Author: Oregon Aglink (page 3 of 3)

Fourth Generation Farm Girl

By Mitch Lies

Lori & BrotherAs U.S. citizens drift further from the farm, efforts to educate urban residents about the economic, environmental and social benefits of agriculture become more valuable. That is the sentiment of Lori Pavlicek, the new president of Oregon Aglink and self-described “fourth-generation farm girl from Mount Angel.”

As president, Pavlicek said she hopes to continue growing the organization’s signature programs, including Adopt a Farmer and the Road Crop Signs, in an effort to keep with Oregon Aglink’s aim to educate urban Oregonians about agriculture.

She singled out the Adopt a Farmer program as particularly important.

“Bringing farms to urban kids who don’t have any idea of what farming is about is an integral part of our organization, and extremely important,” Pavlicek said.

The Road Crop Signs program she said also is invaluable in keeping agriculture in front of urban residents.

“It makes people look out and realize, ‘Oh, we’re in an ag area. I wonder what they grow here,’” she said. “It helps get people thinking about agriculture and where it is being done.”

Pavlicek also singled out Denim & Diamonds as a key event she plans to focus on during her tenure, both because of its fund-raising capacity and because it serves as an opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations that have excelled in advocating agriculture to Oregonians. The 2016 awards dinner and auction is scheduled Friday, November 18 at the Oregon Convention Center.

Pavlicek comes by her advocacy for agriculture naturally. The mother of two grew up working the family’s farm, 4B Farms, Inc., and continues to do so today, serving as office manager. She co-owns the farm with her brother, Jeff Butsch, and parents, Jim and Donna Butsch. (Pavlicek’s husband, Derek, is from an agricultural community, but works for Daimler Trucks North America.)

Pavlicek holds a bachelor’s of science degree in business from George Fox College in Newberg, and she has experience in helping start and manage a yogurt store in Tualatin. She came back to the farm in 1988 when the former office manager left the position.

The diverse farm raises hops, garlic, grass seed, filberts, squash for seed, beans and corn, among other crops.

Pavlicek’s commitment to community goes beyond her advocacy for agriculture. She also is president of the Mount Angel Community Foundation and is secretary of the Providence-Benedictine Nursing Center Board.

Pavlicek also served eighteen years on the Mount Angel Oktoberfest Board of Directors, before taking over as president of the foundation in 2010.

“I believe in community involvement,” she said. “If you don’t support your community, than you can’t expect anyone else to.”

Pavlicek said she is attracted to Oregon Aglink because of its commitment to promote the business, education and social benefits of agriculture.

“Farmers can be too busy to get involved in the promotion of agriculture, so I took an interest in that early on,” Pavlicek said. “That is where I gravitated to.”

Pavlicek also likes that Oregon Aglink stays out of politics. “It doesn’t take sides, which I think is important,” she said. “It is all about awareness of where food and fiber comes from and educating urban residents about the state’s natural resources.”

Geoff Horning, executive director of Oregon Aglink said he is excited to have Pavlicek leading the organization.

“Lori is such a great listener. She is not the most vocal person in a meeting, because she’s busy listening to the various points of view,” Horning said. “When she does speak, however, everybody in the room pays attention, because they know she’s heard the conversation from every angle and is making an informed decision or recommendation.

“We’re excited to have her leading our association over the next year,” he said.

Pavlicek, meanwhile, said she is honored to be serving as president in this, the 50th year of the organization. “This year we will be celebrating Oregon Aglink, which has been 50 years in the making,” Pavlicek said. “I’m honored to be selected as president and look forward to serving the organization in the upcoming year and beyond.”

A Subject That Has More Teeth Than Less

Lori PavlicekAs I’m sitting in an airport pondering what direction I want to take my first editorial with the newly minted Oregon Aglink, I’m overhearing people complain about their overbooked and delayed flights, seating that is too tight, and the lively debate about the Presidential race.  I would be a fool to take on the pros and cons of the election, and that topic definitely doesn’t fall under the “Warm and Fuzzy” category, but the airline complaints stem from the fact that more people are traveling and there are fewer flights to get them where they need to go. Sadly, it isn’t going to get any better.

