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Ralph Fisher to work with Naturally Advanced Technologies
Feb '12
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc announced it has secured the services of Ralph Fisher, located in Salem, Ore., as a regional agronomic advisor to the company. In this capacity, Fisher will work with NAT to help contract planted acres of flax in Oregon. He will also work closely with NAT and Oregon State University (OSU) to evaluate strains, growth cycles and techniques that ensure the greatest yields in the region.

Fisher, who obtained his B.S. in Crop Science from OSU in 1978, begins his work with the company immediately, with a focus on the 2012 and 2013 growing seasons.

"The demand for CRAiLAR Flax fiber has been established through our partnerships with Hanes, Levi's, Carhartt, Target, and other global brands," said Jay Nalbach, Chief Marketing Officer of NAT.

"Oregon's history in the flax industry, combined with the presence of our U.S. operations in Portland, made it a logical choice to explore the Willamette Valley as our second major growing region. As we did, Ralph's name came up at every single meeting, often multiple times. Once we met in person and worked on a few projects together, this decision was very easy to make."

NAT began exploring flax growing in the region in September 2011. This was shortly followed by an introduction to the Oregon Rye Grass Seed Growers Commission, the Oregon Seed Growers League, and others representing the fourth largest export, grass seed, from the state. A native Oregonian and 30-year veteran of the grass seed industry, Fisher has a long history of involvement in governance and economic development in the region, including past chairmanships of both the Oregon Seed Council and the Oregon Seed Growers League.

"I was originally attracted to the story of NAT's CRAiLAR Flax fiber based on its ability to be worked into a grower's calendar year as a rotation crop," said Fisher.

"Risk management is a critical need in the Willamette Valley, and one that I have taken a great deal of interest in, but NAT brings a lot more to the table than that. Both the partner brands that have helped them establish demand, and the terms of their grower contracts, which are exceptional, make this one of the most promising new opportunities the region has seen in years."

Fisher has been in the Oregon agricultural industry his entire career. His own farming experience includes fine fescue, perennial rye grass, bent grass and livestock. In addition to grower contracts, he will help to evaluate crop diversity, productivity and sustainability.

Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc

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