Saddle Butte Ag Co-Founder Wins 2023 Distinguished Service Award

Don Wirth, an innovative Oregon farmer and promoter of cover crops and forage in the United States and internationally, has been named the Agricultural Communicators Network (ACN) Distinguished Service Award recipient for 2023.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to individuals who give back to the agricultural community and have demonstrated outstanding leadership efforts in education, science, or public affairs relevant to agriculture. The ACN has named Distinguished Service Award recipients since 1947. Past recipients have included Dr. Norman Borlaug, the only person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for work in agriculture, and Dr. Temple Grandin, a noted animal welfare scientist, as well as farmers, economists, and agri-business people.

Wirth’s agricultural contributions include his 55 years of innovation in cropping systems, testing and evaluating forage and cover crops in Oregon and the CornBelt, and founding and co-founding five agricultural companies. He frequently and enthusiastically partners with land-grant universities and USDA scientists nationwide.

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Seed testing workshop planned to address need for analysts

SALEM — Seed technologists from across the U.S. are arriving in Salem next week for what the Oregon seed industry hopes will be an annual occurrence: A seed testing workshop.

The Mega Cool Season Grass Seed Workshop on April 24-28 includes three days of hands-on classroom experience and a field tour of a seed cleaning plant, a hemp operation and a seed research farm.

The workshop is being put on by the Pacific Northwest Seed Technologists and the Oregon Seed Association in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Chemeketa Community College’s Agricultural Sciences Program, which is donating classroom space.

“I’m pretty excited because we have people from across the United States participating,” said Sharon Davidson, owner of Agri Seed Testing in Salem, who is spearheading the workshop. “Seed regulatory labs are sending people and even the USDA is sending two people.”

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How Oregon grass seed found its way to the World Cup

CANBY, Ore. — Like billions of people worldwide, Crystal Rose-Fricker has found herself glued to coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

But unlike most soccer fanatics, Rose-Fricker is paying close attention to one detail in particular — the quality of the playing surface.

Rose-Fricker, president of Pure Seed in Canby, Ore., has a keen interest in this year’s tournament, with her company providing tens of millions of pounds of grass seed for the eight stadiums and 71 practice fields. It is a monumental task, made possible by years of research and development.

The result is that Oregon turf is again featured on the world stage. According to NBC Sports, an estimated 5 billion viewers are expected to tune in to the World Cup.

“It’s a long process of building relationships and connecting Oregon grass seed with that end market,” Rose-Fricker said. “This is one example of an international connection.”

Building relationships

Pure Seed is a wholesale producer of commercial turf and forage grasses, founded by Rose-Fricker’s father, Bill Rose.

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