MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. — Nathan Jackson’s term as president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has involved numerous natural resource issues.
Elk management and damage, wolfpack expansion and predation, water resources and availability, open range grazing and tide water management have been at the top of the issues list. Regulations and bills are being proposed and discussed in the Oregon legislature and in the ranks of OCA’s membership in hopes of easing some of the concerns regarding each of these topics.
“In Oregon, it seems we have a lot of challenges on the natural resource side,” said the 42-year-old Jackson. “People are trying to make a living, but are challenged by excessive regulations and by decision makers who don’t have a firm grasp of the challenges we face every day to produce safe, high quality food for this state and for this country.
“We’re constantly working to try to make it better for our producers with regulatory relief,” he adds.
Jackson, the general manager for sales and administration for the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians’ ranches in Douglas and Jackson counties, has been making one or two trips a month to Salem, Ore., to talk to the state’s legislators on behalf of the cattle industry.
Jackson and the OCA represent nearly 2,000 ranchers.
Jackson has been in the cattle business for 20 years and has been involved in OCA work at the local and state levels for about as long. He has served on OCA’s Private Lands Committee and been the chairman of OCA’s Resolutions Committee. In 2013, he was elected treasurer of the state association, then was president elect in 2015 before becoming the OCA president for a two-year term in 2017. He is also involved in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and is a current member of its Ag and Food Policy Committee.
“I’ve always believed in the idea that if you have the ability to serve, you should,” Jackson said. “If you have the time, resources, talent, it is incumbent upon all of us to help grow and support our industries.
“I truly enjoy being able to make a difference,” he added. “I believe I’m able to be effective on behalf of cattle producers in Oregon.”
Jackson explained he wouldn’t be able to give of his time if he wasn’t supported by his employer, the Cow Creek Band.
“The tribe also has a strong commitment to this industry,” he said.
Jerome Rosa, the executive director of OCA, said that Jackson has had a positive effect on the association. He describes Jackson as “extremely organized, extremely efficient and a great public speaker.”
“He represents a new generation of ranchers who are willing to be involved,” Rosa said. “It’s a volunteer position that takes a tremendous amount of personal time, but Nathan believes in ranchers and what they do so he is willing to give of his own time and resources.”
Jackson said there has been progress made, albeit slowly, on managing elk and to compensate ranchers for damage those animals inflict on ag lands.
“People are in tough financial situations because of what they’re having to deal with,” he said. “The smaller producers especially can’t afford to feed their cattle and the elk.”
He added that the federal government’s proposed removal of wolves from the endangered species list is a step in the right direction.
“Oregon has a wolf plan that works, we just need to be able to implement it statewide,” he said, adding that the wolf is still federally protected in Central and Western Oregon despite the increasing presence of wolves.
Jackson also continues to be involved with the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Commission. That program, established in 2017, “provides voluntary incentives to farmers and ranchers to support practices that maintain or enhance both agriculture and natural resources such as fish and wildlife on agricultural lands.”
Jackson’s term as OCA president ends in November, but he will stay involved as a member of both OCA’s executive board and board of directors.
“I just want to continue to fight for the rights and the success of Oregon’s farmers and ranchers,” he said.