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David Sparks Ph.d National Ag Week
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: March 16, 2018

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Citizens across the US have a chance to say thank you to the nation’s farmers and ranchers as part of the annual National Agriculture Week: National Ag Week is March 18-24.

Using Oregon as an example, there are nearly 35-thousand farmers and ranchers producing a wide variety of crops and livestock. Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Alexis Taylor says the state’s ag diversity is something to celebrate: “When people ask me why I want to come to Oregon and work in this job, I talk about the diversity of it. I grew up in a state that had a handful of major crops and we have over 225, and that’s really exciting. Also diversity in who is growing our food. Nearly 40 percent of our farmers and ranchers are women. That’s also really exciting.”

There is one constant in Oregon agriculture, like so many states in the West. More than 98 percent of the state’s farms and ranches are family operations. About 1 in 8 Oregonians are employed in an occupation related to agriculture. Oregon ag products can be found locally, throughout the US, and in several international markets that demand high quality. There’s a lot to celebrate:

“Agriculture is really the backbone of our economy across the state. It is the second largest sector. So I think National Agriculture Week is a really exciting time to focus on and highlight agriculture in that one week. But really, we have opportunities, as Oregonians, all year around to do that.”

A good way to say thank you to ag is with your pocketbook. Supporting locally grown food and appreciating those who make it possible is something to think about 52 weeks a year.

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