February 23, 2011

Wyden Creates Agricultural Advisory Committee

Asks 28 citizens from across the state to help develop more economic opportunities for Oregon farmers and ranchers

Portland, OR Reaching into every corner of Oregon and across all types of agricultural interests, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden today announced the 28 members of an advisory committee that will help him develop ways to improve opportunities at home and overseas for Oregon’s farmers and ranchers as the Senate considers the next Farm bill.

“Agriculture is a cornerstone of the Oregon economy,” said Wyden, who chairs the Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness. “If we are going to maintain that success and build on it, I want to make sure that I am getting the best advice and recommendations possible, and there is no better way to do that than hearing directly from those who grow and sell agricultural products as well as those who use them to fight hunger.”

The committee’s co-chairs will be Mike Thorne of Umatilla County and Karla Chambers of Linn County. A wheat grower and former Oregon state legislator, Thorne serves on the Board of Directors of StanCorp Financial (formerly Standard Insurance) and has also served as executive director of the Port of Portland and a CEO of the Washington State Ferry System.

Chambers is co-owner of Stahlbush Island Farms, a 5,000 acre family farm that grows over 16 different fruits and vegetables.  Stahlbush was the first farm to be certified by the Food Alliance as a certified sustainable grower.  She serves on the head office board of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, is Vice Chairman of the Ford Family Foundation, and past Chairman of the Oregon Board of Agriculture. 

“This advisory committee is being created at the perfect time for Oregon agriculture,” Chambers said. “The global food market has never been more dynamic than it is right now. This committee gives all segments of Oregon’s agriculture industry an opportunity to come together and address the realities of a changing food market.”

 “Over the years, Oregon agriculture has grown in both size and diversity,” Thorne said. “With this committee, farmers and ranchers who grow and sell everything from cattle to wine, along with those who use agricultural products, will be able to provide direct input on the policies that will shape the future of the industry and of the state as we seek to compete in a demanding global market.”

Other members include:

  • Ken Bailey, vice president of Orchard View Farms in Wasco County.
  • Jim Bernau, owner of Willamette Valley Vineyards in Marion County.
  • Zoe Bradbury, a Curry County farmer who sells produce to local markets on the South Coast.
  • Rachael Bristol, of Portland, director of the Oregon Food Bank.
  • Dan Erickson, cherry grower and former Wasco County Judge.
  • Gayle Goschie, a third generation hop grower from Marion County.
  • Will Homer, Wheeler County cattle rancher and owner of Painted Hills Beef in Fossil.
  • Dan Joyce, Malheur County Judge and member of the National Farmers Union. 
  • Dan Keppen, of Klamath County, director of the Family Farm Alliance and former executive director of the Klamath Water Users.
  • Ed King, CEO of King Estates winery in Lane County.
  • Bob Levy, a Umatilla County rancher and farmer and vice chair of the Oregon Board of Agriculture.
  • Mike McCarthy, Hood River County pear grower. 
  • Steve McCarthy, owner of Clear Creek Distillery in Portland, which uses Oregon pears to produce Pear Liqueur. 
  • Tom McNabb, Washington County Christmas tree grower.
  • Tracy Oseran, director of Urban Gleaners in Portland, which provides food to needy children and the homeless.
  • Polly Owens, manager of the Oregon Hazelnut Industry Office in Yamhill County.
  • Shawn Reiersgaard, vice president of the Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook County.
  • Ron Rivers, pear grower and chair of the Hood River County Board of Commissioners.
  • Dirk Rohne, dairy farmer and chair of Clatsop County Board of Commissioners. 
  • Jerry Simnitt, president-elect of the Oregon Nursery Association and a nursery grower in Clackamas County.
  • Bob Skinner, cattle rancher from Jordan Valley in Malheur County and past president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.
  • Kristin Van Hoose, a Clackamas County nursery owner and current president of the Oregon Nursery Association. 
  • Fred Warner, cattle rancher and Baker County commissioner.
  • Mark Wisnofsky, owner of Valley View Vineyard in Jackson County.

Fred Ziari, Umatilla County, founder of IRZ Consulting and president of Farmers Ending Hunger.