Oregon Aglink is moving its annual meeting from Woodburn, where it has been held for many years, to the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center to align with Salem Ag Week and the week’s signature event, the Northwest Ag Show.

The meeting, which will include a members-only segment and a speaker segment open to the public, will be held in Cascade Hall, which is adjacent to the Ag Show’s main exhibition area.

“We are looking forward to where our members are able to come to the annual meeting and also enjoy everything the Northwest Ag Show has to offer,” said Mallory Phelan, executive director of Oregon Aglink.

In addition to the venue change, the meeting format will change as well with the organization focusing on one speaker, instead of the usual three.

“Typically, when we had three speakers, it seemed like we would start to lose people in the afternoon,” she said. “Now we are focusing on one good one.”

Phelan hadn’t locked down a speaker as of press deadline. The meeting will begin at noon on Jan. 17.

In another announcement, Phelan said that under support of a Specialty Crop Block Grant program, beginning in January, Oregon Aglink is continuing an effort begun two years ago to educate adults about Oregon agriculture.

The effort involves two parts: partnering with the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and dietetic intern programs at Oregon Health Sciences University and Oregon State University on conducting farm tours to educate future dietitians; and conducting farm tours in partnership with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for the general public.

The idea behind the dietetic intern tours, Phelan said, is to provide future nutritionists and registered dietitians “a good understanding of what is happening on the farms.”

With the OMSI tours, coined by OMSI as “Behind the Seeds,” farmers host and educate tour participants on what they are doing to produce food, how they are doing it and why they are doing what they do.

“It is basically taking the concept of Adopt a Farmer and adapting it to an adult conversation,” she said.

Phelan added that Oregon Aglink is by no means abandoning its signature program.

“We are not diverting from Adopt a Farmer and its focus on middle schools,” she said. “We still have the 40-plus farms and school matches from Portland to Medford and over into Bend that are participating in Adopt a Farmer, and the program is going better than ever.”

In the program, a middle school classroom is paired with a farm or ranch for an academic year. It includes a visit by the students to the farm or ranch and two to three classroom visits by the participating farmer or rancher.

Phelan said that Oregon Aglink also is continuing to work with Oregon Women for Agriculture to place road crop identification signs along Oregon’s most traveled thoroughfares and is continuing its multimedia campaign to connect Oregon farms with the general public through “I Am Oregon Agriculture” television ads and social media.

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