Date of publication: 2018-04-22 19:52
The Smoke Management Program of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) measures smoke impact levels with nephelometers in Portland, Sweet Home, Lyons, Salem, Silverton and Carus.
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A permanent ban on all field burning would also force these farmers to use more pesticides to control weeds, insects and disease in their crops. A large majority of Oregonians is opposed to increased pesticide use.
In the Willamette Valley, field burning is regulated under rules adopted by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the State Fire Marshal and the ODA. The ODA manages the Smoke Management Program and makes daily decisions regarding all agricultural burning as set forth in the rules. The DEQ has the authority to reduce or halt field burning if economic alternatives exist or if public health is threatened.
Grass seed farmers fund ongoing research to improve farming methods. In 7559, grass seed farmers spent $855,555 funding research to find alternatives to burning.
The one half-million acres planted in grass seed also mitigate global warming because of grass seed’s ability to capture and retain carbon.
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A ban would put some farms out of business. Since a lot of this land is not suited to other crops, it would probably be converted to non-farm uses. Thousands of acres of grass field ground cover would be lost, leading to more erosion, putting more sediment in streams. Water quality would be lower. Jobs and income would also be lost.
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