With my first column I want to focus on a more positive, quality verses quantity, subject. Something true Oregonians would understand.  As I mull this thought around, I start to think about the number of people moving into Oregon.  Why wouldn’t they? We don’t get hit with devastating fluctuations in weather or natural catastrophes on a regular basis. Despite the drought of 2015, we still have plenty of water in most places, which leads to all sorts of great outdoor opportunities and a great farming environment. People are drawn to our rural charm. Our state has a lot going for it.  But, Oregon isn’t the only state with population growth; data shows we will be expected to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050. That’s only 34 years from now!

This topic has teeth, especially looking at it from a producer’s point of view.  How do we plan to accomplish this feat of producing enough food and fiber with limited availability of land, water, plant protectants, and having to work under constant scrutiny and constraints?  Granted, technology will play a major role, but we as business owners have to work on our image. Perception is reality, and right now our perceived perception to the public is mixed at best. Working with the Adopt a Farmer program has opened my eyes to the fact we have a long ways to go.  The good news, though, is that whether it’s our Adopt a Farmer program, or FFA and Ag in the Classroom, we are hitting the very ages we need to engage.  These grass roots efforts have an easy story to tell if we get behind them with our financial and intellectual support.  We need to enlighten the naïve and misinformed.  Remember, there is going to be more and more of the misinformed as the years go by, so we have to start now.

Organizations such as Oregon Aglink, the Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Women for Ag, or any of the other hard working organizations that dedicate their time to getting our voice heard, are here to serve you. Help us help you!

As you know, it will be an uphill battle for the Natural Resource Industry and for anyone dedicated to creating food and fiber, to gain a foothold.  Thirty-four years is not that long so we need to start the pendulum swinging our direction.

In spite of the microscope we live under, I’m optimistic for the future of agriculture.  I see progress being made in technology, and in the classroom.   Oregon Aglink is working hard at “cultivating common ground” between farmers and the urban consumer, along with putting a face on the family farm.  We represent a pretty cool industry. That is something to smile about.  🙂

Lori's Signature

 

 

 

Lori Pavlicek, 4B Farms

Oregon Aglink

geoff horningEven simple change can be difficult. I had a friend in college who simply couldn’t function if she didn’t have a specific type of pen to write with. Perhaps she was onto something, as today she’s one of the most successful persons I know both professionally and personally.

How difficult is change? I just texted her to inquire about her pen of choice. She sent me back a photo of her holding that same pen. Some things change, and some things stay the same. I can’t help but laugh at this little idiosyncrasy even today.

Now imagine changing a brand that is 50-years-old and has name recognition throughout the industry. It’s not a decision that comes lightly, or without more than a few conversations. It took us nine years of discussions before we pulled the trigger, but times are changing, and so are we.

At Denim & Diamonds, ABC President Molly McCargar announced to the more than 550 present that the Agri-Business Council of Oregon is now officially doing business as Oregon Aglink.

Why? While the decision is complex, the answer is fairly simple.

When the Agri-Business Council of Oregon was founded in 1966, our industry was still revered by most people, even those who live in Portland, Eugene and Salem. They may not have understood natural resources, but they appreciated and respected the work that was being done. Even in urban settings, being a farmer or rancher was a very noble profession. Agri-business was a term universally respected.

Today? Outside of natural resource circles, not so much.

Agri-business is looked at through a lens of distrust by most Oregonians. Research conducted a couple years ago by the Agri-Business Council of Oregon showed that those in urban centers trusted the individual farmer, but agri-business was not trustworthy, and in fact was deemed as corrupt and almost evil.

Now imagine being members of the Agri-Business Council of Oregon. Our spokespeople are the very farmers and ranchers who are universally beloved and respected. Yet, when representing a link between producers and the consumers – the name of the organization was getting in the way of the message.

The Adopt a Farmer program provides our industry with an awesome opportunity to have in-depth conversations with students, teachers and parents. Many of the conversations revolve around pesticide application, the debate surrounding GMO technology and the safety of our food. The depth of their questions are sincere. Rarely with a hint of malice. They just want to be informed.

