NEWS RELEASE – Bailey Seed to Acquire Oregon Seed Services Inc.

SALEM, OREGON, December 17, 2014
Bailey Seed to Acquire Oregon Seed Services Inc.

Bailey Seed, Inc. of Salem Oregon announces the acquisition of Oregon Services Inc. of Harrisburg Oregon. Oregon Seed Services Inc. is a closely held Oregon Corporation that has been an active wholesale marketer of grass seed produced in Oregon since 2004. Bailey Seed, Inc. is a regional marketer of grass seed, cover crops, small grains, and forage products, that was started by Dick Bailey, a well known life-long Oregon Seedsman in the 1980s. The sales staff of Oregon Seed Services will continue to market their current OSS product line, and will assist Bailey Seed in establishing a greater national presence in the seed industry.

According to Troy Ralston, VP of Bailey Seed, “We have done business together for some time and there is an unusual amount of synergy between our two companies that will make the merged company greater than the parts.” Larry Dean, former CEO of Oregon Seed Services will continue to do sales and customer relations and product development for the merged company. He commented, “as I get older, it is a privilege to get to focus on the parts of the industry I most enjoy and be able to choose when I phase down and when I retire”

The two companies have history together that reaches back to the 80s and early 90s with two historical seedsmen who were collaborative partners, Dick Bailey and Jimmy Jenks. “Lee Ralston bought the operations of Bailey Seed from Dick Bailey prior to his passing, and a few years later I followed Jimmy Jenks as sales manager for Jenks Seed Connection when Jimmy sold his company and retired. Now, Lee Ralston’s wife and son is acquiring my company. Life takes interesting turns” stated Larry.

Bailey Seed, Inc. can be reached in Salem Oregon at 503-362-9700 and Oregon Seed Services Inc. can be reached at 541-995-6168.

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ASTA – Seed, Where Better Life Begins 2014

Check out the video here

ASTA Unveils New Research

By Julie Deering 

Today, the American Seed Trade Association unveiled the results of a new survey that focused on consumer perception around seed and seed improvement.

“The agriculture industry recognizes the significance of seed innovations and that many things which improve the quality of our lives can be traced back to the seed,” said Andy LaVigne, ASTA president and CEO. “But when we reach beyond the agricultural community, we realize we have work to do in educating people about the value of seed and seed improvements. Our research results revealed that the work of the seed industry is generally undervalued among educated consumers. Yet, those same consumers believe that the role of technology in agriculture is important and vital.”

Lavigne explained that when time was spent with the consumers surveyed and additional information shared regarding the specific benefits seed improvements, consumers began to show increased appreciation in understanding the impact of seed improvements and innovation.

As part of the survey process, consumer were told that seed improvements can do some of the following:

  • They can allow farmers to grow a wider variety of foods, giving consumers more choices and more convenience.
  • They allow farmers to more conveniently produce food, which enables U.S. families to spend far less of their income on food than in other countries.
  • Also, they allow for less food waste, which is a big issue in our economy today.
  • They allow for greater energy security through the production of renewable fuels, made from agricultural crops.
  • They work to protect the environment with less soil erosion, less water use, reduced pesticide use and the development of plants that are ideal for restoring land back to its natural habitat.

“With this new information, our consumer audience agreed that the benefits of seed improvement help all of the public,” Lavigne said. “We found that total positive impressions across all consumer groups increased and with impressive numbers.”

The survey target millennials, moms and foodies. Among those groups, positive impressions increased by 18 percent, 13 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

“These are all extremely encouraging results as we move forward with our messaging,” LaVigne said. “As one of the oldest trade associations in the country, ASTA is uniquely positioned to help educate consumers about seed improvements that are providing an increase in solutions among increasing demands on food, feed, fuel and fiber by growing more.”

To build upon the survey results, LaVigne announced that ASTA will undertake a three-year communications effort to reach consumers about the importance of seed improvement. “Our hope is to increase awareness among consumers about the diversity of the seed industry, about the value of the crops that are grown from our seeds and the food that is produced from the seed, and the impact that it has on our daily lives now and into the future,” Lavigne said.

The original article published on Seed World can be found here

Who’s at the Table?

Seed World takes a rare look into boardrooms and senior management to examine the role women play and the skill sets they bring to the table.

