Alexis Taylor mug

Alexis Taylor

Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Alexis Taylor is scheduled to deliver the luncheon keynote speech during the Oregon State University Malheur Experiment Station Summer Farm Festival and Field Day, slated from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 10 at 595 Onion Ave., Ontario.

Station Director Stuart Reitz said Taylor is expected to talk about the future of agriculture, from new crops to what the next generation of producers will look like given that so many farmers are older.

“Where are they going to come from and how can we ensure they have viable, productive careers to hang in there with?” Reitz said.

Other scheduled events include an 8 a.m. drone demonstration by Jae Ryu of the University of Idaho; a 9 a.m. discussion about cover crops, potato irrigation and hemp; a 10:30 a.m. onion-production tour with discussions about nutrient and irrigation management as well as weed and thrips control; and a 1 p.m. hemp-production workshop and question session with Clint Shock of Scientific Ecological Services and Medicinal Botanical Seed.

Agency and vendor representatives will staff information booths.

“Obviously there is a lot of interest in hemp, and it is a new crop so we are just trying to figure out how to grow it,” Reitz said. A small hemp-growing trial is underway at the station.

Irrigation innovations and improvements remain a popular topic in the arid region, including electronically monitoring water usage and soil moisture, he said.

Drip-irrigating potatoes will be demonstrated. Reitz said drip irrigation for onions advanced and grew over the years, and “growers have been interested in seeing that expanding to other crops.”

Station Office Manager Jan Jones said the long-established event typically draws more than 200 people, including about 30 Boys & Girls Clubs youths who participate in hands-on activities.

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