More and more people want to know where their food and fiber comes from, how it was produced, and even the famous Portlandia skit isn’t too far off. Some do want to know what the name of their chicken is that they’re about to eat. When having that conversation the board of directors decided it’s time to soften our presentation. We want to be that trusted link for the consumer to come to. We want to be that comfortable pen that you can’t live without.

We are the Oregon Aglink.

geoff horning signature

Going the Extra Mile

by Heather Burson

NORPACThe phrase ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’ is one that is used to describe someone who’s always there whenever needed. Someone who goes the extra mile and genuinely cares about being there for others. In Oregon’s vegetable processing industry, the equivalent is a person who dedicates their career to helping Oregon’s vegetable growers achieve success. Putting in the time to do whatever they can to boost sales and move product locally and around the world. That person is Chuck Palmquist. Today, Palmquist is vice president of sales and services at NORPAC. It is the culmination of a 42-year journey, the seeds of which were planted long before this.

In fact, Palmquist’s career happens to be the continuation of a very familiar subject. “I have always been around farmers and farming,” Palmquist says. Palmquist grew up on a small farm near Mt. Angel, where his dad grew hops, grain and boysenberries, among other things. From an early age he was either helping out on the farm or helping pick crops like green beans and strawberries. Later on, Palmquist attended Oregon State University where this experience helped lead him towards graduation with a degree in food science and technology.

He went on from there to land his first job at Stayton Canning Company in 1973 as a quality assurance supervisor. This job involved “being on a production shift, making sure that everything we did met all our requirements in terms of food safety and quality,” says Palmquist. Palmquist spent four years at Stayton Canning Company, then pursued a series of other jobs culminating in his return to Stayton Canning Company in 1983 as a production shift supervisor. Three years after his return, the consortium of seven companies that made up North Pacific Canners and Packers had dwindled down, leaving Stayton Canning Company as the only one left. Seizing an opportunity, they took the North Pacific Canners and Packers name as their own and changed it to the acronym NORPAC.

At this time, Palmquist found himself moving on through a series of other job titles at NORPAC, starting with repack scheduling manager. Special projects manager was next, and it was during this time that NORPAC’s Hermiston plant was built. Palmquist became its engineering manager. Then, in 1996, NORPAC had acquired Stone Mill Foods and he became its general manager for two years. When Stone Mill Foods sold, Palmquist came back as the manager of NORPAC’s packing facility.

“This was probably my favorite,” Palmquist says, “the day-to-day seeing something produced, there’s a lot of satisfaction in that.”

He remained in this position until the president of NORPAC’s sales agency, located in Lake Oswego, retired in 2007. When this happened, Palmquist became general manager of NORPAC’s sales agency office. An office NORPAC held until everything was consolidated to its current location in 2014. Palmquist transitioned to vice president of sales and services in 2009, and has remained in this position ever since. It’s one he’s proud to serve in as “part of this organization, owned by 240 family farmers.” Yet also, a role he remains humble about. “Our mission in life is to give them (farmers) access to the marketplace and we remember that every day. My role is to be part of that whole organization and keep that going,” Palmquist says. Others, like NORPAC grower Molly McCargar of Pearmine Farms, would say Palmquist has done way more than that.

“Chuck is a hardworking guy who has a big role in the outcome of the crops we grow,” says McCargar, “Providing market access for our vegetables is what he does, and if he wasn’t doing it, then, well let’s just say, I’d probably have a lot of inventory.”
McCargar first met Palmquist about 10 years ago at a NORPAC annual meeting, and they continued to cross paths. Located close to NORPAC, Pearmine Farms became a frequent stop on tours for current and potential buyers of NORPAC products. An occurrence that led McCargar to ask Palmquist to accompany her on an Adopt a Farmer classroom visit in 2011. Not long after, he joined McCargar on ABC’s Board of Directors where he has remained to this day.

