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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 16, 2005 contact: Jana Kittredge Oregon Women for Agriculture Publicity Chair
Oregon Women for Agriculture Annual State Convention meet in Redmond March 3-5

**REDMOND, OR -- Cindy Witzel, Oregon businesswoman and rancher, who joined her husband in his outfitting business, Steens Mountain Packers, in 1988, will address the OWA Convention at Eagle Crest on Friday, March
4, at 7:00 pm.

Witzel, a third-generation Oregonian, graduated from West Albany High School and attended Boston University, completing her B.A. in Economics at the University of Washington. Throughout both high school and college, Witzel worked in the natural resource industry of tourism predominantly running rivers and guiding the public on their public lands.

Oregon Women for Agriculture (OWA) hosts their annual state convention in Redmond, Oregon March 3 - 5, 2005 at the Eagle Crest Resort, Cline Falls Hwy. This year's convention is organized by OWA's Central Oregon Chapter. Convention theme is "Education: Uniting Agriculture."

A chockful event, highlighting the opening evening's festivities is Connie Hatfield, Oregon Country Beef. Connie is a Central Oregon rancher from Brothers, who together with her husband, Doc, developed a local co-op company of all-natural beef production.

Dinner will be served to the group and guests at the Redmond Grange Hall on Thursday evening featuring a cuisine of Oregon Country Beef tri-tip beef barbecue. Entertainment will be headlined by Pendleton's Cowboy poet, Marty Campbell.

Friday's events are the core of the convention at Eagle Crest beginning at 9:00am with financial planner, Angela Harris of Morgan Stanley in Bend. She will be instructing the women on different and creative ways to invest for their futures.

Following will be a presentation by local Oregon Women of agriculture. Slated as "Ladies of Interest" will be Robin Holdman, president of Northwest Country Products, who has diversified her family wheat farm into a process of bi-products such as specialty pancake mixes, breads and more; OWA member, Jeanne Carver of the Imperial Stock Ranch near Shaniko, updates the group on her entrepreneur efforts in the wool industry and domestic lamb markets; Jean White of White Trees and Shrubs Nursery in Bend; and Sara Thomas of the Crook County Natural Resource Committee.

After lunch the convention continues with Debby Kennedy who works with Gov. Kulongoski's project, Brand Oregon. Ms. Kennedy brings information on what's happening with the plan to promote Oregon agriculture.

There will also be representation from the Washington Department of Agriculture when Bob Radke, who heads up the Commodity Merchant Program in his state, addresses the group. He will explain a special licensing program defined in Washington's Commission Merchants Act, one that protects ag producers and those who deal with ag products from failure to pay and many other issues.

"Oregon does not have this type of self-supporting act. It is one that needs to be looked into for our own producers' protection," Central Oregon Women for Agriculture President, Jackie Nixon said.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture will be represented by Brent Searle.

John Jaeger, Ph.D., OSU Animal Science will update delegates on the progress of COOL (Country of Origin Labeling), a national proposal to label all agricultural products imported and exported from the United States. Jaeger will also discuss the national animal ID program.

Sharon Beck, an OWA member and member of the Oregon wolf task force, will give an update on Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. This is a hot topic with landowners and ranchers throughout the state of Oregon.

Closing the afternoon will be a Producer Panel consisting of representatives from Oregon timber, dairy, fruit, forage and beef industries discussing their issues and concerns. A trade show and display area completes the convention.

"We are bringing together all of agriculture and interests therein to help educate ourselves, and those outside the group who are also invited to attend our annual convention," said Jackie Nixon, president of the Central Oregon (chapter) Women for Agriculture.

Friday evening brings a silent auction and cocktail party at the resort which concludes with dinner and added speaker, Cindy Witzel. OWA has learned that Congressman Greg Walden will not be attending the convention.

The public is welcome to attend lunch and/or dinner on Friday, but seating is limited, so please call 541.504.3512 for reservations. Lodging is also available for out of towners at the Eagle Crest Resort

Oregon Women for Agriculture, founded in 1969, is a non-profit, statewide organization whose goal is to educate its members and the public about issues important to agriculture. Funds raised support Agriculture in the Classroom, Summer Agricultural Institute, Ag Fest, Agri-Business Council of Oregon's campaign "Oregon Agriculture Everywhere Every Day," scholarships for students studying agriculture and other general education projects.

OWA also helps educate the urban public about issues critical to the survival of agriculture with brochures, exhibits at fairs and conventions, and through radio advertising.

* * * * * E N D * * * * * *

For more information: Jana Kittredge
541-576-2236 Phone
541-576-2236 Fax email: hay2ufortrock@juno.com

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