Margaret Jensen was part of the group looking for a new executive director for the Far West Agribusiness Association.
She didn’t realize she would end up in the job.
She is currently an agricultural recruiter for Ag 1 Source.
“We had some phenomenal candidates, absolutely wonderful candidates, and unfortunately we just couldn’t make a deal work,” Jensen told the Capital Press.
As the search to replace outgoing executive director Jim Fitzgerald continued, Jensen, an association board member for two years, and others began to consider somebody from the board taking over.
“The more we talked about it, the more it seemed like a different direction, but a good direction.”
She has been a member of the organization for more than a decade.
Far West Agribusiness Association is a 60-year-old regional trade organization covering Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Nevada. Its members are 120 agricultural retailers selling fertilizer, crop protection products, seed, agronomic services and custom applications to farmers.
Fitzgerald is retiring after joining the association in 2008. Jensen took over April 15 as executive director.
She has nearly 30 years of experience in the vegetable and seed industry, working in research, market development, product development, sales and product management before becoming a seed and agronomy recruiter.
Jensen pointed to her experience in sales, networking and politics — all of which will serve her as executive director.
“A lot of boxes were checked that made it seem like a good fit,” she said. “I’ve loved the organization, I’ve loved agriculture — I’ve been in it my entire career.”
Asked about the biggest needs she sees in the industry, Jensen said COVID-19 and the impacts that will percolate through the industry are at the top of people’s minds right now.
Jensen said Fitzgerald leaves big shoes to fill.
“We still have three more weeks of him available to us, and I plan on utilizing that three weeks very well, in picking his brain,” she said.
Jensen said her goals are for the organization to be healthy and thriving, for its members to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth, and to build membership.
“Margaret’s enthusiasm and energy are just what the FWAA needs as we move forward in these challenging times,” association president Don Kirkwood said in a press release. “Her passion for the ag industry and stellar track record are indicative of the many talents she will bring to the table.”
Jesnsen said she will have an open door policy. She will maintain the Spokane office and an office in Weiser, Idaho.
“All the experiences I’ve had over the last 30-plus years in the industry, I hope I can bring all of that to the table and be a very successful person in this role,” she said.