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OAN announces ‘Friends of Nurseries’ awards for 2017

Posted By Beth Farmer, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Oregon Association of Nurseries has announced five winners of the annual Friends of Nurseries awards. These awards serve to recognize state and federal elected official and critical agency personnel who are solution oriented, who consider the nursery and greenhouse point of view, and who act as a partner, regardless of party affiliation.

The winners for 2017 are:

  • Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. Prior to her appointment to this post by Gov. Kate Brown, Coba served as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture from 2003–2016. A key ally to the nursery industry, Coba was instrumental in resolving the prenotification rule instituted by the USDA and worked with the association to maintain market access for domestic and international sales.
  • State Sens. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland). Senators Knopp and Taylor serve in leadership for the Senate Committee on Workforce. In this role, they carefully weighed the impact of proposed workforce policies on the nursery and greenhouse industry. In particular they listened carefully regarding the impact of predictive scheduling on growers and retailers. As a result, the final version of the legislation was not harmful for the nursery industry.
  • State Rep. Ken Helm (D-Beaverton). Rep. Helm helped lead a coalition of water users and advocates during the 2017 Legislature. He was a quick study in learning about the nursery and greenhouse industry and worked to balance his personal political objectives with the health of the agricultural industry. Helm serves on the Natural Resource Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, which fully funded critical state nursery programs that are provided by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and OSU Extension. He's on the House Committee on Economic Development and Trade and also serves as chair of the Committee on Energy and the Environment, where the policy bills relating to water, pesticides and pollinators are assigned.
  • U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon). After years of trying to get funding for the final phase of the smart sprayer research project, Sen. Merkley secured funding for this game-changing technology, which was a top priority for OAN. He also took a leadership role on sudden oak death, working with the nursery and forestry industries to secure federal dollars for research on the issue and dollars to match state efforts. Always accessible during the association's trips to Washington, D.C., Sen. Merkley has proven himself to be a partner to the nursery and greenhouse industry.

In addition to the five Friends of Nurseries awards, the OAN announced a New Legislator of the Year award, which was given to State Rep. Karin Power (D-Milwaukie).

Rep. Power has jumped in with both feet to learn about the nursery and greenhouse industry. Whether it is taking tours of numerous member operations or listening to concerns relating to water, environment and regulatory issues, Rep. Power has shown herself to be solution oriented and open to the nursery perspective.

She serves on Natural Resources Subcommittee of Ways and Means, which funds programs important to agriculture. She also serves as vice-chair to the House Committee on Energy and Environment, where many of OAN's water and environmental bills are considered, and the House Committee on Judiciary, where any immigration-related bills would be assigned. Power has demonstrated a keen mind and deserves recognition as a freshman legislator with a balanced perspective and demonstrated interest in the green industry.

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