Connecting Gate to Plate Blog

Does your voice matter in the politics of food & agriculture? Episode 21


Explaining “This is what we do and how we do it” helps a legislator understand agriculture and natural resources, and is easier than swaying public perception. Shelly Boshart Davis knows firsthand, as she’s gone from the farm to the capitol. She wears a variety of titles: State Representative, wife, farmer, mom, and business owner. Shelly runs a trucking company, is active on their farm with her husband and three daughters.

“Misrepresentation that affects farm families through agricultural policy” is what food bullying looks like to Shelly. She shares her experiences as an elected official, building consensus, and what she saw with the #TimberUnity movement in Oregon. “Your voice matters” – especially when combined with others.

Key points

  • State and national legislation increases food costs
  • Oregon port crisis drove Shelly’s legislative advocacy
  • Farming is very diverse in Oregon: over 200 crops grown in the state and 39% of decision makers on farms in Oregon are female
  • State vs. national legislation: differences and unintended consequences
  • Public perception and constituent involvement
  • The value of tours to farms and small businesses
  • Reaching across the aisle to build consensus: go where can you mutually agree on an issue.
  • #TimberUnity: boots on the ground, firsthand knowledge of natural resources
  • The power of people’s voices. What is your united cause?
  • Unbalanced power leads to bullying
  • Look beyond the messaging, marketing, and label on food
  • Tips to overcome food bullying

Fabulous quotesState Representative Shelly Boshart Davis

“There aren’t enough people in legislature with real-life working experience.”

“With ag policy, there are unintentional consequences.”

“Public perception is scary how quickly it can change and  be tough to combat.”

“Relationship is key. Prove that you’re trustworthy.”

“Build consensus so that when you talk, so someone wants to listen to you.”

“#TimberUnity was so inspiring when thousands of people came to the capitol saying ‘Please listen to us.’”

“The power of people’s voices matter.”

“Be trustworthy, a go-to person, and willing to put yourself out there.”

“It’s our job as parents to pass on good information to children.”


Twitter & Instagram: @boshartdavisag

Facebook:  Shelly Boshart Davis


Food Bullying with Michele Payn

Embrace Your Heart with Eliz Greene

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