Skip to the main content of the page

About Us


Key dates in ODA history


The Oregon Legislature consolidates 13 boards, bureaus, and commissions to create the Oregon Department of Agriculture.


With the outbreak of World War II, more than 40 percent of ODA's staff is mobilized for military service either by enlisting or being drafted. ODA continued functioning at a high level thanks to a dedicated remaining staff that included a higher-than-usual percentage of women and older employees.  


ODA creates the Division of Market Development, officially recognizing the importance of marketing Oregon's agricultural commodities.


The American Academy of Allergy gives special commendation to ODA for its ragweed control program, the first of several successful weed control efforts that continue today.


Gov. Mark Hatfield signs the Oregon Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act, giving new authority to ODA's director and providing a non-partisan Board of Agriculture.


ODA starts looking for pesticide residues in food with an emphasis on milk and dairy products as well as fresh fruit and vegetables collected at wholesale and retail levels. While the levels were generally low or non-detectable, the public was afforded a new level of assurance.


A new Agriculture Building in Salem is dedicated. The new facility offers more convenience and access to the public and provides a better working environment to the staff.


Oregon reaches a milestone in animal disease control by receiving brucellosis-free status, thanks largely to efforts by the State Veterinarian and ODA's Animal Health Program.


ODA spearheads the largest gypsy moth eradication project ever undertaken in the West. Nearly a quarter-million acres were sprayed using a biological insecticide that targets the gypsy moth. The eradication is successful.


ODA establishes the Export Service Center — a certified lab that can fast track US food products to Japan, and in later years, additional Asian markets. It was a first-of-its-kind program to assure overseas customers that the food being tested met that country's requirements and specifications.


ODA adopts its current three-pronged mission statement to (1) ensure food safety and consumer protection, (2) protect the natural resource base for present and future generations of farmers and ranchers, and (3) promote economic development and expand market opportunities for Oregon agricultural products.


Oregon Legislature passes Senate Bill 1010, which gives birth to ODA's Agricultural Water Quality Program. Lawmakers also give ODA the responsibility to assure motor fuel meets quality standards.


Floodwaters from nearby Mill Creek force evacuation of the Agriculture Building. ODA is forced to move to temporary quarters for two years while the building is rebuilt.


Trade ties with China are strengthened as ODA helps increase exports of Oregon grass seed and nursery products while the country addresses erosion and beautification concerns well in advance of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.


ODA is heavily involved in the nation's first case of BSE in cattle, discovered in neighboring Washington state.


ODA distributes more than $1 million in federal funds as part of the first Specialty Crop Block Grant Program awards. These funds have continued to be awarded every year since.


ODA helps Oregon become the first state allowed to ship fresh blueberries into South Korea, a breakthrough that was years in the making.


​Genetically engineered wheat is discovered in Northeast Oregon. ODA coordinates with USDA and the wheat industry to help keep export markets open.​​​


Shortly after being reported in neighboring Washington, Oregon detects its first case of high path avian influenza (HPAI) in a flock of backyard birds. ODA and USDA contain the outbreak but a separate introduction of the disease devastates the Midwest poultry industry.


The first licenses for industrial hemp production in Oregon are approved by ODA. The new program is poised to expand in the years to come.


A History of the Oregon Department of Agriculture

YouTube video of ODA history Department history video

Oregon Department of Agriculture history

History of ODA over the past 50 years with a timeline. History of ODA

​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​



Andrea Cantu-Schomus
Director of Communications
635 Capitol St NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-881-9049