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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Canby company plays major role in creation of turf for World Cup matches

CANBY, Ore. — To say Crystal Fricker is giddy about grass would be an understatement.

“It’s a natural thing,” Fricker said. “It’s a good thing. It’s a green thing and we love working with it.”

That much is clear when you walk around the Canby-based farm that is home to Pure Seed. The grass seed company has been owned and operated by Fricker’s family for decades.

“Everything starts with breeding and genetics in the turf grass world,” Fricker said.

Producing the perfect pitch, Fricker says, does not happen over night. It is a long, methodical process as was the case for a client in the Middle East.

“We sent some of our seed varieties over there in the past eight years for them to try to decide what’ll work for the eventual World Cup,” Fricker said.

The World Cup? Yes. That World Cup.

The global soccer tournament features more than two dozen countries. It is played only once every several years. This year’s host country is Qatar, but the stadium grass is Oregon made.

“Growing it with a grower here in Oregon,” Fricker said. “Cleaning that seed, testing that seed, putting it in a bag and shipping it overseas to the Middle East to have it for the World Cup.”

It goes without saying, but Fricker is beyond tickled to see her family’s product in eight stadiums across Qatar.

“It’s very gratifying and it warms my heart to see a good surface for the athlete,” Fricker said.

World class athletes are realizing their dreams because a family back in Oregon realized their dream.

Originally published by 12/13/22

Truck-to-rail facility ready to make life easier for ag exporters

MILLERSBURG, Ore. — Building a truck-to-rail intermodal facility to serve Western Oregon’s farm exporters took five years of overcoming hurdles.

Now that construction of the Mid-Willamette Valley Intermodal Center is finally complete, proponents face their biggest test yet: putting it in operation.

The facility in Millersburg, Ore., is meant to allow containers of farm and forest products to switch from trucks to rail, thus avoiding congested highways on the way to ports in Seattle and Tacoma.

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JTS Named 2022 NASTC Best Broker of the Year

JTS (Johanson Transportation Service), a leading third‐party logistics provider, JTS has announced that they are the recipient of the 2022 NASTC (National Association of Small Trucking Companies) Best Broker of the Year award.

Thomas Hawker, JTS Director of Pacific Northwest, proudly accepted the award on behalf of the company at the NASTC Annual Conference in Nashville, TN on October 20, 2022.

“The award recognizes the broker who demonstrates the very highest level of quality in partnership with NASTC member trucking companies and one who has a superior track record and credit history”, says David Owen, President of the NASTC.

“It is a privilege to be named 2022 NASTC Best Broker of the Year, and we are grateful to be distinguished with this honor. Small- to medium-sized carriers are the bedrock of our business, and we greatly value our NASTC members for providing the reliable, top-tier service that has earned us the trust of our shipping customers,” says Larry Johanson, President/CEO of Johanson Transportation Service. Read more

Cover crop seed demand rises as competition squeezes supply

Fierce competition for acreage in Oregon’s Willamette Valley is limiting the supply of cover crop seed just as demand is increasing.

Seed growers haven’t planted as many acres of cover crops, including clover and radish, due to expectations of higher returns for wheat and grass seed, said Jerry Hall, president of GO Seed in Salem, Ore.

“A lot of the shortage is market-driven,” he said.

Clover and other legumes fix nitrogen, helping farmers reduce fertilizer expenses, while cover crops generally improve soil health, potentially decreasing the need for other farm inputs as well, experts say. Read more

DLF acquires OreGro Seeds

OreGro Seeds is a forage, cover crop, and turfgrass breeding company located in Albany, Oregon

HALSEY, Ore. – DLF is pleased to announce that it has acquired the assets of OreGro Seeds, a forage, cover crop, and turfgrass breeding company located in Albany, Oregon. OreGro’s proprietary cool-season forage grass, forage legume, turfgrass, cover crop, and small grain varieties are now offered exclusively through DLF and its distribution partners in the U.S. and abroad.

“This investment not only complements our expansive global research and product portfolio, but also adds significant operational capacity and staff to support customers,” said Claus Ikjaer, CEO for DLF Pickseed USA. “This is a strategic development to bolster our seed innovation, service, and support.”

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DLF brings seed enhancement investment to North America

Brian Jaasko and Robert Keeter hired to help develop DLF’s first seed enhancement facility

HALSEY, Ore. – DLF is excited to announce plans for significant investment in its seed enhancement capabilities including a new, state of the art facility and equipment, and begins with the hiring of two of the industry’s best to lead and support this important development.

Brian Jaasko and Robert Keeter have joined DLF to head the company’s seed enhancement and coating strategy. Jaasko is a leading expert worldwide in seed enhancement technology and its strategic applications, while Keeter has excelled alongside Jaasko in operations for much of his career. Their experience will help ensure a successful build and startup of DLF’s first seed enhancement facility to be located near Corvallis, Ore.

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Western Innovator: Researcher and his ‘dream team’ build better turfgrass

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Across the drought-stricken Western U.S., some cities and states have temporarily banned watering “non-functional turf,” including lawns.

Other municipalities, domestic and international, are restricting fungicide use on landscapes.

These and other developments have cast a sudden spotlight on turfgrass management, an important and often-overlooked field of study, and the innovators behind it — people like Alec Kowalewski, Oregon State University turfgrass specialist.

BeaverTurf, OSU’s turf management program, is exploring how to grow turfgrass on sports fields, golf courses and parks in a way that’s more environmentally and economically sustainable.

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DLF Excellence in Research Award given to Dr. Stacy Bonos

Dr. Bonos is the director of the turfgrass breeding program, and associate director of the Center for Turfgrass Science at Rutgers University

HALSEY, Ore. – DLF is proud to have recently presented Dr. Stacy A. Bonos, professor of plant biology, current director of the turfgrass breeding program, and associate director of the Center for Turfgrass Science at Rutgers University, with its 2021 Excellence in Research award. Dr. Bonos has been on the faculty at Rutgers University for 20 years, co-developing over 250 cool-season turfgrass cultivars. Thanks to her meticulous breeding efforts, significant advancement has been accomplished in turfgrass science related to disease resistance, wear tolerance, and cool weather active growth. Her substantial partnership with DLF has been crucial in the development of new turfgrass cultivars that deliver superior performance with less resource inputs.

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