YEON Hansell

Sen. Michael Dembrow, J.R. Cook, Northeast Oregon Water Association founder, Sen. Bill Hansell and Sen. Lew Frederick toured the SAGE Center Sept. 21 in Boardman.

MORROW COUNTY — Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, recently welcomed two of his Senate colleagues to Morrow and Umatilla counties.

During the weekend of Sept. 21, Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, and Sen. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, participated in a tour along with a dozen of their constituents. The goal of the trip, Hansell said, was to show the ongoing work in the Columbia Basin regarding water use and irrigation.

In addition, the group toured the former Lost Valley Dairy site, which is now owned by Easterday Farms. The group saw how the dairy is being revitalized and how area farms are using digital technology to monitor field irrigation systems in real-time. The group also toured the Port of Morrow and the SAGE Center to see how technological advances are making agriculture more energy efficient.

“Ever since I was elected to the Senate, I have extended invitations to my urban colleagues to visit rural Eastern Oregon,” Hansell said. “These trips show how farmers and ranchers use our abundant natural resources in a sustainable way.”

Hansell said his colleagues and their constituents participated in a full day of learning. In addition, they were able to take sweet corn and Hermiston melons home with them from the fields.

The trip and tour, Hansell said, would not have been possible without the work of J.R. Cook, the Northeast Oregon Water Association, Bobby Levy and the Eastern Oregon Women’s Coalition. Hansell expressed appreciation to the Port of Morrow, Easterday Farms, Madison Ranches and Bellinger Farms for their generous hospitality and for showing their operations.

“It was a special day,” he said. “I am proud of the agricultural innovation taking place in Senate District 29 and I’m glad that my colleagues were able to see it firsthand.”

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