There’s a global shift happening in the business world and the seed industry is no exception. The number of women in senior management roles is increasing and research shows that this added diversity leads to better dividends.

The latest research from the International Business Report shows that women now hold 24 percent of senior management roles globally, a three-point increase from 2012. Additionally, the proportion of businesses employing women as CEOs has risen from 9 percent to 14 percent, and just 19 percent of board roles globally are held by women.

While these numbers might seem stark, they suggest the future is bright. The World Bank reports that today more women are studying at universities than men in the 60 countries it researched. Here at home, 2010 marked the first year that more women received advanced degrees than men and in 2013, there were more women on Forbes’ billionaires list than ever, with 138 women in the ranks — up from 104. Of those 138 women, 24 started their own business.


Leading the way, Risa Demasi is a partner at Grassland Oregon.

American Express reports that as of 2012, there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, which is up 54 percent in the past 15 years, and that women are starting businesses at a rate of 1.5 times that of men. Additionally, women are filing more patents, doubling their share since 1990, according to the National Women’s Business Council.

Within the seed industry, Risa Demasi, partner at Grassland Oregon, represents a major change — one of a new generation of women taking on prominent leadership roles in an industry that has historically been led by men. Demasi is the first woman ever elected to the American Seed Trade Association’s board of directors.

Having grown up on a cattle farm in Albany, Oregon, Demasi had no intentions of getting into the agriculture industry. She dreamed of entering the fashion world. “I was convinced I was going to have my own clothing store,” says Demasi, who had been working for Nordstrom at the time.

A chance opportunity to work for a seed company brought her into agriculture, and she’s now one of three active partners in Grassland Oregon, a leading developer and provider of top-rated seed varieties of cool-season grass and legume species.

“When I started in the industry, there were just a few women in decision-making roles in our sector of the seed industry,” Demasi says. “You could probably count them on one hand.”


Laurie Wolinski serves as the director of the Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center at the University of Delaware, which hosts the bi-annual Women in Agriculture Educators National Conference.

While there are no statistics specific to the seed industry, Laurie Wolinski, director of the Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center at the University of Delaware, says that’s changing, and at a faster and faster rate. While the center focuses on educating stakeholders about the unique risks of producing food for the world’s table, it also hosts the bi-annual Women in Agriculture Educators National Conference, which began in 2004.

“More and more women are pursuing agricultural degrees. That carries into the industry. When I started working for the University of Delaware 25 years ago, I was one of only three women working with agricultural producers in my county office. Now, in that particular office, there are as many women as men. It’s changing. Has it been slow to change? Probably. But it’s changing,” Wolinski says.

For Demasi, proof of women’s significant involvement in the industry isn’t found in an Internet search or a statistical report — but in the fields, laboratories, offices and boardrooms across the U.S. Those women include the likes of Ellen Kullman, CEO and chair of DuPont; Pam Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association; Beth Ford, executive vice president and chief supply chain and operations manager at Land O’Lakes, the second-largest member-owned ag cooperative in the U.S.; and Jennifer Rashet, U.S. row crops manufacturing quality lead for Monsanto.

So just what do these women bring to the table? A 2011 McKinsey review of 100 companies against the Organizational Health Index found that companies with three or more women in top positions (on the executive committee or board) scored higher than their peers. Another report concludes that the “overall median proportion of female executives was 7.1 percent at successful companies and 3.1 percent at unsuccessful companies, demonstrating the value that having more females can potentially bring to a management team.”


Jennifer Rashet is the U.S. row crops manufacturing quality lead for Monsanto and also serves on the American Seed Trade Association’s Seed Industry Relations Committee and Phytosanitary Committee.

Diversity Builds
In another study tracking results from Fortune 500 companies from 2004 to 2008, those companies with the most women on the board of directors outperformed those with the least by at least 16 percent in terms of return on sales and 26 percent in terms of return on investment capital.

According to the Korn/Ferry Institute, which generates research that shows how talent advances business strategy, the similarities between male and female leaders are striking but there are also significant differences.

In leadership style scores, women were statistically different in three of the four categories. Men in the C-suite (named after all the “C” titles in senior management teams — CEO, CFO, COO) relied more on a task-oriented style, while females used slightly more of the social and participatory styles. Meanwhile, there were no significant gender differences on intellectual leadership scores.

