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Marion County provides one of the best opportunities because it houses the state capital. Many of the government and non-profit organizations in the state have their offices in Salem and hold regular public meetings and work groups. These opportunities provide the citizens of Marion County with the power to influence change in their community and to meet like-minded people.
A number of groups focus on a specific agricultural commodity or industry. These groups come together to discuss market issues, local pest problems and possible new practices that can assist growers in being more successful. In addition, they work to establish policies that better support a thriving business model, while protecting the environment.
The Oregon Farm Bureau is a voluntary, grassroots, non-profit organization representing the interests of the state’s farmers and ranchers in the public and policy-making arenas. It is the state’s largest general farm organization with about 54,000 members; 8,900 are professionally engaged in agriculture. Becoming a member of the OFB requires annual membership dues of varying cost depending on the county where you live.
The Oregon Women of Agriculture is an all-volunteer group that focuses on nearly all facets of agriculture. Membership requires an annual membership due and provides pertinent information related to agricultural production and an open forum to discuss, use, and develop ideas and skills.
NRCS and FSA meetings are held at the USDA Service Center: 650 Hawthorne Ave, SE, Suite 130, Salem. Be aware that there are other opportunities throughout the county for the public to work with government and policy-making agencies. If interested in a certain issue or aspect of government contact the regulatory or administering agency to see if they have any work groups available.
Watershed Councils allow the public to get involved in protecting and restoring a watershed. These groups are independent and volunteer based. Here is a list of watershed councils in Marion County:
Your local extension agent offers objective, research-based information to help Marion County youth and adults solve problems, develop life skills, and manage resources wisely. Their agents can assist in answering questions by telephone, in person and by e-mail relating to natural resource concerns, crop/land appropriateness, and current agricultural marketing trends. They also coordinate information tours, conferences, short courses, workshops, and demonstrations.