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Wyden And Other Lawmakers Safeguard Hops In Senate Version Of Farm Bill

Brian Bull

Good news for Oregon’s hop growers.  The Senate version of the Farm Bill – which passed today – includes an amendment allowing the USDA to tackle several plant diseases that affects hop crops. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden helped craft the provision.

Wyden joined his colleagues on the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus in amending the latest Farm Bill.  The language encourages further work to study and control powdery mildew and downy mildew. The diseases can obliterate 15 percent of a hop field or more, costing millions in lost revenue for hop growers.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden at a Lane County town hall event in February 2017.

Blake Crosby is president of Crosby Hops, based in Woodburn.  He supports the senators’ efforts.

“Historically, I’ve heard stories of the Willamette Valley, of total crop destruction from some really bad outbreaks of downy mildew that just weren’t handled appropriately," Crosby tells KLCC. 

Credit Cynthia M. Ocamb / Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks (website)
Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks (website)
Hop cones affected by powdery mildew.

"It can be even worse than that, which I think underscores the importance of having this type of support at the federal level, from USDA.”

The Brewers Association endorsed the amendment.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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