Cindy Cook, of Cook Family Farms, met Palmquist in much the same way. As a grower for NORPAC, she got to know him through Cook Family Farms’ relationship with NORPAC over the past 10 years. At the same time, much like McCargar, she’s also gotten to know him as a fellow ABC board member and friend. “He is a stable presence on the ABC board,” Cook says, “always willing to support and provide vegetable products for Denim & Diamonds and other functions.” McCargar adds that, “If there was ever a need for something from Chuck, he was right there to ask and get it.”

Indeed, Palmquist’s time at NORPAC has been more than just changes of positions, or giving farmers access to the marketplace. It has led to and solidified many friendships he will miss as he prepares to retire next year. Retirement, for Palmquist, holds many things, catching up with friends who’ve already retired, volunteering, and spending more time with his wife Sara, their four sons and their grandchild. Although he looks forward to these and other adventures, he will always be grateful for his time spent at NORPAC. “It’s been a great place to work. I’ve had many great opportunities with NORPAC,” says Palmquist, “I’ve never gotten tired of what I did. I’ve really appreciated being part of this whole industry and working for NORPAC.”

Tis the Season to Start Tax Planning

By Curtis Sawyer, CPA and Eric Groves, CPA

As another year draws near to a close, we reflect on things that transpired in 2015 as we begin to plan for a full and prosperous new year. An important element of planning is a forward look at the coming tax season. To jumpstart a conversation with your tax professionals, here is a brief look at a few opportunities for tax savings.

Income Averaging for Federal Returns

Federal statutes allow farmers to spread a portion of their current year farming income equally over the three previous tax years. This treatment can make sense for any of the following reasons:

  • Your current year taxable income places you in a higher marginal tax bracket than prior years. Income earned at the higher rate can be applied retroactively to prior years with lower rates.
  • The farm income averaging election has not been utilized in earlier years. The IRS will let you amend prior years’ filings to capture those benefits.
  • Starting in 2013, high-income farmers saw an increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent in the top tier of federal taxes. By averaging income back to 2012, you can take advantage of a 35 percent marginal rate on some of your earnings.
  • You anticipate higher income or higher tax rates in the future. Applying income averaging for 2012-2015 sets you up for profitable use of this treatment in future years.

IRS Schedule J captures the farm income averaging calculation. Your tax professionals can help you assess the benefits and provide the proper reporting.

Favorable Tax Treatment for Oregon Farmers

In a special election at the close of its 2013 session, the Oregon legislature granted a tax break for individuals who receive flow-through income from an active trade or business. Such flow-through income typically originates from an S-corporation or a multi-member limited liability company (LLC).

 

Amount of Pass-Through Income New Applicable Tax Rate Old Rate
Less than $250,000 7.00% 9.00%
$250,001 – $500,000 7.20%
$500,001 – $1,000,000 7.60%
$1,000,001 – $2,500,000 8.00%
$2,500,001 to $5,000,000 9.00%
More than $5,000,000 9.90% 9.90%

 

If your Oregon-based farm has already been organized as an S-corporation or a multi-member LLC, then you’ll enjoy lower Oregon tax rates in 2015. If not, you should consider whether the tax benefits offset the incremental effort to restructure your business. Your tax professionals can provide estimates of savings as well as ballpark figures for one-time and recurring costs.

Net Investment Income Tax

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act, Congress authorized the imposition of a 3.8 percent net investment income tax on individuals with significant modified adjusted gross income (AGI). In particular, once a married couple filing jointly reports AGI in excess of $250,000, a 3.8 percent incremental tax applies to all passive income beyond that threshold. Individuals cross the mark at $200,000.

If you are active in your farm business, there are two sources of investment income that can bypass this incremental tax. If you or an LLC in which you hold an interest owns the land and buildings on which the farm operates, then your “self-rental” income will not be subject to the 3.8 percent tax. In like fashion, if you serve as the farm’s creditor, then the interest income earned through this arrangement is not subject to the 3.8 percent tax. In both cases, the word ACTIVE plays a significant role in determining tax treatment. Your tax professionals can review the qualifications and help you assemble appropriate documentation to support your case. At a minimum, the following actions should be taken:

  • Prepare and execute an appropriate rental agreement between the property owner(s) and the farming business. Make sure that all rents align with fair market values.
  • Prepare and execute lending agreements to address monies loaned by individuals to the farming business. Use interest rates consistent with other creditors in the marketplace based on the type of loan, the duration, and risk assessment.
  • Where possible, incorporate a description of the role the property owner (or lender) plays in the ongoing management of the farm. This documentation strengthens the case for “active” participation.

