Mallory Phelan is the new executive director of Oregon Aglink, the Portland-based non-profit that attempts to bridge the urban-rural divide with educational programs and advocacy.
Phelan was interim director following the departure of Geoff Horning, who left this past summer to take the top executive job at Oregon Hazelnut Industries. Phelan was offered the job after a national search and accepted the position Oct. 17, according to an Oregon AgLink news release.
Phelan, 30, said she is honored and excited to be picked for the job.
She said existing programs will be continued, with the upcoming “Denin and Diamonds” dinner and auction in Portland being at the forefront of the organization’s work. But Phelan said she wants to dive into more strategic planning. She said Oregon Aglink should become more of a presence in agriculture across the state.
“We’re heavy in the (Willamette) valley,” she said. “We want to expand.”
She said there are “farmers and ranchers down in the Klamath Basin, out in Ione, in the Umatilla Basin,” for example, who want to be part of the “Adopt a Farmer” program. It connects middle school science classes with farms and ranches for field trips and other presentation. Phelan said a number of producers are especially interested in linking with students in the Portland metro area.
Phelan also said Oregon Aglink will look for more “strategic partnerships” with other organizations. Her group has done two joint programs with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, OMSI, in Portland. OMSI has a “such a great base” due to its programs for students in the metro area, she said.
Oregon Aglink wants to increase its membership, Phelan said, and offers a discount rate on workers’ compensation premiums.
Jeff Freeman, president of the Board of Directors at Oregon Aglink, said Phelan showed “great execution in her previous management role.” In a prepared statement, Freeman said Phelan’s “authentic voice and enthusiasm for agriculture are her greatest assets.”