State Board of Agriculture
During the 2005 legislative session, Oregon’s State Board of Agriculture redefined their role. The legislative assembly recognized that agriculture is an important component of Oregon’s economy and that sustainability of our state’s natural resources greatly affects the well being of all residents.
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The legislature redefined the role of the board to read as follows:
“The State Board of Agriculture shall advise the State Department of Agriculture regarding the implementation, administration and enforcement of department programs and the development of department policies designed to positively affect the agricultural industry in this state, including but not limited to programs and policies to:
(a) Address the continuing changes and adjustments in agricultural industries.
(b) Foster the natural resources of the state to provide ample opportunities for productive and beneficial agricultural enterprise.
(c) Guide the department in ensuring the viability of the agricultural industry in this state.”
The State Board of Agriculture is now also required to submit a report on a biennial basis to the governor and legislative assembly regarding the status of the agricultural industry in the state.
The State Board of Agriculture is composed of ten members. Oregon’s governor appoints nine of the board members; the chair of Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Commission serves as the tenth member. The director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the dean of the College of Agriculture at Oregon State University, serve as ex-officio members.
State law requires seven of the appointed board members be actively engaged in the production of agricultural commodities and that the governor seek to ensure that these members reflect the diverse nature of agricultural commodity production within Oregon. Two board members shall be appointed who are not actively involved in the agricultural industry to be representatives of the public interests.
Board members can be contacted through the Oregon Department of Agriculture, 635 Capitol Street NE, Salem OR, 97301-2532, 503-986-4552.
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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 and is involved in community supported agriculture and the local farmers’ market. Boyer 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.
“I thought I would be raising nursery stock my whole life until I fell in love with a farmer,” laughs Boyer, who married Tom and became part of a hay growing operation outside of McMinnville. “I quickly learned that Oregon is where I belong. It’s such a beautiful state.”
Barbara and Tom took over the family farm’s operations in 1999 and created two businesses– 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.
“With our hay operation, we only deliver within a 50 mile radius of our home,” she says. “It’s the locals that have taken care of us, so we feel like we are paying them back.”
Twelve years ago, Boyer co-founded the McMinnville Farmers’ Market.
“We are in a county deeply rooted in agriculture, but didn’t have a farmers’ market to showcase what we produce. I got turned down initially, but then found the right people to help with funding. We started with just seven vendors, now we have 56.”
In 2004, Stan Christensen, who had been a director with the Yamhill County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) 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.
“Those were very large shoes to fill, but I had Stan to bounce things off of– he was my mentor,” says Boyer.
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, in Boyer’s opinion.
“Ag water quality and land use are large issues right now,” says Boyer. “To be successful, the board needs to be a good listener. We need to hear from all sectors of agriculture.”
For now, Boyer plans to listen closely, especially when other board members are speaking.
“I normally like to be quiet for awhile to earn the respect of the board and understand the opinions of others," she says. "However, one member told me this is not the time for being quiet, at least not on this board.”
So don’t be surprised to see Barbara Boyer take part in the discussions, early and often. After all, involvement is one of her specialties.
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First term - Serving 8/31/2012 to 9/1/2016
When Pete Brentano was asked to apply for a vacant position on the State Board of Agriculture, he really had to think about it. He was flattered and excited about the opportunity to serve on behalf of all agriculture, but how would it fit into his busy schedule? In addition to managing a very successful but time-consuming nursery operation in St. Paul, Brentano is a 4-H club leader, a volunteer fireman, a member of the St. Paul Rodeo Association, his 12-year old son’s basketball coach, and involved in a number of other community activities.
“But I looked at serving on the board as a chance for me to get outside the nursery and learn what is going on in other sectors of Oregon agriculture,” says Brentano. “It’s such a big, diverse part of Oregon. In our family farming operation, the nursery is contained on one piece of property even though we farm from nearly Newberg to Woodburn. I call the nursery my cubicle because I hardly get off that piece of ground. So I’m happy to be part of the board. I think there’s a lot I can bring to the group but also know there’s a lot the board will give to me.”
Pete 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 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.
“About the time I graduated, the family held a meeting to discuss the future of the nursery operation,” he says. “We had to decide if we were really serious about getting into the business or should just get out of it. I decided to operate the nursery. We started with shade and flowering trees. The first couple of years, there was a glut of product on the market. It certainly wasn’t a flash start for us even though the nursery industry was doing pretty well as a whole.”
