“Want to go for a ride?” RIP Marley

“Want to go for a ride?”

This was a common phrase we would say to our English Bulldog, Marley, registered name “Addicted to Mary Jane”. Tristan and I didn’t choose her name because she only came into our lives just short of a year ago. We adopted Marley on September 23, 2014.

Everyone meet #MarleyDog! @taterstagg & I have adopted her!! #EnglishBulldog #BulldogsofInstagram

A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on


We were told she was six years old and had 2-3 litters of puppy at a place called Addicted 2 Bulldogs. However her past didn’t matter because she was ours and she was adorable. She loved us & we loved her. 

Every morning I would say “Marley, let’s go to work” and she would kind of saunter out of her bed. Then I would ask “Marley, want to go for a ride?” and she would sprint out the door. For a bulldog, her sprint was seriously impressive.

Marley loved her rides. Her loyalty may have dependent on that alone, but she stuck with us, that’s unless of course someone else offered her a ride.

My mom & Marley riding in the convertible

My mom & Marley riding in the convertible

My sister & Marley

My sister & Marley

September 18, 2015, Marley passed away from what we think was a stroke. She was our first dog and was a part of our hearts. Tristan & I’s home feels a bit more empty. While her death was unexpected and sad, her last year of life was a fantastic one.

How many dogs can say they have 3 dog beds & a human couch to choose from to sleep on? 

I am comforted by the fact that she passed away VERY loved and comfortable.

Here are some of my favorite pictures:

#MarleyDog loves riding in the tractor! #agchat #Plant15

A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

#MarleyDog #EnglishBulldogs A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

These two are hanging out in heaven now. Greta (white bulldog) passed away last spring after a misdiagnosis after her C-Section. She had 8 beautiful puppies, one is now part of my parents’ lives.

These guys. #EnglishBulldogs

A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

A bulldog never misses a meal. The Duke & Greta, my parents’ bulldogs were often guests in our home.

Beg Much? #EnglishBulldogs #Beggers #BulldogBabysitting A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

She always knew when I was sad & how to make me feel better.

She gets me. #MarleyDog

A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

Marley didn’t command leadership, puppies just followed. After Greta passed away, Marley didn’t take a motherly role but she also made sure no harm came to the puppies. The puppies’ knew that.

Follow the leader! #EnglishBulldogs #MarleyDog #bulldogsofinstagram A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

Bulldog life is exhausting.

True bulldog form. #MarleyDog #EnglishBulldogs #bulldogsofinstagram

A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

She also knew how to wash her feet.

#MarleyDog likes clean feet #EnglishBulldogs A video posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on


Somedays the help doesn’t get much better. #EnglishBulldogs #DukeDog #MarleyDog

A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

She was loved & she will be missed. RIP Marley.

  #MarleyDog & I enjoying a beautiful spring day. #Fertilizing #ORag #Agchat   A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on

RIP #MarleyDog @taterstagg & I will miss you!! So grateful to have you in our lives this last year.

A photo posted by Marie Bowers Stagg (@marieb41) on


Filed under Dogs, family

What day is it? Grass Seed Harvest 2015 

Grass seed harvest 2015 is zooming along. 

Harvest started about a week early & every variety of grass seed seemed to ripen at once. We cut the majority of our acres in a matter of 5 busy days. 


In a typical year we start combining grass seed somewhere between July 1-4. This year we were thrashing grass on June 26th! 

We combined all of the forage & turf type fescue except two fields. Then we headed to our farm that is South of Eugene on July 5th, which as far as dad can remember, this is a record. 


FYI if you are not familiar with C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” then you are missing out. It is our theme song for any time we make a long distance journey in the machinery. Our farm, Camas Swale, South of Eugene is 25 miles away from our “home base”, but it also makes up 1/3 of the entire farm. 

It’s the middle of July and harvest is halfway through. Just seems unreal.

It’s not unusual for me to lose track of the days during harvest. However when I ask “What day is it?” I still find it hard to believe it’s only the middle of July & not the end. 

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Filed under Agriculture, Oregon, Willamette Valley

Organic Marijuana? Not Likely.

A recent investigative report by the Oregonian suggests that marijuana is far from the organic illusion that many users have about it.  Oregon started requiring that marijuana sold through dispensaries be test for pesticides by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). However it appears OHA really had no direction or clue to as what they were doing, including a lack of knowledge on pesticides.

The results of the Oregonian independent investigation are absolutely outrageous.  Any other edible crop with these results would be issued multiple fines and an in-depth investigation by the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Analytical Response Center (PARC). If Oregon is going to have legal marijuana for medicinal or recreational use it needs to be treated like any other crop.

Marijuana patients and every other farmer should be concerned because:

  • When it comes to pesticides, the label is the LAW. Currently there are no pesticides labeled for Cannabis under EPA’s FIFRA. Technically there should be no pesticide usage in marijuana production.
    • “…a pesticide under FIFRA, the applicant must show, among other things, that using the pesticide according to specifications “will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.”
    • Pesticides are gone through long term, very detailed safety testing before a label is approved for a certain crop. There is no safety data for marijuana plants & pesticide usage.
  • According to the Oregonian’s report:
    • “Five concentrates analyzed over 78 days last year contained the chemical at levels ranging from 40 parts per million to 300 parts per million. To understand how extreme those concentrations are, consider the residue limits the federal government established for the chemical when used on food crops. Limits range from 0.02 parts per million on asparagus to 10 parts per million on grapes.”
    • “Though many growers say they follow organic practices, only one of the pesticides detected in the analysis is approved for use in organic agriculture.”
    • “Both labs we hired found two pesticides that should have kept his product off the market. One isn’t allowed on food crops. Another was phased out for most residential uses more than a decade ago.”
    • “In all, seven chemicals were detected in the product [Dutch Treat], including bifenthrin, the pesticide on the EPA’s list of possible carcinogens. The labs detected between 0.5 and 0.8 parts per million of the pesticide, five to eight times the limit set by the state. Those findings should have prevented the product from being sold. Our analysis also found six other chemicals that aren’t covered by Oregon law.”

