Oregon Ag in the Classroom gets new director
By JAN JACKSON
For the Capital Press
Oregon Ag in the Classroom, the highly successful hands-on program that teaches young people about the importance of agriculture, has hired Jessica Budge to lead the nonprofit.
Budge, who will graduate from Oregon State University in June, will receive degrees in agricultural sciences and communication.
Born in Vernonia and raised in Sherwood, her love of agriculture goes back to her childhood days on her grandfather’s farm.
“Even my hobby is dairy animals,” Budge said. “I started with them in 4-H, continued through the FFA program in high school and am currently president of the OSU Dairy Club.
“At first I thought I would like to move to the Midwest because they have so many jobs in agriculture. However, after spending a summer interning at an ag marketing/PR agency in Minnesota, the lack of diversity made me realize I wanted to stay in Oregon.”
Budge, who won at the state level and participated in FFA nationals in prepared public speaking. She also was Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassador in 2011.
“Being an Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassador and interning one summer for Oregon Dairy Products Commission gave me many opportunities to visit classrooms and participate in a variety of promotional events,” Budge said. “I am really looking forward to representing Ag in the Classroom as well as working with children in the classroom. It is so important that we take every opportunity to teach the importance of agriculture as well as about where our food comes from and know that the kids are going to get it.
“I’m so excited about getting to do what I’ve always wanted to do, I can hardly wait to get started,” Budge said. “Tami Kerr, the board and the volunteers have done such a great job building this program. I plan on furthering Tami’s program and will continue to reach and improve more every year. My first task, however, will be to successfully launch our signature Ag in the Classroom calendar, which is due out in May.”
Budge, who met with the board of directors for the first time March 14, will move into her office in OSU Strand Hall right after spring break.