Lisa Hanson: a remarkable combination of farmer, agency leader and mom

Lisa Hanson is Oregon Department of Agriculture's Deputy Director and a 4-H Alumna from Marion County.
Lisa Hanson is Oregon Department of Agriculture's Deputy Director and a 4-H Alumna from Marion County.
4-H gave Lisa a strong work ethic. Here she hoists hay bales into the sheep barn on her Century Farm.
4-H gave Lisa a strong work ethic. Here she hoists hay bales into the sheep barn on her Century Farm.
4-H helped prepare Lisa for a career dealing with the state's agricultural issues and initiatives.
4-H helped prepare Lisa for a career dealing with the state's agricultural issues and initiatives.
As a mom and 4-H adult volunteer, Lisa teaches her daughters Ellie and Katie about sheep management and marketing.
As a mom and 4-H adult volunteer, Lisa teaches her daughters Ellie and Katie about sheep management and marketing.
Board of Agriculture meeting
Board of Agriculture meeting
By Mary Stewart, OSU Extension Service

Standing atop a semi-truck trailer loaded with grass hay, Hanson lifts and then drops bales on the conveyor belt which moves the forage into her Century Farm’s ancient barn. Earlier that evening, Hanson coached her oldest daughter, Ellie, as she trained her ewe for competition at the Marion County Fair.  During the day, Hanson concentrated on the state’s agricultural issues and initiatives in her office at the Oregon Department of Agriculture, ODA, where she serves as Deputy Director.

Hanson is a remarkable combination of farmer, agency administrator and mom who exhibits the energy, commitment and passion that makes her a success in all three aspects of her life. “When I talk about my career and how I have moved through my career, I usually talk about it in terms of doors opening and walking through them. 4-H opened the door of opportunity for me.” As Deputy Director of ODA, Hanson works to bring practical solutions to Oregon agriculture’s difficult problems.

Growing up on a bucolic small farm in Monitor, Hanson’s first 4-H club project was horses in a club led by Peggy Erwart and Gail Bucholz. At the suggestion of a 4-H volunteer livestock leader, she expanded her 4-H horizons to include the sheep project. Her parents, Norman and Kathy Charpilloz, and Linda Dennis, led the Monitor 4-H Livestock club. 

OSU 4-H Extension agent Roger Fletcher older youth from around the county together to give them some additional exposure in leadership and opportunities. Hanson’s membership in this group strengthened her soft skills in communications, writing, and gave her practical experience working collaboratively with people of different persuasions. Jim and Shirley Heater were adult leaders for this group.

“It was through that leadership group that I got my first exposure to Oregon Department of Agriculture,” says Hanson. In that time frame, the state FFA president and a 4-H member would sit in on the Board of Agriculture meetings. “I was asked to represent Marion County and sit in on those meetings. And that was the first time I had exposure to the department. It is kind of ironic.”

Daughter Ellie, 16, is a junior at Silverton High School. Daughter Katie, 14, attends Gervais High School. Both girls are top scholars, active in 4-H and FFA, and show Hampshire and Southdown at the state and national level. “I hope my daughters have a real sense of what agriculture does for them personally and for Oregon, and they are respectful of the contribution that our farmers and ranchers make to Oregon and our economy.”

According to OSU Extension's 4-H Program Leader Pamela Rose, “The Oregon 4-H Program intentionally delivers high quality programming where young people are actively engaged in learning and interacting with adults and groups. These experiences help 4-H youth thrive in the workforce and provide leadership in their communities."

“The exposure I had in 4-H—all these different facets—has installed the pure passion I have for agriculture and to serve farmers and ranchers in the best way I can,” says Hanson.

4-H is the Youth Development program of OSU Extension Service. For more information http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/

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