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2015 a year of honors, challenges for Shelly Boshart-Davis

By ALEX PAUL
Of the Albany Democrat-Herald

ALBANY — Shelly Boshart-Davis always knew she would end up working in her family's farming and trucking operation.

But she never dreamed she'd be named National Farm Mom of the Year, or that she would take a lead role in battling the effects of a work slowdown by longshore union members at the Port of Portland that put the family's international straw processing operation in jeopardy.

And, most recently, she was named president of the U.S. Forage Export Council, which represents businesses that generate more than $1.3 billion annually.

But all of that happened in 2015 for the 35-year-old wife and mother of three.

“When I went to Oregon State, my degree was in business,” Boshart-Davis said. “I always enjoyed the business side of things.”

She graduated in 2002 and worked in Arizona and Nevada before coming home to stay in 2005. But she knew she had to earn her place in the family business, which started with two trucks in the early 1980s.

“The key is that you have to find your niche, where you fit,” she said. “I tend to focus on logistics, keeping things moving.”

Boshart-Davis was 25 when she joined the operation, and the first year was “a steep learning curve.” ‘'I had to learn about risk management and global trading," she said.

Boshart-Davis said her father, Stan Boshart, “can run every piece of equipment on the place,” but he's especially good at building relationships.

Stan knew his daughter was a force to be reckoned with even in her younger years. He calls her “driven, passionate and prepared.” When she was in high school, he said, she would get up hours before school and make personalized posters to support her basketball and volleyball teammates.

But the two are a lot alike personality-wise, which has led to some interesting moments for the family-owned outfit. “We've only had three really big, memorable-type blow-ups in 10 years,” Boshart-Davis said.

Being named National Farm Mom of the Year has been a “phenomenal experience,” Boshart-Davis said.

“I get to talk about Oregon agriculture to people all over the country,” she said. “We produce more than 250 different crops in Oregon, which people in other states find so hard to believe. In the Midwest, farmers grow mostly corn and soybeans.”

More than 1,400 women were nominated for the honor, sponsored by Monsanto. She is the first award winner from the Pacific Northwest.

As part of her duties, Boshart-Davis has traveled to the national food expo in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Executive Women in Agriculture program in Chicago, Illinois. Her duties as president of the U.S. Forage Export Council will also take her to Texas in coming months.

Boshart-Davis said she hopes to impress on those she meets that voting matters especially the votes of rural Americans. “I want to combat false perceptions about people who farm or haul things with trucks,” she said.

Boshart-Davis is especially proud of the Adopt a Farmer program through Oregon Aglink.

“Oregon Aglink subsidizes field trips by area schools to local farms,” she said. “This was our second year participating and we worked with the sixth-grade science class at Memorial Middle School.”

Boshart-Davis said she loves working with the program.

“We get to explain to the next generation the importance of agriculture to the local community and to the world,” she said.

Aglink has worked with 36 schools and farms so far.

Undoubtedly the role Boshart-Davis likes best is being a farm mom. She and her husband Geoff are parents of three girls: Kyndall, 13, Ashlynn, 10, and Samantha, 8.

Like her mother, Kyndall is already working on the family farm.

“Last summer, she worked with a hay crew,” Boshart-Davis said. “Over Christmas break, she'll work in the hazelnut orchard.”

Kyndall said she and her sisters are proud of their mother.

“I like what she's doing,” the Santiam Christian eighth-grader said. “Our whole family has gotten involved.”

And the girls already clearly understand what their parents expect of them. Their mother writes a blog and she once noted that her girls will “be contributing members of society . they will be givers, not takers.”

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Information from: Albany Democrat-Herald, http://www.dhonline.com

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