The Oregon State Board of Agriculture has completed its biennial Oregon State of the Agriculture Industry Report, complete with a snapshot of the state's ag industry competitiveness, challenges and opportunities.'
The document, available online, is a 55-page tome which is intended to provide the state's lawmakers with policy recommendations as determined by the 10-member board.
"The reason we put this report together is to primarily educate our legislators on what is important to agriculture," says Board of Agriculture Chair Doug Krahmer, a blueberry farmer in St. Paul. "In some cases, the report reviews good things that have been done and in other cases, we are bringing up some things that potentially might not be so good."
The report is not "sugar coated," says Krahmer, adding that there "is a lot to feel good about" in the document.
Good news from the report is that Oregon policymakers can take positive actions to help the state catch up with neighboring states in industry strides.
The top 10 priorities, the report states, include:
•Ensure access to irrigation water
•Support truck transportation, and begin to maximize rail, barging and other modes to move product to market
•Provide relief from high cost inputs, including taxes, energy and labor
•Encourage management of natural resources in a way that enables farming while protecting water, soil, air, habitat and endangered species
•Support a land use system that protects farmland for farm use
•Support a high quality research, experiment and extension service that enables growers to diversify cropping and capitalize on unique geographic micro-climates and soils, and remain competitive in a world market
•Offer assistance for food processors – as key markets for growers – with technical and financial help to address wastewater permits and incorporate recycled, reclaimed or reused water methods and technologies
•Help growers meet new food safety standards.
•Help young new farmers and transitional family farmers successfully become the next generation of producers.