About Barbara Boyer
Barbara Boyer has 15 years experience serving as an elected official and leader in Yamhill County. She was elected to the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in 2004 and has served as chair of this body since 2008. She has worked with farmers, land-owners, municipalities, and residents to effectively interpret and fulfill the SWCD's conservation mission locally.
In addition, Barbara has served on numerous important boards within the county and at the state level, notably on the ODA Board of Agriculture since 2012, which she chaired in 2017.
Barbara has also served on the OSU Yamhill Extension Advisory Committee, the SEDCORE Economic Development Advisory Council, the Yamhill County Parks Board, the hiring panel for the current county administrator, and the Linfield Center of the Northwest board.
Barbara's roots in Yamhill County run deep. She has lived here for over three decades, first moving to Oregon to work in the plant nursery business. In 1999, she and her husband Tom took over his family's century farm.
Barbara and Tom currently farm 400 acres, producing quality hay for other local farmers, as well as growing a large enough garden that they have produce to share through a small Community Supported Agriculture program. They have also dedicated themselves to restoring the farm's aging infrastructure, including the 1909 farmhouse. They think of the farm as a model for preserving the past while also looking forward by experimenting with fresh farming business models and conservation projects (they've planted 10,000+ trees).
Barbara contributes to the local community through her professional work as well as through volunteerism. She is a Yamhill County Master Gardener and was named 1999 Master Gardener of the Year. She was voted McMinnville's Volunteer of the Year in 2004.
She and Tom also love spending time with their family (especially their grandchildren!) and large "family" of friends.
In all that she does, Barbara brings an innovative mind that looks forward to future potential challenges and also unexpected solutions. She is co-founder and was longtime manager (2001-2012) of the hugely successful McMinnville Farmers' Market. In her role as manager, Barbara kept in mind the needs of all people by bringing SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to the market so that people with fewer financial resources would have access to healthy, fresh foods.
As SWCD director, Barbara led the board into new ways of fulfilling their mission, including the development of private lands for SWCD conservation projects.The first such SWCD project was Miller Woods, a 130-acre property just west of McMinnville that was bequeathed to the SWCD in 2004. Barbara has helped Miller Woods — with its mix of forest and grassland — become a model site that demonstrates how natural resource management, conservation, recreation, and education can thrive together.
Barbara also reached out beyond the SWCD to partner with Yamhill County on invasive weed control, sharing the funding of a position that serves this larger need — another innovative first.
Barbara is always looking forward to what creative solutions are needed next and has been featured in many news stories (The Oregonian, The Statesman Journal, The Capital Press) that highlight her experience, her commitment to her community, and her innovative thinking.
Values & priorities
Barbara's primary primary goal as future Yamhill County Commissioner is to truly listen to the people of the county and work to meet their needs.
She does not bring a set political agenda with her to office, but instead will carry with her a set of personal values, letting these values inform her work of representing everyone in the county. She values fair and balanced outcomes for as many people as possible into the future.
As SWCD chair, Barbara has already worked with people from every corner of the county for years and looks forward to deepening existing relationships and forging new working relationships to help move Yamhill County forward into the future.
Yamhill County is a primarily rural county, with towns set between expanses of farm and forestland. As SWCD director, Barbara has been intimately involved in the conservation issues facing our county's working landscapes. She understands the many roles that rural landscapes play in our lives: economic drivers, employment opportunities, caretakers of soil and clean water, beauty for residents and travelers, recreation, homes for rural residents, and potential for future generations.
One of the most important jobs of Yamhill County Commissioners is making planning and land-use decisions for these rural landscapes. Looking forward, Barbara will bring the complex Big Picture vision gained from her long experiences as a farmer and SWCD director to these decisions.
Barbara understands the need to prioritize the economic potentials of our lands while not losing sight of the long-term need of conservation — both of the current farming and forest uses of the land itself, and also of the soil and water.
Wrapped up into all of her values and goals for Yamhill County is livability. Barbara cares about a county where its residents can pursue happy, healthy, vibrant lives. Specifically as future Yamhill County Commissioner, this means:
Working on economic development, so that our community is rich with well-paying, satisfying work for our residents and is a desirable home for innovative entrepreneurs
Addressing the cost of housing and housing solutions for the least advantaged of our residents
Working with Health and Human Services and the regional coordinated care organization to ensure that existing health services are delivered effectively and compassionately to residents who need them
Weighing the long-term impacts of land-use decisions for future generations
Considering how the county can increase the sustainability of its own operations into the future and help other local organizations and businesses do so as well
Increasing the number of opportunities for community involvement with programs such as Miller Woods
Working with state agencies, nearby counties, nonprofit organizations, and local municipalities to share resources and projects as much as possible to save taxpayers money and more effectively solve complex regional challenges.
But ultimately, pursuing livability will again come back to listening and representing the complex, changing needs of a diverse county, as we all move forward together.