Josh Zielinski, who served as president of the Oregon Association of Nurseries in 2018, has been appointed to a four-year term on the Oregon State Board of Agriculture.
The 10-member board advises the Oregon Department of Agriculture on policy issues, develops recommendations on key agricultural issues, and provides advocacy of the state’s agriculture industry in general.
Zielinski is a manager and owner at Alpha Nursery Inc. in Salem, Oregon. Also involved in running the family business are his brother Scott, and their parents, Doug and Jamie. Their business is highly diversified. In addition to nursery crops, they grow grass seed, specialty seeds, vegetable row crops, hops and hazelnuts.
Also newly appointed to the board was Elin Miller, who owns Umpqua Vineyards with her husband, Bill. They also farm hazelnuts.
“Elin and Josh will provide a global view of Oregon agriculture and leadership to the Board of Agriculture,” said ODA Director Alexis Taylor. “Their unique experience and interests will play a critical role in addressing the state’s most pressing agricultural issues and challenges.”
A native of Oregon, Zielinski grew up working on his family’s farm. After attending college in southern California and studying a year abroad in Argentina, he returned home to join the family business. Zielinski serves on the Chemeketa Community College Horticultural Advisory Committee. He enjoys camping, hiking and gardening with his wife Kattie, who works in the wine industry.
“I believe Oregon’s diverse agriculture sector is more relevant than ever and I want to do what I can to help the state optimize the amazing natural resources and climate we have so that we may realize all of our potential,” Zielinski said. “I think that my experience within the nursery industry, especially through involvement in the OAN, and my exposure to a wide variety of crops in the Willamette Valley gives me unique perspective that should prove valuable on the board. I also look forward to learning more about the Department of Ag, other sectors of agriculture, and other geographic regions of the state.”
Miller co-chairs the Oregon Wine Council and also has a nursery connection — she serves on the corporate board of Fall Creek Farm and Nursery Inc. in Lowell, Oregon.
Overall, the board includes seven members representing different segments of farming or ranching, plus two members representing consumers, and the chair of the state Soil and Water Conservation Commission (Barbara Boyer). The director of ODA (Alexis Taylor) and the dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University (Alan Sams) serve as nonvoting members.
Zielinski was appointed at the urging of the OAN Board of Directors. He joins the board as Pete Brentano, an owner at Brentano’s Tree Farm LLC in St. Paul, Oregon, completes his second four-year term. Like Zielinski, Brentano is a past president of the OAN.
“Josh will do an outstanding job representing nurseries, which are Oregon’s largest agricultural sector,” current OAN President Jim Simnitt of Simnitt Nursery said. “He will bring a broad, balanced and inclusive perspective, with his experience not just in nurseries but a variety of agricultural sectors.”
Other OAN past presidents who previously served on the state ag board include Rod Park (Park’s Nursery), Clint Smith (Four Mile Nursery LLC), and Tom Fessler (Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas Inc.). All chaired the board at some point in their tenure.
Zielinski’s first meeting with the state ag board will be on December 1.