But 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 will help him with the State Board of Agriculture.
“I’ve learned a lot about how to look at different aspects of an issue, to realize there are different sides and to always consider how other people view the situation. I’ve learned to work with people who have different opinions.”
While he is interested in all issues that are important to Oregon agriculture, one in particular he carries with him from the nursery trade.
“Adequate transportation and infrastructure is an area of interest to me, making sure agriculture continues to have a good connection with our markets,” says Brentano.
It’s also obvious that family farming is important to the Brentanos, considering the nursery is actually owned by Pete, his mom, his three brothers, and his two sisters. 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.
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First term - Serving 9/6/2013 to 9/5/2017
Former Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Director Stephanie Hallock has been familiar with some of the issues confronting agriculture, but admits her past focus was relatively narrow. The newly appointed public member of the State Board of Agriculture is excited to expand her scope of knowledge while adding her impressive skills and advocacy to the group’s overall expertise.
“Because of my time at DEQ, I have had a lot of experience in water quality, but I only knew a little bit about the amazing diversity of issues facing agriculture and the Oregon Department of Agriculture,” says Hallock. “I’m looking forward to learning about other key areas including food safety, marketing, and invasive species. It’s all very interesting.”
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 senator, 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.
“When DEQ decentralized, I requested a move to Eastern Oregon and was put in charge of all operations east of the Cascades,” says Hallock. “My husband and I lived outside of Sisters and fell in love with Eastern Oregon.”
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.
“I’m really interested in solving problems and working to get things done. When I was a state agency director, I was part of the Governor’s Natural Resources Cabinet and got to know some of ODA’s key issues. I have a real appreciation for agriculture and the challenges it faces. I hope I can help on some of the issues.”
Hallock’s style lends itself into diving right into the discussion as part of the board. She asks questions and, just as importantly, listens.
“I’m impressed at how interested and engaged everyone on the board is, regardless of the perspective they are coming from. I really get the sense that everyone is interested in all issues, not just what affects their particular industry. Board members speak openly if they have differences of opinion, but in a very supportive way. I like that.”
She also likes returning to Central Oregon whenever possible– especially now that her son, daughter-in-law, and young granddaughter live in the Bend area. For that reason, it was only appropriate that Hallock’s first Board of Ag meeting was held in Prineville.
A quick learner, a problem solver, and an experienced collaborator, Stephanie Hallock brings an impressive resume to the Board of Agriculture.
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First term - Serving 3/1/2012 to 2/28/2016
Like many other Oregon agricultural producers, farming is in Doug Krahmer's blood- and bloodlines. Born and raised on a Century Farm in Cornelius, Krahmer knew from a very early age that he wanted to make a career out of farming. What he couldn't foresee was his active involvement in agricultural organizations, including the State Board of Agriculture.
"Serving on these types of boards and other organizations in my career, I have learned leadership and the art of politics," says Krahmer.
Krahmer has experience with a number of key agricultural issues, including farm labor and land use, but he recognizes that his primary input to the board will focus on conservation of natural resources.
"There are many important challenges facing Oregon agriculture right now, but I still think our main concern has to be land and water," says Krahmer. "If we don't have adequate water and productive land, it doesn't matter what else is going on, you aren't going to farm. Water availability in eastern Oregon tends to be threatened and in the Willamette Valley, you have to be vigilant about protecting our best farmland from development. My dad was active in soil and water conservation districts. He said if you want to do some good, get active in the districts. He was right."
After graduating from Hillsboro High School in 1974, Doug Krahmer attended Oregon State University for two years before returning home to help his father with the farm. The only question he had at that point was what he would grow once he was in charge of his own operation. One commodity that caught his attention was blueberries.
"My father-in-law had 35 acres of blueberries and did really well," says Krahmer. "I penciled out the numbers and decided that is what I would like to grow."
Over the years, Blue Horizon Farms, Inc., which Krahmer co-owns, has added a number of leased fields to go along with acreage it owns. While the Krahmer home and farm headquarters are near St. Paul in Marion County, the operation involves farming in five counties from Clatskanie to east of Springfield in Lane County. The operation produces 300 acres of blueberries and blackcaps, 100 acres of tall fescue, 30 acres of hazelnuts, along with clover, wheat, and flower seed. Krahmer's wife Patti grows and markets cut flowers that are sold at various markets and through the internet. Three of their children are grown and on their own, a fourth is still in college.
