Oregon Department of Agriculture

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The Northwest is facing one of the earliest and most productive blueberry harvests in decades and Oregon is looking to become one of the top states for production. The early harvest this year is feeding an increase in consumer demand nationwide. Bryan Ostlund is with the Oregon Blueberry Commission. He says the international export market is also expanding quickly.

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Oregon officials are visiting the Dominican Republic and Panama as part of a trade delegation this week.

There are two industries interested in Latin American market expansion; Christmas trees and potato farming. The trade mission is being led by the US Department of Agriculture. ODA Trade Manager Julia Turner says Asia is still Oregon's top export priority, but reaching out to other markets is important as well.

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Millions of Americans will be participating in Super Bowl parties today. During the match between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots, many viewers will be drinking their favorite craft beer, and there's a good chance it's from Oregon. The State has become known for its micro-brew around the world including markets such as Europe, Asia, and Australia. Oregon Department of Agriculture Trade Manager Amanda Welker says big name beers are on the decline.

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The Oregon Department of Agriculture is recommending changes to water supply levels, access to markets, and more pressure on Congress to pass immigration reform. It's all in the ODA's recently completed biennial report for the governor. Steve Van Mouwerik is the Board of Agriculture Chair.

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Over the past five years Oregonians have reported pesticide misuse, now there is a clear path to address their concerns. The State has created a document describing how information is exchanged and which state agency will be assigned to a person's case. Oregon's Pesticide Analytical and Response Center, or

PARC, serves as the liaison between state agencies and citizens. Dale Mitchell is with the Department of Agriculture. He says people need to know who to contact and what to do if they are exposed to pesticides.

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Oregon is looking to protect farmland by the use of conservation easements. The voluntary agreement between a land owner and a land trust or government agency limits the use of land for conservation purposes.

Conservation easements are popular in other states to protect farming and could give Oregon a strong tool to keep farms from disappearing. Tom Salazer is General Manager of the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District. He says the state should look at easements to protect farm land on a permanent basis.

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Roughly 90% of the fish consumed in the U.S. is imported. Half of that is farmed fish, a practice known as aquaculture farming. Compared to neighboring Washington, California, and Idaho, Oregon produces less than 6% of the total value of aquaculture products.  Jerry Gardner is a Business Developer for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. He says increasing aquaculture production could be an economic boost for the state.

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More funds will soon be available to Oregon farmers and landowners who choose to use non-lethal deterrent techniques for wolves.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture just received a $53,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be used for non-lethal preventative measures. Those may include barriers, alarms, or animals to guard the livestock. ODA Program Director Jason Barber says the most efficient method to prevent wolf attacks are range riders.

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People holding outdoor gatherings might be facing intrusions from wasps and yellow jackets. As summer winds down, the insects are likely searching for protein-rich food before overwintering.

According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, many people assume applying pesticides to their flower beds will get rid of the nuisances. But many products end up harming honeybees instead. ODA spokeswoman Rose Kachadoorian says spraying insecticides around the yard won't do much good.

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The Oregon Department of Agriculture is hosting international buyers this summer and fall. Visitors from Japan, China, and the Middle East are looking at export products like berries, nursery stock, and specialty or gourmet foods. International Trade Manager Theresa Yoshioka says hosting potential buyers is part of a two-pronged approach at marketing in Oregon.

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