SHEDD — The Reed and Robyn Anderson family of rural Brownsville was named the Gerald Detering Farm Family of the Year during the 66th annual Linn County Farm Bureau Banquet held Thursday evening at the Adult and Teen Challenge campus.
Robin Galloway also was honored as the Ag Educator of the Year for her decades of service to thousands of young people in the 4-H program.
The awards were presented by Local Farm Bureau president Don Cersovski.
The Andersons have multigenerational roots in Linn County agriculture. Grandchildren make the sixth generation reared on the farm.
The couple married in 1980 and began raising sheep near Harrisburg. In 1987 they bought a farm east of Brownsville. They have added to that farm and have also created added value marketing of their sheep by building a USDA approved slaughterhouse, Kalapooia Valley Grass Fed Processing. They sell Anderson Ranches Oregon Lamb meat to markets in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, North Dakota and other states.
Family members are active in all phases of the operation. Son Jake helps manage farming and sheep operations, and son Travis manages the slaughterhouse. Their son Brent, who also was active on the farm, passed away in 2000.
The Andersons have been active at Central Linn schools and with the Oregon Sheep Growers Association and the American Lamb Board.
For several years, the family has allowed the use of their land by the Bi-Mart Willamette County Music Festival, which provided an opportunity for Central Linn students to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for school programs.
Barry Bushue, president of the Oregon Farm Bureau, was the evening's keynote speaker.
Bushue said that "despite overwhelming pressure," Oregon's farmers and ranchers "won on several bills" in the last legislative session that would have negatively affected them concerning water resources, taxation, pesticide application and timber issues.
"I believe that is a testament to the work of grass-roots folks like yourselves," Bushue said. "I truly believe agriculture would suffer without the Farm Bureau."
Bushue said there are many Oregonians who "want to control how we farm, where we farm and what we raise. They like to use the word stewardship, but it is the folks who live on farms and ranches who truly live what that word means."
Bushue said the Farm Bureau is experiencing financial pressures caused by having fewer farmers working larger operations with an aging ownership base. He said a proposed a long-term dues increase will be voted upon at the upcoming state meeting in Pendleton.
Bushue also talked about Gov. Kate Brown's recent executive order to mandate "green" construction of all buildings including houses starting in 2020 — which he believes will surely add costs — and the need for a workable worker immigration system.
He also said that agricultural irrigation — along with adequate water for municipalities — should be priorities as the Army Corps of Engineers begins reallocating water from its 13 dams and reservoirs in Oregon.
Farm Bureau members also were concerned about what the government might do concerning inheritance taxes. Some in Congress want to decrease the total amount of value that goes untaxed with the passing of family members.
Bushue said families have already paid taxes on their incomes over the years and remaining heirs should not have to sell off assets to satisfy inheritance tax mandates.