Capital Press | Northwest Ag Show Capital Press Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:55:36 -0400 en Capital Press | Northwest Ag Show Northwest Ag Show: Totally devoted to agriculture Fri, 8 Jan 2016 11:38:08 -0400 Mitch Lies You won’t find baubles, knickknacks or trinkets at the Northwest Agricultural Show.

Show manager Amy Patrick annually gets calls from vendors hoping to sell those types of items, but turns them down.

“We are aimed toward folks who are coming to the show with a purpose, instead of urban folks who might be curious what a tractor looks like,” Patrick said.

“We turn exhibitors away who don’t fit the focus of our show,” she said.

That’s not to say that Amy and her husband, Mike Patrick, who co-manage the show, aren’t interested in entertainment. Attendees at the 2016 Ag Show can view antique farm and forest machinery and taste Northwest wines and beers in a tasting room that has been moved this year to a more central location.

Also, the Patricks are quick to embrace a good cause, especially when it helps farm youth. The Patricks dedicate opening day to FFA each year, which includes a silent auction, and they open the show to an FFA Vendor Bingo competition, which the youth agricultural organization uses to raise funds.

The Northwest Ag Show’s primary focus, however, is agriculture and serving the farming industry.

In addition to more than 200 exhibitors displaying the latest in farm services, farm machinery and farm products, the show includes three days of seminars, with sections on horticultural crops, nursery crops and small farms.

Seminars are sponsored by the Oregon Association of Nurseries and the Nut Growers Society of Oregon.

Also, each day, Oregon OSHA will provide four hours of training on how to safely use and store pesticides. New this year, participants don’t have to be members of a participating organization to gain pesticide recertification credits at the OSHA training sessions. They are now free and open to all show attendees.

Also new this year, the show’s floor plan has been altered slightly to give exhibitors in Hall C more exposure.

“It smooths out the traffic between the halls and makes it easier to get from one end to the next,” Patrick said.

Similar to last year, families can attend the show on the second day for a flat fee of $20, regardless of the size of the clan. On the third day, attendees can park for free.

Show sponsors this year include Premier Northwest Insurance, which is sponsoring FFA Day; Northwest Farm Credit Services, which is sponsoring Family Day; and Kubota Tractor Corp., which is sponsoring Free Parking Day.

The Patricks said they are open to changes and encourage exhibitors and patrons to submit comments to help improve the show.

“I think anytime you can take what you have and do little things to improve it for patrons and exhibitors, it keeps a good positive energy going from year to year,” Patrick said. “I feel like we do that each year: Take a look at the show and try to find some way we can bring more to it.”

“We’re always looking to the future and honoring the past,” Mike Patrick said.

Seminars offer information growers need to know Fri, 8 Jan 2016 11:38:54 -0400 Mitch Lies Seminars at the Northwest Agricultural Show are always topical.

This year is no exception.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division compliance officers Garnet Cooke and Lori Cohen will provide participants in this year’s seminars information on high profile pesticide cases that led to lawmakers sponsoring 13 pesticide-related bills in the 2015 Oregon Legislature, how to protect employees from pesticide exposure in marijuana production and the latest information on new Worker Protection Standards.

The federal Worker Protection Standards, which will be enforced by Oregon OSHA, include several items of interest to the agricultural community, including new warning sign requirements for pesticide treatments, new minimum-age requirements for applying restricted-use pesticides, and new worker-training standards.

Cooke and Cohen will provide their presentations each day of the show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. New this year, participants don’t need to be a member of an organization to participate in the Oregon OSHA pesticide recertification courses.

The Oregon Association of Nurseries on Tuesday, Jan. 26, is sponsoring seminars on how to control weeds while combating herbicide resistance, how to control noxious weeds in a manner safe to pollinators, what to expect from the El Nino weather system that developed last summer and built through the fall, and methods to combat the development of resistant fungal pathogens, a development becoming more likely in recent years with the registration of several new combination fungicides in ornamental crops.

