I have served as your executive director for more than nine years now and have been a steadfast advocate for the best people I have ever met.
If you include my time as your government relations director prior to that, I have seen 14 years of ups and downs in our industry.
When Kristin VanHoose and her board conducted a nationwide search and offered me the role to lead the association, the industry was in the steep fall of the Great Recession. I committed then, as I do now, that the association will act as a mirror to the membership. What you need, the trade association will deliver.
We have your back
OAN protects every nursery and greenhouse operator in Oregon — even those that are not OAN members. Let me give a few examples.
When artificial trade barriers were erected to slow down plant shipments to Oregon’s markets, we were first to take action. We led the West in obtaining fair and equal treatment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
When nurseries and agriculture overall continued to struggle with a labor crisis, OAN led the charge as strong voice for immigration reform, respected not just on the state but the national level.
When pest and disease issues threatened our state’s reputation, we built a partnership between OAN, the industry’s companies, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the USDA and researchers from Oregon State University and Washington State University to create what became the Safe Procurement and Production Manual. This resource guide shows nurseries how to produce clean plants more efficiently by adopting a systems approach to pest and disease prevention.
Return on investment
For those nurseries that have not yet joined us, we want your participation. Our programs and services are designed to meet your needs and generate strong return on your dues investment. Helping you lower your business costs is one of our primary drivers. While we’re active on the policy side, keeping markets open and fair, we’re also trying to help your bottom line with our programs and services.
Digger magazine is the industry gold standard for an association publication, reaching nearly 8,000 industry members and leaders. Through member input, the magazine addresses real issues and provides tools to help you adapt in a changing business environment.
The Farwest Show, our showcase event, brings 5,000 people to a pure business-to-business environment. About 20 percent of attendees were new this year.
Every OAN member earns free admission into the show. Exhibitors save 22 percent on their booth compared to non-members. The show guide that is inserted into the August edition of Digger provides an added boost with a free profile.
The OAN Nursery Guide (in print and online) is a portal for all buyers to find and source plants for every member. It is affordable and customized to fit your needs. The NurseryGuide.com website has almost 670,000 annual pageviews. All members get a free profile and one free listing.
We also help members exhibit at other shows besides Farwest. We created the Trucks to Trade Shows program to ship your booth materials and save money.
Membership has its benefits
When the Obama Administration enacted the Affordable Care Act, prices for insurance went through the roof. Through a strategic partnership with Leonard Adams Insurance, OAN members were able to manage the costs through group buying.
Enrollment is easy. Many plan choices are available, including some with richer benefits that are typically available only to larger employers. And despite added premium taxes and healthcare and prescription increases averaging 8–10 percent a year, members save thousands on their premiums. The increases they pay are about half those that others must pay. This has created a greater favorable competitive option for members.
We also save members money with free legal advice, discounted bulk fuel, competitive rate credit card processing, and even discounted rooms at the Oregon Garden Resort.
Networking still matters
In addition to our advocacy and our savings, people often join OAN for the connections. Every member is encouraged to pick a local chapter community to join. By taking part in chapters, one can build a strong nursery family and be part of something bigger than a single company.
Every year, the U.S. Congress and the Oregon Legislature pass legislation that impacts the industry, and they consider a lot more. When issues come down fast and furious, it can be overwhelming. We break it all down for you, so you’re always up to speed. One of the places we do that is at the annual OAN Convention.
When we can beat bad bills, we do. Sometimes we can only make them less bad. The more complicated the regulation, the more determined we are to bring you common-sense explanations, provide options to manage your business, and help you adapt to an ever-changing business and regulatory environment.
By getting involved in our efforts to protect the industry, you can lend your singular voice to a choir of influence. I promise you, our efforts truly impact the direction and success of every nursery, greenhouse operator, retailer and supplier. This does not happen by accident It begins when you make that conscious decision to get involved and give your input, opinion, advice and most importantly, your support.
Take a step and join the OAN community at our annual convention in Hood River on November 1-2, 2019.