The Oregon Department of Agriculture has recently undertaken a remarkably candid assessment of the problems and strengths that currently characterise agriculture in the state of Oregon.
The intent of the report was primarily to compare Oregon with neighbouring states, with a view to understanding where it might be lacking, and as such would be able to demonstrate what could be done to make it better.
The main recommendations of the report are listed below, and a full copy of the report can be accessed by the link below the recommendations. Perhaps most important thing about the report, is the fact that the Department of agriculture was willing to honestly assess what the problems were in the first place.
The value of this is very much in the fact that if you demonstrate what a specific problem is then a solution or potential solutions tend to flow very naturally from such an analysis. It makes it much harder to argue against implementing solutions, although politicians will always need to assess the viability of any such solution.
The report makes its recommendations as policy recommendations to politicians in Oregon, and those that can be implemented easily, will have much more weight attached to them.
Those that are more difficult to implement will nevertheless provide a long-term framework, that will serve a valuable purpose. The report also acts to serve as a model for other states, and for many other industries as a way of providing a solid basis for advancing recommendations of policy, but are rooted in a natural flow from an analysis of specific problems or areas that are lacking and can be improved.
Priority policy recommendations to the legislature, governor, and regulatory agencies
- Ensure access to irrigation water (statewide).
- Expand markets and increase sales locally, regionally, and internationally.
- Support truck transportation, but begin to maximize rail use, and barging and other water modes, to move product to market more efficiently.
- Provide relief from the high cost of inputs, including taxes, energy, and labor.
- Encourage management of natural resources in a way that enables farming while protecting water, soil, air, habitat, and endangered species.
- Support a land use system that protects farmland for farm use.
- Support high quality research and experiment and extension services that enable growers to diversify cropping and capitalize on unique geographic micro-climates and soils, and to remain competitive in a world market.
- Offer assistance for food processors—as key markets for growers—with technical and financial help to address wastewater permits that incorporate recycled, reclaimed, or reused water methods and technologies.
- Help growers meet new food safety standards that are becoming more stringent and costly.
- Help young or new farmers and transitional family farmers successfully become the next generation of aspiring producers.
Oregon Department of Agriculture – report into state of Oregon agriculture, click here