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ODA faces challenges and opportunities in 2013

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Oregon agriculture is poised to build on the overall success of 2012. To help the cause, the Oregon Department of Agriculture will continue providing food safety, natural resource protection, and marketing of Oregon agricultural products in the new year:

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From an environmental standpoint, water was a key issue last year and will be once again this year, according to ODA Director Katy Coba. For the department, there is a clear direction for its agricultural water quality program:

COBA:  “Being able to better document what is actually going on in that program and being able to show that the projects being done on the ground and the way that landowners take care of their land is indeed beneficial for water quality in this state, that agriculture is doing its fair share.”  :15

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When it comes to ODA’s marketing goals in 2013, it’s important to continue developing local, domestic, and international markets for Oregon’s producers. Specifically, export efforts will concentrate across the Pacific:

COBA:  “Asia is our big target. Within a five hour plane ride from Hong Kong lives half of the world’s population, if not more.”  :10

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The third leg of ODA’s mission, food safety, will be as important as ever, especially given recently proposed rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act and its impact on Oregon growers. Director Coba is also hopeful the legislature approves the Governor’s recommended budget, which will boost efforts in water quality, water quantity, a pesticide stewardship program, and prevention and compensation for wolf depredation . In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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COBA says even though the nationwide Food Safety Modernization Act is getting implemented and is expected to give FDA more authority, ODA is still vitally committed to performing its normal food safety activities:

“I don’t anticipate changes to the extent that our program will be diminished in its importance. We need to remain vigilant about food safety and quality products we produce in this state.”  :13

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COBA hope the Oregon Legislature will approve specific recommendations in the Governor’s budget that would help ODA:

“Continuing the funding for our water quality program and the monitoring component of that program, increased funding for the Pesticide Stewardship Program, continue the wolf compensation and assistance fund, which is so important for those that are dealing with the reintroduction of wolves, and then, finally, funding for a water quantity position.”  :16

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