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OFB Goes to Washington!

This last month, Oregon Farm Bureau sent a delegation to Washington D.C. to attend the American Farm Bureau Issue Advisory Committee meetings. As they stepped onto the concrete in the National Mall, a casual bystander wouldn’t notice these OFB members traded their boots for dress shoes, their jeans for slacks – and maybe even washed the grease from their hands.


Those present consisted of several members of the Oregon Farm Bureau State Board, two County Farm Bureau Presidents, and the Executive Director of OFB, Greg Addington.


From left: Congressman Cliff Bentz, Denver Pugh, Angi Bailey, John Zielinski, Shane Otley, Greg Addington, Mike McCarthy, and Tim Deboodt

 

Outside of their regular briefings with AFBF lobbyists on issues that affect the western region, the Farm Bill, and labor, our members were able to make several visits on the hill to our U.S. Congressional Representatives. This included Congresswomen Chaves-DeRemer and Salinas, Congressman Bentz, and staff for Senator Merkley.


Chaves-DeRemer and Salinas, who both sit on the House Ag Committee, welcomed input from the group and offered a few updates on the progress of the Farm Bill which has experienced several delays throughout the past year. There is hope that it will be complete by March of this year, but an extensive focus on ag and natural resource related issues from the Biden administration, political meanderings, and a difference of opinions might continue to derail progress.


 



The group also had the privilege of meeting with several foreign agricultural attaches at their embassies – a highlight of the trip for many. Gráinne Roughan – Agriculture and Food Counselor for the Embassy of Ireland – was gracious enough to organize several visits, including staff for the Embassies of Mexico, the Philippines, and Italy. Some of these same attaches visited Oregon late last year and spent time in Salem with OFB President Angi Bailey and Oregon Farm Bureau staff to learn about the unique challenges our farmers and ranchers face.



OFB members with Gráinne Roughan (center)

 

Another highpoint came at the invitation of the Ambassador of Cuba, who expressed her desire to normalize trade relations with the United States and encouraged mutual trade

missions and educational trips for our Oregon farmers and ranchers so that our members may learn more about Cuba’s economy and agriculture.


OFB members meet with with Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera in the Cuban Embassy

 

Overall, the trip was a success and demonstrated the fantastic opportunity Oregon has to help steer our national affairs - especially as they relate to the convergence of specialty crops, natural resource issues, conservation efforts, as well as the unique challenges labor has presented the West Coast the last few years.

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