Active in the past at the county, state, and American farm bureau level, Doug Krahmer also serves as chair of the Oregon Blueberry Commission and is a alternate member of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
So far, Krahmer has been impressed with his colleagues.
"This board gets things done," he says. "Some groups have difficulty staying focused and on task, but the professionalism of the board comes through when you see it at work."
Krahmer is happy to be part of it all, and hopes to contribute not only with his expertise on soil and water conservation issues, but all issues important to a diverse and important agriculture industry in Oregon.
Doug is the co-owner of Blue Horizon Farms, Inc. based out of St. Paul, Oregon. They grow blueberries, blackcaps, cut flowers, wheat, clover, hazelnuts and flower seed.
He has represented Zone 1 on the Marion Soil and Water Conservation District board of directors since 2000, and currently serves as chair. He is also active in Marion County Farm Bureau as a board member, and in Oregon Farm Bureau as a Labor Advisory Committee member. In August of 2004, Doug was appointed to represent the Lower Willamette Valley on the Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Commission and was elected chair of that group in August of 2005.
Doug and his wife Patti have four children, two grown and two attending college.
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First term - Serving 4/21/2010 to 4/20/2014
Attending his first meeting, the newest member of the State Board of Agriculture got a hefty assignment right off the bat. Tracey Liskey, a third-generation diversified farmer in the Klamath Basin, was asked to arrange a tour for the board and assemble of panel of local residents affected by this year’s drought and water curtailment in the area. While not exactly a cheerful topic, Liskey and his neighbors provided a detailed and personal account of the challenge facing Klamath irrigators in an area where there is rarely enough water to go around. Liskey has been one of the key voices in the discussion and search for a long-term solution in the basin.
“Everybody’s got to work for a common goal of getting everyone through this instead of saying ‘I’ve got mine and nobody else gets theirs,’” says Liskey. “Hopefully we can still come through this challenge together—agriculture, local business, fish and wildlife interests, and everyone else in the community. It’s going to be tough, but we must do it.”
Liskey hopes to contribute to the board from the perspective of Klamath Basin producers, demonstrating how local agriculture has tried to move forward in positive ways. 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. Despite being busy on the farm, 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. His willingness to take 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 protect 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.
He comes to the Board of Agriculture in particularly trying times.
“ODA’s budget is sure to be a major issue for us,” says Liskey. “There are land use issues and so many other things hitting agriculture right now, it’s hard to even keep farming or having the will to farm. But we have to stay positive and keep going.”
He says the board is great body of people with good intentions. He’s looking forward to the hard work ahead, but also says it will be fun.
“I know we’ll do the best we can,” says Liskey. For him, that’s been a successful formula for years
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First term - Serving 8/31/2012 to 8/31/2016
Oregon's agricultural history is rich with strong leaders who have sustained a way of life that predates statehood. Many of them have come from the cattle industry—a tough living that requires hard work and optimism. No one exemplifies the tireless efforts to help all of agriculture more than Sharon Livingston. When it comes to sticking up for Oregon’s farmers and ranchers, Sharon is always there. Now she has brought her time and talents to the Board of Agriculture.
"Oregon can be proud of its agricultural community and I am absolutely delighted with my appointment to the Board of Agriculture," says Livingston. "I look forward to working with other members representing a broad spectrum of the production community."
Sharon'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. Sharon 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.
"Agriculture, beef production, and education have been my life since I was a child," says Livingston. "I have been privileged to work with innovators in all those fields."
Sharon 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. No matter how long a drive it takes, she is one of the first to show up at important hearings and meetings, ready to deliver valuable testimony designed to help Oregon’s ag industry. Her staunch defense of farmers and ranchers has earned the respect and gratitude of the industry.
But there is no doubt that the cow-calf ranch that she still runs with her oldest son 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 will play well as part of the Board of Agriculture.
"It will be my pleasure to work to keep Oregon at the forefront of food production, so vital to our economy and to the welfare of those who benefit from procuring our safe and nutritious products."
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First term - Serving 10/31/2010 to 10/31/2014
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, appointed in the fall of 2010 to the State Board of Agriculture. Despite a background that suggests she has taken a different path, Laura believes there are some strong common bonds that tie her to everyone else in agriculture.
