Oregon AG Briefing- Quarterly Report

Updates from the Board of Agriculture
State Board of Agriculture members (top left); Tour at Red Barn Hemp (top right); Azalea plant (bottom left); Tour at Woodburn Nursery (bottom right)

Board meeting highlights

The summer quarterly meeting of the State Board of Agriculture was held at the Oregon Garden, June 11-13,2019 in Silverton.  During the meeting the ODA provided updates on the 2019 legislative session including ODA’s budget and legislative priorities, the status of rulemaking around Canola being grown in the Willamette Valley, land use issues affecting agriculture, Internal Services, and Consumer Protection and Market Access and Certification Program Area updates and the following highlights:

2017 Census of Agriculture: Oregon Data

USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) Oregon State Statistician, Dave Losh, presented Oregon data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.  USDA publishes a new census every five years; the last census was published in 2012. The 2017 data shows the number of farms in Oregon has increased to 37,616 (up from 35,439), however, the amount of land (acres) in farms has decreased to 15.9 million acres (down from 16.3 million acres). In 2017, the total value of agricultural production by county in Oregon is $5.0 billion with the top five counties listed are 1) Marion 2) Morrow 3) Clackamas 4) Umatilla and 5) Malheur. The top-ranking market value of ag products sold include 1) cattle and calves 2) nursery and greenhouse 3) other crops and hay 4) fruits, tree nuts and berries 5) vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. The average age of Oregon producers is 57.9 years just slightly higher than the U.S. average of 57.5 years.  New and beginning producers, 10 years or less on any farm, represent 28% of Oregon producers slightly higher than the U.S. at 27%.  Collected for the first time in the Census of Agriculture was data regarding military service. Twelve percent of Oregon’s producers, or 8,227 producers, have military service. Also, Oregon ranks fourth in the U.S.  for female producers – 44% of producers are female. Farm production expenses continue to rise with the top categories reported include 1) hired labor 2) feed 3) depreciation 4) ag services and 5) supplies & repairs.  Labor expenses increased 21% from 2012 which was the 6th highest in the U.S. in 2017. All reports and details are available at https://www.nass.usda.gov

Local Industry Panels

An opportunity to hear from local industry panels are a highlight at our quarterly meetings.  During our meeting in Silverton, representatives from the hazelnut, nursery and greenhouse and Christmas tree industries gave presentations. Highlights include 78,603 total hazelnut acres in Oregon as of December 2018. Rapid growth in new plantings continues though not at the peak levels reached in 2017.  Marion and Yamhill counties continue to have the largest total acreage while Benton and Linn counties are experiencing the fastest growth in new acreage.  Market development work is underway by the industry in both domestic and international markets.  The hazelnut industry worked with the ODA and Senator Merkley’s office to supply details of the tree damage as a result of the 2018 snow storm.  The industry expects federal disaster relief assistance and should contact their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office for information. With an estimated $886 million in sales, the Oregon nursery and greenhouse sector is the 2nd largest commodity group in the State. Labor is needed year-round and continues to be a challenge for the industry. Since most employees are year-round, using H2-A labor has not been feasible for this industry. Oregon has 700 growers of Christmas Tree and 42,000 acres. Approximately 92% of all PNW Christmas trees leave the state.  Top market domestic markets include California and Hawaii.  Top export markets include Mexico, Japan, China, Hong Kong.


During the afternoon Board members met with and toured Red Barn Hemp and Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas both located in the Woodburn area.

Red Barn Hemp is a three-women owned operation that is vertically integrated to grow, harvest, dry and process hemp on the farm.  Hemp is part of the cannabis family with 0.3% THC or less. Once plants are harvested and dried, CO2 extractors are used to press the plant into CBD oil they are using in Red Barn Hemp products such as capsules, oils, creams, and lotions.  The extraction process used preserves the whole spectrum of CBDs within the plant.  Each lot is tested to ensure quality and traceability. Red Barn Hemp is one of over 1,500 growers registered under the ODA Hemp Program.  The 2018 USDA Farm Bill created a new USDA Hemp Production Program and is working to develop regulations to implement the program.  Hemp has the potential to become a major agricultural commodity here in Oregon and in the United States. To assist with research and certifying hemp seed for planting Oregon State University recently announced the new Global Hemp Innovation Center in Corvallis.

Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas is a family owned wholesale nursery operation located in Woodburn.  The family has been in the nursery business since 1968.  They started growing florist azaleas in a greenhouse, later expanded to outdoor nursery stock production and annuals.  Today the nursery consists of 116 acres of covered production area, of which 56 acres is for azalea production.  The balance of more than 200 acres is for nursery stock production.  Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas is consistently rated as one of the top ornamental nurseries and ships plants throughout the United States and Canada.   In addition to the nursery business, they raise grass seed, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, onions, peas, blueberries, and hazelnuts.

Thank you to both operations for great information and tours.       

Japanese Beetle/Gypsy Moth updates

The ODA recently completed eradication efforts for Japanese Beetle in NW Portland and Gypsy Moth in the Corvallis area.  Results of these efforts will be available this Fall. The Japanese Beetle was first discovered in North Portland in 2016. As a result, ODA has undertaken the largest eradication effort in 80 years.  This is the third year of funding for Japanese Beetle eradication efforts and the legislature continued to fund the eradication project for the 2019-2021 biennium.  This eradication effort is critical to protect Oregon’s greenhouse and nursery, fruit, vegetable, nut, and wine grape industries as the Japanese Beetle likes to eat what we grow in Oregon and protect our natural resources. The eradication efforts for Gypsy Moth occurred in May 2019 in the Corvallis/Benton County area.  It is unknown how the Gypsy Moths were transported to the area, it is presumed to have been transported on a vehicle or by personal belongings from a resident moving to Oregon from an infested state. Public notice and communication with home owners, in the affected areas, was provided prior to the eradication efforts.

New ODA Director of Market Access and Certification Programs

Jess Paulson joined ODA on May 28th as the Director of Market Access and Certification Programs.  Mr. Paulson comes to ODA from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, most recently posted in Tokyo, and has worked through international policy negotiations and market access issues across the globe.

Helmuth Rogg, ODA Plant Protection & Conservation Programs Director (left) and Jake Bodart, ODA IPPM Program Manager (right)

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