By MITCH LIES

Capital Press

Former Oregon Speaker of the House and state director of USDA Rural Development Mark Simmons has been named executive director of the Oregon Grass Seed Bargaining Association.

Simmons replaces Ralph Fisher, who is retiring from the position after five years of leading the association.

Simmons, who also has worked as a lobbyist for the Oregon Association of Nurseries, started in his new job Feb. 1.

"Mark brings to the bargaining association a wealth of knowledge of association management and the issues that affect Oregon farmers," said association President Ron Quiring. "We look forward to working with him as we continue to build, strengthen and see the bargaining process mature."

"It's a good fit for me," Simmons said.

"My immediate goal is to make sure that as the economy recovers and prices improve, the growers' contribution is appropriately recognized," he said.

The association is holding its annual meeting, Feb. 18 at Events at Copper Hill, formerly Collette's Restaurant, 3170 Commercial St. S.E., Salem.

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