Speakers are Washington State University Extension weed scientist Tim Miller, Allison Halpern of the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board, former television weatherman Phil Volker and Oregon State University Extension plant pathology specialist Jay Pscheidt.

The Oregon Association of Nurseries sessions run from 10 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 3 p.m.

The next day, Wednesday, Jan. 27, the Nut Growers Society of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia is holding a member meeting from 9 to 11:30 a.m.; Andy Bryant of the National Weather Service will speak at 11 a.m.; and Shur Farms is hosting a seminar on frost protections from 1 to 2 p.m.

On Thursday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon, ag show participants can view a special screening of an award-winning documentary on U.S. military veterans in farming. Titled “Ground Operations: Battlefield to Farm Fields,” the film is part of an effort by the nonprofit organization Ground Operations to strengthen a growing network of combat veterans transitioning into farming and ranching.

Pink tractor makes a statement about ag Fri, 8 Jan 2016 11:37:06 -0400 MITCH LIES Jennifer Rohrer, media relations coordinator for Northwest Farm Credit Services, was looking to make a splash at the 2013 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Spokane, Wash.

Her idea: A pink tractor.

“We thought that would be a big deal for that event, and it definitely turned out to be,” Rohrer said. “I swear that every person at that event posted a picture of it on Facebook.”

What Rohrer did not foresee was the widespread embrace of the tractor by other Farm Credit employees. Today the tractor is on display nearly year-round as Farm Credit employees haul it to industry events, community parades and other functions around the Northwest as a way to show the company’s commitment to breast-cancer awareness.

Rohrer estimates the tractor is on display at 50 events each year.

“It is a huge undertaking for our staff,” Rohrer said. “If you’re going to Portland, for instance, it’s probably a six-hour drive one way to Spokane (where the tractor is stored).

“It shows how committed our employees are to their communities,” she said.

The tractor, which will be on display at Northwest Farm Credit Service’s booth at the 2016 Northwest Agricultural Show, was donated to Farm Credit by an Idaho farmer. Paint was donated by a Spokane paint store. And the painting and air-blasting all was done free of charge.

Further, a local mechanic donated his time to fine tune the engine.

“In less than 30 days, it went from a not-running, rusty old tractor to a completely restored bright pink tractor,” Rohrer said. “And the paint job is beautiful.”

Farm Credit also sells supplemental items wherever the tractor is displayed, including pink-tractor shirts, toys and mugs. Proceeds from the sales are distributed to the local breast-cancer awareness organization.

Rohrer estimates the sales have generated more than $100,000 in donations in the two-plus years the tractor has been circulating the Northwest.

In addition to benefiting local breast-cancer awareness organizations, the pink tractor informs urban America of the commitment agriculture has to cancer awareness, Rohrer said.

“When you go to a lot of these cancer-awareness events, you are seeing the big companies like Microsoft, Albertsons and Safeway represented. But agriculture hasn’t been represented,” Rohrer said. “That is one reason why we wanted to do something so big and so different that when you are at these events, you understand that Northwest Farm Credit Services and all of agriculture is behind breast-cancer awareness.

“We wanted to showcase agriculture and cancer awareness in a really big way, and we thought what better way to do that than to paint a tractor bright pink,” she said.

“You see them green. You see them red. You see them blue and orange, but you never see a bright pink tractor,” she said.

“This is also one way to show that Northwest Farm Credit is deeply rooted in our rural communities,” she said.

“It’s part of our value system,” said Mickey Hatley, branch manager of Northwest Farm Credit Services in Salem.

Ag in the Classroom brings its story to show Fri, 8 Jan 2016 11:37:40 -0400 Mitch Lies Oregon Ag in the Classroom brought volunteers into 900 Oregon classrooms across 30 Oregon counties as part of its 2015 spring literacy project, and it expects to do more of the same in 2016.

Also, in what Executive Director Jessica Jansen describes as an exciting area of growth, the program has expanded its reach into Portland in recent years.

Ag in the Classroom this year also will be participating in the Northwest Agricultural Show.

