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Standing With Oregon’s Farmers and Protecting Oregon’s Natural Resources

Willamette Valley agricultural fieldsFarming is the backbone for many of our rural communities. Oregon is a leader in the production of many agricultural crops, including hazelnuts, berries, and nursery stock, and we have many farms that specialize in organic products.

Oregon is also known for its long history of conserving the natural resources that are the foundation of our economy. From the historic land-use measures led by Governor Tom McCall to the public lands protections championed by Senator Mark Hatfield, the state has preserved our natural treasures and kept much of its land in working farms and forestry.

The farm bill passed into law earlier this year included Jeff’s bipartisan amendment to level the playing field for organic farmers on crop insurance. His provision directed the Department of Agriculture to include the added value of organic crops when calculating compensation for potential losses for crop insurance to make it more enticing for organic farmers to use.

When farmers told Jeff about burdensome rules applying to their trucks carrying goods to market across state lines, Jeff lined up Republican partners and changed the law. Now interstate trucking regulations don't apply to farmers doing short trips near their farms just because they happen to cross into another state.

In the Senate, Jeff is working to create jobs for families and small businesses in rural communities. He introduced legislation to create the Rural Energy Savings Program, which allows rural electric coops to offer low-cost loans to their customers for renovations to homes and businesses to make them more energy-efficient. These construction jobs cannot be outsourced and most of the materials are made in the U.S.

Jeff believes that we need to create more jobs in the woods, and when taxpayers fund programs to thin our forests, we should be hiring American workers. Jeff is working with colleagues to find a long-term solution for timber counties that will get more logs to the saw mills while protecting our most treasured places. He has also pushed for H-2b visa reform so government contractors can’t cheat by hiring foreign workers to thin forests when there are Americans available to do the work.

Jeff also worked to secure critical disaster relief for Oregon’s farmers and ranchers affected by the droughts and wildfires in 2012. Jeff led the effort to reauthorize these important programs in the farm bill that had expired in 2011, and made sure they were retroactive so our farmers and ranchers received relief.

Photo above of the Willamette Valley by David Grant

Connect with Jeff Newas & Updates
Meet Jeff Merkley

Jeff Merkley was born in the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, the son of a sawmill worker.Jeff Merkley and Family As an advocate and a state legislator, he always fought hard for working families in Oregon. And now, as U.S. Senator, he's working every day for families in Oregon and across the country.

His progressive commitment is clear - working for economic recovery and family-wage jobs, clean energy that puts Americans to work and combats the climate crisis, affordable health care for all Americans. Learn more about Jeff Merkley.

Connect with Jeff Meet Jeff Merkley

Jeff Merkley was born in the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, the son of a sawmill worker. As an advocate and a state legislator, he always fought hard for working families in Oregon. And now, as U.S. Senator, he's working every day for families in Oregon and across the country.

His progressive commitment is clear - working for economic recovery and family-wage jobs, clean energy that puts Americans to work and combats the climate crisis, affordable health care for all Americans. Learn more about Jeff Merkley.