- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A bill that would ease Oregon’s land use rules for cider businesses is moving in the Legislature.

The proposed bill received unanimous approval from the Senate in March and will come before the House early May, the Capital Press reported (https://bit.ly/2qeQ5f6). The bill seeks to allow cider business to produce and sell their beverages, serve food and conduct other agritourism activities on-site.

Under the bill, cider businesses producing less than 100,000 gallons (380,000 liters) of cider a year would have to be within or next to an orchard of at least 653,400 square feet (60,700 square meters) to qualify for the new rules.

Businesses that produce more than 100,000 gallons (380,000 liters) will have an orchard size requirement of 1,742,000 square feet (161,835 sq. meters).

The bill would put cider businesses on equal footing with wineries that have similar rules, Estacada’s Stone Circle Cider Founder Dan Lawrence.

“Oregon is in a strong position to be a leader, if not the leader, in this industry nationwide,” he said. “It helps bring dollars and jobs to the countryside.”

During a committee hearing, the Oregon Farm Bureau presented written testimony which cited concerns “about the breadth of activities authorized” under the bill.

The farm bureau is concerned that the proposal does not require qualifying cider businesses’ ownership of orchards, said the bureau’s Mary Anne Nash.

“This could result in the development of a production facility and business center that is not actually part of the farm use on the property,” she said.

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Information from: Capital Press, https://www.capitalpress.com/washington


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