The Oregon Association of Nurseries issued this press release today:
The Oregon Association of Nurseries will recognize six Oregon elected officials as “Friends of Nurseries” at its 2013 Convention, to be held Friday at The Oregon Garden resort in Silverton, Ore.
The six include three Republicans and three Democrats. They are Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), U.S. Rep Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon Fifth District), Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), State Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Pendleton), State Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), and State Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario).
“The Oregon nursery industry is the largest single segment in Oregon agriculture, with $745 million in sales in the most recent year that was tracked,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “Our association is more than 800 businesses strong, and all of them make a positive difference in Oregon’s economy. That’s why we wanted to give these public officials some much-deserved recognition. All of them have shown positive leadership, ensuring that Oregon remains a great place for nurseries to do business.”
Gov. Kitzhaber was recognized for taking the lead on creating a new water supply fund for irrigation, natural resource protection and other uses. He was also recognized for putting together a task force that led to creation and passage of a four-year driver’s card bill. Finally, Kitzhaber has maintained critical natural resource and extension funding at the state level, which the industry relies on for sharing knowledge and managing pest and disease threats.
Rep. Schrader has been consistent ally on the Farm Bill and comprehensive immigration reform. He has secured funding for research and pest and disease issues, and successfully pushed the USDA to rescind a discriminatory order that denied Oregon growers equal marketplace access. Schrader is currently serving on a House-Senate conference committee regarding the federal Farm Bill.
Speaker Kotek provided critical support so that the water supply bill and driver’s card bill could move forward.
Sen. Hansell was a key figure in the passage of the water supply bill and also sponsored the driver’s card bill.
Sen. Thomsen also sponsored the driver’s card bill and provided critical support to help get it passed.
Rep. Bentz helped put together a compromise that moved the water supply bill forward when few thought it could pass. It ended up passing with just one dissenting vote between the two legislative chambers.
The awards will be announced at Friday’s convention. At that convention, outgoing OAN President Carson Lord of Tree Frog Nursery (Silverton, Ore.) will pass the gavel to President-Elect Matt Gold, who will assume office. Gold and a 23-member board will guide the association’s direction and priorities for 2014.
The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 800 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Nursery products are the biggest sector in Oregon agriculture, with annual sales of $745 million in 2012. Oregon’s nursery industry is a traded sector; nearly 75 percent of Oregon-grown nursery plants are shipped out of state. To learn more, visit www.oan.org or call 503-682-5089.