Spotlight: Andy VanderPlaat
Andy VanderPlaat is dedicated to enriching his community. He serves on the Board of the Pendleton Cattle Barons; an event created to honor the region’s cattlemen and celebrate the roots of ranching. He is also retired from working with Northwest Farm Credit Services, where he served the ranching community for over 40 years. Most importantly, Andy is the current OCA District Three Vice President and represents five counties of cattlemen: Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman, and Wasco.
“If you hang around long enough, someone will find a job for you,” said Andy, when I asked him about how he first got involved with OCA.
Andy has been a member of the Umatilla County Stockgrowers for over 30 years and when the rotation between the counties turned to Umatilla to nominate a District VP, Todd Hamby, the county president at the time, asked Andy to do the job. Last month, he was nominated to his second term as a District Vice President.
“I enjoy being a part of OCA’s leadership because I’ve had exposure to all the work OCA does and I get to take that information and communicate it back to my community,” said Andy, “once I communicate something to my district, it’s my job to listen to the members and figure out where my district stands on different issues.”
Throughout his career, raising his family and running cattle and with his wife, Karen, Andy found an appreciation for the financing and business side of a cattle operation. Now retired, Andy finds himself helping where he can with his daughter, Amy, and son-in-law, Ryan Raymond, and their large operation, Rollin’ Rock Angus.
“Morrow and Umatilla are consistently in the top five most diverse counties for agriculture in Oregon,” said Andy, “we grow and raise a lot over here.”
District Three’s agriculture diversity speaks for itself. According to the 2017 USDA Census, Morrow county earned the highest value in dollars for cattle sold. This is a result of several factors such as large feedlots like Beef Northwest and large dairies as well. Umatilla county hit a home run with production of crops and grains ranking in highest value in the state and 26th nationally, in the top 1 percent of counties.
“It’s our job as producers and leaders to “tell our story” and educate the public on the many layers of this industry,” said Andy.
Of course, people within the cattle industry know about the value of land stewardship, environmental sustainability, beef by-products and use of processing waste for cattle feedstuffs, but communicating that message to the public, to the people who have never stepped on a farm, is crucially important for the longevity of this industry. Andy reiterated that telling “our story” is one of his highest priorities as a District Vice President.
“If you’re a cattleman, it doesn’t take much to spread advocacy and do your part for the work of the association,” said Andy, “go to a county meeting, read the weekly e-newsletters, submit an article, and tell your story – people need to see the face and hear the story in order to relate.”
~ Lifestyle Coverage by Robyn H. Smith, OCA Communications Director & Oregon Cattleman Magazine Publisher