Prairie Woman of the Month: Marie Bowers-Stagg

 
 

This month we meet Marie Bowers-Stagg, fifth-generation grower from Harrisburg, Oregon, Vice President of AgChat, and member of Oregon Women for Agriculture

Marie was the first girl born first in 4 generations— but that didn’t hold her back from becoming involved with the family farming operations. She began driving equipment at the age of 12, and now is in charge of all the books, driving the fertilizer truck, running the straw bailers and managing the bailing crew, and on top of that, does all of the fall planting! 

Marie went to college at Washington State University to pursue degrees in Agriculture and Ag Economics & Management. After graduating, she hoped to find a job in politics, but viable opportunities were limited. So, she began working for Northwest Farm Credit Services. About 3 years in, she realized how much she missed life on the farm, and in 2011 she moved back. Now, she tries to be as hands-on as she can with the operations. Her husband, Tristan, came to work on the farm after they were married, and now does a lot of the mechanical work. 

Though Marie may not have found many viable opportunities in politics, she is still very involved with politics in her area, and has testified before the Oregon Legislature more than once. She is also a respected advocate within the state government and the natural resources community. 

Marie grows mostly grass seed, with many different species and varieties. The majority of it is grown for forage, though some ryegrass is sent to the midwest to be used as a cover crop, and some goes down to the gulf states as feed for cows and sheep during the winter months. Marie mentioned that over 60% of the worlds cool season crops are grown in Oregon, including grass for athletic stadiums, forage, lawns, golf courses and other sports fields. 

Additional crops that Marie grows include wheat, which they rotate through once in a while (only 1/3 of their farm is viable to grow wheat), and Meadowfoam, which is an oil seed crop used commonly in cosmetics. 

Marie has a passion for social media, and uses it to not only connect with other individuals in ag, but also to share different ag stories, practices, and effects on their farm. She eventually joined the weekly conversation for #AgChat, where folks go to talk about different ag tops on social media. Through #AgChat, she began making many more connections, and eventually wound up meeting the founder of AgChat at a Syngenta event. She then got Oregon Women for Agriculture to sponsor a training session for AgChat, which involves teaching growers how to properly and effectively use social media to benefit their operations. In December, 2011 she was appointed to the AgChat board, where she now serves as the Vice President (VP). 

In addition to serving as VP for AgChat, Marie helps manage the Oregon Women for Agriculture website, collecting stories to illustrate how the ag industry is affected by different changes. She will be leading a breakout session on “AgPolicy” and “The Future of Agriculture” at the regional conference in Reno, Nevada for AgChat, with a goal of encouraging ranchers and farmers to become more confident and comfortable in sharing their stories on social media. The conference is set up so there is something for beginning to advanced advocates, and the training sessions benefit both growers as well as those who work in the ag industry. 

Marie is also a strong advocate for women in ag, mentioning that her first blog post was titled “Women in ‘Big Ag’.” Through her participation on the board of AgChat, as well as in Oregon Women for Agriculture, Marie hopes to strengthen the role women have in large agriculture, particularly in the state of Oregon. She is a true Modern Prairie Woman! 
 

You can visit Marie's blog, OregonGreen, here