Marijuana and Pesticides

Currently, there are activists and legislators calling for a ban on certain pesticides and application methods because of incidents of questionable use. Just google “Aerial Spraying Oregon.” I hope these same people are just as outraged at these marijuana farmers’ blatant disregard for responsible pesticide usage. Particularly since it’s on a medicinal crop!

Makes you wonder if patients feel better from the medicinal properties of the plant or the pesticides used.

Pesticides are serious business and not to be taken lightly. Often when we spray our crops we are using less than a 12 oz pop can of product over an entire acres or a football field. When it comes to using pesticides responsibly, majority of Oregon farmers are the rule, not the exception.  

Yet according to the analysis done by independent labs Oregon marijuana farmers are “soaking” their crops before harvest.  This is not acceptable. 

Cannabis is at a difficult crossroads in OregonMedical marijuana has been legal in Oregon since 1998.  In November 2014 voters approved the legal use of recreational marijuana. However the marijuana farmers and hemp farmers cannot find a peaceful coexistence. They have done the worst thing possible and asked the Oregon Legislature to “help”  them.

Coexistence is not a new issue in agriculture. Every other farmer in Oregon figures it out among industry groups and commodity commissions. The LAST THING they should do is ask for the legislature’s help because then no one wins and freedom is lost.

Isn’t freedom the reason why marijuana & hemp farmers wanted to be legal in the first place?

My advice for the cannabis farmers – If you want your crop to be legal then follow the same rules every other farmer follows, that includes following the pesticide label. Do not ask the legislature for help because you will not like the results. Mimic what all other crops have done before you and self regulate your industry. Self-regulation includes advocating for responsible & legal pesticide use on crops. 

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Filed under Agriculture, Environmentalists, Organic

Vote No on Benton County Measure 2-89

Benton County Measure 2-89 would ban the growing of genetically engineered seeds and patented seeds. It would also impact research at Oregon State University by barring “any governmental entity to engage in the use of genetically engineered organisms within Benton County.”

The proponents of 2-89 are not above lying and below the belt remarks.  The League of Women Voters of Corvallis held a forum/debate last night on the measure. On the Yes side was Mary King, a biodynamic farm certifier & hobby farmer and on the No side was Debbie Crocker, Benton County farmer and Oregon Women for Agriculture 1st Vice President.

A few takeaways from the forum:

According to Mary King, you are not a family farmer if you gross over $500K, you are a “super farm according to the USDA”.  Sitting next to Debbie, she said “Debbie is not a family farm, it is a super farm”.  Even though Debbie’s family has been growing sugar beet seeds for over 70 years and her children are the fifth generation to work on the farm.  I did not know you could lose your family farm status depending on your size.

Cross pollination (or “contamination” as the proponents like to say) is not exclusively GMO crops to Non-GMO crops. It can happen to and from any crop that is related and close by one another. This is why the Willamette Valley Specialty Seed Growers have a pinning system to help ensure this does not happen. They have a pinning system in Central Oregon for carrot seeds. Farmers already self regulate on this “issue” so there is not a problem. No need for more laws.

Mary also tried to broad brush pesticides saying they killed all the microbes in the soil. Not true.

Debbie pointed out that companies do not tell them what to grow. They decided which companies they want to grow for or sell to. Just like our farm.

Benton County Measure 2-89 is an outright assault on family farms like mine and Debbie’s.  I may not live in Benton County, but I consider farmers in that county my neighbors across the river. An attack on them is attack on me and I do not think any Oregon farmer should stand for it.

Here are my tweets along with a few others from the forum.

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Filed under Agriculture, GMOs, Green Agenda, Politics, Seeds

How is a Bee born?

The honey bees arrived in the meadowfoam field the third week of April.

Meadowfoam is starting to bloom!

Meadowfoam is starting to bloom!

The beekeeper, Harry Vanderpool, is out in the field every day to check on them. Bees are his livelihood and passion so when I have a chance to learn about bees from him, I do!

One of the coolest things I saw was a bee being born. (Say that 5 times fast.)  I even captured a video of it! It is 27 seconds and don’t take your eye off the “new bee” and listen to Harry explain what happens next.

Those capped over holes contain "baby bees"

Those capped over holes contain “baby bees”

Harry throughly looks over the hives every day to make sure the bees are doing ok and there are no problems.  Since the weather has been cooler and the flowers are just beginning to bloom, he was providing some extra food to them so they do not go hungry. If a beekeeper is not due diligent a hive can die of starvation.

Where’s the Queen?

In one of the hives we reviewed there was no Queen Bee. This is the type of issue Harry looks for when reviewing the hives. A few clues triggered that the queen was missing.

  • There were no capped over holes where new bees were growing
  • There were several empty “queen cups” on the frames which indicated that the colony was trying to attract/grow a new queen.
  • There were eggs in a few queen cups that the non-fertilized female bees were laying to try to make a new queen.  This was a sure sign to Harry that there was no queen in the hive.
  • Coolest Clue the bees made a different sound…while I could kind of hear the difference in hives, Harry definitely knew they were “buzzing” differently.

Harry has each hive marked to indicate when a new queen was introduced to the colony.  A beekeeper cannot just “throw” in a new queen because there is a good chance the other bees will kill her.  Bees have to get used to her pheromones.

