Wow, time flies by when you’re having fun. It has already been three months into my year. The board has met once as a group, and the executive committee has met with ODA Director Alexis Taylor, and Casey Prentiss and Elizabeth Savory from the plant health division. OSA began meeting each year with ODA, and I am continuing this with regular quarterly meetings as the goal. The next will be on October 3. The executive committee has also met with many past presidents to discuss our legislative and five-year strategy plan.
As you all know, we are headed towards our 50th anniversary celebration, and in reviewing board meeting minutes from the last 50 years, I came across the following. It was then President Don Mears’ opening remarks at the 1986 summer convention. His message stood out to me because it still holds true today: YOUR board is only as good as YOUR participation and suggestions about what YOU feel the board should be working on.
“This past year has been both an experience and a pleasure to serve as President of the Oregon Seed Trade Association.
“During the year, one of my main goals was to develop better communication between the OSTA and the Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University. Although we still have some problems to work out, they are not due to lack of communication. . . .
The Oregon Seed Trade Association has become a very political group, but we are brought together with one common goal, the marketing of Oregon grown seeds to the foreign and domestic market.
“We are a competitive group who will sometimes do anything to capture a market. We are constantly striving to outsell our neighbors down the road. We are developing higher yielding, more disease resistant, lower maintenance varieties that will benefit growers and consumers alike. Competition is what business is all about. Through all of this, we find that we can’t do everything by ourselves. There is power in numbers and we must be joined together in order to fight the bureaucracy that would tie us down with restrictive legislation, taxes, and seed laws. We must continue to support this association and work together to make sure that the Oregon seed industry remains a vital entity in the U.S. and the world market.
“There are some of you who think that conventions such as this are strictly social activities and are a good way to get a company paid vacation. There are also some of you who feel that our committees and association never accomplish anything. Well, those who complain the most are generally the ones who participate the least.
“In order for our committees to be effective, we need participation by its members. In order for the association to be successful, we need good leadership and active committees. You, as a member of this association, owe it to yourself and your company to participate in our meetings and discussions. If you don’t participate, then don’t complain about the decisions that are made that might affect you. Think about it.
“I didn’t mean to make a sermon out of this, but I feel that this is the best state seed association in the United States and it takes participation by all of us to keep it this way. Thank you.”
We thank Don for his meaningful words that still ring true today. As we move through the next year, let’s remember Don’s message and get engaged in your association.