"Within any group, you can look for differences and focus on them," she says. "To me, that doesn't feel like the most effective way to get things done. I like to focus on those things we all have in common."
As an urban farmer operating the 47th Avenue Farm in Southeast Portland since 1994, Laura 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 will be helpful as the Board of Agriculture specifically deals with those items.
"I know I'm the first board member in a long time who is considered a small, organic farmer," says Masterson. "I'm definitely there to represent a sector of Oregon agriculture. But one of the things I like about the board and other ag groups is that it feels very cooperative."
Growing up in California- regretfully not on a farm- Laura 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 Laura 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. Laura 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.
She has always farmed just inside or on the edge of urban areas. That has led to her interest and involvement in land use. Though part of her role is to communicate her sector's concerns and issues to the rest of the Board of Agriculture, she feels it's equally important to communicate the other direction.
"I wanted to know, how do we protect farm land in the metro area?," she asked. "A lot of urban folks see land use as an issue that happens on the edge and don't see how it directly relates to where their food comes from. As a board member, I can keep that constituency informed and actively involved in helping protect farmland."
Working directly with other folks involved in community supported agriculture and with the restaurants that buy her produce, Laura hopes to bridge the urban-rural gap through mutual understanding and appreciation.
"I'd like to see what new groups we can bring to the table in the effort to protect farmland and other important issues to agriculture," she says. "There are lots of opportunities for us to all work together on common issues. That's important to me. I think we can make progress for all of agriculture, whether it's for big operations or small ones."
It's a steep learning curve when it comes to understanding all the issues confronting the Board of Agriculture. But curiosity and learning is a way of life for this Reed College graduate- and Laura Masterson is a fast learner.
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First term - Serving 9/6/2013 to 9/5/2017
Managing his family’s wheat ranch in Eastern Oregon, president of the Oregon Wheat Growers League, and new member of the State Board of Agriculture. That’s quite a list of accomplishments for someone in their early 30s who initially intended to have a career in medicine. 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.
“I have learned about age diversity as a member of the Oregon Wheat League Board,” he says. “In my experience, it’s a good approach to have a combination of youthful idealism and wisdom that comes from age. Those two approaches usually make for sound decision making.”
Raymond grew up on the family farm near Helix in Umatilla County but thought he had said goodbye to rural Oregon when he graduated from high school and headed for 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, away from the big city of Portland. While his brother manages the farm’s cattle operation, Tyson Raymond has already made a name for himself handling the wheat operation. All told, the farm is home to Raymond, his wife Kate, young boys Uriah and Malachi, Raymond’s parents, grandparents, and brother and his family.
“I read all these articles about the graying of rural Oregon and how it is affecting our ability to come back from a down economy,” says Raymond. “I don’t see that. In our area, we are very young and experiencing an ag resurgence. Young, progressive, and aggressive farmers are coming back and changing the landscape. They don’t just do things because that’s the way it has always been done. They are taking a close look at management practices and asking if it’s the best way to do it. It’s a really great process to be a part of. All of this makes me look forward to where we are going in agriculture and where we will be in 10 years. There are some really bright young farmers out there doing a lot of really cool things.”
Raymond has already been one of the 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 discovery of genetically modified wheat earlier this summer in Eastern Oregon, Raymond has effectively articulated key messages that need to be heard.
“There will be times when my experience with something like GMOs might add some insight from a wheat grower’s perspective,” says Raymond. “I can tell you there is no doubt that GMO issues will be a real big topic for now and I look forward to those discussions.”
Raymond also looks forward to helping urban Oregonians and legislators learn more about the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy and environment. At the same time, Raymond is learning more about the incredible diversity of the region’s agricultural bounty. His wife is marketing manager for a Walla Walla vineyard. And then, there is the Board of Agriculture.
“It’s an eclectic group with a diverse background,” he says. “So far, it has been a great experience to discover that diversity of production and all the topics the board covers. It has been very enjoyable getting to know everyone and the perspective they bring.”
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 earlier this year, “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.”
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First term - Serving 10/31/2010 to 10/31/2014
Current president of the Oregon Beef Council. Past president of the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association. Full-time fourth-generation dairy farmer producing organic milk. That's in addition to raising a family. His plate is full but Jerome Rosa of Gervais is finding the time to take on another important activity- member of the State Board of Agriculture.
