News & Events
SEDCOR Economic Business Forum – April 12, 2012
Agriculture – the Economic Super Star of the Oregon Economy
Assistant Director, Oregon Department of Agriculture
General Manager, Woodburn Nursery
Chairman – Oregon Board of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture
Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill
1313 Mill Street SE - Salem, OR
12:00 – 1:30 pm
Agriculture is important to both the urban and rural areas of the Willamette Valley and plays a significant role in the economy. Dalton Hobbs will discuss trends for agriculture, along with why we need to continue to support public agricultural development programs within the Oregon Department of Agriculture and their close partnership with organizations such as SEDCOR and other economic development organizations around the state.
Tom Fessler will examine Oregon agricultural diversity and how it makes us special, as well as makes things more difficult. Our distance to markets is a big drawback, but niches in the different markets can bring success.
Fessler knows a great deal about Oregon’s number on agricultural commodity nursery products. His family farm outside of Mt. Angel spans some 2,000 acres. Nursery products make up the primary crop, but the Fessler family also raises grass seed, beans, broccoli and cauliflower. No other agricultural industry in Oregon has had the meteoric growth of the greenhouse and nursery industry now valued at more than three-quarters of a billion dollars.
Dalton Hobbs has worked for nearly 30 years in a variety of communication, marketing and developmental positions at the Oregon Department of Agriculture. He currently directs the department’s internationally recognized Agricultural Development and Marketing policy area, which provides market access, certification, promotion and market entry programs for Oregon farmers, ranchers, fishermen and food processors.
Tom Fessler is a fourth generation farmer in the Mt. Angel, Woodburn area. Tom grew up working with his parents and grandparents helping on the farm. He knew at a young age he wanted to farm. The nursery operation was started in 1967, so he grew up both farming and growing nursery crops. After finishing high school Tom started in production at the nursery. After many years he started in overall business management with his father. Today he is general manager of the business. Tom is past President of the Oregon Association of Nurseries.