The 10-member State Board of Agriculture advises the Oregon Department of Agriculture on policy issues, develops recommendations on key agricultural issues, and provides advocacy of the state's agriculture industry in general.
State law requires seven of the appointed members to be farmers or ranchers who represent different segments of agriculture; two board members must represent consumers; and, the 10th member is the chair of the Soil and Water Conservation Commission. The ODA director and dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University serve as ex-officio members of the board without the right to vote.
The board issues a biennial report to the Governor and Legislative Assembly regarding the status of Oregon's agriculture industry. The board meets quarterly at various locations around the state.
Soil and Water Conservation Commission Chair
As chair of Oregon’s Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Barbara Boyer is automatically a member of State Board of Agriculture. However, her interests and experiences go far beyond conservation issues. She’s part of a small business. She’s involved in community supported agriculture and the local farmers’ market. She is an organic producer but has grown conventionally. She’s involved in nutrition issues and is a passionate supporter of farmland preservation through land use efforts.
So it’s fair to say, Barbara Boyer hopes to bring more than just a conservation perspective.
Born and raised on the east coast, Boyer graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in plant science. She was also a scholarship athlete as part of the women’s gymnastics team. After graduation, Boyer set sights on Oregon’s nursery industry, which was booming in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Barbara and her husband Tom took over the family farm’s operations in 1999 and also created two businesses from their farm– a company called Gourmet Hay and a small community supported agriculture operation where families are paying to grow organic vegetables. Boyer is clearly an advocate for local agriculture. In 2000, Boyer co-founded the McMinnville Farmers’ Market.
In 2004, Stan Christensen, who had been a director with the Yamhill County Soil and Water Conservation District for more than a half century, decided to retire. One of his last duties was to knock on Barbara Boyer’s door and ask her to run for his position at the SWCD. Just as it was when she was recruited by UConn to be part of the gymnastics team, Boyer said yes to Christensen and was elected.
The Yamhill County SWCD is considered cutting edge and many other districts around the state often seek its advice on a number of issues, especially farmland preservation. It’s not surprising that many of the tasks performed by the SWCD involve key issues facing the Board of Agriculture, including water quality and land use.
Term Expires: 8/14/2020Second term
When Pete Brentano was appointed to the State Board of Agriculture, he was already busy managing a very successful but time-consuming nursery operation in St. Paul, as well as acting as a 4-H club leader, a volunteer fireman, a member of the St. Paul Rodeo Association, his son’s basketball coach, and active elsewhere throughout the community.
Brentano is part of the sixth generation of his family’s farming operation. His parents started the current 2,000-acre farm in 1958, both coming from farm families of their own. It started as a dryland wheat operation but was primarily producing row crops while Pete and his three older brothers were growing up. By the time he went to Oregon State University (OSU) to pursue a business degree, the family was dabbling in one of the state’s up-and-coming agricultural commodities– nursery products. It was more of a sidelight than anything else. After two years in college, Pete knew he wanted to get back into agriculture, so he also started pursuing a degree in crop and soil science at OSU.
Brentano's hard work and perseverance– along with good product and customer service– have paid off. Brentano’s Tree Farm LLC sells to landscapers, wholesalers, garden centers, and nursery brokers. Pete’s work and stature in the nursery industry led to a stint in 2006 as president of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, an experience he believes helps him with the State Board of Agriculture.
While he is interested in all issues that are important to Oregon agriculture, adequate transportation and infrastructure are ones in particular he carries with him from the nursery trade.
Family farming is also important to the Brentanos, considering the nursery is actually owned by Pete, his mom, and his three brothers. Pete’s wife, Wendy, is also involved in running the nursery. Don’t be surprised if their two children, Elizabeth and Zach, someday get into the family business.
Term Expires: 9/5/2021Second term
Former Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Stephanie Hallock has been familiar with some of the issues confronting agriculture, but admits her past focus was relatively narrow. She is excited to expand her scope of knowledge while adding her impressive skills and advocacy to the group’s overall expertise.
It’s rare, if not unprecedented, for the Board of Agriculture to have a member who has been in charge of a major state agency. The daughter of a well-known state legislator, Stephanie Hallock earned a bachelor’s degree in English and masters in public administration at Portland State University. She was a presidential management intern in the Carter Administration– a program designed to bring more women and minorities into the federal government. She was assigned to the regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco and eventually landed at DEQ to manage the hazardous and solid waste programs.
Hallock was given a one-year special assignment to bring disparate groups of people together as part of the Healthy Streams Partnership created by Governor Kitzhaber in the late 90s. It was in that position Hallock developed strong relationships with the ranching community and other ag interests. Her ability to collaborate helped to work through some challenging issues.
After being persuaded to pursue the top job at DEQ, Hallock came back to Portland but was able to maintain the strong relationships she had developed. Working part time for Oregon Solutions, her strength in problem solving led to successful local and regional projects in the Lower John Day, The Dalles, and other Oregon locations. Her last project was to expand the City of Portland’s Community Gardens Program.
