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County farmers gather to celebrate decades

Washington County Farm Bureau holds annual dinner

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - (Left to right) Washington County Farm Bureau President Edmund Duyck, Sen. Betsy Johnson, and the Oregon Farm Bureau's Dave Dillon attended the county bureau's 68th anniversary dinner last week in Verboort.Members of the Washington County Farm Bureau met in Verboort last week to celebrate at the organization's annual dinner.

The Washington County Farm Bureau holds monthly meetings to discuss relevant agricultural issues. In 2014, the organization gave almost $20,000 in scholarship money to Oregon students.

At this years’s meeting, president Edmund Duyck introduced Dave Dillon of the Oregon Farm Bureau and Sen. Betsy Johnson, who served as the evening’s guest speakers as attendees finished dinner and pie.

Johnson started her speech by quoting author Ken Kesey, who said, “The land is the hardest university I’ve ever attended.”

“Is there any job more real than farming?” she went on to ask the crowd.

The Washington County chapter is known for its lively debates on hot-button issues, Johnson said, citing selling farmland for development as an ongoing one in the increasingly urban county.

Johnson said she believes the push in Oregon to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour would quickly make it impossible to run a small business, whether that is growing hazelnuts or running a store.

Johnson went on to encourage attendees to pay close attention to upcoming bills and the future legislative process.“Stay involved,” Johnson said. “Your advocacy has never been more important.”NEWS-TIMES PHOTOS: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Sen. Betsy Johnson came to Verboort last Thursday, Nov. 19, to speak to Washington County Farm Bureau members.

Dillon congratulated Duyck on being inducted into the OFB’s hall of fame and touted Duyck’s efforts to retain and recruit members.

Agreeing with Johnson, Dillon said he believed a $15 minimum wage would devastate agricultural industries. He also gave updates on a few more state-wide issues, reminding attendees the legislature set aside an additional $14 million for Oregon State University to hire new research and extension employees.

Dillon also encouraged attendees to follow issues related to the legalized recreational marijuana because he said they affect a wide variety of agricultural issues, including taxes, land use and water use.