The queens are kept in a separate contained box. The other bees on the be shelf are there to clean and feed the queen.

Harry's Queen Bees

Harry’s Queen Bees

Queen bee home while waiting for a hive.

Queen bee home while waiting for a hive.

When Harry places the queen bee into a new hive, he places “candy” on the end she exits. The other bees eat this candy. By the time it is gone and the queen can emerge the colony has become accustomed to her pheromones and they accept her.  Nature is cool.

Bees are the dogs of the insect world, according to Harry. They are easy and a pleasure to work with, just like dogs.  In my opinion, this description is how you know when someone is passionate about their work.

Harry is also Vice President of the Oregon Beekeepers Association. He is active in educating farmers, foresters, legislators and the general public about bees. He takes a very practical approach when it comes advocating for honey bee health, which I think the majority of us can appreciate.

Read more about bees:

Marie Bowers

Bee Fact


Filed under Agriculture, Environment

Vote for Shelly for America’s Farm Mom

My good friend Shelly Boshart Davis has been chosen as the Northwest Farm Mom of the year by America’s Farmers!

Shelly now has an opportunity to be come America’s Farm Mom with your votes!

2015 Farm Mom Nominee

2015 Farm Mom Nominee

The Northwest Farm Mom lives in Albany, Oregon with her husband Geoff and their three girls Kyndall, Ashlynn & Sam. Growing up on her family’s grass seed farm she now works alongside her family in their farm, trucking & straw export businesses. Her speciality is working with their straw customers overseas.

The recent West Coast Port Crisis consumed a lot of Shelly’s time, yet she still managed to coach volleyball in the evenings & on the weekends. She continued to be involved with numerous organizations during this time such as United Way Linn County, Oregon Women for Agriculture and Oregon Agribusiness Council. As well in her very spare moments found time to go to the Oregon Legislature to protect her family’s business by testifying in the many hearings on bills that would impact all of us, not just her.

In all her activities her children are never far behind. What a better civics lesson than experiencing it for yourself? She strives to be a good role model for her daughters. Shelly makes sure they know the value of passion and hard work.

She is also a really good friend. Shelly listens, encourages and inspires those around her.  Her “can do” attitude is a motivator for me to never quit or give up when times get discouraging.

Shelly Boshart Davis tirelessly advocates for Oregon Farmers while providing her daughters with a farm life that most only wish they knew.

Faith, family, friends and farming are her priorities and that’s why she deserves to be America’s Farm Mom! Please help me to make her America’s Farm Mom by voting for her every day! Vote here: http://www.americasfarmers.com/recognition-programs/farm-mom-nominees-2015/

More About Shelly: 

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Filed under AgVocacy, American Agri Women

Minimum Wage, Rural Oregon & Agriculture

This week I appeared on KATU’s “Your Voice, Your Vote” to discuss increasing Oregon’s minimum wage. The opposition included me along with economist Dr. Eric Fruits. The proponents of raising of Oregon’s minimum wage were Senator Diane Rosenbaum and 15 Now Oregon’s Justin Norton-Kerston.

Some thoughts

The proponents of a minimum wage never refute me on the fact that raising the minimum wage will hurt Rural Oregon.

Senator Rosenbaum claims raising minimum wage has never negatively affected Oregonians before. Yet on Monday we heard farmers testified they had quit growing certain crops because of high labor costs. On our own farm we have gone from seven windrowers/swathers and four combines to three.

One in eight jobs are tied to Oregon agriculture. How will increases the wage floor impact this? More importantly, Oregon Agriculture is expected add 8,200 jobs by 2020…growing faster than Oregon’s economy as a whole.  However was a 62% increase in the wage floor a factor when this prediction was made?

Currently, we hire people who can be as young as 14 years old. We file the proper paperwork & get the permits required so we can hire local students ages 14-17 years old, who are paid minimum wage and higher. Contrary to “talking points” this is not child labor. If minimum wage was to raise to $15/hour, the risk of hiring these inexperienced “kids” would outweigh the benefits. Ultimately, harming Oregon’s future workforce.

Alternatively, we can go through the H2A Visa program and hire experienced workers. Typically these employees would be from the Southern Hemisphere and work harvest year around. They have experience driving equipment similar to our farm’s.  This would save us time & cost of investment in training.


It’s hard to understand what we do on the farm. The fact is, we know our costs, we know our risks & are always skeptical if it will all pay off. It is a constant gamble and a supposed educated guess, hence the skepticism.

However, I will try to help anyone understand the best way possible how farming works. We have nothing to “hide” on the farm, it just can be super complicated if you do not live it day-to-day.

Information I found interesting


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Filed under Agriculture, Economy, Oregon, Rural

Why Raising Oregon’s Minimum Wage is a Bad Idea

Last night, I testified in opposition to raising Oregon’s minimum wage. Here is my entire testimony.

April 13, 2015

Senate Committee on Workforce
House Committee on Business and Labor
Oregon State Capitol

RE: Raising Oregon’s minimum wage – Opposed

Chair Dembrow, Chair Holvey & Committee,

I am Marie Bowers Stagg, a fifth generation farmer in Linn & Lane Counties. We farm primarily grass seed, wheat & meadowfoam. Like a typical farmer my job is a smorgasbord of everything; I run the baling crew, I do the planting, I drive fertilizer & spray truck along with many other tasks. I also do the books on the farm, which includes the payroll.

Our full time farm workforce consists of my husband, my dad, my mom, two non-family members and of course me. Full time employees are offered benefits and are paid a living wage, their skill set dictates what that wage may be. However we do depend on a seasonal workforce for harvest & preparing fields for planting.

