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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