According to their research, in the absence of social dynamics, male and female C-suite executives have very consistent ways of making decisions. However, the institute reported one exception: female executives in the C-suite had higher creative thinking scores than males executives.

“Both genders are high scoring as creative and complex thinkers, which means they generate a multitude of innovative solutions, consider potential effects, identify the best choice and develop a strategy to attain it,” says Dana Landis, vice president of global search assessment for Korn/Ferry International. “But female executives likely will prefer to amass more diverse data and spend more time considering alternative solutions. This slight difference in approach to strategic decision-making may be beneficial when addressing long-term or high-stakes decisions.”

Female executives score higher than men in ambiguity tolerance, suggesting slightly greater comfort with situations that are more abstract and influx or when the correct or most prosperous course of action has not yet revealed itself. They appear to be more adept at navigating complex social situations, “reading the room,” and accurately perceiving the needs and motivations of those around them.

Additionally, the Korn/Ferry Institute found that female execs exhibit greater energy scores than their male counterparts. Energy is defined as mental tenacity, the capability to sustain analytic thinking and stick with a persistent or highly complex problem until a solution is found. The authors write that “women who are presently top executives likely faced a great deal of resistance during their ascension … those who are in the C-suite today likely had to out-study, outwork and outperform their male counterparts.”


Looking back at her early years, Demasi never expected to find herself at the helm of a seed company and preparing to lead an organization such as ASTA. Elected as second vice chair of ASTA in 2013, Demasi is currently first vice chair and is expected to fill the position of chair in 2015 — making her the first female chair in the association’s then 133-year history.

Demasi’s formal education took place at Hesston College in Kansas where she obtained an undergraduate degree. Her “real” education, as she calls it, would take the form of “a long, interesting and hard-fought education in life experiences. I’m incredibly grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been provided,” Demasi says.

Those opportunities included working for Olsen-Fennell Seeds, which was purchased in 1998 by AgriBiotech. In 2000, Demasi co-founded Grassland Oregon. “Jerry Hall, our president, had the foresight to bring the originating working partners together,” she explains. “His foresight, and with our creative vision, led to one of those fortunate opportunities I have been so thankful for. It’s been a fascinating and challenging ride to create Grassland Oregon from scratch.”

The Korn/Ferry Institute also reports that research shows “that women tend to share credit, advocate for their whole team and strive for group wins.”

As the first and only female officer around the table in ASTA’s boardroom today, Demasi who is only 48, adds a woman’s perspective and enjoys the experience every step of the way. “I’m sure we [women] probably bring a little bit different perspective on things,” Demasi acknowledges. “And different is good; any time you or your organization broaden your thinking, you learn.”

While Demasi says its great being the first woman to sit at ASTA’s boardroom table, she’s never felt that her voice was different than anyone else’s there.

“There are more and more women all the time in the industry in a myriad of roles — active roles within their organizations, large and small,” she says.

In an age where books such as Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus are popular reading material, Demasi isn’t so sure men and women are really that different from one another when it comes to their influence within the seed industry. “It’s easy to get hung up on the various reports you see in the media about the differences between men and women, but I think getting bogged down in that is a hindrance rather than a help,” she says. “I’d rather think about the potential and the opportunities that exist today.”

Monsanto’s Rashet agrees. The U.S. row crops manufacturing quality lead has been involved in the industry for the past 14 years, and feels an important quality women bring to the industry is a desire for inclusivity.

“I think women have been representative of good leadership in all sectors, not just the seed sector,” Rashet says. “We’ve seen a lot of companies really work to make a difference and make changes to foster a more diverse environment, being more inclusive to women. I think the industry is really aware of that and trying to bolster women in leadership roles.”

Rashet, who serves on ASTA’s Seed Industry Relations Committee and Phytosanitary Committee, is also someone who didn’t initially imagine herself working in agriculture. She majored in Spanish at Washington University in Saint Louis and earned her executive master’s degree in international business from Saint Louis University.



Global Perspective
Rashet says that having some female leadership helps seed companies operate better from a global perspective. “I always wanted to be in international business,” she says, adding that being a woman in the seed industry has helped her fulfill that dream. “Having that female voice at the table can bring an important perspective when it comes to talking about the value the seed industry has across the world; it’s especially important when you’re talking with mothers and Millennials, and some of the more food-minded folks we tend to call ‘foodies.’”

