Farm Bureau stands up for ag at the Capitol

February 3, 2016

FarmCrushPiclA 30%+ minimum wage increase. A paid sick leave law that’s unworkable for farmers. Legislation that would increase fuel and energy costs. Bills that would allow a patchwork of local ag regulations.

Put them together and it’s a harrowing game of FarmCrush where Oregon farmers and ranchers are the big losers. Tell legislators not to play FarmCursh and help OFB explain the cumulative effect that more and more expensive regulations will have on Oregon agriculture.

See the Don’t Play #FarmCrush video – and share it online!

Download the FarmCrush handout – and give it to your legislators!

On February 1, the first day of the 2016 Oregon Short Legislative Session, Farm Bureau members were given a rundown of these “FarmCrushing” bills and were urged to share Oregon agriculture’s perspective with lawmakers.

About 50 Farm Bureau members from all parts of the state attended a legislative workshop at the Capitol, organized by the OFB Women’s Advisory Council.

The group was visited by Oregon Governor Kate Brown who said her top priorities for the session were water, housing — and increasing the minimum wage.

small“A minimum wage increase would pose an extreme hardship on tree fruit farmers who use a lot of hand labor,” said Mike McCarthy, member of Hood River County Farm Bureau, who raises pears, apples, and cherries. “If the minimum wage goes up $3 or $4, we’ll have to pay all of our employees that much more, not just entry-level workers.

“The average farm that raises fruit in Hood River County is about 65 acres,” McCarthy said. “I estimate that a minimum wage increase of $3 will cost these farms about $90,000 more a year. A lot of family farms in Hood River won’t be able to handle that, and they’ll be forced out of business.”

Jed Hassinger, president of Union County Farm Bureau and grower of mint, alfalfa hay, grass seed, and wheat, expressed concern about bills that would establish a cap-and-dividends program for carbon emissions and increase the price of electricity for ratepayers. Farm Bureau points to the cumulative effect these policies will have on rural Oregonians, who will already be paying increased fuel costs due to passage of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in 2015. Additionally, Oregon already has one of the lowest-carbon economies in the country.

“The carbon emissions bills would increase the costs of any type of farm that uses fuel,” said Hassinger. “The agriculture sector can’t just pass along increased costs like that to our customers the way other businesses can. These bills would make it difficult for Oregon farms and ranches to survive.”

Farm Bureau members at the legislative workshop had the opportunity to share these and other concerns to lawmakers. OFB thanks the legislators who took the time to discuss issues with members: Senator Chuck Thomsen, Senator Ginny Burdick, Senator Richard Devlin, Rep. Val Hoyle, Rep. John Davis, and Rep. Susan McLain, along with Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Dept. of Agriculture Director Katy Coba.

See photos from WAC’s Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol

So what can YOU do?

> Make a commitment to respond to OFB Action Alerts this session. We need all the support we can get! Sign up for emailed Action Alerts and the OFB Legislative Bulletin by sending a request to annemarie@oregonfb.org.

Click here to see OFB’s 2016 Legislative Agenda

Click here to see current OFB Action Alerts

Share the Don’t Play #FarmCrush video!

Get the FarmCrush handout – and share it with your legislators!

Story by Anne Marie Moss, OFB Communications Director
annemarie@oregonfb.org, 503.399.1701

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* Note to Editors: “Farm Bureau” is a registered trademark; please capitalize in all cases

The state’s largest general farm organization, Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) is a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing the interests of the state’s family farmers and ranchers in the public and policymaking arenas.

First established in Oregon in 1919, Farm Bureau is organized in all 36 counties and has 7,500 member families that are professionally engaged in agriculture. Barry Bushue, an east Multnomah County berry and nursery stock producer, is OFB’s 15th president.

OFB website: www.oregonfb.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ofbinfo
Twitter: www.twitter.com/OreFarmBureau

 

Barry Bushue thanks supporters & congratulates new AFBF president

January 12, 2016

“I am so honored and humbled by the support given to me in this race. Support from family, friends, Farm Bureaus in Oregon and literally across the country. To my Oregon friends and colleagues, I can’t possibly adequately communicate the depth of my appreciation for all your encouragement, help, and support. I thank you all for that support.

I thank Bob Stallman for his transformational leadership at AFBF over the last 16 years. Today the delegate body had a choice among four dedicated, capable, passionate Farm Bureau leaders for their next president. We entered the race as friends, and we continue that friendship now that the members have made their choice. We will all be better leaders through the experiences gained in this campaign.

I congratulate Zippy Duvall on his election and wish him every success as American Farm Bureau President.”

-Barry Bushue
Oregon Farm Bureau President

Coos-Curry County Farm Bureau’s Sharon Waterman elected OFB 2nd VP

January 5, 2016

SharonWaterman

Sharon Waterman of Coos-Curry County Farm Bureau was elected as Oregon Farm Bureau 2nd Vice President by the OFB House of Delegates, a grassroots body comprised of family farmers and ranchers, during the 83rd OFB Annual Meeting in Sunriver, Dec. 8-10, 2015.

As OFB 2nd Vice President, Waterman will focus on national legislative activities for the organization.

“Sharon has served on the OFB Board of Directors for over 15 years and has done award-winning work as a determined, tenacious advocate for family farmers and ranchers in Southern Oregon,” said OFB President Barry Bushue. “Sharon will do a great job as 2nd vice president for Oregon Farm Bureau.”

