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A salute to organic agriculture in Oregon

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Governor Kitzhaber has proclaimed September 15-21 to be Organically Grown in Oregon Week, an indicator that organic agriculture is something to celebrate:

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It used to be that organic agriculture was considered by many to be a fringe sector of the industry with a narrowly-focused market base. That is no longer the case in the US and in Oregon:

ROTH:  “Organic agriculture has found a way to appeal to people from a local standpoint, from a nutrition and health standpoint, from a differentiation standpoint.”  :13

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Oregon Department of Agriculture Marketing Director Gary Roth says the state has been a pioneer and leader in organic production for years:

ROTH:  “Oregon was actually the first state in the country to have an organic food law and we have seen the state and the Department of Agriculture and the many partners of the organic production and processing community come together and help this industry grow and be a vital contributor to the overall breadth of Oregon agriculture.”  :19

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At more than 350 certified organic farms, Oregon ranks fifth in the nation. Annual sales top $230 million. That’s still less than five percent of Oregon’s total agricultural sales, but it’s a number that has grown sharply over the past decade. The dedicated week supports the notion that organic agriculture is alive and well in Oregon. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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ROTH says there is at least one major reason to celebrate organic production in Oregon this year:

“The breadth and assortment of different organic products that our fellow Oregonians have to choose from. Because we grow so many different crops here in Oregon, we have so many different organic crops to offer as well.”  :13

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ROTH says times have changed the past couple of decades in terms of the popularity and availability of organic foods:

“Products were viewed as being maybe on the fringe or not easily available in a wide variety of locations or stores. What I personally celebrate about Organic Agriculture Week is the availability of organic products in Oregon that just simply wasn’t there 20 years ago.”  :19

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