3. Brand Oregon Update, report, Brent Searle, 2 pp