We offer a heartfelt thanks to the more than 200 Farm Bureau members who traveled from all parts of the state to attend the 84th OFB Annual Meeting, Dec. 6-8 at the Salem Convention Center.
Volunteer leaders were honored, experts shared useful knowledge in a variety of workshops, the grassroots House of Delegates conducted its important work on OFB Policy, officer elections took place, and laughter, food, and fellowship were shared among members of the extended Farm Bureau family.
While there were many highlights, the awards presented to Farm Bureau members for outstanding achievement were particularly memorable.
At the OFB Annual Banquet on Dec. 8, two Farm Bureau leaders were inducted into the Hall of Fame, OFB’s highest honor. Inductees must have at least 35 years of active Farm Bureau membership; have demonstrated extraordinary levels of leadership and dedication to Farm Bureau at the county, state, and/or national level; and have demonstrably furthered the goals of the organization and made a positive impact on Oregon agriculture as a whole.
The first OFB Hall of Fame inductee was Dalton Straus of Jackson County. In particular, Dalton’s work on the critical issues of animal health, water, and land use have been forever impacted for the benefit of all Oregon farmers and ranchers because of his tireless, effective advocacy.
The second OFB Hall of Fame inductee was Dave Cruickshank of Yamhill County. Besides his decades of service to Farm Bureau, Dave is an active leader in conservation practices, land use policy, farmland protection, and the preservation of Oregon’s rich rural history and culture.
Two Distinguished Service Awards were given to recognize outstanding leadership, unwavering dedication, and selfless service to Farm Bureau.
The first went to Fred and Marilou Wiebe of Coos-Curry County Farm Bureau. Fred served many years as county president and on the board of directors, while Marilou was an award-winning secretary/treasurer. Both are to thank for countless well-run Farm Bureau meetings, projects, and events, as well as more than a few new members.
The second Distinguished Service Award went to Bob Dettwyler of Marion County. Bob joined Farm Bureau in 1990, and within a year was elected to the county board, where he still serves today. He and his wife Gail are stalwart, active supporters of Farm Bureau events and activities in Marion County.
The Top Hand Award was given to Kevin Richards of Jefferson County for his leadership at the county level on many critical ag issues — including the spotted frog, No on Measure 97, and GMOs — as well as for his excellent work to connect local students with production agriculture.
The new County Farm Bureau Action Award went to Marion County Farm Bureau for its annual, always-successful ag tours for legislators, which highlight the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy and help build relationships between farmers and elected officials. County President John Zielinski and Genoa Ingram accepted the award from Mike Dillard, OFB Membership & Recognition Committee chair.
The Service to Agriculture Award was given to Tillamook County dairy farmer Chad Allen, known for his ability to foster collaborative solutions to complex ag issues by bringing diverse stakeholders together. Most recently, he worked with Farm Bureau and state officials to champion Senate Bill 1517, which makes Tillamook County a pilot project for requiring community input on new wetland development projects by the state.
Two County Farm Bureau Service Awards were presented. The first went to Roger Collis of Douglas County, who guided the organization through pivotal financial decisions during a critical time. His work created a lasting legacy of solvency, which allows Douglas County Farm Bureau to offer generous scholarships to this day.
The second County Farm Bureau Service Award went to outgoing OFB Board member Dean McAllister of Wasco County. Dean’s efforts on representing farmers’ interests in regard to land acquisition by the state resulted in a whole range of ODF&W agreements around access to neighboring easements, signage, and more. He was also an active advocate in the No on 97 campaign.
The County Farm Bureau Woman Award went to Jeana Hall, president of Malheur County Farm Bureau, for extraordinary work and dedication. Most recently, Jeana has been a vocal leader within the Owyhee Basin Stewardship Coalition, fighting a potential national monument that would impact the livelihood of local ranch families. The award was presented by OFB Women’s Advisory Council Chair Mickey Killingsworth.
The OFB President’s Award was presented to Doug Hoffman, CEO of Wilco, for years of leadership within Oregon agriculture and abroad, his support of the No on Measure 97 campaign, and his work connecting the non-farm public with their rural neighbors.
A special OFB award of thanks was presented to Ron Anglin, who recently retired from the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, for his years of service to Oregon’s farm and ranch families on wildlife issues.
The Outstanding County Farm Bureau Secretary Award went to Rita Piercy of Malheur County, who has steadfastly kept her county organized, efficient, and on course for an impressive 30 years.
Kathy Hadley of the OFB Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee earned the prestigious Oregon YF&R Achievement Award for successful management and growth of her family farm, leadership in YF&R and Farm Bureau, and outreach about ag to the general public. She will represent Oregon in the national Achievement Award competition during the 2017 American Farm Bureau Convention in January.
Bryan Schmidt of Yamhill County will represent Oregon at the national YF&R Discussion Meet during the 2017 AFBF Convention. He was one of four young farmers who participated in a lively mock discussion meet during the OFB Annual Meeting.
Farm Bureau’s 30-year partnership with COUNTRY Financial was celebrated; OFB EVP Dave Dillon honored COUNTRY Agency Vice President Tim Harris with a special award recognizing the two stand-up organizations united to serve members and meet their needs.
OFB President Barry Bushue received a special award from the Owyhee Basin Stewardship Coalition for his support of and effort in the fight against a national monument designation, which would hurt the local rural community.
Congratulations to all honorees!