Wolinski agrees. “I think having women in leadership roles gives companies an opportunity to approach decision-making in a different way. From a consumer perspective, for example, women still make a lot of the nutrition decisions in their own households, and that perspective might have influence in a boardroom. Companies can only benefit from that.”

The influence women bring to their respective organizations is getting noticed — Demasi points to women like Karen Withers of Oregon’s Pennington Seed Company, who was named Young Seedsman of the Year at the 2013 Western Seed Association convention, as proof that women in seed the seed industry are being recognized for their contributions.

“Any time you get someone in a new group with a unique perspective, that’s a benefit,” Demasi says. “I get caught up in my own way of thinking, but the larger my networking circle grows, the more opportunities I have to be exposed to new ideas and apply them to what I’m working on so I can break that cycle. That’s not unique to women, but to anyone working in a complex industry.”  

The original article published on Seed World can be found here. 

GMO task force as divided as rest of state when it comes to genetically engineered crops

A task force studying the challenges of raising genetically engineered crops in Oregon has ended up as divided as the rest of the state on the issue.

The 15-member group, in issuing a draft reportafter seven months of work, found some common ground when it comes to GE crops, but indicated that a number of steep divides remain, as well.

Task force members, appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber in April, include a handful of farmers, Oregon State University scientists, food processors, and a representative from the Oregon Seed Association.

Their 27-page draft report comes less than two weeks before Oregon voters decide the fate ofMeasure 92, which if approved would require labeling of all foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

The measure has drawn national attention and already has set a record for total spending on an Oregon ballot measure.

The task force, in the opening sentences of its report, mentioned the controversy that continues to surround the issue.

However, the report also make clear that the group’s goal was never to come up with definitive answers. Instead, its charge from the governor was to identify the main obstacles separating those growing GE crops and other farmers; identify areas of agreement and disagreement when it comes to GE crops; and, identify how other jurisdictions both nationally and internationally have dealt with genetically modified crops.

Some over-arching themes contained in the report include the finding that GE-related issues are “polarizing and common ground is hard to find”; that there is no consensus on issues of liability and compensation for losses stemming from GE crops; and, that the controversy often boils down to “a consumer’s right to know versus a farmer’s right to grow. ”

Other topic areas addressed by the task force included cross-pollination and drift, food safety, certification and labeling, and ethics and values.

A final report is expected to be released soon.

The original article published on Oregon Live can be found here. 


Experience key to Vista Seed Partners

Mom, daughters say the time was right to jump into business

SHEDD — Christie McDowell and her daughters did a little “soul searching” before they decided that the opportunity was right for them to start a business.

Together, Christie and daughters Mandi Mack and Marissa McDowell decided to trust their skills and take the leap to open Vista Seed Partners in Shedd. They will be supplying custom and proprietary turf grass and forage products to customers across the country.

“It was the opportune time,” Christie said. “We have the experience.”

Christie has been an executive in the seed industry for 30 years, has served as president of the Oregon Seed Association (only the second woman to hold that post) and is active in numerous state and national seed organizations.

Her daughters combine for another 20-plus years in the industry.

“We’ve been through the changes and we believe the seed industry is improving,” Christie said. “The timing was right for us.”

Three women running a seed company isn’t very common. But Christie says their experience opens plenty of doors.

“It’s a little unusual,” Marissa said. “We were all born and raised right here, though, and people are more interested in the fact that we know the business. They want a reliable partner who can help them grow their product. We’re very service oriented.”

The company opened its doors Sept. 8 at 30140 Highway 99E, at the edge of Shedd. It is in the same building the housed Willamette Seed for many years.

The new owners went to work remodeling the 1,700-square-foot interior, gutting most of it and making it a home for their business. Construction is still in progress, but should be complete in another week.

“We have been moving around inside while it is getting finished,” said Marissa, who is involved mostly in the sales end of the company.

All three work in sales, with Christie in charge of production and purchasing and Mandi involved in the marketing end.

There are seven full-time employees who make up the technical team. Jerry Pepin, turf specialist, who is a leading expert on trufgrass breeding, Christie said. He will provide customer counseling and lead product development.

The company didn’t waste time getting down to business. It has been selling and shipping seeds since day one of business.

“We have good relationships with local farmers and warehouses,” Christie said. “Our warehouses are located here in Shedd and Tangent.”

The location has helped in getting Vista established. It’s easily accessible from either direction on 99E.

