Regional News

Wyden Launches "Oregon Bounty" Effort

PENDLETON, OR -- A new effort to promote Oregon-grown products launched in Eastern Oregon last week. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden tells KBND News he started his "Oregon Bounty" tour in Umatilla and Morrow counties, "I call them both Oregon signature agriculture bounty counties."

He talked with onion growers and other producers and processors about regulations that prevent their business from expanding. "These businesses are really feeding Oregon and, to fair measure, the country and the world," says Wyden, "People around the world always love buying Oregon products. Our first stop in Morrow County was Boardman Foods - a family-owned business - and that was a terrific way to start the program." 

Wyden says international trade was a central topic, "About one out of every four jobs revolves around international trades. Trade jobs often pay better. So we had growers, shippers and distributors, and all of them really want more flexibility in terms of the federal trade policy." He says tariffs imposed a few years ago might need to ease, "I’m of the view that tariffs ought to be part of a trade toolbox; they shouldn’t be the only response. And that’s what the small ag businesses were telling me - 'Ron, just get us some more flexibility so we can devise solutions that work for us,' and may not be necessarily what the Beltway in Washington, D.C. wants." They’re also concerned about inheritance taxes that make it difficult to pass down a family-owned small business to the next generation.

Wyden says he's working with the Oregon Business Council to focus on economic development in the rural ag sector, similar to efforts launched a few years ago to promote Oregon’s semiconductor industry. 

 

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