As farmers we work in seasons…and I don’t usually mean the traditional seasons that we all work around. I mean, harvest season, fertilizer season, rainy season, the all too familiar “it’s way too hot/cold season”…and then there is “meeting season.”
I tell people often that as farmers we rarely slow down. Yes while harvest might be over, and the 14 hr days seven days a week aren’t our hours for the whole year, our work never seems to end it just changes. This week for me is no different, this week traditionally marks the start of my meeting season. Which means that I go to meetings of all kinds…so here is just a taste of the week I have coming up, not much tractor time for me!
- Yesterday I got to sit in front of a computer for an online meeting to satisfy my pesticide licensing requirements.
- Today I am a speaker talking to those who aren’t in the farming business. I’ll be speaking at the Oregon Leadership Summit about the future of farming.
- Tonight is my EMT meeting for our volunteer fire department.
- Tomorrow I get to learn at a leadership conference of how to be a better farmer and employer.
- Wednesday and Thursday I get to participate in the House of Delegates to set policy for our state farm bureau.
- Not to mention an evening meeting for the Clover Commission Wednesday evening.
- Friday I get to do some of the fun stuff like be on TV to help people ear about our great grass seed industry that we have here in Oregon. Tune in to AM Northwest on Friday December 9th to see me and Jesse Rue!
- Then next week comes Oregon Seed Growers League Monday and Tuesday….I’m not kidding here folks, it never ends!
So sometimes…I look like this as a farmer, and sometimes I look not too farmer-ish.
I have to say though that these are great opportunities for us to all learn more about our industry. Whether it be a presentation on the weather, new crop protection tools, or markets around the world, it all plays into what a farmer plans for and works towards in the year to come. It’s also very fun to get to see those folks who you don’t run into very often out in a field. In the end I’m just a farmer, but the hats I wear may vary greatly from season to season, but it’s all for our farm for our land and our legacy!
We are currently in the midst of a short session of the Oregon Legislature. This year there are over 600 bills to get through, and only 35 days to do it. Which means that many of us farmers are walking the halls of the capital more frequently than the rows of our fields. Yesterday I headed down to Salem to testify on a bill that would remove important aspects from the Seed Pre-emption law. A law that we got passed back in 2013, after a long hard battle.
The basic run down of this law is that it prohibits counties and cities from regulating seed production in Oregon. This is important because as farmers we don’t want to have 36 different laws regulating how we can grow our seed, or 36 different policies on the growing of GMO’s. It’s a common sense law, that protects farmers.
Here’s a good article that sums up nicely what is going on with this issue as of right now.
Oregon Seed Pre-emption Law Challenged in Legislature.
And here is what I looked like at the Capital yesterday…yes, baby in tow.
He was a trooper and didn’t complain too much about his early start to agvocacy. Like I told many people yesterday, I’m here because I want to continue my legacy of farming here in Oregon. I want my sons to have the opportunity to put their hands in the same soil that their great grandfather did. And to do that, here in Oregon, we have to continually show up in Salem to let our voices be heard. To hear testimony from many farmers you can click the link below. The public hearing portion starts at about 1:09 into the meeting.
As the article states it was mostly farmers who testified yesterday and they all did a great job. Now if only the battle was even close to over. Tuesday presents another opportunity for this law to be called into question.
I have to say that FFA State convention turned out to be a huge success this year in Silverton, Oregon! While I wasn’t there wearing the most popular blue and gold attire, it was really fun to be involved again with an organization and event that brought back so many great memories. And brought back a lot of friends, so many people who I haven’t seen in ages were there, mostly as ag teachers and parents of current FFA-ers.
We were able to connect with many students and talk to them about how Young farmers and ranchers creates a unique opportunity to continue with leadership after graduation. We talked about how we have a few similar competitions, and provide a great way to keep in touch and network with other young farmers throughout the state and nation.
Our booth was very popular, probably mostly due to corn hole games and our giveaway of a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner. That lucky guy was Kurt Norton from Enterprise FFA. When I handed off his prize today he was so grateful, he said, “I should have bought some lottery tickets because I won my proficiency and a new Kindle…what a lucky day!”
We also had a good time meeting many state degree recipients and serving them up some good apps and great ice cream floats!
It took the whole weekend, it was a lot of work, and it was a lot of fun. Overall I think it all paid off and many of us walking away from convention this year not only feel hopeful for the next generation of farmers coming through the ranks, but also optimistic for a future where FFA continues to provide leaders for Oregon.
Thanks for everyone’s help and organization this weekend….especially Kathy Hadley, Chairman of Young Farmers & Ranchers! She worked her tail off to make this all happen!!