Farm Bureau’s loss is USDA’s gain

Barry Bushue, long-time president of the Oregon Farm Bureau, is the new state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency.

We’d like to take a moment to wish Barry Bushue well in his new position as Oregon state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Bushue operates a small farm in Boring, Ore., where he and his family have a farmstand and grow berries and pumpkins.

For nearly two decades Bushue served as president of the Oregon Farm Bureau. He served as vice president of the American Farm Bureau for eight years.

In those roles he has served the farmers and ranchers of Oregon well. During his tenure he has been at the forefront of issues vital to agriculture — labor, immigration, “hot goods,” water, regulation — on the national stage as well as here in the Pacific Northwest.

His leadership at the national level included service on the AFBF Nursery & Greenhouse Committee, AFBF Trade Advisory Committee, a national labor taskforce and a National Food Quality Protection Act workgroup.

Bushue served on the USDA Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture, the Executive Committee of the United States Biotech Crop Alliance, and the Board of Directors of the Generic Event Marketability & Access Agreement Biotech Accord.

In Oregon, he served on the Executive Committee of Oregonians for Food & Shelter, a coalition that protects and advocates for access and safe use of pesticide, fertilizers and biotech tools for the agriculture and natural resource communities. He has worked on numerous task forces at the request of the governor, the state legislature, and with natural resource agencies on critical issues, including water quality and quantity, pesticide use, biotech, labor, navigability, public land grazing and wildlife depredation.

In 2014 he was named Agriculturalist of the Year by the Oregon Agri-Business Council, now Oregon AgLink.

Bushue said he hopes to increase awareness of the many loan programs the Farm Service Agency offers through its county offices, including direct operating loans, microloans for small and beginning or non-traditional farmers, direct farm ownership loans and emergency loans.

“I think the programs are useful, they are valuable, they are important, they provide critical safety nets for folks,” Bushue said.

We think USDA has picked the right person, with the right background, for the job. We wish him all the best in his new role.

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