Tacoma-Based Sprague Named A Top 100 Company in the United States

Sprague Pest Solutions Earns A Top National Ranking For Helping the World Eat Safer Food and Live and Work in Healthier Environments

Tacoma, Wash. (June 8, 2021) – The world deserves to eat safer food and live and work in healthier environments each day. Protecting the food processing, distribution and service facilities for some of the world’s most recognizable consumer brands from threat of food-borne illnesses brought on by pests is a job Sprague Pest Solutions has proudly performed for more than 95 years.

That dedication protects not only physical structures and brands from dangerous pests, but also millions of consumers who buy, prepare and consume the food products that are produced and stored in these facilities.

As a result of its efforts, Tacoma-based Sprague has once again been named to the 2021 Pest Control Technology magazine Top 100 list (based on revenue). The list was featured in the magazine’s May issue.

Sprague, a fourth-generation company dedicated to providing clients with innovative integrated pest management (IPM) solutions, ranks # 2 as the largest pest management service provider dedicated solely to commercial pest management and 24th largest pest management company in the United States. This marks the fourth consecutive year Sprague has ranked in the top 25 on the list.

“We are proud and humbled to once again be named to PCT magazine’s Top 100 List,” said Ross Treleven, president of Sprague. “Our inclusion on the list and emergence as the second largest provider of commercial pest services in the United States speaks to our ongoing commitment to culture, people, innovation and exceptional client care.”

In addition to innovative preventive pest management and consulting services, Sprague offers specialty technical services including risk assessments and audit preparation, heat treatments, commodity fumigations and fumigation alternatives, large-scale bird exclusion and management, and employee and food safety training.

DLF seed featured on new Jack Nicklaus golf course

The new public course opened May 2.

The new American Dunes Golf Club, Grand Haven, Michigan, debuted as a renovation of the Grand Haven Golf Club, partially with the help of retired professional golfer Jack Nicklaus.

Construction of the new championship golf course, which opened May 2, started in April 2019. Halsey, Oregon-based DLF’s U.S. professional turf team was approached about the project by Jon Scott, formerly of the Nicklaus agronomy team. DLF and its Seed Research of Oregon team along with La Crosse Seed, provided all the grass seed for the course.

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Weber led COSI’s rise to seed industry leadership

Central Oregon Seeds Inc. has been key in making Jefferson County a seed production hub

After 42 years as managing partner of Central Oregon Seeds Inc., Mike Weber turned 70 and retired Jan. 31 from a job that helped establish Jefferson County as an innovative specialty crop area. He will still remain a partner and on the board of directors.

Weber grew up in El Paso, Texas, and later earned a master’s degree in plant nutrition at Oregon State University. In 1976, he came to Madras and worked three years as an OSU extension agent specializing in crops and soils.

During that time, he was approached by six local farmers who were interested in starting a company to produce, process and sell bluegrass seed and garlic.

“We explored the idea and made the decision to venture out into that opportunity and build this facility,” Weber said of the COSI plant located in the Madras Industrial Park.

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Grass seed dealer agrees to $300K settlement in mislabeling case

SALEM — A Willamette Valley grass seed dealer accused of mislabeling more than 8 million pounds of seed has reached a settlement with state agriculture officials.

Dynamic Seed Source LLC and owner Trevor Abbott have agreed to pay $300,000 in fines to to the Oregon Department of Agriculture as part of the deal. The company will also have its wholesale seed dealer’s license suspended for one year, effective June 30.

ODA initially alleged Dynamic Seed Source and Abbott in 2019 had mislabeled 124 seed lots as Kentucky 31, or K-31, a popular variety of tall fescue used for livestock forage, manicured lawns, erosion control and turf.

Investigators later determined the company mislabeled 161 seed lots as K-31, totaling 207 infractions. Each lot equals up to 55,000 pounds of seed.

False labeling is a violation of both the Federal Seed Act and Oregon seed laws, regulating the sale and commerce of agricultural seed crops.

“It’s all about consumer protection,” said Elizabeth Savory, Seed Regulatory Program manager at ODA. “You want to make sure what’s on the label, that’s the seed they’re getting.”

Savory made the comparison to someone buying a bag of M&Ms, only to open the bag and find out there were Skittles inside — they’re both round candy, she said, but not the same thing and not what the person thought he was buying.

K-31 is sought after for its heat and drought tolerance, low maintenance and durability, fetching a premium price for growers.

About half of all K-31 grass seed comes from Missouri, Savory said, and the other half is grown in Oregon. In 2017, Missouri experienced a record-low harvest caused by several years of difficult weather. The shortage led to a spike in demand and prices.

ODA began an industry-wide investigation in 2018 at the request of the Oregon Seed Association to root out bad actors misrepresenting K-31 seed, based on anomalies in the market.

The Seed Regulatory Program has reviewed thousands of records from 214 registered wholesale dealers, Savory said, making it the largest investigation in the program’s history.

The violations allegedly committed by Dynamic Seed Source and Abbott occurred between 2016 and 2018. Under the terms of the settlement reached May 6, Abbott and the company neither admit nor deny any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay the combined $300,000 in fines and a one-year license suspension.

In a statement, Abbott and Dynamic Seed Source said ODA’s case was “unnecessary,” and they were always willing to prepare their labels per the state’s specifications.