Although open only a month, business has been steady, according to Christie. She said they have created long-term partnerships with growers and distributors.

“So far things have pleasantly surprised us,” Christie said. “Between the three of us, we don’t rely on regional sales. We follow the relationship no matter where it may be across the country.”

Information on Vista Seed Partners, which has operating hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, is available on the company website at or by calling 800-975-6939.

The original article published on the Albany-Democrat Herald can be found here

CHS and Thomas Ag Services launch seed distribution and private label seed program

TANGENT, ORE.; Oct. 21, 2014 – CHS Inc., leading U.S. farmer-owned cooperative and a global agriculture and energy business, and Thomas Ag Services, LLC, today announce an agreement to develop a new CHS private label and commodity seed program for CHS retail service centers.

The program will benefit from the production, marketing and agronomic services of Thomas Ag Services combined with the production, blending, packaging, distribution and agronomic services of CHS in Tangent, Ore. It will offer CHS locations and other ag retailers a diverse line of private-label seed products and commodity seed including forage, cover crop, turf, wildlife food plot and native grasses. The products will be supported by regional product specialists and promoted through print and digital marketing.

Suppliers, including growers, currently working with CHS and Thomas Ag Services are expected to benefit from the additional value of this private label program.

“We’re excited to be able to offer these quality products and services through the CHS system, while adding value for the farmers we serve,” said Kevin Rogers, General Manager, Madras-based retail location of CHS. “Cooperatives and their producers are always looking for a more cost-effective and reliable supply of seed products.”

“The timing of this program couldn’t be better with tighter supplies of quality seed mixtures, especially in forage and cover crop,” said Mike Thomas, CEO, Thomas Ag Services.  “Our team is excited and prepared to support a successful CHS distributor operations and private label seed program.”

About Thomas Ag Services
Thomas Ag Services, LLC ( is a leading seed production, marketing, procurement, and agronomic consulting and services company. Thomas Ag Services works with companies of all sizes, farmer producers, plant breeders, production companies, distributors, and retailers to help them reach their business goals.

About CHS
CHS Inc. ( is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS, a Fortune 100 company, supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

See the full press release here.

Pennington Seed Becomes the Official Lawn Care Company of The New York Yankees

The iconic team will utilize the portfolio of Pennington grass seed products to maintain the field at Yankee Stadium starting in the 2014 season.

MADISON, Ga., April 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — To mark the beginning of the 2014 baseball season
and to kickoff the spring growing season, Pennington Seed, Inc., today announced it has finalized an
agreement to become the official lawn care company of the New York Yankees. As part of the multi-
year partnership, Pennington will develop and provide a portfolio of grass seed products to support
the unique aesthetic, functional and maintenance needs of the iconic field at Yankee Stadium.

The New York Yankees sought Pennington to address the rigorous demands and continuous wear placed on their field. The Yankees grounds crew selected Pennington grass seed for its best-in-class aesthetic appeal and durability, as well as for its ease of maintenance. In addition, the partnership includes field days for professionals and local in-store promotions.

“We’re proud that the dedicated turf professionals of Yankee Stadium and the New York Yankees turned to Pennington to deliver the highest quality seed for their field,” said Jeff Crow, vice president of marketing at Central Garden & Pet Company, the parent company of Pennington Seed. “Whether being used to maintain the field at Yankee Stadium or to repair or establish your own yard, Pennington products are designed to establish thicker, fuller grass that can withstand the rigors of regular use, while using up to 30 percent less water versus ordinary seed.”

From 81 home games to concerts and other events, the multi-function field at Yankee Stadium is continuously used throughout the year.

“We are very excited to begin a relationship with Pennington. We hope that utilizing Pennington grass seed products at Yankee Stadium, along with the in-Stadium signage, expands its brand awareness,” said Michael J. Tusiani, New York Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales and Sponsorships.

Pennington offers a variety of grass seed mixes and blends to suit the needs of every homeowner. Pennington grass seed is available at home improvement stores and select independent retailers nationwide, including throughout the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. For additional information about Pennington Seed, please visit or go

About Pennington Seed
Founded in 1945 by Brooks Pennington, Sr., Pennington Seed, Inc. had humble beginnings as a small feed and seed store located in Madison, Ga., where the company is still headquartered today. Since the company’s founding, Pennington Seed has grown into one of the largest manufacturers, producers and distributors of lawn & garden and turf care products in the world, with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, observation nurseries and quality control labs located across the country.

