Deadline here for workshop on destination marketing

ENTERPRISE — The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District is offering a new online workshop for business owners called “Destination Creation.” The workshop begins Sept. 15, but the registration deadline for the workshop is Thursday, Sept. 10.

The workshop aims to show merchants how to make their businesses a destination for consumers from beyond their immediate marketplace and one they’ll frequent during the time of cornonavirus and after.

The worksop coats $399, but by using the code “NEOEDD” participants can get the course for $175. Scholarships are available for business owners in Baker, Union and Wallowa counties who have a low-to-moderate incomes. Contact Lisa Dawson via email at lisadawson@neoedd.org or phone 541-426-3598 for scholarship information.

The program consists of eight chapters and a bonus session. Learning materials, including webinars, are available online for up to six months following the class via the Destination University portal.

The sessions will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. Sept. 15, 17, 22, 24 and 29 and Oct. 1, 6 and 8. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/NEOEDDcourse. To learn more, visit https://tinyurl.com/NEOEDDcourseinfo.

Trade Adjustment Act programs help firms, workers

SEATTLE — When an American worker loses their job due to competition created by international trade, the Trade Adjustment Act provides funding for that worker to be retrained for a new job. A cousin to that program is the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program.

Instead of retraining workers, the federal program retrains companies, from farms to manufacturers, that are facing revenue losses because of trade. The TAAF provides a dollar-for-dollar match up to $75,000 for businesses to bring in outside expertise to help them better compete.

The Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center runs the TAAF for Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Companies can use the assistance to help with marketing, expanding into new markets, developing new products and more.

David Holbert, the CEO of the assistance center, said the center can help companies refine their plans for staying competitive or give them confidence the strategy will work. The center submits an application on the client’s behalf to the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and once the application is approved, the program will provide matching grant funds to the firms providing outside expertise to the client.

Once approved, the assistance center works with companies for a span of five years.

According to documents the center provided, 11 companies in Oregon took advantage of the TAAF funding between 2011-15, and each saw positive outcomes through either expanding or stabilizing their business. On average, they saw a 21% increase in sales.

Firms interested in receiving TAAF funds can visit nwtaac.org or call 206-622-2730.

USDA predicts record hazelnut crop in Oregon

SALEM — This year’s Oregon hazelnut crop could be the largest ever, as more young trees across the Willamette Valley reach maturity.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released its annual production forecast Aug. 25, predicting growers will harvest 71,000 tons of hazelnuts. That’s 61% more than last year’s total of 44,000 tons, and 39% more than the previous record of 51,000 tons in 2018.

Oregon produces almost all U.S. hazelnuts — or filberts — though the state accounts for just 5% of global supply. Turkey, the world’s largest hazelnut producer, exported 338,200 tons between Sept. 1, 2019, and Aug. 23.

This year’s anticipated spike in production coincides with a 20% increase in mature orchards, from 50,000 acres in 2019 to 60,000 acres in 2020. Farmers have almost tripled hazelnut acreage in the Willamette Valley since 2010, spurred by the development of new varieties resistant to Eastern Filbert Blight, a tree-killing fungal disease.

The total acreage planted is approaching 85,000, meaning another 25,000 acres will begin producing a crop in the near future.

Terry Ross, executive director of the Hazelnut Growers Bargaining Association, said prices are not yet set for the 2020 crop. Last year, growers received 83 cents per pound. In 2018, the industry set a three-tiered pricing system that ranged from 62 to 91 cents per pound, depending on variety.

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