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ODA poised to help agriculture meet challenges in 2014

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Oregon agriculture will face both old and new challenges in 2014, but the year also presents a great deal of opportunity. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is in a goo position to help those who depend on its programs and services:

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ODA Director Katy Coba says the agency’s three-fold mission of food safety, natural resource protection, and market development will continue to guide its efforts this year. All programs are important, but food safety is consistently ranked number one:

COBA:  “The time and effort that the staff in that program has spent on the Food Safety Modernization Act, on figuring out what is going to be the state’s role in implementing FSMA, that is still a key piece we are going to have to spend a lot of time on in 2014.”  :13

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Water quality and water quantity will be key issues for ODA’s natural resources program area in 2014. Certification programs and developing local, domestic, and international markets are also major efforts for the agency in the new year. Coba remains an optimist for ODA and all of Oregon agriculture– but has a request:

COBA:  “I would challenge everyone to embrace the diversity and not try to pit one segment of agriculture against the other. From my perspective, we need to support all of agriculture in Oregon, whether it’s small, whether it’s large, whether it’s local markets, whether it’s international markets.”  :17

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Message campaigns about agriculture aimed at Oregon consumers seem to be resonating and you can expect more of that in 2014 as well. In general, Coba believes it’s an exciting time to be a farmer or a processor in Oregon, given all the available opportunities. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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COBA says ODA is hiring a water quantity specialist this year and hopes that will help Oregon agriculture find solutions to water access challenges:

“Look at our weather right now. Our snowpack is not good, and that’s where we store water. If we are going to continue to see challenges with snow pack with climate change, we’ve got to figure out new ways to access water, both through conservation and new storage.”  :13

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COBA says ODA’s marketing and certification efforts will be a key once again in 2014:

“Our whole focus is to find opportunities for Oregon producers and processors, whether it’s those local markets, whether it’s the domestic market, or the international market.”  :10

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