Barbara Boyer values rural Oregon

My husband Tom and I are farmers. We took over full operations of his family’s McMinnville area century farm in 1999. At the peak of our hay production, we were farming 1000 acres. In my other areas of work, I have also worked closely with farmers and landowners: both as founder and longtime McMinnville Farmers Market Manager and as Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District director and chair. I also sit on the Oregon Board of Agriculture.

I am a rural Oregonian. I live in rural Oregon. I personally work the land with my hands — driving tractors, loading hay, pounding t-posts (I’m even putting up many of my own campaign signs!). I balance the books for our farm as well as the large budget for the Yamhill SWCD. I understand the complexities of balancing profitability today with maintaining the land for future generations. I understand the role our open lands play in our economy and our culture. My experiences as a rural Oregonian and farmer strongly influence the values I will bring with me as future Yamhill County Commissioner.

I value the land we work and the people who work that land.

On a county level, that means I support preserving farm and forest lands for those purposes. In future negotiations about expanding city urban growth boundaries, I bring with me a land conservation perspective and will ensure that cities have plans to develop all land inside existing UGBs before we reach out for more valuable farmland. I know that we can find solutions for affordable housing that still maintain our county’s open lands and our agricultural heritage and culture.

On a state level, my rural values also led me to NOT support the recent cap-and-trade bills. I consistently heard rhetoric showing that lawmakers were out-of-touch with the reality of rural residents or felt dismissive of our experience. That alone was problematic to me when we’re dealing with something incredibly complicated that would affect small businesses, like my own, all over the state.

The evidence is strong that climate shift disproportionally harms rural landscapes, rural occupations, and rural people through increased droughts and more extreme weather. I believe it is time that we take action to mitigate the effects of climate shift on our rural communities. But SB1530 was not the way to do it.

I trust that our communities — on the state and local level — WILL find solutions that work to mitigate the effects that unseasonable weather, droughts, wildfires, and the like have on our people and landscapes, while protecting the livelihood of rural workers.

There are so many examples of farmers and foresters and other rural businesses already incorporating these positive (and profitable!) changes into their systems with huge success and these stories need to be highlighted so that we can work together on the solution.

I am ready to work with anyone and everyone committed to finding real-life solutions that work for Yamhill County, while still maintaining the unique place we love and its people.

Looking forward, Barbara

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