As I noted last week, I have been posting interviews with fellow participants at the 2010 American Agri-Women (“AAW”) – Syngenta “Leadership At Its Best” Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. Today’s interview is with Oregan farm girl (and fellow “ag tweep“) Marie Bowers.
1. Please explain your connection to the agriculture industry.
I am a fifth generation member of a grass seed farm, fourth generation member of Oregon Women for Agriculture and AAW, and I currently work in the ag lending sector.
2. How long have you been involved with AAW and in what capacity?
I have been to two conventions and was appointed Seed Crop Chair in 2009.
3. What other agriculture organizations do you support?
I am the First Vice-President to the Oregon Women for Agriculture. I make sure I stay informed about what’s going on in other organizations (e.g., Oregon Wheat Growers League, Oregon Seed Council, various timber organizations and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association).
4. Why do you think it is important for agriculture women to support AAW and other agriculture organizations?
The more support each organization has the stronger our [united voice] will be. We cannot [have blinders to only the policy concerns of] our specific industry because what impacts one sector of the natural resource/agriculture industry has a ripple effect to other sectors [of the industry].
5. What are some of your biggest agriculture policy concerns?
My main concern is the environmental movement and the control it has over the American people. [For example, I have witnessed] how destructive environmental regulations can be on farmers and ranchers and [how these regulations] take away our competitive edge from the world. [In Oregon, such regulations] took away my family’s field burning tool used to sanitize the field. We have now replaced burning with more chemicals which has consequently increased tillage and erosion. * * *
6. Do you have any agriculture policy concerns at the local level?
[No, there are not any local policy concerns that come to mind. However, in counties with a dichotomy of both urban and rural populations, members of the agriculture community should] start educating their local councilman or local commissioner on agriculture issues so eventually the message can be properly conveyed. Always start local and small with your message.
7. What was your highlight at the AAW-Syngenta “Leadership At Is Best” Conference?
Meeting all the wonderful ladies who have similar mindsets as me. It’s refreshing to know that women from around the country are advocating for agriculture.
8. If you could say anything to urban consumers that have never been to a farm/ranch, what would you tell them?
Farmers and ranchers love their land and their animals. It is their livelihood. They take care of it because they know they don’t have other options when it comes to feeding their families and [the families of the urban consumers]. I suggest urban consumers go see for themselves. There is no greater tool than first hand knowledge.
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