GOP criticizes Senate Dems on ignoring grasshopper outbreak

[Senate GOP Release]
Democrat leadership abandons rural Oregon again

Salem, OR — Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) sent a terse letter to legislative leadership Monday demanding funding for an entomologist to help address a grasshopper outbreak in eastern Oregon. Legislative leadership has twice ignored requests to fund this crucial position, while 733,000 acres of high-value crops and pastures continue to be devoured by a grasshopper infestation.

“Democrats wonder why rural Oregon feels like the legislature just doesn’t get it, but this is a classic example,” said Ferrioli. “Farmer’s livelihoods are being eaten up, and yet leadership is just sitting by and watching it happen. After cutting the Office of Rural Policy and killing eastern Oregon’s regional investment boards, this is but another offense in a series of slights.”

More than 733,000 acres of wheat, barley, corn, potatoes hay and pasture crops have been affected by the infestation. Grasshoppers are being found in numbers averaging 31 per square yard. The threshold where economic losses begin taking effect is eight insects per square yard. This season farmers have personally treated almost 14,000 acres without any assistance from the state.

“Grasshoppers belong on a fishing hook, not piled up on farmland,” said Ferrioli. “Simple action from the Emergency Board can help us be rid of these insects.”

Ferrioli submitted a letter to Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and House Speaker Jeff Merkely (D-Portland) requesting $132,000 from the Emergency Board to help control the grasshoppers. The money would support an Entomologist Position at the Oregon Department of Agriculture dedicated to eastern Oregon for $82,000. The position would also help keep other crops disease and pest free and viable in numerous markets. The remaining $50,000 would help ease the cost to farmers of controlling the grasshoppers.

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Posted by at 05:25 | Posted in Measure 37 | 15 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • dean

    Why do Republicans always look to the government to solve their problems? I thought farmers were rugged individualists?Wouldn’t “doing something” about grasshoppers, mere insects, amount to unecessary pork barrel spending?

    • Steve Plunk

      Come on Dean, you are above such nonsense. Republicans recognize government as a necessary evil and this is one area where government can be useful. Perhaps the farmers could have done something alone but DDT was outlawed years ago by… the government.

    • Joanne Rigutto

      Dean, I hope you’re joking on this or are you in favor of eliminating the extension service as well?

    • Anonymous

      Probably because of the same reasons democrats look to the government to solve their problem. After all, that is the purpose of government. Isn’t it?

  • Crawdude

    I have a million in my yard this year, I thought it was a little strange. I don’t recall seeing one in my yard before.

  • Tim Lyman

    I was hiking in central Oregon last weekend and kept hearing this funny clicking/rattling sound. It took me a while to realize what it was. I haven’t seen this many of the little buggers since 1967, and I have never seen them at 7000 feet.

    I think the money would better spent on pesticides and a cropduster than on an entemologist. After all, we know what the problem is. What’s an entemologist going to tell us for $82,000? That we have a grasshopper infestation?

    • Crawdude

      We’ll put a working group together and decide which consultant will be best to hire to study the issue.

  • Jerry

    Remember, Dems love wildlife. It is all part of Mother Earth. They are to be commended for their hands off approach.

    • Crawdude

      I’ve heard that chocolate covered grasshoppers are tasty.

      • dean

        The Paiute Indians who lived in eastern Oregon for thousands of years would have looked forward to grasshopper outbreaks as boom times….even without the chocolate covering they considered them a delicacy. Maybe that should be the answer, Harvest them and sell them as organic, local protein. Grasshopperville. Yum.

        • Crawdude

          I’ve seen Matthew Zimmerman eat a lot worse than grasshoppers on his show,lol! I’d eat one, as long as it was deep fried…….if there is one thing I can’t stand its baked grasshopper!

        • astounded

          jeez dean, you sound like the environmental idiot that said all the grasshoppers would make good fertilizer during th outbreak in eastern Oregon that even ate everything, eventhe sagebrush, made the highways greasy and were a major menace.

          He wasn’t very smart or knowlegeable either.

  • Jerry

    Better yet harvest them for the fuel we need to run out towns and cities and our cars and trucks. It would only take 8,000 grasshoppers to capture the energy output of a gallon of gas.

    • dean

      Grasshodiesel.

      • dean

        And given the still unfolding collapse of our financial system, eating grasshoppers and shoving them into our gas tanks might be our best bet. I would hold off on the aerial spraying until the dust settles.

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