OFB Elects New Leadership, Honors Lawmakers During Bureau Convention

It was a busy Oregon Farm Bureau Convention earlier this month as new leadership was elected, and those who help farmers across the state were honored at the 87th annual state Farm Bureau Convention.

 

Barb Iverson of Clackamas County was elected the 16th Oregon farm Bureau President on December 12th.  Iverson was elected to the position by the OFB House of Delegates, a grassroots group comprised of family farmers and ranchers representing County Farm Bureaus from across the state.

 

“Barb was elected out of a very strong pool of candidates,” said OFB Executive Vice President Dave Dillon. ”She brings over 20 years as a Farm Bureau leader to the president’s role. She also brings the knowledge and wisdom from a complex, dynamic, and forward-looking family farm operation and the many years of experience she’s gained from service to other organizations. In this era when communicating farm issues to the non-farm public is so important, Barb brings a perspective about public engagement that we haven’t had before. Her leadership style is collaborative and collegial, and she is going to be a great president as Farm Bureau starts its second century in Oregon.”

 

Iverson comes from a multigenerational family farm from Woodburn, raising industrial hemp, grass seed, squash, vetch seed, hazelnuts, wine and table grapes, and operating the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, which attracts over 160,000 visitors each year.

 

“My ultimate goal as Oregon Farm Bureau president is healthy rural communities” Iverson said.  “And to get there, we need healthy farms and ranches where the people who are immersed in the day-to-day care of their land can thrive.

 

“I trust in those who live and work on the land of this great state: our farmers and ranchers. Their vision of sustainability is in generations, both previous and future. I believe in Farm Bureau’s mission to advocate for these hard-working families,” said added.

 

Before being elected president, Iverson was serving as OFB 1st vice president. She has also served as 2nd vice president, 3rd vice president, chair of the OFB Budget Committee, board member of the Oregon Ag Education Foundation, Clackamas County Farm Bureau president, on many OFB issue advisory committees, including labor and water, and on American Farm Bureau issue advisory committees for nursery and labor policy.

 

“The people in Farm Bureau are like family. I realized with my long and diverse farming career, as well as my 30 years of involvement in the organization, running for president of Oregon Farm Bureau was challenge I wanted to take on,” said Iverson.

 

Iverson took over the role of OFB president from retiring president Sharon Waterman, a member of Coos-Curry County Farm Bureau who raises cattle, sheep, and timber in Bandon.

 

With the election of Iverson, that translated into an opening in the First Vice President roll.  OFB elected Multnomah County’s Angi Bailey into that position.

 

“Farm Bureau will benefit greatly from Angi’s extensive leadership experience within Farm Bureau, her effective communication skills, and her unwavering passion for agriculture advocacy,” said OFB Executive Vice President Dave Dillon. “We’re proud to have Angi as OFB’s First Vice President. She will do an outstanding job, as she’s already done in many ways for Farm Bureau at the county, state, and national levels.”

 

“As a fourth-generation farmer and a third-generation Multnomah County Farm Bureau member, I want to see Oregon Farm Bureau continue to be a strong, effective voice for agriculture in the public and political arenas. For decades, Farm Bureau has helped keep my family farming,” said Bailey.

 

One of Bailey’s first duties as OFB First Vice President will be to participate in the national American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) House of Delegates as one of four seated representatives from Oregon during the 2020 AFBF Convention in Austin, which takes place January 17th through the 22nd.

 

Bailey runs a family-owned nursery in Gresham specializing in Japanese maples, graduated from the prestigious AFBF Partners in Ag Leadership (PAL) in March 2019.  Only 10 farmers and ranchers are chosen nationally for this two-year program. Bailey was the first Farm Bureau member from Oregon selected to participate, graduating from the ninth class of PAL.

 

In addition to electing new leadership, the Bureau honored several state lawmakers, including Representative Shelly Boshart Davis, Senate Minority Leader Senator Herman Baertschiger Jr., state Senator Betsy Johnson, Representative Susan McLain as well as Trout Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy.

