By Oregon Aglink President, Pamela Lucht
Succession is on the minds of many farmers in Oregon and across the United States. Who will take over? What will my business or land look like in twenty years? I’ve written before about our process at Northwest Transplants, where my husband Neal and I have started a transition already by including our daughter Lauren.
Oregon Aglink has gone through a similar process of cyclical growth and transitions. The staff at the office are going through boxes from an old storage unit that held decades of history going back to the early years of the Agri-Business Council of Oregon. You can read more about that process in Executive Director Mallory Phelan’s column at the end of this issue.
Oregon Aglink continually asks whether we are on track to meet our mission: to grow our state’s agriculture through education and promotion. The best part about that mission is that it is simple and flexible enough that we’ve been able to hold true to it even as times change.
In the same way that a family business might evolve over time from a small dairy in the 1930s to row crops to wine grapes and hazelnuts now, Oregon Aglink has evolved through different programs and methods of outreach.
For example, our name and the Landmark of Quality logo used to appear on food coupons and grocery bags. The Keeping Agriculture Viable committee hired design firms and film studios to get Oregon agriculture featured in magazine ads and television spots. These days we spend more time (and less money) getting the word out via social media and programs like Adopt a Farmer.
Our mission succeeds because our supporters, board members and staff Mallory Phelan, Allison Cloo, Cate Stuart and Leah Rue continue to bring new ideas and energy to the table that balance the steadiness and wealth of memories that our long-serving board members provide. A large board means we can retain members for thirty years while also bringing in new members who contribute expertise from their respective industries. We owe thanks to the people who help keep an organization like Oregon Aglink vital.
This dedication of people behind Oregon Aglink means we get to celebrate some amazing events each year. The Friends of Oregon Agriculture golf tournament this past August just hit its tenth anniversary, and on November 16th we’ll have the twenty-first Denim and Diamonds! I’d like to personally thank our members and sponsors for their continued support, because of your support these events have endured and are more successful than ever.
Let’s end 2018 with a commitment to keep pushing forward and to do that by remembering where we’ve come from as an industry and, in this case, as an organization.