Planning Ahead

We’ve highlighted just a few of the items that should be on your radar as you sit at the planning table with your tax professionals. Please contact us at (503)-620-4489 if you’d like to review these opportunities or discuss other options for tax savings.

 

Sawyer, Curtis 2015 Curtis Sawyer, CPA, has been providing tax compliance, planning and consulting services to his clients for nearly 10 years. He works closely with businesses across several industries with an emphasis on agriculture, farming, cooperatives, manufacturing and their owners. He also presents on topics including regulatory reform, the Affordable Care Acts, and tax savings strategies such as IC-DISCs.

 

AKT Lake Oswego Eric Groves, CPA, provides assurance services including audits, reviews and compilations to agriculture and farming, food processing, and manufacturing companies to help them achieve their goals. He also specializes in financial consulting and employee benefit plan audits for the firm.

 

 

Keeping Pace with a Changing World

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m a BIG Chicago Cubs fan. For those who don’t know much about them, they are the loveable losers of Major League Baseball. The history of the Cubs rivals few others in professional sports. Wrigley Field celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014, and I got to visit the iconic field for the first time that same year. Wrigley hasn’t changed much at all in the past 100 years, some minor upgrades, but the walls of the Friendly Confines have remained much the same. At the end of the season in 2014, they began remodeling those historic walls, much to the dismay of die-hard Cubs fans. The new owners had decided it was time for a facelift, they needed something to attract new players and fans with the hopes of finding the right formula for a winning team. Folks in Chicago’s North Side were NOT happy, resisting it in many ways. You just can’t mess with the nostalgia and history of Wrigley Field.

Yet, as fans entered the stadium this spring and as the season went on, die-hard fans, many of them generational season ticket holders, warmed up to the change and began to embrace it. It also helped that the team had a great season, making it to the October playoffs. The Cubs won their first EVER division pennant at home. It took over 100 years of baseball for this new historical event to occur, and it happened within the NEW walls of the Friendly Confines. The second phase of Wrigley’s upgrade began at the end of the 2015 season, and fans couldn’t be more excited. They realized the change isn’t drastic, the Cubs and its history will still remain, all while moving the team forward to the future. (It’s just too bad that Doc didn’t get his prediction right in “Back to the Future,” maybe he meant Cubs win in 2016!)

What’s my point you ask? How does this pertain to ABC? Well friends, in November I had the privilege of announcing a new change for our organization. After 50 years as The Agri-Business Council of Oregon, we will now be doing business as Oregon Aglink! Why the change? As the Agri-Business Council of Oregon has continued its mission – through Road Crop Signs, television and web campaigns, and our most popular Adopt a Farmer program – one thing has become clear. The term Agri-Business raises eyebrows, and creates confusion and misconceptions among many who are unfamiliar with the term and the industry. Agri-Business Council of Oregon is still who we are and, while our history as an organization is rich and full of nostalgia, it’s time for a facelift and a bit of an update. We need to keep pace with our ever-changing world. Our priorities and our mission will continue to be the same. The only change will be our new name and logo. It is our hope that these changes will help us continue our efforts to unite all of Oregon agriculture and positively connect with our urban neighbors.

Change is challenging, those with long history often have the hardest time adjusting, and that’s OK. While it may be difficult at first for the diehard fans, it’s what’s important and necessary to attract new players and grow our support across the state, in both our urban and rural communities. We appreciate all of our members, and we hope that you will continue to support us in the years to come. So join us, embrace the change and let’s all help keep Oregon Rooted, Green and Vital!!

Molly McCargar's Signature - Cropped

 

 

 

 

Molly McCarger, Pearmine Farms

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