SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Women for Agriculture hosted American Agri-Women’s 35th annual convention in Salem, Ore., showcasing Oregon agriculture through speakers, workshops and tours.
Thursday night’s speaker Jeanne Carver and her husband, Dan, own the historic Imperial Stock Ranch in north central Oregon where they raise beef and lamb.
About 10 years ago when markets began drying up, she became creative, marketing her beef and lamb to high-end restaurants and eventually venturing into wool apparel and fashion.
From what she calls “sunlight energy” wool products, Carver has successfully entered global fashion and competes in high couture runway shows.
Considering that Oregon is a state with no sales tax, it was interesting to hear speaker Tom Wright report that even in Oregon there is support for the FairTax, which would replace all the other federal taxes with a federal retail sales tax.
It would eliminate the federal income tax, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, social security taxes, corporate taxes, etc. He assured this audience of farmers that under the FairTax, all items used on the farm to produce crops and livestock would be considered wholesale items and not subject to the tax.
Another informative speaker was economics professor David Kohl from Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va. To get an indication of the economy six months in advance, he advised, “Ask an over-the-road truck driver if he’s getting backhauls.”
Kohl predicted there would be more minorities and women in agriculture, pointing out that an increasing amount of farmland is owned by females over 65.
A highlight of the meeting was a preview of the first episode of a new American Agri-Women TV show which will soon air nationwide. A schedule of the TV shows and listing of times will be posted on the organization’s Web site.
The episode featured an interview with commodity broker Betty Corbin of Towanda, Kan., and farmwife Susan Dodsworth of Franklin, Ill. Both women are American Agri-Women members.
Named for the bread that rises and permeates the air, two women received American Agri-Women’s highest honor, the Leaven Award: Vicky Maaske, Horicon, Wis., and Wanda Kinney, Carbondale, Kan.
The Veritas Award, presented to someone outside of agriculture who speaks for truth, was given to George Taylor. Until recently Taylor was Oregon State climatologist, but disagreed with global warming extremists in the political sphere.
New officers elected at the meeting were first vice-president for vital issues Karen Yost, Billings, Mont., and vice-president for communications Linda Swiercinsky, Maquon, Ill. Carolyn Kleiber of Hillsboro, Kan., was re-elected treasurer.
Elected to American Agri-Women’s educational arm, the Resource Center, were Ardath DeWall, Shannon, Ill., Julie Tesch, Minneapolis, Minn., and Jacquie Compston, Wellington, Nev.
Before handing over her gavel as president, Marcie Williams of Croton, Ohio, selected three members for special recognition: Dolly Lillis of Dalton Gardens, Idaho, Joanna Wilson, Manhattan, Kan., and Geraldine Ottosen, Junction City, Ore.
In the installation ceremony, Chris Wilson of Manhattan, Kan., was elevated to the position of president.
American Agri-Women is the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women, with 50 state, commodity, agribusiness affiliate organizations and collegiate chapters throughout the country.
American Agri-Women is a volunteer organization working to provide true information about agriculture to the public since 1974.
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