Crop Tour shines light on major industry

By Observer editorial June 29, 2011 08:23 pm
The annual Union County Crops and Conservation Tour once again provided an excellent showcase for the county’s agricultural industry. The tour last Wednesday provided great insight into the advances — and the challenges — of farming in Union County. Organizers can be proud of their efforts in putting together the event. Even the weather cooperated. At least 250 people turned out to learn about the county’s $67 million a year ag industry. They crowded onto four buses and visited sites that featured everything from Brent Rudd’s variable frequency drive pump for irrigation to a lesson in soybeans and garbanzo beans from Kirk End, the county’s conservation farmer of the year.

Tour participants also heard an overview of the Oregon Agriculture  Foundation’s rehabilitation efforts at the Glen McKenzie farm.

The tour concluded with a drive-by of flood-damaged crop land, some of which still was holding water last week.

The tour provides an excellent opportunity for non-ag folks to learn about an industry that is essential to Union County’s economic health, and it provides ag folks with a chance to stay in tune with their peers. Everyone seems to come away with new knowledge of the ag industry.

Crop Production Services and the OSU Extension Service organize the tour. A host of financial sponsors make it possible — including the excellent steak barbecue that concludes the event. Area 4-H and FFA members help out with the tour and the barbecue.

The Crop Tour was started in 1976 when Don Sands got a handful of farmers together, jumped in a van and headed out to check out an herbicide application to battle wild oat. The tour has grown into a valuable annual institution. If you missed this one, be sure to catch next year’s.