Where did the winter go?

We are back! The last four months have been a very busy time here at New Breed - building our first greenhouse, setting up our breeding and seed processing equipment, upgrading the utilities at our site, and getting ourselves compliant with the OLCC. We're happy to say that we passed our OLCC inspection and are anxious to get started on the project we are here for - producing quality seeds and improved varieties for Oregon growers. 

We expect to have seeds on store shelves, and available for trialing by growers, this fall. In the mean time, if you want to discuss breeding or are interested in talking about our business, drop us a line! 

For those of you who might be curious, the greenhouse is a Conley 3600 - heated by gas and cooled by a high-pressure fog system. 

For those of you who might be curious, the greenhouse is a Conley 3600 - heated by gas and cooled by a high-pressure fog system. 

The long view on genetic progress

One of the major pitfalls in breeding programs is allowing your genetic base to become too narrow. Over time, a breeding program tends to focus on the most advanced and productive lines, while ignoring those that are further from commercial quality. It can be productive in the short run to have this focus, but in the long run it results in the limitation of further genetic progress. 

For this reason, I have been somewhat surprised by the rules established in Oregon and Washington that will make each state into genetic 'islands'. The rules state that after a short introductory window, all seeds and clones must be purchased from other producers within the state. I understand the motivation behind this (a conservative interpretation of the Cole memo), but if the rules remain the same for more than a few years, it will create a problem for growers:

As new, improved varieties are developed outside their home state, they will be faced with either becoming noncompetitive, or breaking the established rules to acquire new varieties. I don't like to see non-sustainable systems created. 

If we are lucky, within a few years legalized states will be able to initiate reciprocity agreements that will allow, at a minimum, the exchange of breeding material. 

As for NBS, we are collecting as much germplasm as we can for our breeding program. We will maintain as much of it as possible, to ensure that we have the ability to continue making genetic progress for many years to come. 

Water, Water, Everywhere...

As part of the application process for recreational licensing, the OLCC will be requiring producers to provide proof of their legal access to water for growing cannabis (a water right or access to a public water supply). This would not be a problem of itself, but it reveals a serious inconsistency in Oregon water law. 

Obtaining a new water right varies from difficult to impossible. However, Oregon law allows groundwater to be used for certain purposes without a water right. These purposes include:

  • Use of 15,000 gallons a day for your house (a ridiculous amount of water) AND
  • An unlimited amount of water for your cows, pigs, chickens, peacocks, manatees AND
  • Watering 1/2 acre non-commercial yard or garden AND
  • 5000 gallons a day for a single 'commercial or industrial' purpose

The catch is that growing plants for commercial purposes as part of the horticulture industry is not considered by the Oregon Water Resources Department to be a 'commercial or industrial' use of water. It is hard not to notice how inconsistent this law is... you can't even write about it without engaging in doublethink. 

The same issue has come up in Washington in the past, and was resolved in favor of allowing 5000 gallons a day to be used for commercial irrigation.   http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/caselaw/images/pdf/kimvpchb.pdf

My suspicion is that the only way to fix this in Oregon is going to be a lawsuit. Maybe affected growers can put together the funds to fight this one.