 

Shelly Boshart Davis:

Oregon State Representative Shelly Boshart Davis, member of Linn County Farm Bureau, was honored with the 2019 Oregon Farm Bureau Top Hand Award.  The OFB Top Hand Award recognizes a Farm Bureau member who has contributed an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and leadership in the furtherance of Farm Bureau’s goals during the past membership year. Candidates for this award are submitted by their County Farm Bureaus to the OFB Membership & Recognition Committee for consideration.

Said outgoing OFB President Sharon Waterman as she presented the award, “As a freshman legislator in 2019, Representative Boshart Davis engaged in nearly every policy that impacted farmers and ranchers this session, sharing an agricultural perspective and working to improve policies for Oregon’s farmers and ranchers. In her role as a legislator, she brought a proud, passionate, and powerful voice to the capitol, a voice that speaks up tirelessly for farmers, ranchers, foresters, loggers, truckers, and rural Oregonians.”

Said Representative Boshart Davis, “I ran for office to bring my knowledge of the agricultural industry to the forefront of policymaking. If we want to maintain our national and global competitiveness, it is imperative that the state government empower farmers to do what they do best: feed Americans and people around the globe all the while taking care of the land that has taken care of us. To be awarded the Top Hand Award from the Oregon Farm Bureau is an honor. If I can be part of bettering Oregon family agriculture, then I will have done my job.”

Representative Boshart Davis’s background in the transportation industry gave her leverage to work with her colleagues on a diesel bill that protects farm and ranch families and small businesses. She also worked across the aisle to negotiate pregnancy protection legislation that considers the needs of small businesses, seasonal employers, and employees. These bills are workable for farm families because of her engagement.

“Representative. Boshart Davis was also a vocal advocate for farm and ranch families in the cap-and-trade debate. She constantly brought forward her constituents’ concerns and worked closely with Farm Bureau on issues that would negatively impact our membership. Her work this session was invaluable to Oregon’s agricultural community and her level of influence was unprecedented as a freshman legislator,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

 

Herman Baertschiger Jr.

 

“Senate Minority Leader Senator Herman Baertschiger Jr. faced the unenviable challenge of leading Oregon’s Republican Senators through the tumultuous 2019 legislative session. He rose to the occasion with a grit and determination that helped steer the caucus through many tough decisions every day to protect rural Oregonians,” said outgoing OFB President Sharon Waterman.

“Senator Baertschiger showed remarkable courage and leadership in 2019, from navigating difficult politics to leading the walkout that ultimately killed HB 2020, the cap-and-trade proposal that could have crippled rural Oregon,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

“Senator Baertschiger has long been a strong supporter of Farm Bureau and rural Oregon, whether it’s speaking out against agency overreach, helping pass and stop bills important to farmers and ranchers, or leading his caucus to protect rural Oregon,” she said.

“We cannot thank Senator Baertschiger enough for his hard work and leadership in the 2019 legislative session. I am honored to present Senator Baertschiger with an award of appreciation for his courage and steadfast support of Oregon farm and ranch families,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

 

Betsy Johnson

 

The OFB honored Oregon state Senator Betsy Johnson for her dedicated, unwavering support of Oregon’s farm and ranch families.

“When it comes to legislative champions in Salem, they don’t come any stronger than Senator Betsy Johnson. Senator Johnson has been a friend of Farm Bureau for years, whether it’s helping farmers and ranchers navigate uncooperative agencies, helping stop bad bills, or moving forward critical legislation for agriculture,” said outgoing OFB President Sharon Waterman.

“In 2019, as co-chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means, Senator Johnson was able to influence several key proposals and stood strong against agency money grabs, cap and trade, and several other critical policies for farmers and ranchers,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

“Every Farm Bureau member owes Senator Johnson a debt of gratitude for her hard work. I am honored to present Senator Johnson with an award of appreciation for her unwavering courage and steadfast support of Oregon’s farm and ranch families,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

 

Susan McLain

 

Oregon Farm Bureau honored Representative Susan McLain with an award for her work on legislation critical to farm and ranch families.  OFB said Representative McLain was essential in helping get House Bill 2437, “the ditch cleaning bill,” passed by the 2019 Oregon Legislature. The legislation helps farmers more easily clean out debris from dry drainage ditches, a task that had required a very complicated, expensive permitting process. The program will roll out sometime in 2020.

