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2013 Ag Progress Awards

Twenty-first annual Agricultural Progress Awards Dinner salutes industry leaders

Oregon agriculture took the opportunity to salute industry leaders recently at the 21st annual Agricultural Progress Awards Dinner held in Salem on March 20. The event, hosted by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, celebrated progress in agriculture made through partnerships between business, higher education, and state government.

ODA Director Katy Coba presented awards in recognition of innovation and leadership in the following areas:

  • Oregon Product Retailer of the Year:  Fred Meyer Stores, for their strong support, promotion, and successful marketing of locally-grown Oregon food products.

     Fred Meyer Stores


  • Chef of the Year:  Gregory Gourdet, Executive Chef at Departure Restaurant and Lounge in Portland, for his efforts to promote Oregon agriculture and seafood, by preparing and offering locally produced foods.

     Gregory Gourdet

  • Cooperator of the Year:  The Oregon Association of Conservation Districts and its executive director, Jerry Nicolescu, for commitment to conservation and working with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to support its Agricultural Water Quality Program.

     The Oregon Association of Conservation Districts/Jerry Nicolescu

  • Excellence in Conservation:  The WISE Project of Jackson County (Water for Irrigation, Stream, and Economy), for its innovative and collaborative water management project to improve the health of local watersheds.

      WISE Project of Jackson County

  • Individual Contributions to Agriculture: Verne Gingerich of Canby, for his many years of leadership, promotion, and marketing efforts that have benefitted Oregon’s blueberry industry; and, Connie Kirby of Portland, for her efforts with the Northwest Food Processors Association to help the industry sector address food safety and other key issues.​

      Verne Gingerich and Connie Kirby