March 09, 2005

Crapo Encourages Hop Producers To Participate In USDA Hearing

Hearing re-scheduled for October will focus on proposed marketing order

Washington, DC â??Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is encouraging Idahoâ??s hop producers to participate in a public hearing on the promulgation of a proposed federal hop marketing order. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced late last week that the hearing will be held over a period of days in Portland, Oregon, and Yakima, Washington, and will involve hops grown in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and California.â??I am pleased that the USDA listened to the concerns of Idaho hop growers and responded to my request by scheduling the hearings after harvest. This will better enable Idahoâ??s producers and others to fully participate in the hearing process. When the Idaho Hop Growers Association approached me with a request to urge the USDA to schedule the hearings after hop harvest, it was obviously the common sense thing to do.â?? Greg Obendorf, an Idaho hop grower, said, â??We believe that through Senator Crapoâ??s help we are better able to focus our attention on harvesting this yearâ??s crop. Idaho hop growers are unanimously opposed to any marketing order that would interfere with the free market and we look forward to an open and accessible hearing to express these concerns.â??Crapo concluded, â??Idaho is the third largest hop producer in the nation. Discussions regarding the proposed hop marketing order are of vital interest to hop producers throughout the state and nationwide. That is why it is essential that we provide a means for growers and industry officials to give input on proposals that affect their livelihood, and I appreciate the USDAâ??s responsiveness to Idaho hop growers requests to choose a date after hop harvest.â?? The hearing will be held on Wednesday, October 15, and Thursday, October 16, at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, 8235 NE Airport Way in Portland, Oregon. If needed, it will continue on Friday, October 17. It will reconvene the following week on Monday, October 20, at the Doubletree Hotel Yakima Valley, 1507 N. First Street, Yakima, Washington. It will continue on Tuesday, October 21, and if necessary, will run through the end of the week.# # #