"The industry asked me to get involved with the Board of Agriculture," says Rosa. "I finished my term as ODFA president about a year and a half ago, participating in a number of meetings and discussions statewide. So it seemed like I would be the logical one to try and fill a position on the board."
Fellow dairy operator Bernie Faber just completed two terms on the board and always made it clear that members should represent more than just their own commodity. Rosa is involved with dairy and beef- two of Oregon's highest valued commodities- but plans to continue representing the entire agriculture industry.
"I think the number one issue in agriculture is something you hear a lot about, and that's the term sustainability," he says. "There are many definitions, but to me, sustainability is the ability to pay the bills as farmer or rancher. If what the Board of Agriculture is doing doesn't help our producers' long-term viability, we aren't doing enough. My main goal as a board member is to keep our producers profitable."
Rosa's great-grandfather immigrated to Tulare, California in the early 1900s. Most of the family still resides in the area. Graduating from Fresno State University with a degree in ag education, Jerome and his wife Carole moved to Oregon 22 years ago with no more than a desire to make it on their own. Her uncle had once lived in the Willamette Valley, but the Rosa's really didn't know anyone in Oregon when they arrived in the late 1980s.
"It hasn't always been easy, but I've enjoyed it," says Jerome. "We've met a lot of great people and we absolutely love Oregon. It's been the right move for us and for raising our kids."
Starting out with about 60 cows and doing everything himself, Rosa's JER-OSA Dairy has grown to a herd of about 600- half of them milking cows. In addition, the 300-acre operation includes pasture, corn, grass and clover seed. For the past decade, the dairy has been certified organic, a decision that fits Rosa's agricultural philosophy of adding value to the commodity in order to find a strong market. JER-OSA Dairy became one of Oregon's earliest producers of organic milk. Now, the state has become the second largest organic milk producer in the country.
As he applied for the board position, Rosa wrote that he "hopes to help unify conventional and organic production, therefore, aiding the sustainability of Oregon agriculture."
Rosa's impressions of his first board meeting are similar to those who have preceded him.
"There is a lot of information at these meetings presented to you rapidly on a broad spectrum of different issues," he says. "I'm not familiar with all the issues, but I'm sure to get more comfortable as time goes on. I want to get educated and up to speed so I can help the board make sound decisions."
Given that he quickly acclimated to Oregon, to organic dairy production, and to the issues facing the other organizations he's volunteered for, Jerome Rosa will be ready to contribute to the Board of Agriculture in no time.
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Second term - Serving 9/21/2011 to 9/20/2015
"The hay and straw export business is extremely competitive and quite complex," says Van Mouwerik. "At any given time, there is an issue in the supply chain or market and two more on the horizon. I've lived with this in my industry service positions for 15 years. As I come to the Board of Agriculture, I hope to contribute the relationships and the pacing to work the issues up and down the line from Oregon producer to consumer, whether domestic or foreign, private sector or public."
Having agriculture in his blood while growing up in Southern California has helped. The Van Mouwerik Family, part of the strong Dutch dairy presence in the region, operated a dairy processing and bottling plant-providing home delivery of milk to the front porches of homes in the area. Steve and his family witnessed first hand what market changes can do to an agricultural business on the edge of Los Angeles.
"The consolidation of the dairy business came with supermarkets and freeways. At the same time, our dairy acreage and orange groves were yielding to development and population growth. The completion of my college education saw also the end of our dairy herd, processing, and delivery operations."
A bachelor's degree in international relations from Lewis and Clark College and a master's in conflict analysis and peace research at the University of Pennsylvania have provided some educational background that has helped in the export business. But first, Van Mouwerik had to try his hand in the field of high tech.
Among the important issues facing the Board of Agriculture, Van Mouwerik lists foreign market access, air quality, and the impact of biofuels as those that hold particular interest to him.
"The Board members have their heads around the issues that confront producers and that confront decision makers in government. They show an ability to bring business and private sector points of view to questions that need to be addressed in a venue of public stakeholders."
Are you interested in being considered for an appointment to the Board of Agriculture? Appointments are made by the Governor for a four year term. Members may serve two terms. For more information or to access an interest form for applying to the Board of Agriculture, please go to the Governor's Web site.
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To contact the Oregon State Board of Agriculture write or call Sherry Kudna Oregon Department of Agriculture 635 Capitol St. NE Salem, OR 97301-2532 503-986-4619
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