“ODA sued anyway, and after two years of litigation the parties settled,” the company stated. “The settlement did not require Trevor Abbott or Dynamic to admit fault. They are glad the lawsuit is over and look forward to putting it all behind them.”

Once their license is reissued, Dynamic Seed Source and Abbott will be placed on three years of probation. Conditions of the probation will include twice-yearly records audits, participation in at least one workshop or training on Oregon Seed Laws and at least one in-person examination of records annually.

Savory said no other violations have been uncovered to date, though the investigation is ongoing.

Angie Smith, executive director of the Oregon Seed Association, said the group is so far pleased with the state’s review.

“It was at the request of the Oregon Seed Association’s members that we asked ODA to look into the sales of K-31,” Smith said. “We look forward to the outcome of that continued investigation.”

ODA Director Alexis Taylor said the agency takes complaints seriously and thanked the industry for their support and cooperation.

“Together with our agricultural partners, ODA is committed to keeping our industry reputable, strong, forward-thinking, and in compliance with state, federal, and international requirements,” Taylor said.

Oregon is the largest producer of cool-season forage and turf grasses in the U.S., producing nearly 591 million pounds in 2017. The Willamette Valley, and in particular Linn County, is affectionately referred to as the “Grass Seed Capital of the World.”

Grass seed is the fifth-largest agricultural commodity in Oregon, worth more than $517 million and driving more than $1 billion in economic activity.

Originally published by George Plaven for Capital Press, May 11, 2021

Top turfgrass breeder combines art, science

Pure-Seed Testing develops turfgrasses and forages that solve problems and meet needs.

Crystal Rose-Fricker, the president of Pure Seed and Pure-Seed Testing Inc., and has developed or co-developed more than 320 turf and forage grass cultivars.

The renowned grass seed geneticist has made her mark in research and breeding for more than 30 years, earning the Genetics and Plant Breeding Award from the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders.

She was also listed No. 6 in Sports Illustrated’s list of the “Most Influential Women in Golf.”

Rose-Fricker operates from the heart of a fully integrated family business that her father, Bill Rose, started in 1970. The third generation is now involved, and the family’s network of companies include PST for the research and testing; Pure Seed, marketing and services; and Roselawn, the production arm headed by her brother, Ed Rose.

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Berger keeps family, business in focus

In a bustling family business, relationships can easily fall by the wayside.

With seed planting, cleaning, bagging, storing and shipping, Becky Berger, owner and CEO of Berger International Seed, is as intentional about growing strong family relationships as she is about the business.

“We formed a family council,” Berger said. “Twice a year we sit down with a consultant and work through family and business issues.

“I’ve got children that are in the farming business and children that are not,” Berger said. “I want to make sure my values are passed on to them — and keeping this business going is very important to me.”

Berger has worked in the turf grass seed business since marrying into the Berger Seed family 45 years ago. After her husband, Keith, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 30, he suffered a gradual decline until his death in 2011.

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Oregon Seed Association Responds to Investigation into Grass Seed Mislabeling & Fraud Charges

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—March 4, 2021

Contact: Angie Smith
503-685-7555
smith@pacwestcom.com

 

OREGON SEED ASSOCIATION RESPONDS TO INVESTIGATION INTO GRASS SEED MISLABELING & FRAUD CHARGES

(Wilsonville, Ore.)—In response to the recent article about a former grass seed company manager charged in a fraud and mislabeling scheme, the Oregon Seed Association (OSA) issues the following statement:

The OSA firmly believes in the overall integrity of its members, and that customers who purchase from OSA members can have full confidence in the products they purchase. 

The OSA does not condone the mislabeling of seed by its members and upholds its mission to promote integrity in member business practices. The OSA has been on the leading edge in protecting industry standards in the labeling of seed. To that end, we took the initiative in 2017 to request the Oregon Department of Agriculture investigate instances of seed mislabeling of K31 within the industry, an investigation that continues today. We also appointed representatives to serve on an ODA rules advisory committee to review and revise regulations and increase the penalties and fines for those found in violation, thereby reducing incentives for bad actors looking to increase profit margins. The OSA’s ethics policy requires all members to abide by certain ethical standards in their general business practices. Such standards include full and truthful representation of the quality and description of the seed sold or offered for sale. Such breaches of the ethics standards, when directed to the attention of the OSA Board of Directors and after due process, shall result in suspension or termination of membership in the association. We will continue to monitor the investigation.

If you have any questions about the above, we encourage you to contact any member of the OSA Board of Directors https://oregonseed.org/contact/.

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The Oregon Seed Association (OSA) is a non-profit agricultural trade association representing the interests of Oregon’s world-renowned seed industry. OSA members market and distribute Oregon grass and agricultural seed to more than 70 countries on six continents.

 

Nearly a year into COVID-19, seed industry is booming

Almost a year into COVID-19, the domestic seed industry is flourishing.

“A lot of seed companies are selling out. Some warehouses are empty of seed. They’re having an incredible year,” said Angie Smith, executive director of the Oregon Seed Association.

Industry leaders say when the pandemic hit last March, there was an alarming lull in sales. But from about April on, experts say sales took off in most seed sectors and the momentum has continued into 2021.

The specialty seed sector, including vegetable and flower seeds, is blooming on the retail level. Last year, Americans nationwide planted a record number of gardens. Extension agents at the time wondered whether people’s interest in gardening would carry into 2021. So far, the answer appears to be “yes.”

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