Oregon Association of Nurseries
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News Release
Rep. Rick Lewis (R-Silverton)
Rep. Rick Lewis (R-Silverton)
Oregon Association of Nurseries recognizes elected officials as Friends of Nurseries (Photo) - 11/19/19

Wilsonville —November 19, 2019 — The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) has announced the winners of its annual Friends of Nurseries awards.

The awards serve to recognize state and federal officials who listen to concerns and help protect the interests of Oregon’s nursery and greenhouse industry, which is the state’s top agricultural sector with nearly $1 billion in sales annually.

“Our products beautify the world while delivering numerous health and environmental benefits, but our growers face numerous challenges having to do with labor availability, water supply, regulation, taxation, market access and more,” OAN President Jim Simnitt said. “We like to recognize officials on both sides of the aisle who put in the effort to help us find constructive solutions.”

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) was honored for his efforts to secure federal funding for the money-saving Smart Sprayer, which reduces the need for chemicals in production. He has been a staunch ally on resolving the labor crisis through immigration reform. He serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
on Agriculture and Rural Development. It is his second time winning a Friend of Nurseries Award.

“Oregon’s nurseries have long played a critical role in our thriving agriculture sector by creating world-class products and countless jobs that families across the state can rely on,” Sen. Merkley said. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside Oregon’s nurseries, and will continue to use my position on the Appropriations Committee to fight for the federal investments in programs and research this industry needs and deserves to flourish for generations to come.”

U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon, 1st District) has been a consistent voice in support of industry priorities. She has toured numerous nursery operations to learn more about the industry. The congresswoman, who served in the Oregon Legislature before her election to federal office, has demonstrated a willingness to cross party lines to support nursery priorities.

“Northwest Oregon is known for its world-class agricultural products, especially our beautiful nursery and greenhouse products,” Rep. Bonamici said. “In my visits to nurseries around Northwest Oregon, I’ve seen firsthand how this industry is an economic engine for our state. I’m honored to receive the Friend of Nurseries award, and I look forward to continuing to work with the industry and to advocate in Congress for policies like comprehensive immigration reform, robust workforce development, and bold action to address the climate crisis.”

U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon, 5th District) has been a stalwart partner on numerous issues. Balanced and solution oriented, the congressman exemplifies OAN’s ideals of working across party lines to solve the state’s most vexing problems. It is the third time he has won a Friend of Nurseries Award.

“I am incredibly honored to be recognized for the third time by the Oregon Association of Nurseries as a ‘Friend of Nurseries,’” Rep. Schrader said. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done to support our nursery industry which is so critical to our state’s economy and creating jobs in rural Oregon. With nearly $1 billion in annual sales, Oregon remains one of the top nursery production states in the nation with three-quarters of our nursery products shipped out of the state or overseas. I’m grateful for our friendship and working together to help further strengthen Oregon agriculture, ensuring we remain a leader in producing some of the highest quality products for many years to come.”

State Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) was tabbed for her strong advocacy for industry concerns and objections regarding the business activity tax that harms agricultural operations. She also was an advocate for reasonable solutions to the debate on climate/carbon legislation.

“Oregon’s nursery, greenhouse and Christmas tree industries are national, if not global, leaders and incredibly important to the economy of the state,” Sen. Johnson said. “I am honored to be associated with this important segment of Oregon’s agricultural sector. We need to protect the high quality of nursery products and strive to keep production costs reasonable. I will remain committed to these outcomes as a legislator representing many of these fine companies.”

State Rep. Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) was appointed to serve in the legislature and right away dove into complex issues facing agriculture. Rep Bonham was an influential figure in the climate debate and was active on many of the OAN’s priorities. Balanced and fair, the representative deserves recognition.

“Few industries represent the neighbor helping neighbor spirit better than the Oregon Nursery industry, from supplying a Central Oregon homeowner with a native high desert plant appropriate to their landscaping dreams, to providing the orchard and root stock necessary for a vibrant cherry and apple industry in the Gorge,” Rep. Bonham said. “It’s truly an honor to be a voice in the Oregon Legislature for Oregon’s nursery industry.”

State Rep. Chrstine Drazan (R-Canby) was selected for her consistent outreach to the nursery industry during her first term in office. Her quick mind and forceful presence was very helpful in achieving the successes OAN accomplished this past year. Rep. Drazan listened very carefully to the nursery and greenhouse industry concerns and worked hard to help.

“The vibrant and successful greenhouse and nursery industry is a homegrown success story here in Oregon,” Rep. Drazan said. “These products are our state’s most valuable agricultural commodity year after year, bringing in nearly $1 billion in 2018. I am honored to receive the Friends of Nurseries award, and will continue to work to ensure that this industry can thrive. Oregon’s future depends on it.”

State Rep. Rick Lewis (R-Silverton) was chosen for his consistent advocacy, understanding and support for the nursery industry, which has a large presence in his district that includes not just nursery growers, but also an abundance of Christmas tree growers.

“It is a great privilege to represent the rural areas of Marion and Clackamas counties, home to some of the most agriculture communities in the Willamette Valley,” Lewis said. “Oregon nurseries are an economic force that strengthens our economy statewide. I am humbled and honored by OAN’s recognition and I will continue to work to safeguard their success throughout our state.”

State. Rep. Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) is a trusted ally to the nursery and greenhouse industry for consistent advocacy for reasoned policy. A central figure in an effort to pass the driver’s license bill, Rep. McKeown has led on critical issues facing the state. Rep. McKeown has won this award twice for her bipartisan and “solutions first” approach.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a 2019 Friend of Nurseries -- as an OSU horticulture alum the industry has always been near and dear to my heart,” Rep. McKeown said. “It is pleasure to work with the OAN team in Salem -- from natural resource policy to transportation infrastructure, they can be counted on to advocate for commonsense positions that reflect
Oregon values.”

State Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Tangent) was chosen as New Legislator of the Year for her strong efforts to listen to and represent nursery industry concerns. The representative was a critical player in the debate on carbon and was an effective voice for agriculture. She demonstrated tenacity of commitment to agriculture and her strong support and understanding of the nursery and greenhouse industry.

“I am so honored to be named New Legislator of the Year by the Oregon Association of Nurseries, but really, I am just doing my job!” Rep. Boshart Davis said. “My district, and this state, rely so heavily on the agricultural industry, and working to make sure they can continue to thrive is one of my top priorities.”

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The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 700 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon’s ornamental horticulture industry is the state’s largest agricultural commodity, with annual sales of $996 million in 2018. It is also a traded sector, with about 75 percent of the nursery plants grown in Oregon being shipped out of state. For information, visit www.oan.org or call 503-682-5089.

View more news releases from Oregon Association of Nurseries.