In 2014 we hired seven local students ages 14-21 to drive combines, balers and tractors. They are paid based on years and experience. We start a new employee, who is typically 14 or 15 years of age, at minimum wage. Pay raises are potentially given throughout the season if performance warrants it. If an experienced employee returns the following season they are given a raise at that point too.

Minimum wage has a real fiscal impact on the farm.

On our farm 50% of our expenses are composed of three specific things: fertilizer, rent and labor. In 2014 our pay scale at the end of season for the seven employees ranged from $9.20 to nearly $12. Remember, minimum wage was $9.10 last year.

I calculated the fiscal impact raising the minimum wage would have on our farm based on the hours these kids worked from June 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014.

Currently, on a per acre basis our cost for the seven employees is $9.07/acre.

At $15/hour our cost would go to $13.65/acre, an increase $4.58/acre. 

At $13.50/hour our cost would go to $12.28/acre, an increase $3.21/acre. 

In other terms, at current market conditions we would need to increase our yields to produce at least 75,000 more pounds of annual ryegrass. If we knew a way to do this in a short time frame, we would, but yield is dictated by many factors, minimum wage is not one of those factors.

If the Oregon Legislature wishes to mandate we increase our expenses, preferably I would like to invest into something that would increase productivity. For the amount certain parties think we should be spending on current employees we could hire three or four more people.

My family has been hiring local students for over half a century. I have had middle-aged adults come up to me and tell me working for my family taught them how to work. They wouldn’t be the person they are today without the experience they got from working on the farm. Yet, with these current minimum wage proposals these valuable life skills would be in jeopardy, as we would seek alternatives such as a foreign workforce.

My head baler driver, Natassia is a senior at Oregon State University. She will be graduating this spring in pre-vet and start veterinary school in the fall. She has worked for us every summer she has been in college. She is a true example of how working on a farm has helped her prepare for her future career, in financial terms as well as with skill sets.

According to Natassia, “Working for Bashaw Land & Seed has made it so that I don’t have to juggle work and school at the same time. I work all summer and make what I would have made throughout the school year if I worked year round. This means I have time to study and get into vet school. I now have an education and don’t need a lower skills job that would pay minimum wage. Also, working on the farm has taught me tons of transferable skills such as making snap decisions under pressure.”

Natassia is one of the many seasonal employees my family has seen grow as a person and worker. It makes me proud that our farm can provide Oregon with such high quality employees. Yet, raising the minimum wage would make stories like Natassia’s a thing of the past. I do not think that’s what we want for Oregon.

If the minimum wage were to increase we will look at hiring our entire seasonal workforce from outside the country. In past years we have hired at least one worker from South Africa and New Zealand. Moving forward this may become our new normal to hire entire crews of foreign experienced workers and hiring local students would be a thing of the past.

I urge you to oppose the minimum wage increase; it would hurt Oregon farmers and Oregon’s future workforce. Thank you for your time today.

Me opposing increasing Oregon's Minimum wage last night in front of the committee

Me opposing increasing Oregon’s Minimum wage last night in front of the committee

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Filed under Agriculture, Economy, Legislature, Oregon, Rural

A Quick Guide to Radical Environmentalism

I have watched radical environmentalism slowly chip away at the rights of farmers, ranchers and foresters since I was a little kid. Radical environmentalists have successfully eliminated tools and put people out of business. In the last 10 years I have been engaging with them because if I didn’t I would have no chance as a 5th generation farmer.

One thing is certain, no matter the topic (pesticides, field burning, GMOs, carbon footprints, etc), their methodology is all the same and their end game is to put me and every other farmer out of business. 

A Quick Guide to Radical Environmentalism

The Beginning
A small group of people claim they got sick or harmed because ______, yet the hard evidence is lacking. Radical environmentalists* create hysteria over the “incident” despite lacking evidence. They demand something be done about it.

The Plan 
Radical environmentalists know they cannot make the law affect everyone because evidence is lacking. They decide to go after a minority, like farmers, ranchers or foresters. However they know can’t do too much at once or the public will think they are attacking these groups.  It must appear that it would barely affect them.

Radical environmentalists know they have to start small. They suggest innocently that the government regulate just a few acres at this time or maybe small fee increase. The public or legislators think, “What’s some minor regulation?” New rules are passed.

After new rule or regulations are in place, they are still not happy. They continually seek out where their might be failure in the law or regulation. Cue more hysteria.

Radical Environmentalism's most powerful tool is fear

Certain Death

Over many years they continue their demands for increased regulation, penalties, fees or taxes, because it is just not enough. There is still harm being done by _____, despite the still lacking evidence.

Each time the radical environmentalists demand then there is a “compromise” made. The compromise always seems like minor changes, but when minor changes keep happening then all of a sudden you have nothing left. Your toolbox becomes limited and they have crippled your ability to do your job.

Radical Environmentalists repeat these tactics until successful elimination of the “culprit”.  Then they move on to the next evidence lacking problem.

 *They never refer to themselves as Radical Environmentalists. These groups often have feel good names that tug at the heart-strings and/or incite fear. Do not be fooled by their ruse of “protecting the people”. 


Filed under Environmentalists, Green Agenda

Hanjin, Oregon Farmers and West Coast Ports

Hanjin Shipping has decided to leave the Port of Portland. Hanjin is responsible for 70% to 80% of the container shipments in the Port or 657 direct jobs. This is a significant loss for Oregon farmers & Oregon’s economy and just part of the latest in the West Coast Ports Crisis.

Oregon Depends on Exports


This decision should come as no surprise. The longshoremen decided not show up for work for 3 days & left a loaded ship just sitting there.  Common sense says, that’s not good business. Not even $4 Million dollars in incentives can keep them there. We all know that some headaches are just not worth it, no matter how sweet the deal.

