Don Schellenberg, former OFB staffer and member of Polk County Farm Bureau, was inducted into the Oregon Farm Bureau Hall of Fame by OFB President Barry Bushue and OFB Executive Vice President Dave Dillon during the 83rd OFB Annual Meeting in Sunriver, Dec. 8-10, 2015.
The Hall of Fame, established in 1996, is the highest award given by Oregon Farm Bureau. To be eligible, candidates must be nominated by their county Farm Bureau and must have at least 35 years of active involvement in the organization. Inductees are selected by the OFB Membership & Recognition Committee. Schellenberg is the 29th Farm Bureau member to be added to the OFB Hall of Fame.
“This year’s nominee comes with a record of service that far exceeds 35 years,” said OFB President Barry Bushue. “Don joined Farm Bureau in the late 1960s and wasted no time making an impact, winning the Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet in 1968.”
In his work as a Farm Bureau voting delegate and member of the OFB volunteer-led Tax Committee, Schellenberg was instrumental in Farm Bureau’s work on a range of key tax policies that help agriculture, including the establishment of farm use assessment rates for property taxes. He also served on the OFB Land Use Committee when Oregon’s landmark land-use planning system was adopted.
“Don served three terms as Polk County Farm Bureau president, and at one point, produced a hand-written newsletter for his county,” said Bushue.
In 1970, Schellenberg started his own farm with 30 acres of prunes. Over the years, he built that operation into 300 acres of grain, prunes, sheep, and wheat.
In 1980, his Farm Bureau service began a new phase as he joined the OFB staff as a lobbyist, a post he held for over 28 years. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-serving staff member in OFB history. During his time at OFB, he traveled to Kyrgyzstan to help farmers there organize their own farmer-run organization.
“Being inducted into the OFB Hall of Fame is a culmination of a fantastic, fabulous life in Farm Bureau,” said Schellenberg. “I got to farm in my whole life and also got to work for the greatest farm organization there is.
“Farm Bureau’s members are the heart of the organization — and the democratic, grassroots policy development process is its soul. Those two things make Farm Bureau the best agriculture organization in Oregon,” said Schellenberg.
Since retiring from OFB in 2008, Schellenberg once again serves on Polk County Farm Bureau’s board of directors. He also resumed the county newsletter writing in 2013 — but this time, he uses a computer.
“As a staff member and volunteer leader, Don has been involved in countless tax, labor, and land-use issues that affect nearly every Farm Bureau member,” said Bushue. “He also chaired the Century Farm & Ranch Committee, and always brought a farmer’s perspective to his work and advocacy through Oregon Farm Bureau.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Polk County Farm Bureau’s Don Schellenberg (middle) was inducted into the Oregon Farm Bureau Hall of Fame by OFB President Barry Bushue (right) and OFB Executive Vice President Dave Dillon (left) during the 83rd OFB Annual Meeting in Sunriver, Dec. 8-10, 2015.