Leaders with the Oregon Association of Nurseries were among those sitting at the table when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited Portland on Tuesday morning. Incoming OAN President Jerry Simnitt, incoming OAN Treasurer Leigh Geschwill and Executive Director Jeff Stone were invited to the exclusive gathering.
Vilsack has been on tour promoting the American Jobs Act (PDF), which is President Obama’s proposal to stimulate hiring and reduce unemployment. According to Vilsack, the overall package includes incentives for small businesses that hire new employees; funding to retain teachers; and money for transportation and infrastructure projects, among other measures.
Stone told Oregon Public Broadcasting that the transportation and infrastructure component is the most promising part of the bill for nurseries. Not only would it improve freight mobility, but it could also provide new markets for trees and plants:
“We would like to have the Congress and the administration think more broadly about how do you do that infrastructure,” Stone told an OPB reporter. “That could be using more plants and trees as an environmental offset to those new roads, but really thinking about the green industry in a different way in infrastructure financing.”