A few years ago I was in a meeting with Terry Ross from Integrated Seed Growers when he asked, “Anissa, we need some more board members for the Agri-Business Council. Would you consider it?” My thoughts at that time were: “Agri-Business Council is the organization that gets us our SAIF discount, but what else do they do?”
I wasn’t alone. One question continued to surface when I joined the ABC Board: “What does Agri-Business Council of Oregon DO for Oregon’s Ag community?” We’ve been on a mission to rebuild the brand of your association, and I am so very proud and happy today to say that we do A WHOLE LOT! Adopt a Farmer, our safety videos in addition to our discount program with SAIF, the wonderful Road Crop Signs you see up and down I-5 and 99 all through the valley, and a new Safety Program we have implemented in 2014. These are just a few of the things that are defining ABC as an organization I could not be more proud to represent.
When I came back to work on our family farm in 2007, I knew I wanted to learn all I could about agriculture and what it meant to be a small farm in Oregon. As I had done in all of my previous jobs, I strived to give my all to research and learn as much as I could to make myself a better employer, farmer and person. Joining the board of ABC has been a great part of that education for me. My father, David Riddell, has always been active in supporting farm organizations and being on boards and I can only hope to follow in his footsteps of representing Riddell Farms, the Willamette Valley and in turn, Oregon.
Riddell Farms grows grass seed, hazelnuts, oats, sometimes wheat and we have recently added a baling operation. Like most agricultural operations in Oregon, we are diverse. A lot more diverse than you may think. My husband was born in New York City and is African-American. My nephew is half-Egyptian. I have two biracial daughters. My son was born in Germany and is a recent University of Oregon graduate. I have a cousin who taught English in China, one who adopted a daughter from Africa and another who speaks Swedish. All have helped in some way on our farm.
I would bet if I came to your farm/ranch/ag business, you could also share some very surprising and interesting facts about your organization, family and life. The bottom line: I am Oregon Agriculture. Urban dwellers are just a few generations away from the farm, but far enough to not realize what we do, who we are, and how we do what we do but most of all: Why we are vital to Oregon!
On June 2-15 we will be spotlighting our commercial “I am Oregon Agriculture” Please be on the lookout for it on KATU Channel 2. It is so vital for us to get our message across to the urbanites of Oregon. This is the primary reason I joined Agri-Business Council when Terry asked me nearly five years ago. My ultimate goal has always been that when Oregonians, either urban or rural, think of Oregon agriculture they think of ABC. We are growing and expanding our scope all over Oregon and I am so excited to watch this year as we gain new members and influence the wonderful state with our mantra: I am Oregon Agriculture!
Anissa Branch, Riddell Farms