Hallock also returns to Central Oregon whenever possible—especially now that her son, daughter-in-law, and young granddaughter live in the Bend area.
Term Expires: 10/10/20First term
From running the 400-meter relay for the University of Oregon track team to running his family’s hazelnut orchards, Bryan Harper is bringing a fresh perspective and an interesting background as a new member of the Board of Agriculture. As a sixth generation family farmer, Bryan serves as Vice-President of Harper Farms Incorporated in Junction City.Harper’s story actually begins across the Atlantic Ocean, a continent away. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya, but was just 17-days old when his dad, mom, and four brothers and sisters relocated to the US. He’s been in Oregon ever since, growing up on the farm and watching with interest how is father handled the operation. The opportunity to attend the University of Oregon as a psychology major, and as a sprinter on the track and field team, taught Harper about competition, something that those who farm for a living can appreciate. He has also learned the importance of getting involved in agricultural organizations. Harper has been active as a board member of the Lane County Farm Bureau. His youth stands out, and he hopes other young farmers and ranchers will follow his example.Harper is especially interested in promoting co-existence in agriculture, one of the key issues often discussed by the Board of Agriculture. With Oregon farms being so diverse– not only in what is grown but how it is grown and marketed– he wants to understand and appreciate those who do things differently.Away from agriculture, Harper continues his passion of flying airplanes.Harper’s enthusiasm, combined with his willingness to work with others, will serve the Board of Agriculture very well.
Term Expires: 4/20/2018Second term
Tracey Liskey, a third-generation diversified farmer in the Klamath Basin, has been one of the key voices in the discussion and search for a long-term solution to water allocation issues in the area. The work ethic needed to survive in that part of the state is the same work ethic Liskey has shown all his life.
Liskey Farms is a diverse operation, producing grain, hay, cattle, greenhouse plants, and, most recently, tropical fish. But Liskey has found time to be extremely active on a number of fronts to help farmers and ranchers across Oregon.
Farming is in the blood of Tracey Liskey who, at a young age, knew his life would be tied to the land and water that sustains agriculture. After high school graduation, he stayed on the farm that started with his grandfather and, at the time, included his parents, brother, and sister. With boundless energy, Liskey got involved in county politics and in Farm Bureau activities. He has been on the Oregon Farm Bureau Board of Directors for more than a dozen years, traveling to Washington DC on several occasions on behalf of Oregon farmers to help with several issues. His willingness to take those issues and concerns to the state's congressional delegation has benefited Oregon agriculture tremendously. Back home, he has offered tours of his operation to demonstrate agriculture's stewardship in the Klamath Basin– including one tour by a committee reviewing the Endangered Species Act.
Liskey has worked with the Oregon Department of Agriculture on practices and measures that make wise use of water and have protected water quality. The Liskeys have used geothermal wells on their property to heat their productive greenhouses and fish tanks. Nurseries are not common in Klamath County, but the Liskeys have made it work.
Liskey’s expertise in sustainable agriculture landed him a spot on the Governor's Sustainability Board. He even volunteered to grow sunflowers on a test plot for biofuel production. Liskey has also been a great ambassador of Oregon agriculture during several trade missions organized by ODA.
But it’s back home in Klamath Falls where Liskey feels most comfortable. He and his wife Susan have raised a son and daughter, but remain active with other family members in running the farming operations.
Sharon Livingston exemplifies the tireless efforts of strong leaders coming from the cattle industry who help all of agriculture.
Livingston's first home was on her grandmother's homestead in Grant County. She always knew that ranching would be a focus of her life. Her father was a great horseman, cattleman, and hunter. She was with him at every opportunity, learning what it took to survive all the challenges facing agriculture. One of his greatest lessons was the value of education. Shortly after marrying Fred Livingston, a cowboy and calf roper, Sharon enrolled at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande and pursued a career in education. She became a teacher, was a successful high school volleyball coach, and raised three children. The career made it possible for Sharon and Fred to purchase the family's ranch near Long Creek and continue operating it through the very difficult financial era of the 1980s. The hard work and perseverance paid off. The Livingston Ranch—which started as a 160-acre spread and has grown to 5,000 acres—was recognized as a Century Ranch in ceremonies at the Oregon State Fair.
In more recent years, Sharon has emerged as a leading voice of the cattle industry and a respected spokesperson on behalf of all Oregon agriculture. Long active in the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, Sharon became the second woman elected president. Under her leadership, OCA tackled a number of issues critical to the industry including marketing, grazing, water, and protection from predators. Sharon's ability to unify the cattle industry on these and other matters has benefited all farmers and ranchers. Praised for running a good meeting and keeping ranchers on track, Sharon completed her term as OCA president by leaving the organization in a position of strength and relevance.
