Words from Selma
It is no secret that the agricultural industry is not only the backbone of every community. It is a big part of most economies, whether it is growing the food, we eat or harvesting the wood and materials that build our communities.
Over the past month, I met with both the Marion County and Polk County Farm Bureaus and went to the AG tour around the Willamette Valley. Also, I was fortunate to visit the Rickreall Dairy Farm in Rickreall, Oregon. The owner, Louie, walked us through the daily routine of milk processing. One of the fascinating things that he showed us was the food that he feeds the cows themselves. There was a huge open barn, with six bays, that stored tons of feed for the cows.
He also focused on the economic and policy side of running a dairy farm and what kind of policy in Oregon has affected the dairy industry and agricultural industry as a whole. Being able to go around and see firsthand what it is that farmers do on a daily basis is a very eye-opening experience. You learn quickly that these farms are much more than a living for these farmers. It is their whole world, where they grew up, then raised their own families. However, they worry for their future generations’ ability to carry on their family tradition.
Polk County Farm Bureau
On Monday, June 4th, Selma was asked to come back to the Polk County Farm Bureau meeting for the second time. While she was there, board members asked her to give her opinion on the matters being discussed. “These sound like major issues that can and should be addressed. I want to hear more, politicians tend to talk too much and not listen enough. I am here to listen.” She replied.
As she left Selma said, “People do not understand that farms are the backbone of urban areas. Most people in the city do not recognize what it is that these farmers do for us on a day to day basis. We as a community should respect them. Elected officials should do all they can to make the farmer’s jobs easier and not harder.” From the extensive land use regulations that bar them from doing what they need to do to produce food, to the extensive limits and protection of invasive wildlife, the disconnect between rural Oregon and the Capitol is very much a reality.
Agriculture in Marion County
The agricultural industries in Marion County are vast. With annual crop sales of nearly half a billion dollars in Marion County alone, Marion County is Oregon’s largest producer of agricultural goods. The industries range from lumber, wine, floriculture, and crops such as hay, fruits, tree nuts, and berries.
During her meeting with the Marion County Farm Bureau, Selma spoke with several different farmers who each harvested something unique. The meeting began with a short introduction of who everyone was and what they farm. “The range of goods that are produced in Marion County alone astonished me,” whispered Selma to one of her staffers.
The goods that are produced in Marion County feed not only the local communities, but people halfway around the world. One farmer Selma spoke to told her that some of the blueberries they grow are shipped to China and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Seeing the impact that many of these farmers have on not only their local communities, but the world as a whole is very astonishing. They do their best to make ends meet and continue to be the providers for the communities that need them.