Local onion executive steps down from top state post

Grant Kitamura, general manager and part owner of the onion packing firm Baker & Murakami Produce Co., recently stepped down from his post on the Oregon Board of Agriculture. (The Enterprise/File).

ONTARO – Local onion industry executive Grant Kitamura is stepping down from the state’s top agriculture board as he moves to Idaho.

Kitamura, general manager and part owner of the onion packing firm Baker & Murakami Produce Co., resigned from the 10-member Oregon Board of Agriculture in a letter to Gov. Kate Brown.

Kitamura said in the letter, dated Dec. 8, that he is stepping down because he is moving to Idaho. He said the residency change is effective Jan. 1.

 “I understand that I will no longer to be qualified to serve on the Oregon Board of Agriculture once I change my state of residency,” Kitamura wrote.

Kitamura assured the governor he “very much enjoyed serving on the board and I want you to know that I really appreciate the opportunity.”

Brown in 2018 named Kitamura to the panel, which guides the director of the state Agriculture Department on the administration of programs and the creation of the state’s agriculture policy.

Kitamura told Brown that his business entities in Ontario “will continue to support the Oregon Department of Agriculture and maintain the great partnership that we have enjoyed for many decades.”

Kitamura also chairs the Malheur County Development Corp., which is overseeing the creation of a multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded rail facility north of Nyssa.

Kitamura was born and raised in Ontario. A grandchild of Japanese immigrant parents who were interned during World War II, he graduated from Ontario High School in 1971 and earned a degree in accounting and finance from Oregon State University in 1975.

He is a past member of the then-Holy Rosary Medical Center board and a past member of the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce board.

Kitamura did not return phone or email contacts for comment.

 New tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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