Pennington Seed is owned by the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Central Garden & Pet Company (Nasdaq: CENT, CENTA), a leading innovator, marketer and producer of quality branded products for the lawn & garden and pet supply markets. To learn more about Pennington Seed, For additional information on Central Garden & Pet Company, including access to the Company’s SEC filings, visit

The original article published on Yahoo can be found here. 

OSU Department of Crop and Soil Science gets new leader


Jay Noller, shown outside the Oregon State University Crop Science Building, has been selected as the new head of university’s Department of Crop and Soil Science. Noller has been with the department since 2000 and has served as an associate head of the department since 2008. Jay Noller has been chosen to lead Oregon State University’s Department of Crop and Soil Science. He has been at the university since 2000.

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University has selected a long-time College of Agricultural Sciences soils professor to head its Department of Crop and Soil Science.

Jay Noller, 55, replaces Russ Karow, who is retiring after 14 years in the position.

Noller, who served as associated head of the department for the past six years, said he is embracing the opportunity to administer on a full-time basis.

“This is where my personal energy was going,” Noller said, “just facilitating my colleagues. Now I get to do it full time.

“I see this as an opportunity to lift a heavy load for my colleagues, because I am thrilled with what they are doing,” he said.

Noller has been at OSU since 2000 and a full professor since 2012. He started in his new position Oct. 1.

Noller’s background includes a five-year stint as a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a second five-year stint as co-founder of William Lettis and Associates, now Fugro Worldwide, a firm specializing in geoscience services.

Noller also spent four year as an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and was a teaching assistant at the University at Colorado in Boulder, where he obtained his Ph.D.

He obtained his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from California State University in Los Angeles, both also in geology.

His research has been focused primarily on the long-term effects of human interaction with soil. He recently had a two volume book published looking at paleo agricultural systems in the Eastern Mediterranean with a central question of how long humans can farm a plot of land.

“In the places I’ve looked at, like in Syria, it’s been 15,000 years that people are still cropping the same field, the same plot of land, and (that land) is not too unlike our soils that we have in places around Oregon. So I am very optimistic about Oregon agriculture.”

Noller was chosen from a field of on- and off-campus candidates by a selection committee that included stakeholders and faculty and staff.

“Jay has tremendous experience with Oregon State University,” College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Dan Arp said. “He knows the university well, he knows the college well, and, most importantly, knows the department well.

“He also has strong scholarly interests and accomplishments that are important to the department and bring important strengths to the position,” Arp said.

Arp said the selection committee did not consider Noller’s lack of direct experience in extension as a liability.

“Jay understands the importance of all the pieces of the mission of the college, from the education mission to the research mission and the extension, outreach and engagement mission,” Arp said.

“He has a good understanding of all of those pieces and how they fit together and how they integrate across the department’s mission,” Arp said.

The original article published on Capital Press can be found here.

Oregon shines in national Census of Agriculture

By Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal

Hood River leads the nation in pear production. Clackamas County harvests the most Christmas trees in the country. And Umatilla County grows the most green peas nationwide.

In fact, Oregon counties show up 113 times in theCensus of Agriculture’s top 50 lists.

“There are more than 3,000 counties nationwide, and for us to show up in the top 50 in so many categories is a great testimony to the industry we have in Oregon, said Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture completes the census every five years. Data for 2012 was recently released.

Marion County is an agricultural powerhouse, with 10 commodities ranking in the top 50 nationwide.

Overall, Marion County ranks No. 36 nationally in total crop value and No. 71 in total agricultural production.

There were 2,567 farms in Marion County in 2012, down 73 from the previous census in 2007. The number of acres also fell, from 307,647 to 286,194, or 7 percent.

Oregon also is tied for sixth nationwide for the number of organic farms.

Lane County leads the way with 60 organic growers, followed by Clackamas with 53, Yamhill, Linn and Jackson with 36 each, and Marion with 35.

The annual market values of organic products in Oregon increased from $88 million to $194 million between 2007 and 2012, according to census figures.

“We’ve seen strong growth in specialty food processors using local organic ingredients in their products,” said Lindsay Eng, ODA’s director for market access and certification program.

The original article published on the Statesman Journal can be found here