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From the President

Matt Cyrus, President, Oregon Family Farm Association.

Matt Cyrus, President, Oregon Family Farm Association.

Matt Cyrus

Oregon Family Farm Association

Every woman has her own opportunity in unchartered frontiers, and the women in this issue of Oregon Family Farmer are making the most of their opportunities. These stories unfold as highlights of the leaders, pioneers, entrepreneurs and commanding voices of women in what’s often seen from the outside as a “man’s world” – the world of farming and agriculture. We as a state are much the richer for the legacy of women leaders in Oregon agriculture.

I hope you especially enjoy this issue celebrating the women who are creating a positive future for Oregon. One special lady I love and celebrate is my daughter, Awbrey Cyrus. For nearly 180 years, the Cyrus family have been farming in Oregon; first homesteading the Willamette valley in the 1840s, then crossing to the untamed valleys of Central Oregon in the 1880s.

We are a resilient bunch and Awbrey continues to amaze me with her resilience too. She has caught the Cyrus’ passion for ag and animals and is quick to speak her mind when advocating for both.

A few years ago, Awbrey was working a dude string when she collided with a rearing horse, suffering a severe head injury and concussion. The injury left her housebound for a year, with months of memory loss and years of migraine headaches. Her sheer willpower to overcome also reared its feisty head as I watched her step into her boots, trek out to the barns, and work with her horses, bulls and ewes in spite of the pain.

Today, Awbrey works full time at VF Red Angus Ranch where she trains show animals, monitors calving and skillfully assists the embryo and breeding operations. She also raises her own livestock and applies her talent with breeding and genetics on her own stock of bucking bulls and award-winning sheep bloodlines. She’s carefully selected and bred about 80 head of ewes for her own enterprise,

Cyrus Club Lambs, dedicated to 4-H youth. You will often find her up, two to three times a night, doing most of the lambing by herself. What’s most exciting to her this lambing season?

“This year all my wether lambs sold out!” she told me. “It’s a good feeling to have a sold-out year.”

She pours immense entrepreneurial drive into bettering her flock for FFA and 4-H clubs. Her ambitious and competitive nature takes great pains to improve the bloodlines and genetics year after year. When three of her lambs cleaned house at last year’s Central Washington State Fair, it meant a couple of 4-H youth proudly took the three top spots in all categories.

Awbrey’s inspiration, however, doesn’t just come from the Cyrus clan, but from the youngsters she serves and the living examples of many remarkable women making a difference for their farms, communities, and the future of agriculture. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know them in this issue.

Follow Awbrey on Facebook at CyrusClubLambs

Bill to limit canola farm advances

A decision on legislation to limit canola production in the Willamette Valley to 500 acres a year lies with the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

After the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources voted 3-2 in favor of Senate Bill 885 April 4, it was referred to Ways and Means with a “do pass” recommendation to find money in the budget to fund its implementation. Continue reading

Rep. Sprenger: Plan to revive steelhead

Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R. HD 17, currently serves on eight, count them, eight committees this during the 2019 Oregon Legislative Session – almost as many committees as years she’s been an elected legislator.

Her strong work ethic serves her well as she is a chief sponsor of HB 3016 that will appropriate dollars to Department of Fish and Wildlife for restoration of steelhead fish hatcheries on the Santiam River. “Wild fish and hatchery fish can co-exist just fine,” said Sprenger. “Sports fishing and for that matter hunting is an economic driver in rural communities like mine.” Continue reading

5 bills that would drive up farm labor costs

There are several bills in the Oregon Legislature that would drive up already high labor costs for Oregon family farms and every small business along Oregon’s agricultural food chain.

HB 3031 paid family leave tax bill: This bill would create a new 1% tax on businesses to pay for a new statewide family leave program. A 1% tax on payroll would be taken from both the employer and employee, leaving less wages for the worker. Continue reading

Oregon has enough marijuana to last 6 years

By Oregon Family Farm Association,

Oregon cannabis growers have enough marijuana to meet the demands of users for more than six years, and the oversupply has prompted Gov. Kate Brown to propose curbing the number of pot-growing licenses issued.

In a report to the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission said the cannabis industry produces twice as much as the state consumes, according to a Portland Business Journal article. It said recreational retailers account for 55 percent of adult demand while the rest are supplied by homegrown, medical or illegal marijuana. Continue reading

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