REAL Oregon announces its second class

The first REAL Oregon class. The members of the second class have just been announced.

Another 30 participants are set to take part in the Resource Education and Agricultural Leadership program, better known as REAL Oregon.

The organization announced its second class on Oct. 5, including professionals in production agriculture, timber, agribusiness and state government. They will attend five monthly training sessions across the state, learning about the diversity of agriculture and natural resources in order to become better leaders and advocates for their industries.

REAL Oregon started in 2017, and is a collaboration between industry and other groups to create new leaders who will represent the agriculture and natural resource communities. It is modeled after a similar program in Idaho, which is now entering its 39th year.

Bill Buhrig, agronomist for Simplot Food Group in Ontario, Ore. and REAL Oregon board chairman, said participants for Class 2 were selected from a pool of well-qualified and diverse candidates touching all corners of the state.

“We had a great response to the program in its second year,” Buhrig said.

Class 2 will begin in November and end with a graduation ceremony in March 2019. The group will travel for training sessions in Ontario, Roseburg, Newport, Boardman and Salem, experiencing a wide range of Oregon’s geography and economy while building skills in communication, conflict resolution, media relations, public speaking, networking, board governance and public policy work.

Greg Addington, REAL Oregon executive director, said he is excited to watch the new group grow as leaders.

“This class will build on the solid foundation established by Class 1,” Addington said. “We are beginning to fulfill the vision of building a solid network of agriculture and natural resource leaders who will benefit the state for many years to come.”

REAL Oregon Class 2 members include:

Northwest/Willamette Valley: Jace Anderson, Anderson Land & Cattle, Sublimity; Liz Beeles, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Salem; Becky Berger, Berger International, Hillsboro; Kirk Burkholder, Burkholder Farms, Albany; Lance Christianson, Port Blakely U.S. Forestry, Molalla; Ayreann Colombo, Aquila Consulting Group, Portland; Jacqueline Duyck Jones, Larry Duyck Farms, Banks; Katie Glaser, Glaser Farms, Lebanon; Mallory Phelan, Oregon AgLink, Albany; Amber Pritchard, Harvest Capital Company, Sandy; Shane Ruddell, Ruddell Farms, Sweet Home; Anna Scharf, Scharf Farms, Amity; Abisha Stone, Strategic Economic Development Corp., Salem; Gilbert Uribe Valdez, ODA, Salem; Christina Walsh, Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences, Eugene; Dylan Wells, Autumn Harvest Inc., Woodburn; Karen Withers, AgCultured Consulting, Turner; Denis Sather, OSU, Corvallis; Lily Xu, Energy Trust of Oregon, Portland.

Eastern/High Desert: Angela Allum Smit, Vale Veterinary Clinic, Vale; Shon Rae, Central Oregon Irrigation District, Bend; Marie Cain, Threemile Canyon Farms, Boardman; Shannon Hoehna, SH Consulting, Weston; Amber McCollough, Green Diamond Resource Company, Klamath Falls; Robin Pickard, Athena Income Tax Service, Athena; Beau Reynolds, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Pendleton.

Coastal/Southern: Mark Garrigues, GreenWood Resources Inc., Seaside; Megan Huber, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Central Point; Jeff Minster, Starker Forests Inc., Blodgett; Joe Newton, Lone Rock Resources, Roseburg.

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