The Oregon Department of Agriculture will salute industry leaders next month at its annual Agricultural Progress Awards Dinner.
The March 20 event celebrates progress in agriculture made through partnerships between business, higher education and state government, according to an ODA press release.
Director Katy Coba will present awards in recognition of innovation and leadership in the following areas:
Oregon Product Retailer of the Year: Fred Meyer Stores, for its support, promotion and marketing of locally grown food.
Chef of the Year: Gregory Gourdet, executive chef at Departure Restaurant and Lounge in Portland, for his efforts to promote Oregon agriculture and seafood.
Cooperator of the Year: The Oregon Association of Conservation Districts and its executive director, Jerry Nicolescu, for their commitment to conservation and working with ODA to support the Agricultural Water Quality Program.
Excellence in Conservation: The WISE Project of Jackson County (Water for Irrigation, Stream and Economy), for its innovative and collaborative water management project to improve watersheds.
Individual Contributions to Agriculture: Verne Gingerich of Canby, for his years of leadership, promotion and marketing efforts that have benefited the blueberry industry; and, Connie Kirby of Portland, for her efforts with the Northwest Food Processors Association to help the industry sector address food safety and other key issues.
The Agricultural Progress Awards Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, in the Spinning Room of the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill, 1313 Mill St. SE in Salem. It will be preceded at 5:30 p.m. by a no-host social hour and reception.
For information or to register for the event, contact ODA at (503) 986-4550 or visit http://oregon.gov/ODA/pages/ap.aspx .