Every time we send mail to our entire membership, such as our recent annual ballots to determine the board of directors, I am filled with immense gratitude.
On those hundreds of envelopes there are Oregon farm, ranch, food, beverage, supply chain, and associate partners. Seeing the names of every single entity that believes in the mission of Oregon Aglink, trusts us to fulfill it through the work we do, and benefits from our programs is something for which I will forever be grateful.
Our list of members is diverse in commodity, size, and location, which has always been one of my favorite things about working for Oregon Aglink during the past nine years. I learn something new every single time I visit a farm, even if it’s one I’ve been to a dozen times.
From local honey to globally traded commodities, from a quarter acre to ten thousand or more, and in every corner of the state – one of Oregon agriculture’s biggest strengths is its diversity.
Oregon Aglink interacts with many other associations, commissions, councils and bureaus of different scales that work very directly on behalf of the specific needs and importance of individual commodities. We work to connect these common needs and goals through educational outreach engagement with the general public. Often this work takes place through field trips and farm tours for students and adults who get to learn not only directly from farmers or ranchers, but allied industry partners like a Wilco agronomist or a Papé equipment tech. We partner with organizations like Oregon Women for Agriculture to get more crop identification signs on the road and Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom on curriculum to bring into our Adopt a Farmer class visits.
The diversity of Oregon agriculture can also be its biggest challenge.
Individual businesses or organizations can feel overwhelmed in the efforts to connect consumers with the importance of agriculture. In our state, agriculture as a whole brings in more than $5 billion and provides hundreds of thousands of jobs each year. While we might be keenly aware that every single agriculture-related business is supporting the livelihood of so many Oregonians, this knowledge is not widespread.
There continues to be so much work to be done to come together across sectors and in a non-partisan manner to make sure consumers have a chance to learn about what’s happening in Oregon agriculture directly from those working in the industry. Farming and ranching are not getting any cheaper, easier, or simpler. Choosing where to invest your hard-earned dollars has weight and we see that. We really are so honored you choose to support our work of engaging Oregonians around all types of agriculture in our state.
Investing in Oregon Aglink to reach our neighbors who are disconnected from the work you do every day is critical in ensuring more Oregonians better understand what is happening on farms and ranches around the state.
With a better understanding of one another, we can help keep Oregon’s farming and ranching landscape family-owned, -operated, and diverse – which benefits all Oregonians.