On Family Day, Wednesday, Jan. 27, Ag in the Classroom, with the help of the Oregon FFA Foundation, will provide hands-on activities for youngsters. The activities are an excellent way to show youngsters the importance of agriculture in their lives, Jansen said.

Oregon Ag in the Classroom continues to reach more students every year, Jansen said. The program has teachers and resources in all 36 counties, she said, but tends to focus on reaching students in urban areas.

“We are more (Willamette) Valley centric, knowing that that is where our target audience is,” Jansen said. “The students that have the least connection with agriculture are in the Willamette Valley region.”

Jansen said the Salem-Keizer School District is the biggest participator in the program, but the Portland School District is catching up.

“That’s been a big area of growth for our program, and one that we are excited about continuing,” she said.

Still, the program continues to reach out to students in rural counties.

“That is something that we take a lot of pride in,” Jansen said. “Students that live in rural Oregon and are surrounded by agriculture don’t necessarily have a full understanding of the depth of impact that agriculture has on their daily lives.

“Maybe they are familiar with one aspect of the industry,” Jansen said, “but don’t have the full picture of how everything in their life can be traced back to a farm or ranch.”

Oregon Ag in the Classroom is part of a national program aimed at educating students about agriculture. The nonprofit organization, which is housed at Oregon State University, works with teachers to bring agriculture into everyday curriculum.

One of the organization’s most popular productions each year is its calendar. The calendar includes art about agriculture drawn by students and provides agricultural facts printed in squares depicting the days of the week.

In the program’s annual literacy project, last year 725 volunteers met with students in more than 900 classrooms, connecting with more than 20,000 Oregon students.

Northwest Ag Show is providing Ag in the Classroom booth space for the three days of the show adjacent to the Oregon FFA Foundation.

Gerber Trailer Sales thrives at Northwest Ag Show Fri, 8 Jan 2016 11:36:13 -0400 MITCH LIES Jim Gerber of Gerber Trailer Sales typically sells about half-dozen trailers over the course of the three-day Northwest Agricultural Show.

At last year’s show, he sold 14.

“We sold everything we had on display the first day, except one trailer,” he said.

“I think it is going to be good this year, too,” he said.

Gerber, who has been exhibiting at the ag show for five years now, said he typically doesn’t measure whether it was a success by how many trailers he sells. The show often serves as an introduction — often an introduction that eventually leads to a sale.

“A lot of time you don’t get the business right there,” he said. “It is two months later — sometimes six or eight months later — when a guy calls and says, ‘Oh, I saw you at the ag show.’”

Still, selling 14 trailers in three days made quite an impact.

“We couldn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “It made our whole January.”

Gerber, who started in tires, today owns one of the leading trailer sales companies in the Pacific Northwest, selling Bradford Built and Hillsboro trailers and truck beds at four outlets.

“I try to sell stuff that I can feel good about selling,” Gerber said. “There is cheaper stuff out there, less expensive. But I tried a couple of those, and they just didn’t work out.”

The two long-standing manufacturers have a good reputation among farmers, construction workers, utilities and others, he said. “When customers call, they either ask for Hillsboro or Bradford,” he said. “It is just that easy. They pretty much have their mind made up when they call me.”

Because of a large inventory, Gerber can serve customers in a timely fashion, which he believes helps draw customers.

“I have the inventory,” he said. “A lot of these smaller outfits, they can’t justify having 125 beds in stock. That is why people come to me.

“They buy a bed Monday and they want to put it on Tuesday, (and) usually we have it,” he said. “We miss it once in a while, but most of the time we have it.”

Gerber Trailer Sales has outlets in Monmouth at 13000 S. Pacific Highway West, in Lincoln City at 1605 Highway 101 and has affiliates in Hermiston, Ore., at 2100 S. Highway 395, and Woodland, Wash., at 434 Demarest Ave.

If one of his outlets doesn’t have a particular Bradford or Hillsboro bed or trailer in stock, he said that odds are another will.