“In all of Farm Bureau’s years working on legislative issues in Salem, we have rarely seen a legislator fight for a proposal they believe in like Representative Susan McLain did for HB 2437, the ditch cleaning bill that OFB worked hard to pass this session,” said outgoing OFB President Sharon Waterman.

During the 2019 state session, Representative McLain co-chaired a workgroup with Representative David Brock Smith to resolve farmers’ long-standing issues with the Department of State Lands around ditch cleaning. After learning about the issue, Rep. McLain immediately identified it as one she wanted to work on, and with Rep. Brock Smith, they spent hours helping negotiate a bill that would actually be workable for farmers and ranchers.

“When the bill faced strong opposition from a number of environmental groups, and an eventual veto threat by the governor, Rep. McLain stood strong for the agricultural community and worked hard to rally support from her colleagues for the bill. It is rare to see a legislator invest so fully in a bill they believe in and to stand strong in the face of immense opposition, even from within her own party,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

“We thank Representative McLain for fighting so hard for a workable solution to a problem that has plagued Oregon’s farmers and ranchers for decades. I am honored to present Rep. McLain with this award in appreciation of her tireless pursuit of solutions for farm and ranch families in the maintenance of their ditches,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

 

Representative David Brock Smith

 

Oregon Farm Bureau honored Representative David Brock Smith with an award for his work on legislation critical to farm and ranch families. The OFB said Representative David Brock Smith was also essential in helping get HB 2437 passed by the 2019 Oregon Legislature.

 

“As his constituent, I am honored to present Representative Brock Smith with this award in appreciation of his tireless pursuit of solutions for farm and ranch families in the maintenance of their ditches. We thank him for his hard work and devotion to Oregon agriculture,” said outgoing OFB President Sharon Waterman, who runs a ranch raising sheep, cattle, and timber in Bandon.

“Representative Brock Smith worked tirelessly for farm and ranch families on many critical rural issues this session, including cap and trade, forestry, livestock districts, and tide-gates. In the midst of all of his advocacy, he found time to work with Rep. Susan McLain and devote specific time and attention to finding the much-needed solution to ditch cleaning issues,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

Representative Brock Smith was co-chair of the workgroup that tackled this issue with Representative Susan McLain, and he spent countless hours pushing within the workgroup and with his colleagues for provisions in the bill that would help farmers and ranchers — and ensure the program would finally be functional.

“He rallied support across the aisle for the bill, met with environmental groups and others opposing the bill, and stood strong with Rep. Susan McLain and Rep. Brian Clem against the last-minute veto threat that would have undermined months of hard work and collaboration,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

 

 

Good Faith Awards

Oregon Farm Bureau honored Trout Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy with OFB Good Faith Awards.  The OFB said these groups were essential in helping get HB 2437, “the ditch cleaning bill,” passed by the 2019 Oregon Legislature.

 

“In today’s hyper-charged political climate, it is rare to find groups who will step outside the rhetoric, roll up their sleeves, and come to the table willing and ready to solve complex issues. OFB is glad to honor two groups who did just that in the 2019 legislative session with their work on House Bill 2437,” said outgoing OFB President Sharon Waterman.

 

“Trout Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy both sat on the workgroup convened by Rep. Susan McLain and Rep. David Brock Smith, and immediately recognized the issues with the state’s current approach to regulating drainage ditches on farmland. They worked hard to compromise and find solutions that would protect the environmental values their members support while also working for farmers and ranchers who had to clean their ditches,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

 

“They never simply said ‘no.’ Instead they always worked to find a real solution to this complex issue. They were honest brokers, which is something all farmers can appreciate,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

 

“We are happy to honor Chandra Ferrari from Trout Unlimited and Jena Carter from The Nature Conservancy with OFB Good Faith Awards for their cooperation in finding better approaches to the maintenance of farm ditches in 2019. We thank them for their steadfast efforts, and we look forward to continuing to work with both groups on critical natural resource issues,” said outgoing OFB President Waterman.

 

The 87th OFB Convention took place December 12th at the Salishan Resort in Gleneden Beach.

 

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