Crop tour shines light on local ag industry

By Observer editorial July 02, 2010 11:23 am
Agriculture is among our region’s leading industries. As a stalwart of the local economy it’s important that local agriculture stay on the cutting edge in terms of advancements. Luckily, our region’s agricultural producers do just that, as evidenced by the annual Union County Crop Tour held last week. Every year the OSU Extension Service and Crop Production Services organize a tour that everyone in the community is invited to attend. And every year people from all segments of the community join in the tour, visiting various farms to see what is occurring on the ground.

Tour-goers always seem amazed at what they learn. This year the tour visited the Bowman Farm, Union County’s 2009 Conservation Farm of the Year; Jubilee Farms to learn about sweet cherry production; Lanes Farms to learn about certified seed potato production; and Grande Ronde Seed Farm headquarters. The tour also heard updates form local ag-related agencies as well as Grande Ronde Model Watershed projects. Producers and experts explain throughout the tour what is being done at the sites and what things they are learning. The tour brings participants closer to our county’s agricultural sector.

What’s most amazing is how our local producers are always learning and getting better at what they do, whether it’s growing grass seed, mint, seed potatoes, sugar beets, barley or fruit. And they persevere despite down markets, increasing environmental regulations and the challenges Mother Nature throws their way. This year, for example, the heavy rains that fell in May were a godsend for some crops, but left numerous fields in portions of the county under water for an extended period of time. But the farmers carry on, overcoming odds that to many of us might seem overwhelming.

The annual crop tour shines a light on a dedicated group of individuals and the work they do. The community should be proud of the work our farmers and ranchers do, that they’ve kept their industry viable and intend to continue to do so.

Here’s a salute to Union County agriculture!