Film shows veterans turning to ag Fri, 8 Jan 2016 11:36:30 -0400 Mitch Lies A special screening of an award-winning documentary film about combat veterans engaged in farming is a highlight of the 2016 Northwest Agriculture Show.

Scheduled on the final day of the show, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon, the screening of “Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields” is expected to include participation by a combat veteran engaged in farming, who will speak and answer questions.

The film follows a group of young men and women who talk about why they joined the military, how war changed them, how they’ve struggled to assimilate after returning home and how they found farming or ranching to be the answer to a dream.

The film won the Audience Favorite award at DocUtah International Film Festival and Best Solution award at the Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival.

Producer-Director Dulanie Ellis said that in making the film, she hoped to bring awareness to the growing trend of veterans turning to farming and elicit support for the farmer-veterans.

Since the documentary’s release, she’s also become a source of information for veterans who are looking to take up farming.

“I get a lot of emails from veterans who will say: ‘Hi, I am leaving the Army after 12 years and I really want to farm. Can you help?’” Ellis said.

Ellis provides veterans with links to resources for training, education and, in some cases, funds to help transition from military service to farming in a 12-page booklet that comes with the DVD.

Ellis said the experience of making the film and helping veterans has been rewarding on several levels.

“Farming is helping with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and traumatic brain injury,” she said. “There is accelerated cognitive repair for things like balance and hand-eye movement, anger management and other wounds of war.

“It is an amazing solution,” she said. “At the same time that we are losing half of our farmers to retirement — and so much acreage is going to change hands in the next 10 to 20 years — we need to train a whole new generation of farmers and ranchers. And, coincidentally, here comes this whole generation of combat veterans who need a place to restore themselves and have a new mission,” she said.

“This is a continuation of their service,” she said. “Their new mission is to strengthen American food security, one farm at a time.”

Antique equipment evokes good old days Fri, 8 Jan 2016 11:36:07 -0400 Mitch Lies You can rely on the Case IH collectors to bring their antique tractors to the Northwest Agricultural Show. And you can count on members of Antique Powerland’s Oregon Vintage Machinery Museum to display their antique John Deere machinery.

“Those (John Deere collectors) always have a wonderful display,” said Al Hall, marketing director for the Antique Powerland Museum Association in Brooks, Ore.

Members of the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Museum, which Hall said is the only strictly Caterpillar museum in the world, also don’t hold back when it comes to putting their best foot forward.

“Those guys always have a really nice display at the ag show,” Hall said.

Powerland’s Willow Creek Railroad Museum, which operates a one-eighth-scale railroad, typically brings a locomotive and a railcar to the show.

Look for the Pacific Northwest Truck Museum to bring an antique truck or two to the show and the Oregon Fire Service Museum to have a display of antique fire-fighting equipment.

Also, show visitors can expect to see cars and motorcycles from Antique Powerland’s Northwest Vintage Car and Motorcycle Museum.

In all, the museums typically bring more than 100 pieces of equipment to the show, Hall said, as most of the 15 museums at Antique Powerland participate.

“The show is a good way for the museums to promote themselves,” Hall said.

Pam Vorachek, executive director of the Antique Powerland Museum Association, said that in addition to using the event as a promotional event, the Powerland museum volunteers find the show enjoyable.

“They enjoy the camaraderie of visiting with fellow farmers, as well as the opportunity to showcase the historical equipment they take up there,” Vorachek said.

The Antique Powerland Museum Association also participates in the show each year, Vorachek said, using it as an opportunity to promote their offerings.

“We use it as a promotional event to entice people to come to Antique Powerland,” Vorachek said, “and to participate in the Great Oregon Steam-Up.”

The Great Oregon Steam-Up is held the final weekend of July and the first weekend of August each year, this year it is July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7.

Antique Powerland is open on weekends in March and October and Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April through September.

Housed among the different museums’ antique equipment is the oldest operating steam tractor in the nation, a Case built in 1880, and other highlights for historical buffs, including the first truck iconic grocer Fred Meyer used to deliver groceries.