Oregon Ag needs bilingual education advancement

By Daily Digger
Oregon Association of Nurseries

One sometimes hears about strained relationships between certain industries and those in government who regulate them. But in Oregon, the nursery industry and the state have long shared a mutually beneficial, cooperative, and overall pleasant relationship.

An important focus has been on keeping plants healthy and protecting the quality that Oregon growers are known for industrywide. About three-fourths of all Oregon-grown plants are sold to customers outside the state, bringing money back to Oregon, so when the industry is kept strong, it strengthens Oregon. Growers believe in the value of this relationship strongly enough that most of them continue to support a nursery license requirement, which includes a fee that helps fund programs to benefit the industry.

The Oregon State University Extension Service has been a huge part of the industry’s success. By taking the latest scientific knowledge and sharing it with growers, Extension fulfills an important educational function.

It’s no secret that Spanish speakers make up a significant portion of the nursery industry workforce. Extension has responded to that with the hiring of Dr. Luisa Santamaria, a plant pathologist who speaks both English and Spanish. The Oregonian recently published an excellent article about her excellent work in educating Spanish-speaking nursery workers, and you can read it here.

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