People of Northwest Public Radio
Fri January 31, 2014
What The Farm Bill Tucked Beneath Northwest Christmas Trees
A once-stalled plan to support Christmas tree growers nationwide looks to go forward as part of Congress’ new Farm Bill. This could affect many growers in Oregon, which leads the country in Christmas tree production.
You’ve likely heard of the dairy industry’s famous “Got Milk?” campaign but you’ve never heard an ad that asks, “Got Christmas Trees?”
Such campaigns for agricultural products come from national organizations. Until this point, Christmas tree farmers haven’t had one. But that could change soon.
A provision in the farm bill creates such a group for Christmas tree growers, along with a 15 cent surcharge for each tree sold.
Congressman Kurt Schrader represents a Willamette Valley district with many tree farms. He says helping promote the holiday-season crop is critical.
“Our region is the number one Christmas tree producer in the United States. So it’s very, very important for the local economy, and jobs, in a very difficult environment as you well know,” Schrader says.
Lane County farmer Al Wilson says it’s hard enough making a living selling trees. He says he’s wary of new fees or regulations.
The Farm Bill won House approval this week and is expected to be taken up soon by the Senate.
Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting.
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