By ANNA WILLARD
East Oregonian Publishing Group
PENDLETON, Ore. -- Some of Oregon's agricultural leaders were honored by the state Department of Agriculture at its annual award ceremony March 19.
The event recognized individuals from across the state. Recipients are selected by Katy Coba, ODA director.
Rep. Bob Jenson, R-Pendleton, received an individual contributor award.
"He has been such a good friend of the agency and really recognizes the value of what we do," Bruce Pokarney, department communications director, said. His work with irrigation water and wolf compensation are just two examples of his contributions.
Fred Ziari, president of IRZ Consulting and EZ Wireless, Hermiston, was also recognized.
"He's more than a consultant. He's fought hard to get water to an area that could and has done well when it has water," Pokarney said.
Ziari also founded Farmers Ending Hunger in 2004. The organization works with farmers and ranchers who donate a portion of their harvest to combat hunger.
Mitch Lies, reporter for the Capital Press, was the first journalist to receive an award from ODA in about 20 years, Pokarney said.
"He has made a lot of friends in the agriculture industry largely because he has been a fair reporter and an accurate reporter," he said.
Lies has accompanied the department on trade missions to Europe and Asia.
During the most recent trade mission, which included Japan, China and South Korea, Lies provided daily updates, Pokarney said.
The Port of Morrow was also honored. Union Pacific's mainline railroad runs through the port, barges come and go on the Columbia River and access to Interstate 84 is readily available.
General Manager Gary Neal accepted the award on behalf of the port and commissioners.
The port covers more than 12,000 acres and is home to companies like Tillamook Cheese, Lamb Weston, Boardman Foods and VA Data.
Also honored was Oregon Fruit Products of Salem, a 77-year-old family-owned business and the nation's top canned fruit producer. The company has 51 regular employees and hundreds of partners around the world, said Joe Peterson, CEO.
The Baker County Soil and Water Conservation District was also honored. It represents four districts and works with 24 different directors to accomplish the common goal of conservation.
The organization works with landowners to implement state water quality programs, watershed enhancement and other local conservation programs. In Baker County, the districts focus on projects such as livestock management through installing cross-fencing and off-stream watering facilities.