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ODA Director remains optimistic about agriculture industry

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In many ways, 2012 was a banner year for Oregon agriculture, and that has set up a potentially strong encore in 2013. So says the director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture:

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Katy Coba has been ODA Director for 10 years and feels good about agriculture in Oregon, especially after learning this past year that the industry’s farmgate value reached a record high, just a few years after the national recession:

COBA:  “For Oregon agriculture to break that $5 billion mark, kudos to them, it’s very reflective of their resiliency and ability to go through tough times and come out the other end.”  :12

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Bright spots in 2012 included a number of commodities. Grass seed had a nice rebound with high prices, but the biggest star right now could very well be blueberries:

COBA:  ”Oregon is the first and still the only state to be able to ship fresh blueberries into the South Korean market. While that was a small amount of the blueberries produced and sold from Oregon, all projections for blueberry production in Oregon in the next five years is for it to grow quite significantly.”  :18

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For the benefit of Oregon and the rest of the nation, Coba is anxious to see progress on the Farm Bill, investment in agricultural research and development, and perhaps movement on immigration reform to assure an adequate and stable work force. She predicts another strong year for Oregon agriculture in 2013. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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COBA says the final statistics for 2012 Oregon agricultural production aren’t out yet, but she’s confident it will be another strong year when all is said and done:

“One of my barometers is, this is the season of annual meetings and getting out and about with the various agriculture groups, the producers seem pretty happy with how things are going. That’s generally a very good sign.”  :14

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COBA says the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050, but global agricultural production can’t feed that population with current technology. So she’s hoping to see adequate funding for agricultural research in 2013 and beyond:

“Clearly, there is a lot of discussion about the continued need for investments in research and development so that agriculture can figure out ways to increase production without harming the environment.”  :14

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