SALEM — The Oregon Farm Bureau has hired attorney Lauren Smith to serve as director of government affairs, lobbying on behalf of the state’s farmers and ranchers.

Smith comes to the Farm Bureau from the Oregon Association of Counties, where she was the legislative affairs manager for natural resources and veterans. She also spent five years as public policy counsel for the Oregon Water Resources Congress, representing irrigation districts statewide.

“After spending most of my career working in natural resources, I am so excited to join the Oregon Farm Bureau family,” Smith said in a statement. “I consider it an honor to do what I can to protect what makes Oregon such an amazing place to live, specifically our diverse farming, ranching and forestry operations.”

Smith’s hiring comes after former policy counsel Samantha Bayer left the Farm Bureau earlier this year to return to her family’s vineyard in Eagle Point.

Farm Bureau spokesperson Anne Marie Moss said Smith will focus on several issues affecting Oregon agriculture, including wildfires, wildlife, transportation and tax policy. Her first day was Oct. 1.

“Lauren brings a breadth and depth on many issues important to Farm Bureau members and has great experience and relationships in the Oregon public policy arena,” said Dave Dillon, OFB executive vice president. “We are excited to welcome her to the OFB team.”

Smith earned her bachelor’s degree from Willamette University in Salem and graduated from the university’s College of Law in 2007.

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