Impact on Oregon Farmers

Approximately 40% of our farm’s grass seed & 100% of our straw is shipped in containers through the ports to Asia. With the loss of Hanjin in Portland our customers will have to find alternative ports. Some have already.

Oregon farmers & exports contribute significantly to our economy

Oregon farmers & exports contribute significantly to our economy

Basic math tells me costs will increase. Our seed & straw will be traveling further via semi-trucks to the ports. Trucking takes fuel and fuel is not cheap, no matter what Obama says.

On top of using more fuel, the Oregon Legislature wants to reduce carbon footprints by mandating a low-carbon fuel standard. It may feel really good to say “lowering our carbon footprint”. But the reality is that it’s going to increase fuel costs, anywhere from $0.04 to $1.06. 

Remember when I said “Rural Oregon is just a feel good legislative priority“, this a good example of that.

Future of Ag Exports & Global Markets

Currently, we have grass seed sitting in our warehouse that was already supposed to be on its way to Asia. The current labor dispute at all the West Coast Ports has not only delayed our products but many other farmers’ as well. There are still Christmas trees sitting on the docks that never made it on a ship. That is criminal.

At what point will our customers become so fed up with our poor customer service that they give up American products all together? I have no doubt we have the highest quality of food & fiber in the world but everyone has a price or breaking point.

According to The Agriculture Transportation Coalition:

  • Currently, US agriculture exports are reduced by $1.75 billion each month or $444,000,000 per week.
  • The North American Meat Institute and the National Pork Producers Council report losses of $40,000,000 in exports each a week.
  • The US Hides, Skin and Leather Assoc. reports losses of $45,000,000 in hide exports each week.
  • US Forage Export Council reports losses of hay and forage exports of $266,000 each day.
  • In January alone, cherry growers in Oregon lost over $250,000 of export sales directly related to port disruption; if not resolved, it will lead to a sales loss of $5 million in 2015.

What Can Be Done

The ILWU & PMA can come to a contract agreement. The PMA offered what to appeared to me as a “sweet deal”; $147K plus raise, full health benefits & $80K pension. This was not good enough for the longshoremen. They want to fire arbitrators when they disagree with the ILWU.

You can contact your congressman and state legislators. Ask them to do anything possible to help, that includes not passing the low fuel carbon standard.  Share and tell everyone possible about this.

A small group of people are holding ALL Americans hostage and we need to do everything possible to stop it.

Related Articles:

Oregon Exports

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Filed under Agriculture, Economy, Oregon

Rural Oregon, a “feel good” legislative priority?

Rural Oregon’s economy is a priority for the 2015 state legislature, but the bills and policies being introduced are contradictory to Rural Oregon’s success.

A $15/hour minimum wage and that ALL employers provide PAID sick leave for employees are currently on the legislative docket. These policies do not coincide with Rural Oregon needs. We need jobs not feel good policy.

Oregon ranks 46th in the nation for unemployment at 7%. North Dakota ranks first. At least we are in the top 50, right?

Oregon has at least four rural counties with unemployment over 10%. Yet, Oregon legislators want to burden us with increased labor costs of workers that we are barely able to hire currently. Increasing an employers’ expenses does not create jobs it costs them.

Real LifeIf minimum wage increased to $15/hour our harvest employee costs would at the very least increase 150%.  If the government wants to dictate that we spend more money than instead of increasing the wage to an unsustainable level we could re-invest into the farm. We could rent more acres and/or hire 2-4 more employees at the current entry-level wage. More jobs equals more opportunities for all.

Would the Oregon legislature rather have more people working or less people working?

We value employees with initiative, loyalty, knowledge and sense of responsibility. As an employee grows and develops these skills we often increase wages. A $15/hour minimum wage would make it impossible for us to do this. We depend on experienced employees and because of this we would risk losing quality employees because they have no incentive to stay.

I am glad the legislature wants to focus some time and energy on Rural Oregon’s issues and economy.  However increased regulation is hurting Rural Oregon’s ability to thrive. When your livelihood depends on the pennies per pound, every cent matters.


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Filed under Economy, Legislature, Oregon, Rural

Five Reasons Why Marriage is Weird

Marriage is weird, at least the first year is. It’s not weird in a negative way.  It is just nothing like we have ever done before.

Five reasons why Marriage is Weird

1) You cannot get away from this person.  They are not like a typical roommate where you know “the situation is just temporary”.  It’s for life. You have to figure out how to cohabitat with this person peacefully for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.  Weird.

2) You fight about dumb crap. Sometimes Tristan & I look at each other and ask “Why are we fighting about this?”  Dumb crap means like him borrowing your pickup and not adjusting the seat back to where it was. Or just because someone accomplishes a task differently than you would, does not make their way wrong.

3) You are kind of opposites. It’s true. Tristan is my Yin to his Yang, or however that saying goes. Some may describe us as an extrovert and an introvert.  However the most challenging part is finding balance for both. Sometimes you just cannot go to every function and sometimes you have to go functions you do not want to. But that’s only the beginning to finding balance.

4) You do not automatically “grow up.” We were 28 and 29 when we got married.  We are successful adults. However getting married did not make us more grown up at things like folding laundry or interior decorating. After a year, both are still a work in progress.

5) You are not good at it.  We have had numerous examples of good marriages throughout our entire life. It appears to be seamless and easy enough. But it’s not.  The “Secret to a Good Marriage” blog posts are just a search engine away but I am really not sure their advice applies to us.

We made it a year and hopefully have many more to come.

How did you view your first year of marriage?

