County Farm Bureau members held their annual meeting
Ron Bjork, President Jackson County Farm Bureau
Jackson at the Black Bear restaurant in Medford on October 21. President Ron Bjork briefly recapped events and memorable moments of the Farm Bureau since their last annual meeting in 2013.
Always an item of business during annual meetings is the election of officers for the coming year. Ron Bjork was again nominated and elected to serve another term as president. The balance of the slate, Glenn Archcambault as Vice President and Cheri Bjork as Secretary Treasurer and Louise Isbell as women’s chair were also nominated and the secretary cast a unanimous ballot as each ran unopposed.
Guest speaker, Katie Fast, of the Oregon Farm Bureau, gave a report consisting of many topics, including the de-listing of the wolf in the Eastern Oregon area. The wolf will remain endangered in this area until there are at least four breeding pairs documented in southern Oregon.
Pesticides are a highly controversial topic during the coming election. Josephine County is proposing an ordinance which Fast says is not only controversial, but lacking any common sense. The measure would go so far as to prevent area hospitals from using any anti-bacterials in their operations. It would also put all licensed applicators out of business because of the poor wording of the measure.
The Farm Bureau opposes measure 92, the statewide labeling initiative. That measure would force labeling of any food item that contains GMO products or uses them in the processing of foods.
Katie Fast, Oregon Farm Bureau
Another issue being given much attention is water. Some would like all water to stay in streams, while irrigators need water for food crops. Efforts up to this time have left thousands of acres fallow, according to Fast and Rep. Sal Esquivel, who also spoke at the meeting.
Fast also reported on the upcoming state convention, citing the effective communication skills seminar, hosted by the Young Farmers & Ranchers committee. The objective of the meetings will be to cultivate effective communication in business, with the public and with lawmakers.
According to Fast, during the recession, beginning in 2008, agriculture has grown as an industry while the rest of the economy has either stagnated or been in decline. The Oregon Farm Bureau believes this trend will continue on as food becomes a more important commodity.
About 35 members and guests attended the meeting, and President Bjork expressed the opinion that newer members are going to have to step up because the current leadership will not be with them forever.