Livingston has often made the long trek from Eastern Oregon to the Willamette Valley to help tell agriculture's story– especially to legislators who are willing to listen.
But there is no doubt that the cow-calf ranch that she still runs is where she most likes to be. The wide-open range and the way of life that goes back generations have a strong appeal to this All-American cowgirl. With her kids and grandkids nearby, Sharon is gratified to see a new generation of Livingstons ready to follow the trail she has blazed. Her experience and expertise plays well as part of the Board of Agriculture.
Term Expires: 10/31/2018Second term
What possible connection could there be between agriculture and Reed College– a liberal arts private institution in Portland better known for its progressive and many times non-traditional leanings? One answer is Laura Masterson. Despite a background that suggests she has taken a different path, Masterson believes there are some strong common bonds that tie her to everyone else in agriculture.
As an urban farmer operating the 47th Avenue Farm in Southeast Portland since 1994, Masterson has been supplying fresh local produce primarily through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Her expertise in local food production and involvement in land use issues is helpful as the Board of Agriculture specifically deals with those items.
Growing up in California– regretfully not on a farm– Masterson moved to Portland to attend Reed College. She had always been interested in farming but didn’t see any way to access it. She continued to learn all she could about farming, attending conferences and talking to many people. About that time, the CSA movement– where farmers and consumers share the risk and benefits of food production– was getting underway and Masterson thought is was a good way to start small and try agriculture out with no major capital outlay. She liked it, proved she could do it, and began leasing small pieces of urban property that could be used to grow food crops. Masterson literally started on a double lot in Portland. Now she manages about 50 acres total on two properties– not real big, but a major step up from a quarter acre.
Working directly with other folks involved in community supported agriculture and with the restaurants that buy her produce, Masterson hopes to bridge the urban-rural gap through mutual understanding and appreciation.
Term Expires: 9/17/2019First term
Long after most people run out of energy, Marty Myers will be working on issues important to agriculture until the cows come home. Myers’ list of service includes the Oregon Potato Commission, US Potato Board’s Executive Committee, and the Oregon Dairy Council. His expertise and years of experience have made him a valuable member of various task forces on such far-reaching issues as biotechnology and air quality. Myers has also been involved in international trade programs.As general manager of Threemile Canyon Farms near Boardman, Myers overseas a large dairy operation as well as potato and organic vegetable production.A fifth-generation Oregonian born and raised in McMinnville, Myers’ parents were educators. Picking berries and green beans as a youth introduced him to agriculture. In high school, he had a weekend job on a farm. In college, he majored in business at Oregon State University. Myers worked as a CPA and in the oil industry before becoming Chief Financial Officer at Agripac– an agricultural co-op that was once the largest food processor in the Willamette Valley. Eventually, he joined the RD Offutt Company, which purchased Threemile Canyon Farms.Threemile Canyon produces about 2 million pounds of milk a day that supplies the nearby cheesemaking plant. Manure from the animals is processed by an anaerobic digester that produces electricity. The byproduct is used to fertilize the field crops. Myers is proud of the state-of-the-art operation and its sustainable production. Organic farming efforts have created value out of what some dairymen think is a waste product but Myers says is a valuable fertilizer for organic farming.A direct descendant of an original Oregon Trail pioneer family that settled in Eastern Oregon, Marty Myers is anxious to be involved in a board that represents all of Oregon agriculture.
Tyson Raymond considers himself a family farmer who goes to work everyday to do something he loves. Despite his youthfulness, Raymond brings a lot of real world experience to the board.
Raymond grew up on the family farm near Helix in Umatilla County and attended Willamette University, where he got his bachelor’s degree in biology. With an eye on medical school and a job at Oregon Health Sciences University, Raymond was lured back to the farm life and manages the family's wheat operation. The farm is home to Raymond, his wife Kate, young boys Uriah and Malachi, Raymond’s parents, grandparents, and brother and his family.
Raymond has served as a past president of the Oregon Wheat Growers League.
Raymond has been a familiar faces discussing key issues affecting the Columbia Basin and the wheat industry. From testifying at the State Capitol on legislation that would increase irrigation water to speaking on behalf of wheat growers affected by the 2013 discovery of genetically modified wheat in Eastern Oregon, Raymond has effectively articulated key messages that need to be heard. Raymond also looks forward to helping urban Oregonians and legislators learn more about the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy and environment.
But the greatest joy to Tyson Raymond is a return to the farm after going out of town for a few days. As he told the Capital Press newspaper in 2013, “At the end of the day, there is no better place in the world to raise a family than right here, at the end of a two-mile long, dead-end road.”
Term Expires: 08/22/2020First term
Quarterly update from the Board of Agriculture Oregon Ag Briefing - Winter 2017
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The biennial report of the agriculture industry by the Board of Agriculture Board of Agriculture report