Jefferson County Farm Bureau hosts ag round table


   In an effort to bring an awareness of how elected representatives handle issues and legislation affecting local agriculture, the Jefferson County Farm Bureau Board of Directors recently hosted an Ag Round Table Luncheon.
   The board invited local farmers and ranchers as well as others from the area interested in agriculture to meet with staff members from the Central Oregon offices of Rep. Greg Walden and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.
   On May 14, several farmers and ranchers, along with Farm Bureau board members gathered at Abby's Pizza Parlor to enjoy lunch and meet with Nick Strader, director of the Central Oregon office for Walden.
   The round table discussion was moderated by Farm Bureau board members Mickey Killingsworth and Gary Harris.
   Several topics of interest were brought up and discussed, including how Walden's office in Bend operates and coordinates with his Pendleton office and the Washington, D.C., headquarters.
   The Farm Bill was a major item of concern as Congress has still not finalized the bill, leaving many programs and concerns in limbo until it is completed.
   Strader said that if resolution is not reached by Sept. 30, most likely there will be a continuing resolution on current programs and an extension on the current Farm Bill.
   Interaction continued between Strader, board members and attendees on topics such as the Oregon Department of Transportation road access and closures along Highways 97 and 26, the E-Verify program, federal land acquisitions, the Access to Justice program allowing federal money to nonprofits for legal defense, and goose depradation to Central Oregon agriculture.
   Two other items brought up for disussion were the sale of AirLife to Life Flight, and the possibility that a second membership would be required for members locally to receive services. Availablity of flood insurance and whether it can be obtained was also brought up, as it can affect home sales.
   A final topic brought up by Strader was the per capita representation for the Western states in the nation's capital versus the rest of the country. He stressed that the local staffers are knowledgeable on agricultural issues and gave a brief background sketch on them.
   The Jefferson County Farm Bureau was pleased with the attendance at the round table discussion and hopes to have more of this type of meeting in the future, according to Nancy Klatt, women's director.
   For more information about the round table discussions, contact any of the board members: Ed Chotard, president; Sue Vanek, vice president; Mickey Killingsworth, secretary-treasurer; Gary Harris, Paul Clowers, Roy Hyder and Nancy Klatt.