OWA President’s Corner – Projects may change but the Mission is still the same!

Posted on: October 20th, 2014

by Dona Coon

Whew! Summer is over and the leaves are changing. Now that I have time to be inside I wonder where all this dust came from, that I was too tired to notice during June, July & August. A time and a season for everything!

OWA is involved with Celebrate Oregon Agriculture! campaign in partnership with ODA and KATU. The tv spots will air the first week in October, so if you missed them check them out on youtube. It was an interesting process and a huge step for OWA to get their name out into the public. Part of this process was to gather historical photos of our organization as background for the producers. Deanne Dyksterhuis, our historian, faithfully hauled all 14 scrapbooks that she has compiled to my house. Wow!!! I know these have been set out at state convention but I never took the time to go through them. What a treasure the books and Deanna are.

Not only are there photos and newspaper clippings but programs and philosophy of the charter members. The second newsletter was printed in January 1970, on a mimeograph machine. This was one hint suggested: When hosting at exhibits, tours and speaking to urban groups; rather than trying to explain why we burn or spray (*or use GMO technology) we should be telling people what agriculture contributes to the general welfare. Agriculture is an important industry. We are concerned tax-paying citizens. Farmers are conservationist preserving the livability of our environment and at the same time making a reasonable return for our investment of capital and labor. I don’t think we have moved too far from the original energy of OWA.

The books have copies of forms for groups to fill out for an OWA member to come and speak to them about a variety of topics dealing with agriculture. There was a 15 minute color movie produced and paid for by OWA member Charity Bowers called “Have you Thanked a Blade of Grass Today?” Does anyone have a copy of this? Two years ago we had a photo art display of local farmers at the Fundraiser Dinner Auction. One of the photographers was Howard Hoyt and he was the photographer for the grass film.

The pamphlet that went with the speakers form began with the statement:

“The women who know agriculture best are providing the industry with the most efficient public relations arm, promotions department and information service bureau that money CANNOT buy. Women for Agriculture is a fresh new voice speaking out about the importance of agriculture to the livable environment and healthy economy of the State of Oregon. The natural talents of women are utilized to compliment the efforts of farmers and ag related businesses by telling and selling the farm story to the public.”

Good marketing.

This is where OWA started and the vision began. I believe we have kept that vision alive but now are pushing it further into the public eye with Celebrate Oregon Agriculture! and our involvement with AgPac and expanding our membership further east in the state. We are living in an age of controversy and misinformation that can move at the speed of light using social media and the internet. Our members are up to the task. We know the business best because we live it. Don’t be afraid to voice your expert opinion and be sure to stand behind others who are under fire. We started strong and we continue strong.

Thank you to all the ladies who manned fair booths, hauled materials in and out of buildings, worked on committees, read to students and took your valuable time to volunteer. Columbia Gorge Chapter took on the monumental task of helping with Cycle Oregon! They had so much positive energy and good will toward the 1,800 bike riders that I believe they gave that cross section of the public a new definition of agriculture. Thank you!

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