Salem, OR – The Resource Education and Agricultural Leadership Program (REAL Oregon) recently announced the successful completion of Class 3. The final in person session of this cohort, scheduled for March 17 -19 in Boardman, was canceled due to the pandemic and the Governor’s stay-in-place order. However, despite this and other logistical challenges, Class 3 wrapped up their formal training with a virtual fifth and final session.
REAL Oregon Board Chair Jake Gibbs commented on the challenges. “The preference would have been meeting in person in Boardman, that wasn’t possible. We did, however, deliver great online presentations and had excellent class participation in our virtual session.”
REAL Oregon Executive Director Greg Addington noted that while the formality of an actual Class graduation will have to wait, the program is happy to welcome the following outstanding individuals into our growing alumni network.
Randi Bural - Northwest Farm Credit Services
Tricia Chastain - Northwest Farm Credit Services
Allison Cloo - Oregon Aglink
Dave Coates - PCC Airfoils
Jackson Coleman – Coleman Agriculture (pending)
Matthew Cook - Cook Family Farms
Betsy Earls – Weyerhaeuser (pending)
Jeremy Felty - Oregon Small Woodlands Assoc.
Jason Flowers - Flowers Farms
Brennan Garrelts - Lone Rock Resources
Kelley Hamby - Central Oregon Irrigation District
Rob Hamlin - Riddell Farms/Ash Creek Oregon
Matt Hegerberg – Heron Timber (pending)
Gordon Jones - OSU Southern OR Extension
Katie Kissler - Hancock Forest Management
Catherine Kiyokawa - Kiyokawa Family Orchards
Brent Klumph - OSU Research Forests
Heidi Leib - Boise Cascade Wood Products
Nathan Miller - Oregon Department of Agriculture
Jolene Moxon - Modoc Co. (CA) Ag Department
Sean Naumes - Naumes, Inc.
Lisa Patrick - SAGE Center/Port of Morrow
Nicole Ruggiero - Tualatin SWCD
Whitney Henneman - Silver Butte Timber Co.
Susan Schmidlin - Schmidlin Angus Farms
Andrea Sonnen - Oregon Dept. of Agriculture
Nicole Sullivan - TU/Owyhee Watershed Council
Diann Washburn - Oregonians for Food and Shelter
Alexa Weathers - Kerr Supply Company
If a participant misses one or more sessions for any reason, their graduation status is pending, and they are given up to two years to complete the session they missed with another class.
REAL Oregon is a collaboration of industry and other groups throughout the state that have recognized the importance of developing and grooming natural resource leaders now and in the future. In addition to one of a kind networking opportunities and learning more about the state, the program will bring current and future leaders together from agriculture, fishing, and forestry sectors in a series of five statewide sessions starting this fall. The annual leadership development program will expose this cross-section of representatives to the diversity of Oregon’s geography, economy, and cultures through training in board governance, communication skills, conflict resolution, government interaction, public policy work, critical thinking, media relations, professional presentations, public speaking, relationship building and other areas.
Planning for Class 4 – November 2020
To adjust for the COVID-19 situation, some changes have been made to the schedule and policies related to Class 4. REAL Oregon board member and curriculum chair, Lauren Lucht said these changes will not take away from the programming or this distinctive opportunity. “The COVID situation has created challenges to be sure, but it has also created opportunities and could, in fact, make for an even more unique and rewarding experience for participants”. Lucht noted that the application deadline is July 24, 2020 and interested candidates should visit the REAL Oregon website (www.realoregon.net) for more information.
Addington said the program’s directors will continually monitor the situation as we move into the fall and will follow appropriate guidelines from the CDC, OHA, and the State of Oregon. “In anticipation of welcoming our 4th cohort this fall we have adopted the following program changes”.
· 25 participants will be the target for Class 4
· Participants will be responsible for their own lodging costs
· Participant tuition for Class 4 will be $2,000 (tuition assistance may be available)
· Participants may be responsible for their own travel to tour sites
· Additional changes may be implemented to align with State and local county COVID related health and safety recommendations or requirements.
Gibbs added that the value of the program may never be greater. “We are living in a unique and uncertain time. The need for enhancing and growing our leadership skills and networks are more evident today than ever. The REAL Oregon board of directors and our committed sponsors continue to recognize the value and importance of this program. While class 4 may look a little different than previous classes, our mission remains intact”.