One year down!

One year down!


Filed under Life, Marriage, Wedding

The Rose Bowl

Last week Tristan & I got an experience most can only dream about. We were standing on grass of the Rose Bowl, the Granddaddy of them All! Best part, the grass was grown in Oregon!

History is made here!

History is made here!

Thanks to Barenbrug USA and my friend Macey we had this rare opportunity.  We grow a few fields of tall fescue and Italian ryegrass for them.  Perennial ryegrass found on the Rose Bowl field is Barenbrug’s variety. Ryegrass is a cool season grass so the turf has a Bermuda, warm season grass, base.  This time of year the Bermuda is going dormant and the ryegrass is thriving!

We got an exclusive tour of the field from the head Rose Bowl turf guy, Will Schnell.  He was a celebrity himself. Our tour kept getting interrupted so Rose Bowl board members could introduce him to other people, like the guy who flew the bomber over the stadium before the game.

Will has managed the Rose Bowl since 2001. He grew up on a farm in Missouri. Will knew he either wanted to work with plants or animals. Being from & going to school in  Missouri Will found inspiration in George Toma, long time head groundskeeper at Kansas City Chiefs,  and he became interested in turf management.

The guy has a passion for his field just like I have for mine. Will knows the cost of each event on the turf. Let’s just say, his cost per acre is many more times than I can even fathom for my cost per acre.

Oregon grass seed can be found in real turf fields across the world.  Our neighbors grew the seed for the 2014 World Cup. Oregon’s Willamette Valley grows over 60% of the world’s cool season grasses which includes fescue and ryegrass. Both these types of grasses go into your lawns and the pastures that feed the beef & lamb you eat.

You cannot pass up a selfie opportunity like this!

You cannot pass up a selfie opportunity like this!

Oregon agriculture is the coolest.  ESPN and others noticed that too.

Also Oregon Ducks are the coolest. They won 59-20.  They broke 10 Rose Bowl records and kicked the crap out of the previous national champions.  Now the Ducks play Monday for the National Championship! Ironically the UO will play OSU (Ohio State University) and they were the first school to ever play in the NCAA Basketball Championship game.

There's something magic about the "Granddaddy of them All"

There’s something magical about the “Granddaddy of them All”

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Filed under Agriculture, Grass Seed

Ignoring the Crisis on West Coast Ports

The mainstream media seems to be focusing on analyzing the election for 100th time instead of reporting on a real immediate crisis.  The West Coast Ports, which includes Portland, Tacoma and Los Angeles, are on the verge of complete shutdown if they haven’t already.

The labor union and dock workers have taken the Pacific Northwest economy and the ports hostage. They are leaving apples, pears, potatoes, wheat and hay just sitting on the docks.  All because they don’t want to have to re-negotiate their $229,000 wages and benefits.  Why compromise when you can just cripple the economy and still get paid?

This is an absolute outrage. For those of us in the Pacific Northwest many of our livelihoods are tied to exports and imports. My friend Shelly, who manages the exports for her family’s trucking and straw business, has been blogging about these issues facing her family business. When the ports shutdown so does her business along with many other family businesses.

From a Oregon Department of Agriculture presentation

From a Oregon Department of Agriculture presentation

Oregon farmers & exports contribute significantly to our economy

Oregon farmers & exports contribute significantly to our economy


Transportation isn’t sexy. Who wants to talk about boats and trucks? That might mean the media has to acknowledge that capitalism and private companies are the backbone of America, not the government.  It would also expose the massive amount of government regulations that hinder economic efficiency, particularly in the world of transportation.

And NO ONE wants to discuss the corruption of the ILWU.  These people are complete thugs. They stoop to any level to get their way which includes threatening to rape people and destroying property.  They are the ultimate bully.

This could all end tomorrow if President Obama wanted to enforce Taft-Hartley Act.  Reagan and Bush both had to do it order to protect America’s “well-being”.  Yet he also seems to be ignoring the problem and American businesses suffer.

Check out Daughter of a Trucker to keep up to date on transportation issues facing all of us. 

Related Links: 

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Filed under Economy, Future of Agriculture, Oregon

Diamond Pioneers – My Grandparents

My grandparents, Don and Lorena Bowers, were honored with the Diamond Pioneer Award on October 15, 2014 at Oregon State University. They were two of nearly a dozen to receive it this year. They will now be a permanent part of the Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Achievement Award.

The Diamond Pioneer Registry was established in March 1983 when the College Of Agricultural Sciences observed its 75th anniversary.  With the Registry, the College recognizes the significant contributions of many of our friends and colleagues who have served agriculture and related areas throughout a portion of their careers.” – Oregon State Website

2014 Diamond Pioneers, my Grandma Lorena is in the middle & my grandpa is to her right in the blue shirt.

2014 Diamond Pioneers, my Grandma Lorena is in the middle & my grandpa is to her right in the blue shirt.

Every year I read through the names in this registry to see who was inducted.  The people who are honored are cool! These farmers, ranchers, foresters, educators and other natural resource enthusiasts have maintained and advanced our industry. They have paved the way for the future generations.

I am proud to say I have a cool family. My Great-grandma Charity Bowers was honored with the Diamond Pioneer as well.  Being engaged and involved in Oregon Agriculture is a genetic trait in my family.

I was excited to submit my grandparents for the award. The deadline was in the middle of harvest but thanks to my dad, uncles and long-time industry folks I was able to compile information fairly easily. 😉  The people who have spoiled me with donuts, camping trips, pies and awesomeness are also rockstars in their profession.

