Press Release

Oregon FFA and Les Schwab Are Driving Away Hunger

October 1, 2021


Oregon FFA and Les Schwab Tires Centers know the need to help fight hunger is greater than ever. Those affected by food insecurity are in need year-round, especially now as the holidays are fast approaching. Since 2013 Les Schwab Tire Centers of Oregon has partnered with Oregon FFA in a Drive Away Hunger Initiative to help raise as much food and awareness as possible. The initiative will take place the entire month of October.

We urge you to join us in driving away hunger by dropping non-perishable food donations at any Oregon Les Schwab Tire Center, Wilco, or Grange Co-op store through October 31st.

The timing of this initiative is important to help our local food banks and pantries gear up for the upcoming holiday demands. This special partnership allows FFA members to live out their motto of “learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve.” FFA members follow in the footsteps set by the employees at Les Schwab Tire Centers as you see them generously giving back to their local communities daily. Over the past 8 years, this effort has raised nearly three million meals for those in need!

The Oregon FFA is part of the National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America. It is a national youth organization of 760,113 student members, all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture. There are 8,817 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Oregon FFA is made up of more than 11,000 members in 109 chapters throughout the state. The FFA mission is 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.

To learn more, visit the Oregon FFA Facebook page, #ORFFADriveAwayHunger, and


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 – July 2021

View this email in your browser

Why Your Giving Matters

By Phil Ward, CEO Oregon FFA

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as a leader in organizations that regularly hired a fair number of new employees. Given the nature of these organizations the jobs generally required scientific and technical expertise—fields like water resource management and plant and animal health. We could almost always find candidates with the appropriate technical credentials to fill these positions. What we struggled finding was individuals who could also communicate effectively, conduct efficient meetings, and lead teams. When we found them, we hired them, and they tended to advance quickly in the organization. 
That’s why I loved hiring young people who had been active FFA members in high school. These were individuals who had received sound instruction in a variety of technical disciplines but who had also been engaged in quality leadership training the like of which I have never seen delivered as effectively anywhere else. It’s why we see many former FFA members in key leadership positions in their chosen professions today.
And it’s why your donations to the Oregon FFA Foundation matter. 
Having a strong and growing base of private financial support for this organization enables local ag programs to continue to engage students in not only the technical training needed for future employment, but the leadership skills that can help them be much more effective as employees, and as people. 
Government funding, as much as we appreciate it, is just one piece of the equation. It will never fully meet the need. To ensure a secure future for the FFA in Oregon, we must have a committed cadre of private companies and individuals to provide that second leg of funding. Funding that helps deliver the resources needed by ag teachers and FFA members around our state. 
It’s why I am and will continue to be a donor to the Oregon FFA Foundation. My giving is making a difference; it matters. So does yours. Let’s keep it going.

State Officers on the Road

By Elin Miller, Oregon FFA Foundation Board Chair

Grange Co-op
Rogue Creamery
The State FFA Foundation is so thankful when our state officers take time out of their busy schedules to meet with key sponsors and, as new chair of the Foundation, I jumped at the chance to join in. Four of our officers were in our area and spent time with long time individual FFA supporters, Bill and Margorie Ocumpaugh, brand-new Star Sponsor Roseburg Forest Products, and Communities for Healthy Forests. My husband, Bill and I have been supporting the National FFA Foundation through funding future ag teacher scholarships at Oregon State University and the University of Arizona, our respective alma maters, as well as supporting Oregon FFA and our local chapters. It is always inspiring to meet with these young leaders and learn about the huge impact FFA makes across our great state. Thank you again state officers!
(Elin previously served as a National FFA Officer and as Chair of the National FFA Foundation. She currently serves as Chair of the Oregon Wine Council, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture, and serves on the Oregon Board of Agriculture, Fall Creek Farm and Nursery Board, and Umpqua Bank Regional Board)

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Pictured above: Elin Miller, Kirk Maag, Phil Ward

Kirk Maag served as an Oregon FFA State Officer in 2000-2001. He joined the Oregon FFA Foundation board in 2014. Most recently he served as Chair of the Oregon FFA Foundation Board of Directors and currently serves as Chair of the Oregon FFA Foundation Joint Board. Under Kirk's steady and dedicated leadership, Oregon FFA has prospered. It was with great pleasure and appreciation that the Oregon FFA Foundation presented Kirk a momentum box full of personalized thank-you notes from the many lives he has touched. Thank you Kirk for your years of service!

Legislators - We Thank You!

For the second budget in a row the Oregon Legislature has appropriated funds to support FFA. According to Wes Crawford, Agriculture Science Instructor at Sutherlin high school, these funds will greatly benefit local agriculture programs and FFA members.
 “We are deeply appreciative to our legislative leadership for making funding for FFA a priority, and to Governor Brown and the Oregon Department of Education for including FFA in their original budget proposal. These resources will help ensure that students are able to participate in these programs and that local agriculture teachers have the things they need to provide quality instruction.” Crawford said.
 Following the path set by the passage of HB 2444 in 2019, Oregon’s 2021-2023 Legislatively Adopted Budget set aside $1.49 million to provide FFA membership to each student enrolled in a high school agriculture program, as well as to support instruction in leadership for FFA members. A portion of those funds were also provided to coordinate and host competitive Career Development Events throughout the year, and to facilitate participation in the Oregon State Fair. In addition, approximately $600,000 has been budgeted to support extended summer contracts for agricultural educators through grants. This grant program was also established under HB 2444 in 2019.

August is FFA Month at Wilco

August is FFA Forever Month in all Wilco Stores! Stop by to support FFA all month long or donate online. Wilco will be collecting donations from customers at the registers and online at– all of which goes right back to support FFA! Help support your local store’s goal to raise $3,000 or more! Wilco will match up to $25,000 in contribution back to the Oregon, Washington, and California FFA Foundations.
Shop Wilco Farm Store

Oregon State Fair is Back

The Oregon State Fair returns! Join us August 24th – September 6th as FFA members display their hard work and skills through livestock shows, static displays, and tractor driving!
Oregon FFA State Fair Schedule

Results Are In

Congratulations to the 2020-2021 State Career Development Event (CDE) Teams and Individuals!
View CDE Results
Copyright © |2021| |Oregon FFA| All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Oregon FFA, College of Ag – Ag Ed Dept.
108 Strand Ag Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.