When I was in kindergarten I remember telling everyone at school that my dad was the President of the United States. I also preceded to tell everyone that I would be the first woman president. Hey if my dad can handle it, I know when I grew up I could follow in those big footsteps right?! Well little did my little 6 year old self know but my dad wasn’t the president of the United States, he was the president of our county Farm Bureau and while a very prestigious post, not really quite the same thing.
That memory always brings a smile to my face. And lately I have been thinking more and more about it as the American Farm Bureau has been working its way to a new President for the first time in 16 years.
Obviously from the story above you can see that since I was a tiny kiddo I was aware of and grew more active in Oregon Farm Bureau. It was a number of years ago that I first met Barry Bushue, Oregon’s Farm Bureau President and quickly saw a great leader and someone who always worked hard to understand the issues and look for a balance in how to deal with them. Today Barry is running for American Farm Bureau (AFBF) President. Beyond his obvious qualifications including being Vice President of AFBF since 2008, and serving on national committees for both AFBF and the USDA he has also been a tireless advocate for all Oregon agriculture. Which is not an easy job to take on.
Oregon is blessed to be a state where agriculture is very important, with its diverse growing region with over 250 different crops, it also serves the economy by proving 1 in 8 jobs. Which is all great, but it tends to foster an environment where sometimes it’s hard for all farmers to always get along. It’s one of the main challenges that we have here in Oregon, keeping farmers from going against other farmers. Whether it is organic vs. conventional, or wine grapes vs. grass seed; Barry has had to take on these challenges time and time again. His continued testimony of coexistence, while using common sense and science to bring farmers together on issues is well respected and well known. I have had the pleasure of testifying next to him in legislative committee hearings, and I always come away from those experiences proud to have Barry represent me as a farmer here in Oregon.
On the national front I think that the challenge for farmers, while diverse, is becoming more aligned as large groups aim to hurt the American farmers and the tools that we use to grow healthy and safe food, fiber and fuel for the world. Barry is no stranger to this conflict, he comes from the heart of some of the most controversial legislation and fighting that we have ever seen in agriculture.
I have no doubt that any of the four men running for AFBF President will do a good job of moving farm bureau in a well rounded way into the future. But I think that Barry has already cultivated the skills required and the thick skin necessary to lead our national policies on agriculture for all farmers!
Good luck Barry, we will all be rooting for you!! And my 6 year old self will really look up to you, I mean if a country president is equal to US President, American Farm Bureau President is basically like ruling the world!
To learn more about this great leader please visit his website: www.barrybushue.org