Oregon Cherry Growers

Using Grant Funding for Risk Management Training

THE CLIENT:

Since 1932, Oregon Cherry Growers Inc. has been a grower-owned cooperative of family farms cultivating, processing, and marketing the finest fruit and value-added products. They are now one of Oregon’s largest food and beverage category producers, covering over 2,500 acres of land in Oregon’s bountiful Willamette Valley and along the Columbia River Gorge. Their product offering extends to include a broad selection of fruit, including cherries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Their products are available through distributors and retailers around the world.

THE OPPORTUNITY:

With food safety being increasingly critical, Oregon Cherry Growers wanted to provide risk management training focused on food safety, good agricultural practices, and USDA crop insurance to cherry and other specialty crop growers. The goal of the proposed training was to help growers employ appropriate practices and tools. Since several farms have been economically damaged by food safety lapses that resulted in health risks to consumers, Oregon Cherry Growers wanted to proactively prevent such occurrences.

THE APPROACH:

Morrison & Company assisted Oregon Cherry Growers in writing a USDA Risk Management Education grant proposal. The program’s objective is for growers to become compliant with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements and adopt Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) standards, enhancing their economic viability by better positioning them to manage food safety risks and related regulatory/legal action. The target audience is small to midsize growers who were unable to execute this level of training on their own. 

THE RESULTS:

Through grower meetings and workshops held in five locations throughout the area, plus 113 total visits to farms, Oregon Cherry Growers equipped their growers with knowledge and practical guidance to implement safer on-farm procedures. The program resulted in improved economic viability of growers due to better management of risks that impact food safety, the health of consumers, and legal liability to the growers.