“My goals are to enhance the level of activity of the volunteer-led OFB Governmental Affairs Committee, promote more Farm Bureau member contact with Congressional leadership, listen to the membership on issues impacting agriculture operations, and carry out the duties as determined by the OFB president and board of directors,” said Waterman. “I am looking forward to working with both OFB and American Farm Bureau staff and getting more engaged in the many federal and state issues directly impacting Oregon agriculture.”

Waterman is the third generation of her family to work in agriculture. She raises cows, calves, sheep, hay, and timber with her husband Charlie in Bandon.

PHOTO CAPTION: Sharon Waterman was elected as 2nd Vice President of Oregon Farm Bureau during the 83rd OFB Annual Meeting in Sunriver, Dec. 8-10, 2015. She is shown here with her husband Charlie.

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Polk County’s Don Schellenberg Inducted Into Farm Bureau Hall of Fame

January 5, 2016

DonSchellenberg

Don Schellenberg, former OFB staffer and member of Polk County Farm Bureau, was inducted into the Oregon Farm Bureau Hall of Fame by OFB President Barry Bushue and OFB Executive Vice President Dave Dillon during the 83rd OFB Annual Meeting in Sunriver, Dec. 8-10, 2015.

The Hall of Fame, established in 1996, is the highest award given by Oregon Farm Bureau. To be eligible, candidates must be nominated by their county Farm Bureau and must have at least 35 years of active involvement in the organization. Inductees are selected by the OFB Membership & Recognition Committee. Schellenberg is the 29th Farm Bureau member to be added to the OFB Hall of Fame.

“This year’s nominee comes with a record of service that far exceeds 35 years,” said OFB President Barry Bushue. “Don joined Farm Bureau in the late 1960s and wasted no time making an impact, winning the Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet in 1968.”

In his work as a Farm Bureau voting delegate and member of the OFB volunteer-led Tax Committee, Schellenberg was instrumental in Farm Bureau’s work on a range of key tax policies that help agriculture, including the establishment of farm use assessment rates for property taxes. He also served on the OFB Land Use Committee when Oregon’s landmark land-use planning system was adopted.

“Don served three terms as Polk County Farm Bureau president, and at one point, produced a hand-written newsletter for his county,” said Bushue.

In 1970, Schellenberg started his own farm with 30 acres of prunes. Over the years, he built that operation into 300 acres of grain, prunes, sheep, and wheat.

In 1980, his Farm Bureau service began a new phase as he joined the OFB staff as a lobbyist, a post he held for over 28 years. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-serving staff member in OFB history. During his time at OFB, he traveled to Kyrgyzstan to help farmers there organize their own farmer-run organization.

“Being inducted into the OFB Hall of Fame is a culmination of a fantastic, fabulous life in Farm Bureau,” said Schellenberg. “I got to farm in my whole life and also got to work for the greatest farm organization there is.

“Farm Bureau’s members are the heart of the organization — and the democratic, grassroots policy development process is its soul. Those two things make Farm Bureau the best agriculture organization in Oregon,” said Schellenberg.

Since retiring from OFB in 2008, Schellenberg once again serves on Polk County Farm Bureau’s board of directors. He also resumed the county newsletter writing in 2013 — but this time, he uses a computer.

“As a staff member and volunteer leader, Don has been involved in countless tax, labor, and land-use issues that affect nearly every Farm Bureau member,” said Bushue. “He also chaired the Century Farm & Ranch Committee, and always brought a farmer’s perspective to his work and advocacy through Oregon Farm Bureau.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Polk County Farm Bureau’s Don Schellenberg (middle) was inducted into the Oregon Farm Bureau Hall of Fame by OFB President Barry Bushue (right) and OFB Executive Vice President Dave Dillon (left) during the 83rd OFB Annual Meeting in Sunriver, Dec. 8-10, 2015.

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Washington County’s Edmund Duyck receives Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award

January 5, 2016

EdmundDuyck

Edmund Duyck, president of Washington County Farm Bureau, was honored with an Oregon Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award by OFB President Barry Bushue and OFB Executive Vice President Dave Dillon during the 83rd OFB Annual Meeting in Sunriver, Dec. 8-10, 2015.

“The Distinguished Service Award is meant to recognize outstanding service to Farm Bureau and to Oregon agriculture,” said OFB President Barry Bushue. “This year’s honoree, Edmund Duyck, is no stranger to anyone who has been active in Farm Bureau over the last 55 years. That’s how long he’s been a member. He’s also been a farmer for over 70 years in Washington County.”

Inducted into the OFB Hall of Fame in 2005, Duyck completed his seventh year over two terms as county Farm Bureau president in 2015, a record for Washington County. He has served on his county Farm Bureau board for 45 years and on the OFB Board of Directors for 16 years.

“It’s very rewarding and humbling to receive recognition for your efforts,” said Duyck. “I certainly didn’t do it on my own. Farm Bureau members work together to reach our goals and we all benefit.”

On his multi-generational farm in Washington County, Duyck raises sweet corn, wheat, and other crops.

PHOTO: Edmund Duyck (middle), president of Washington County Farm Bureau, was honored with an Oregon Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award by OFB President Barry Bushue (right) and OFB Executive Vice President Dave Dillon (left) during the 83rd OFB Annual Meeting in Sunriver, Dec. 8-10, 2015.

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