Debrief: OrCAN's Focus in the 2022 Oregon Legislative Session
Updated: Mar 20, 2022
OrCAN is working to create systemic change by advocating for strong policy to advance climate resilient practices on Oregon’s farms and ranches.
During Oregon’s 2022 short legislative session, we had the opportunity to this important topic to legislators through a Natural and Working Lands bill, SB 1534.
The bill was built on the momentum at the state-level initiated by Governor Brown’s Executive Order on climate and the Oregon Global Warming Commission's Natural and Working Lands Proposal. The proposal, developed with extensive stakeholder input including OrCAN partners like you, recommended that the state establish a comprehensive program to incentivize soil health practices and other climate-smart practices.
The bill considered in the 2022 session would have set the stage for this climate smart agriculture program at the state level.
Specifically, the bill would have:
Defined Natural and Working Lands (NWL), establishing the policy direction to advance carbon sequestration and resilience strategies.
Created an NWL Advisory Group
Directed Oregon State University to develop metrics, an NWL inventory, and a workforce and economic development study.
While the bill ultimately did not pass, OrCAN and our partners were able to highlight critical grassroots support from farmers to create a climate-smart agricultural program at the state level. We were able to engage in conversations with decision makers and coalition members to deliver what we’ve heard from farmers: there’s a need for both financial incentives and a robust, knowledgeable technical assistance system to support farmers and ranchers in voluntary stewardship of the land that’s good for rural economies.
Thanks to many of you, we submitted letters of support from farms and ranches, forestland owners and managers, environmental organizations, and a joint endorsement from conservation organizations with land owners. There was also strong verbal testimony and written testimony from over 50 constituents including many farmers and ranchers, in support of the bill.
It's extremely disappointing that the legislature didn’t act to advance climate resilience on Oregon’s natural and working lands. Passing a bill for a new concept during a short legislative session is challenging and there were larger political issues at play.
As you know, this work is critical. We need voluntary incentives and technical assistance, developed with input from farmers and ranchers, to advance climate resilience on Oregon's farms and ranches. OrCAN is committed to advancing this work and has already begun thinking ahead to the 2023 legislative session.
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