REMARKS AS PREPARED
Oregon Wheat Growers League, Oregon’s Birthday Cake
February 14, 2017
Thank you Dana and thank you to the Oregon Wheat Growers League.
I am happy to be with you today to celebrate Oregon’s 158th birthday.
As I travel across our beautiful and diverse state, I am constantly inspired by the Oregon story.
The story of Oregon agriculture is deeply rooted and still growing strong. Oregon has more than 37,000 family farms growing more than 220 amazing products.
Oregon wheat travels from farms to tables worldwide and is an incredibly important part of our state’s economy:
• From 2009-2013 the value of Oregon’s wheat harvest was more than $400 million
• Oregon wheat is grown on nearly 2000 farms across the state, and supports more than 5,600 jobs
• Oregon wheat is typically Oregon’s #1 or #2 exported crop
Representative Bentz and Wheat League President Dana Tuckness know well the value of Oregon’s wheat crop, and also know that our agricultural communities are hard-working, resilient and come together to meet tough challenges.
Representative Bentz, Senator Ferrioli and I spent last Friday touring the winter storm damage in Malheur County. Communities and agriculture have been hard-hit by historic levels of snow and ice. Hundreds of onion storage sheds, agricultural structures and commercial buildings have collapsed, and the resulting loss of tens of millions of pounds of stored onions and other commodities is a severe blow. The next concern is flooding.
I have made state resources available to ensure the safety of our communities and will continue working to secure additional assistance and relief to keep Oregon’s agricultural economies thriving.
While the damage to communities and many in the agricultural industry in Eastern Oregon is devastating -- to an extent that it is hard to put into words -- after meeting with people in their communities, I came away with a one word: resilient. People want to rebuild and stay in their communities. They are helping their neighbors push snow off their roofs, clean up debris and prepare for the flooding that likely will come next. And as their neighbor to the west, I am bringing back their story of resilience to the rest of Oregon. I am committed to working to help Eastern Oregon rebuild.
As you enjoy this beautiful birthday cake and celebrate Oregon, remember the Oregon farmers and ranchers and their gift of food and agricultural products to Oregon and the world.