Press Release

Phil Ward Returns to Roots as CEO of Oregon FFA

March 16, 2021

Corvallis, OR

Phil Ward is a familiar face across Oregon’s agriculture and natural resource industries.

He will now lead Oregon FFA as its CEO.

Ward started his career as a high school agriculture educator and FFA advisor and taught seven years in two school districts. After leaving teaching in 1984, Ward has served as Executive Vice President of the Oregon Farm Bureau, Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Water Resources, and as State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Oregon. Most recently, Ward’s heart for education won out and he returned to teaching as an instructor in Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

In announcing Ward’s selection as the CEO Kirk Maag, Chair of the Oregon FFA Joint Board, said he’s “thrilled to have Phil on board.” Maag said, “Oregon FFA will benefit from Phil’s experience managing complex budgets, leading mission-driven teams, building grassroots support, and collaborating with volunteer boards of directors. With Phil’s experience and deep roots in Oregon agriculture, I can’t think of anyone better to lead our organization forward!”

Ward said, “For me, joining Oregon FFA is like coming full circle. I started my career as a high school agriculture educator and FFA advisor. To now have the opportunity to serve an organization that has had such a significant impact on the lives of so many young people, mine included, is extremely meaningful both professionally and personally. In my view, this job is about two key things: helping students have the best possible experience during their time as FFA members and supporting the agriculture educators who lead and work with those students every single day. I am extremely excited to be a part of this team.”

Ward will succeed Shawn Dooley, who served as Oregon FFA’s CEO in 2019 and 2020. Maag said that “Shawn’s steady leadership allowed Oregon FFA to not only survive but thrive during the pandemic. We were fortunate to work with Shawn and our exceptional team of dedicated employees to ensure Oregon FFA continued to deliver programs and experiences to students despite the obstacles of the past years.” Ward echoed those sentiments: “There has been a really solid foundation laid by past and current FFA leadership. The organization is in great shape with members from every corner of the state with a quality group of agriculture educators leading and teaching them. It’s my job, and that of the rest of the state FFA staff, to build on the foundation that’s in place and help Oregon FFA grow and prosper in the years ahead.”

JD Cant, who serves as Vice-Chair of the Oregon FFA Joint Board, perhaps summed it up best remarking about Ward’s hire: “As a agriculture teacher in northeast Oregon, I am beyond excited to have a leader with the experience, expertise, and skills like Phil Ward to move Oregon FFA “Onward” into the future.” Cant explained, “It gives me great solace to know that Phil Ward will lead our staff, our students, our supporters, and our teachers and is a leader who has truly lived it all, and has walked in many of the shoes that many in FFA now wear. Oregon FFA will be better because of his presence in all aspects of Oregon FFA.”

Official Document: PRESS RELEASE – Phil Ward Hired

Northwest Farm Credit Services makes $500,000 Endowment Gift to Support Oregon FFA

January 6, 2021

Corvallis, OR

The Oregon FFA Foundation received its largest single gift with a donation of $500,000 from Northwest Farm Credit Services to establish an “Oregon FFA Today and Tomorrow” endowment.

Foundation President, Kirk Maag said, “We are deeply humbled and grateful to Northwest Farm Credit Services and the leadership of Brent Fetsch and his team for their continuing and generous investment in the lives of FFA members. This ground-breaking seed gift gives us the foundation to establish an endowment fund that will provide support for the Oregon FFA Association in perpetuity. This will ensure that Oregon FFA can continue to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.”

Brent Fetsch, Oregon President of Northwest Farm Credit Services stated, “As part of Northwest Farm Credit’s stewardship commitment to improve the lives of our customers, communities, and industries we serve, we are investing funds in education and research across the Northwest.” Fetsch, a former Oregon State FFA Officer and current secretary of the Oregon FFA Foundation Board of Directors said, “Students who participate in FFA are more likely to graduate from high school and 93% continue their education beyond high school.”

Fetsch said, “We hope others will join us by investing in ‘Oregon FFA Today and Tomorrow’ to provide a stable source of funding well into the future. We are grateful for the impactful work Oregon FFA does for over 11,000 students, communities and agriculture. We are especially thankful for the over 160 agricultural science teachers and FFA advisors who are a powerful and positive influence on these young lives. We are proud to partner with Oregon FFA to achieve great things for agriculture and rural communities.”

Oregon FFA Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The mission of the Foundation is to coordinate sustainable, long-term funding for agriculture education and Oregon FFA.


Betsy Hartley, Development Officer, Oregon FFA Foundation,, 541-231-1472
Kirk Maag, Board President, Oregon FFA Foundation,, 541-881-9613
Brent Fetsch, Oregon President, Northwest Farm Credit Services,, 503-373-3039

Official Document: NWFCS Press Release_Jan 6, 2021

Oregon FFA Connection – January 2021

*Video credit Josiah Cruikshank
The Oregon FFA Foundation received its largest single gift with a donation of $500,000 from Northwest Farm Credit Services to establish the “Oregon FFA Today and Tomorrow” endowment.
Read More Here
*Photo credit Patrick Means
‘I feel like I have come home’. A long-time friend and supporter of Oregon FFA, Betsy was thrilled to join the team and come back to FFA, student leadership and agriculture. She has a strong background in fundraising, board development, marketing and philanthropy; and she is  already putting all of that to work for the FFA Foundation! She is eager to work with, grow and support our dedicated business partners, donors and friends to make sure they know how much we appreciate and value their support of our work. Reach out to say hello to Betsy!
Give FFA Day is Thursday, February 25th. All donations made to Oregon through the National FFA giving page come back to benefit Oregon FFA! Follow our social media to learn more.
Join us virtually for the Northwest Ag Show
February 16th-18th
We are hosting a live panel February 16th, at 9 AM. Follow our social media to learn more.
Register For Free Here
Upcoming Events:
- February 17th: Blue Mountain, Eastern Oregon, & Snake River Sectional Leadership Events
- February 20th - 27th: National FFA Week
- February 22nd: Central Oregon & Mt. Hood Sectional Leadership Events
- February 25th: GIVE FFA DAY
- February 25th: Capital, Lower Willamette, & Northwest Sectional Leadership Events
- March 1st: Southern Oregon, Upper Willamette, & Umpqua Sectional Leadership Events 
- March 15th-19th: Oregon FFA State Convention 
We are recruiting manuscript and job interview document judges for February (Sectionals) and March (State). Judges must be at least four years out of  high school. If you are interested in seeing the rules and requirements for the various career development events, they can be found here: Please share the below link with anyone you think might be interested in lending their professional talents to this event! We APPRECIATE you!
Judge Sign-Up Link
Are you interested in volunteering at the state or local level? Your talents, skills, time, and resources help OUR FFA programs go from great to OUTSTANDING! We would love to connect with you as the need for volunteers arise. 
Complete the Form Here
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Our mailing address is:
Oregon FFA, College of Ag – Ag Ed Dept.
108 Strand Ag Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331

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