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Which Farmer should you Believe?

4 Nov

I have many people come up to me and say, “I vote with farmers.” Which is great, with all that we do for Oregon’s economy, with all that agriculture provides, it’s no wonder that people appreciate the direction that we want legislation and political races to go.  So what happens when there are conflicting farmers out there.  Unfortunately in Oregon this happens a lot more than I care to admit.  Many times it’s not as public as campaign commercials running back to back, usually it’s done more in the halls of the legislature.

But this year, Measure 97 has once again, brought farmer vs. farmer to confuse and perhaps persuade a certain direction.  I will say here that it’s no surprise to anyone my stance on Measure 97, I’m a NO vote, and I urge you be be as well.  Below is my commercial giving a very short and very small piece of the puzzle of why I believe so strongly that this is not the right sales tax for our state.

But then, you may see another ad, one with a farmer named Don Schoen.

He appears to be a hazelnut farmer by all camera angles provided.  A good friend of mine and fellow agvocate, Anna Scharf did a little researching however and we found some interesting information.  Information that even Mr. Schoen might be interested to read…here are Anna’s findings…

Farmer Don Schoen a farmer from Hillsboro who has about 3,600 hazelnut trees is quoted on the save Helvetia website as saying “My farm is smack-dab in the middle of the proposed urban reserves….. We export about 35% of our crop – the rest is bought by local companies, such as Burgerville, for their hazelnut milkshakes and Oregon Bread, for their hazelnut bread.  I need the certainty of rural reserves in order to continue to invest in a long-term crop like hazelnuts.” (Source-

When Mr. Schoen is advocating for a Yes vote on Measure 97, maybe he should remember that it is NOT just “out of state big business (Monsanto and Wells Fargo)” that will pay; it is also Burgerville who will be TAXED on their gross sales. “All Burgerville locations are within an 80-mile (129-km) radius, mostly in the Portland metropolitan area, and the chain had annual revenue of around $75 million in 2010” (source – Wikipedia). Their “fair 2.5% TAX” would be ~$1.875M.  Oregon Bread (which is produced by Franz Bakery), which Mr. Schoen states also purchases his hazelnuts, is a fourth generation, family-owned baking company based in Portland, OR since 1906.  They are also considered a “Big business” that will be forced to pay their “fair 2.5% TAX” on their over $25M in annual sales. Where will Burgerville and Oregon Bread come up with the money? Consumers of course! Measure 97 the hidden sales tax on consumers!
Get the facts, get educated and VOTE NO on Measure 97

So there you go…farmer vs. farmer, but I’m hoping that you all will vote with this farmer and many others across the state and say NO to Measure 97!!



Photo Friday…Fkr or Frk…what?

19 Feb

Some of you may know the outcome of the minimum wage issue in Oregon (bill to increase the wage passed the House), some of you may care and some of you may not.  But for me, as a business owner and Oregonian, this is so annoying frustrating infuriating…unbelievable.  I could go on and on about how unions pushed this bill, how Democrats voted yea even though they admitted it was a bad bill for Oregon, or how protesters stormed the House floor even when they were getting what they wanted (because it still wasn’t enough).   But I don’t have the energy for a post about that today, I’m too tired with real life, real work, and dealing with real issues that fall on deaf ears at Legislature.  So instead I’m going to share this ridiculous photo, that I just noticed after looking at it on my desk for almost two years.

12735962_10100856612104379_775917461_nCan you see the mistake?  I always joke that I don’t know how to say my last name correctly…apparently I also don’t spell it correctly.  Happy Friday!

Sincerely, Brenda Frketich

NO to Raising Oregon’s Minimum Wage

15 Feb

12695324_10153364784806146_364154184_o (2)This afternoon a bill to increase Oregon’s minimum wage will be heard in a committee in the House of Representatives.  While I won’t be there in person to testify, I have submitted testimony with my thoughts on why I don’t want the minimum wage to increase.  You can read my full testimony below.  If you agree with my thoughts on this issue, please don’t hesitate and contact your representatives today!  They need to hear from the business community, they need to hear from seniors, they need to hear from us in the middle class, that we don’t want what will inevitably be an increase to our cost of living.

My name is Brenda Frketich and I’m a third generation farmer from St. Paul. We raise grass seed, hazelnuts, wheat, clover, vegetables and vegetable seed on our 1000 acre sustainable farm. I employ anywhere from 4 to 10 employees throughout the year, depending on the time of year.

As a business owner and an employer I am against the raising of minimum wage in Oregon. I am against this for a number of reasons and not one of them is because I just don’t want to pay more for labor. I would love to pay my workers more, I would love to run a business where I didn’t worry about our bottom line at the end of every day. But that’s not the world that my business runs in, it’s a world where you have to watch your bottom line constantly and the call to the banker can be one rain storm away from a disaster. As farmers we run a risky business, but we do it the best we know how and with tools that we hope will work. We have run a good business in this state for three generations and I don’t plan to be the last. Which is why I am writing you testimony today in opposition of the raising of minimum wage. Below I have spelled out my three main reasons I believe it should stay where it is currently.

First of all we already have a high minimum wage; the third highest to be exact in the United States, which is currently $9.25.  The third highest minimum wage, while at the same time ranking 30th in unemployment.  I don’t think that a correlation can be made with better jobs, more jobs, and a better economy linked to just paying entry level workers a higher wage.  Minimum wage is just that, a minimum for starting out, not to be confused with a living wage. These are two separate issues that are being muddied together. People make choices every day for where they want to work, what type of industry they wish to be in, and as legislators you should be working to make sure that options are available for them. Not falsifying middle level income jobs that are really just entry level. Because there is a need for entry level positions, they serve a purpose and you would be doing dis service to those who do need those jobs. For instance, high school kids.

Our farm in particular has always tried to take an active role in the youth of our community.  Hiring many high school aged workers during the summer.  We do this more as a favor to them, to help them earn money for college, let them learn about the farm, how to keep a job, and the responsibilities that entails.  I know that we aren’t the only business in Oregon that takes pride in the attention that we pay to high schoolers that might not otherwise have any work experience.  But I am afraid that situations like this, will be hard to find if the cost of that worker is dramatically increasing in the years to come.  It is just too high for businesses to absorb.

So where will this increase in pay come from? Because businesses, or at least a vast majority of them aren’t running on profits that justify such an exorbitant increase in wages. There is no giant pot of money sitting around on our farm just waiting to be dipped into to pay for this pay increase.  For many businesses in fact I believe and fear that the increase pay for entry level employees will take away from current employees, even those in the middle level of employment.  The money will inevitably come from reduced hiring tactics, decreased benefits for current employees, and even cuts in bonus pay or yearly wage increases. This isn’t just putting businesses in Oregon in a bad situation, it’s putting all employees at all levels in a bad position.

In the end, this isn’t a good fit for Oregon.  What we need to do in this state is focus more on working with businesses, to make them more successful and that will in turn create more jobs and more importantly create more middle level jobs.  I don’t think that falsely “creating” jobs at the middle level will do anything but harm businesses here in this state.  Instead it will increase the cost of living, hurting those very people you are trying so hard to protect and lift up.  The economics have to add up, and in this case they don’t at all.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this very important issue to our state. And please do with is right for Oregonians by voting no to this hasty measure.

Brenda Frketich

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