Bob Waldher of Athena, Sam Taylor of Echo and Tom Demianew of Pendleton will participate in the inaugural class for the REAL (Resource Education & Ag Leadership) Oregon program.
The Umatilla County men are among 30 individuals chosen from across the state. They were selected from a large pool of applicants and reflect a diversity of resource producers, agri-businesses, advocacy organizations and government agencies.
Bill Buhrig, with Simplot Food Group and REAL Oregon board chair, said the response to the program has been overwhelming. He said the more than 30 applicants exceeded expectations and is a good indicator that the program is long overdue. Oregon, Buhrig said, is modeling its program after a similar program in Idaho.
REAL Oregon is a collaboration of industry and other groups throughout the state that have recognized the importance of developing and grooming natural resource leaders now and in the future. In addition to networking opportunities and learning more about the state, the program will bring current and future leaders together from agriculture, fishing and forestry sectors in a series of five statewide sessions starting in November.
Class 1 includes 10 individuals directly involved in production agriculture, three in timber production and forestry, 11 from agri-businesses or natural resource organizations and six from local, state and federal agencies. The inaugural class will conclude in March 2018 and recruitment for Class 2 will be underway in the coming months. For more information, visit www.realoregon.net.