The Submission: 

Don Bowers is a 3rd generation farmer in Linn County, Oregon. He and has wife Lorena started farming 1958 with his dad Roy. Roy A. Bowers & Sons was formed in 1963. In the early years, Lorena drove seed truck for the farm during harvest and then took over the bookkeeping for the growing operation in the early 1970s. She was among one of the first members of Oregon Women for Agriculture. Throughout the years they employed hundred of teenagers from the local community.  Many who still tell stories of appreciation for their job on the farm till this day.  They retired from farming in 1998 but still actively contribute to their community through the Harrisburg Museum and their local church. Don and Lorena raised three boys, Nick, Eric and Tobin, who all contribute to the grass seed industry today.

List of Organizations, capacities served & accomplishments:

Don Bowers:

  • Board member of the Oregon Ryegrass Growers Association in late 1960s
  • Member of the National Farmer’s Organization
  • 1975-1981, Oregon Ryegrass Commissioner, served as chairman 1977-79.
  • Oregon Meadowfoam Growers:

In 1983 Don Bowers was among a small group of Willamette Valley farmers would saw the potential utility of a new crop being touted for its unique seed oil.  This new crop was called Meadowfoam.  Don could see the value of a rotation crop for the Willamette Valley’s grass seed fields and the seed industry and was willing to put in the time and effort to aid in its development.  This was a risky venture on a new and unproven crop. Don was instrumental in the formation of what would come to be known as the OMG Cooperative and was a founding Board Member of the Cooperative and its marketing subsidiary, Natural Plant Products, LLC

  • 1983 the Oregon Meadowfoam Grower Association came into existence and Don Bowers was an original founding member.
  • Between 1983 and 1997 there were 7 crops of meadowfoam produced and Don participated in each crop.
  • Between 1983 and 1997 Don Bowers was the single largest producer of Meadowfoam.
  • During this time Don worked extensively with OSU researchers, OSU Extension personnel, and leaders in the seed industry to aid in the development of this new crop.
  • Participated in multiple agronomic research projects to study and explore improved production methods
  • Was deeply involved in the cleaning, storage, and processing of meadowfoam
  • In 1997 Don was a founding Board Member of OMG Cooperative and was instrumental in the subsequent creation of Natural Plant Products, LLC  to process and market Meadowfoam seed oil
  • 2007 Don Bowers retired as a Board Member


  • In the late 1980s to early 1990s he became part owner in a seed company
  • Previous member of Oregon State Seed Cleaning Advisory Board 2001
  • Oregon Seed Council Seedsman of the Year

This is why I felt my grandparents deserved to be Diamond Pioneers. They worked together to build a business and a family. Today that family still carries on their legacy and passion for agriculture.

From Left to Right:  Tristan, Me, Aunt Kari, Uncle Toby, Grandpa, Uncle Nick, Grandma, Aunt Donna, Mom & Dad

From Left to Right: Tristan, Me, Aunt Kari, Uncle Toby, Grandpa, Uncle Nick, Grandma, Aunt Donna, Mom & Dad



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Filed under Agriculture, Grandparents

Farmers Against Measure 92

There are thousands of farmers against Measure 92 which would require labeling on packaged & raw food* produced through Genetic Engineering.

Here are the reasons this farmer is against Measure 92:

1. It violates free market principles.

Currently consumers have options to buy Organic or the Non-GMO Project.  These are a result of the free market meeting consumer wants.  Why does the government need to mandate an additional label?

2. Right to Know what? 

The label tells the consumer absolutely nothing besides that a modern breeding technique was used to develop the seed. They do not know what trait is present or what inputs were used to grow the crop. Genetically engineered food is not a thing. There are food crops produced using genetic engineering which is a breeding technique using a highly detailed process.   How does a label tell the consumer anything worthwhile?

3. Grocery bills will go up

There have been many studies on the costs of labeling.  Some estimate that grocery bills will increase $400/year and another says it will  increase $2/year.  We don’t know yet what the economic impact will be on the consumer but it is pretty certain it won’t make food any more affordable.

4. Section 1. Findings and Declarations

The sad part about our voter pamphlet is that you do not have to cite sources or provide factual information.  When you read the first section take every statement with a grain of salt and maybe involve a google search.  You will find many of the statements are simply not true or imply the worst case scenario. As with all matters in every election, please be an informed voter.

5. Section 6. Enforcement   

This section is extremely vague and appears to put all burden of proof on the farmer, since they must provide “sworn statements” with crops.  There is no talk to fines or revoking of licenses as consequences in this section, which one would expect to find in such a specific law.  Instead the consequences are “actions” brought by any citizen of Oregon or the attorney general. This really means lawsuits. If one citizen feels they were wronged they can spend our tax dollars willy-nilly for farmers to prove otherwise.

Overall, the vagueness of enforcing the measure, the alternative options already available and the increase in costs are not worth a new law.  The one thing that is for sure is it will cost taxpayers millions for regulation and enforcement.  Read the measure for yourself. Please Vote No on 92.

*The measure excludes meat & dairy products and does not apply to restaurants, schools or hospitals.

Farmers Against Measure 92

Read More on GMO Labeling & Measure 92


Filed under GMOs, Oregon, Politics

Celebrate Oregon Agriculture [Video]

Lately, I have had a few “irons in the fire” besides typical farming activities. One of them is helping with Celebrate Oregon Agriculture. Oregon Women for Agriculture partnered with the Oregon Department of Agriculture & KATU a week special in this ongoing campaign.

Each morning this week on AM Northwest a different crop that Oregon farm families grow will be featured. OWA also had the opportunity to make a commercial sharing our near half century legacy!

Meadowfoam is one the featured crops this week. Yours truly got to share about it. Please give it a view!

Visit Oregon Women for Agriculture’s Celebrate Oregon Agriculture page to view our commercial featuring four generations of OWA members!

