Jackson County Farm Bureau March 2018 meeting
It was a full schedule for the Jackson County Farm Bureau, meeting at Elmer’s Restaurant in Medford on March 20. The Farm Bureau traditionally hosts a guest speaker at each meeting to keep members abreast of what is happening within the county and within agriculture in general. For the March meeting, President Pat Fumasi invited Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler to answer a few questions about events within Jackson County.
The Sheriff spent a great deal of time on the subject of a proposed new Jail, possibly a 1,000 bed facility that has been estimated to cost approximately $100 million. Sheriff Sickler said that he didn’t personally think it could be done for that figure, based on cost figures from other jail construction. Former Jackson county Farm Bureau president and current Oregon Farm Bureau Federation Board Member, Ron Bjork attempted to pin the Sheriff to the wall with cost projections and the need for 1,000 beds for Jackson County. Sickler defended that position with examples of many criminals simply turned out after arrests because there was no jail space.
Sickler had no answer on a fallback plan should the voters not approve the levy for the new jail. Neither did he have an answer for citing of the new facility. Bjork proposed something of a pod system that is easily expandable, such as some of the school facilities have done to save money in the past when enrollment expanded unexpectedly. The sheriff also said that running the facility would cost as much as construction, but would continue as a cost long after the bond was paid off.
Sheriff Sickler originated in California, moving to the Eugene area because his father worked for Weyerhauser Corporation in the Springfield area. He enrolled in Southern Oregon University in 1995 and was hired as a part time office at the Phoenix police department in 1997. He became a full time officer, moving to Klamath Falls department before coming back to Jackson County after 4 years across the mountains.
During his time with Jackson County, he has worked his way up through the ranks and was appointed Sheriff when Corey Falls left the county to take a position up north.
The Farm Bureau announced their annual scholarship program for 2018. Applications must be submitted or postmarked by May 10 to be reviewed by the scholarship committee. Scholarships will be presented during the Spring Fair. For information on the scholarship, contact Ron Bjork (541-830-8000). The applications must be returned to Ron Bjork, 2960 Brownsboro Hwy., Eagle Point, Or, 97524. Applications may be downloaded from southernoregonagonline.com, filled out and returned to Bjork. In the past the Jackson County Farm Bureau has awarded three or more very generous scholarships.
The Farm Bureau has held a monthly Board and monthly membership meetings and has decided to combine those because of the time constraints on Board members. Monthly membership meetings have been held at Elmer’s Restaurant in Medford in the past and will continue unless changed. Board meetings will precede membership meetings at the same location.