Greenhouse Nurseries are hiring during record unemployment
Story by by Oregon Herald staff
As unemployment rates skyrocket during the COVID-19 outbreak, this list provides the contact information of potential employers for anyone who may have recently been laid off or displaced from work.
"Spring is the peak season for agricultural workers in the ornamental plant industry," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "We operate within a tight time window, set by Mother Nature, so that we can move a beautiful but perishable product to market when it's needed. Some of our growers have come forward to say they need help and have jobs available for people. If people can work and customers across the United States can still receive Oregon-grown plants and trees, which are the best in the country, it's a win-win."
Agriculture is broadly recognized as an essential sector of the economy, and Oregon's wholesale and retail nurseries are continuing to operate under the "Stay Home, Save Lives' executive order issued by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on March 23.
As a dependable industry to work in, Oregon's nurseries and greenhouses generated nearly $1 billion in sales in 2018, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture — making them the #1 segment in Oregon agriculture. Nearly 80% of the plants and trees grown in Oregon are shipped out-of-state and internationally.
Positions may be available at all levels of production, often with little to no prior experience in agriculture required. Safety training is integrated into standard work assignments. Retail positions also may be available.
"Our industry cares about safe practices," Stone said. "Mitigating the spread of pests and plant diseases has been an ongoing initiative throughout the history of Oregon's ag sector, and our growers are used to stringent procedures to protect quality and health."
The nature of the manual and skilled labor assignments are often outdoors or in designated workspaces that are already in compliance with social distancing recommendations. Measures are already in place to protect staff and consumers from the spread of pathogens in safe work environments.
The Oregon Association of Nurseries' seasonal/temporary help page will be updated regularly and can be found at www.oan.org/seasonalhelp.
Curt Kipp, Oregon Association of Nurseries, [email protected] The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 700 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon's ornamental horticulture industry is the state's largest agricultural commodity, with annual sales of $996 million in 2018. It is also a traded sector, with about 75 percent of the nursery plants grown in Oregon being shipped out of state. For information, visit www.oan.org or email [email protected]