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Filed under Agriculture, Oregon, Women

Monica Wehby

My family had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Monica Wehby at the farm last week.   Dr. Wehby is hoping to defeat incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley in Oregon’s U.S. Senate race.

There is no doubt Dr. Wehby appears to be a woman of mystery.  It seems she came out of nowhere and is running for a U.S. Senate seat. Personally, I think it’s awesome.  How often do we wish our candidates were not career politicians?  Now we have just that, plus she is a conservative woman.

Despite her alleged elusiveness, I have found her to be very easy to connect with.  We first talked when she called me this summer to discuss the issues that were important to Oregon Women for Agriculture for her upcoming AgPAC interview.  Then again when I contacted the campaign to see if she was going to be in the area any time soon, which resulted in the event at the farm.

The group at our home with our future Senator

The group at our home with our future Senator

Dr. Wehby is eager to learn about the issues and struggles that we as farmers, ranchers and foresters face.  She has made that clear by making herself available to those of us in Rural Oregon.  Before she visited our farm she was at my friend Kathy’s farm in Rickreall with area farmers.

As engaged citizens we should not pass up to meet candidates for office or our current elected officials at least once.  I met with Senator Merkley 2 years ago in DC. I guarantee you Dr. Monica Wehby will be better than him.  His condescending attitude towards Oregon’s farmers, ranchers and foresters is absolutely disgusting to me.

Senator Merkley is a fear monger when it comes to GMOs and refuses to acknowledge the science behind it.  This has been clear in emails he has sent.  He would rather please the extreme environmentalists.  He says he is an advocate for Organic farmers but why not ALL farmers?   He claims to be proud of his timber industry heritage yet but caters those who cripple the industry.

Telling my story to Senator Merkley

Telling my story to Senator Merkley

Why do we want to keep Senator Merkley in office when he clearly does not have Oregon’s best interest at heart?

There have been criticisms of Dr. Wehby, mostly by those who supported her primary opponent. They say that she’s not conservative enough or does not have the political savvy. Some say they are just not going to vote. I say that’s BS!

We cannot win the war on our livelihoods and freedom if we are not willing to change our battle strategy. And we for sure will not win it if we do not vote!!

Monica Wehby

I am excited for the change Dr. Monica Wehby can bring to the U.S. Senate!

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Filed under Oregon, Politics

Support Family Farms

Support Family Farms.

I saw this on a bumper sticker on my way home from the field Friday night. Taking a closer look, I realized the slogan was associated with a recent “Anti-GMO” campaign*.

I have seen this messaging used before in “Anti GMO” campaigns.  It continues to boggle my mind.

Ninety-eight percent of the farms in the United States and 98% of farms in Oregon are family owned and operated. Family farms come in many sizes, structures and types.  They use different methods & technologies, choosing what is best for their farms and family.  This includes using GMOs, more accurately known as genetic engineering or biotechnology. 

A quick google search of “Support Family Farms” immediately lists three organizations that claim to do just that.  However, these groups loudly advocate against biotechnology, corporations and whatever a “factory farm”** is.  In their world only if you are small, organic and sell locally then you are a family farmer. Everyone else is Big Ag and controlled by corporations.

My family farm, that I am 5th generation on, does not fit in their box. It is not small, nor organic and we are a corporation. Often I find myself testifying in the legislature on bills that would directly impact our farm. The people testifying against my position are usually associated with the aforementioned organizations.

If these groups support family farms like they claim, then how can they take the opposite stance of me and other family farmers?

Election Day is two months away. Many campaigns, groups & politicians will say they support family farms. If their definition of family farm is anything other than the fact that it is owned and operated by a family then it is wrong.  Especially if their agenda includes singling out one type of farming method and thus ultimately limits ALL farmers’ choices.

If  you hear “We Support Family Farms” think critically about how the candidate or ballot measure might impact my family farm or others like mine.

There is room for all types of farms, family and otherwise.

Bowers Family Farm

Family photo from a few years ago at our family farm. Four generations pictured.


*An “Anti-GMO” campaign is one that advocates for restrictions, bans or labels on biotechnology or genetic engineering. Currently in Oregon there is ballot measure 92 that would require to label food products that contain or may contain ingredients that were produced using genetic engineering. Which I will be sharing more about later.

**Factory farm is a bogus term. There are farms that are vertically integrated, which means they include most, if not all, of the steps between the farm and fork. A factory farm does not exist.

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Filed under family, Farming, GMOs

Highlights of Harvest 2014

Sorry for the blogging hiatus.  It was a busy Harvest 2014 and the last week drug on about 5 days longer than necessary. Thank you Mother Nature.

Per usual harvest had its ups and downs with weather, breakdowns and yields but overall it was successful.

Here are a few highlights:

Marie Bowers and Fawn Fescue

Selfie with the Combine in Fawn Fescue

Typical 4th of July, view from the tractor cab!

Typical 4th of July, view from the tractor cab!

Team Baler!

Team Baler!

Perfect view of Combining

Perfect view of Combining

Marie Bowers Stagg

Traveling the 45+ miles from one end of the farm to the other!

My imagination is always active, I thought Tosh looked like "The Dust Queen" in this picture!

My imagination is always active, I thought Tosh looked like “The Dust Queen” in this picture!

Future Chinese Food!

Future Chinese Food! Wheat Harvest 2014!

Wheat storage

Gluten Storage

You can’t beat the view from this office!

2014-07-09 20.48.33

2014-07-03 21.20.49-2

2014-07-11 21.05.08-2

2014-07-31 20.12.29-2

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Filed under Agriculture, Grass Seed, Oregon