State Officers are elected every March for two year terms at our annual State Convention which rotates around the state. Officers can be contacted at our email addresses below or at the mailing address listed at the bottom of the page.
President : Helle Ruddenklau
Helle grew up on a farm in Denmark and came to Oregon in 1984 with her family. She attended Oregon State University studying Crop Science. Her husband is from New Zealand and together they run a mixed cropping farm by Amity. Helle enjoys running equipment during the summer season, but otherwise takes care of the farm office. She has been a member of OWA since the late 1980’s serving in a variety of positions. She volunteers at the Ag Fest and State Fair booths, reads with the Ag In The Classroom “Ag Literacy” program, hosts students through the Adopt A Farmer program and teachers participating in the Summer Ag Institute. She has presented agriculture’s viewpoint while testifying before the legislature and in general enjoys educating people about agriculture.
1st Vice President : Mallory Phelan
Mallory grew up in Linn County around the grass straw business. She attended the University of Portland and graduated with a degree in Global Business with minors in Entrepreneurship and Spanish. After graduation she worked for her dad’s straw business and then moved to Peru where she lived and taught English. Upon returning back to Oregon, she began working for Oregon Aglink as a coordinator of the Adopt a Farmer program in 2013. She is currently the Executive Director of Oregon Aglink, a non-profit organization with a mission to grow Oregon agriculture through education and promotion. Mallory has been a member of OWA since 2015 and serves as the Marion Clackamas Chapter President. She also serves on the Oregon Ag Fest Board of Directors. In her spare time, she loves spoiling her nieces and nephews, playing with her dog Drex, traveling, baking, sewing, and being outdoors.
Second Vice President : Mary Hood
Mary started her banking career in 1991 and has worked entirely within the agricultural industry right here in the great state of Oregon since her first day. She is proud to say that she has ‘grown up’ in this industry. Today you can find her working as an Agricultural Loan Officer for Columbia Bank; as part of the largest lending team, dedicated entirely to agriculture, at any commercial bank in the Pacific Northwest.
Along with her duties as 2nd Vice President for OWA, Mary is an active member of the OWA Linn/Benton chapter, is the Treasurer for the Oregon Ryegrass Growers Association and serves on the Willamette Valley Ag Advisors board. She is a past-president for Oregon AgFest and is very involved in countless other industry events and meetings. Mary and her husband, Jeff, have three children and live in North Albany on their own small piece of acreage.
Recording Secretary : Emily Duerst
Emily grew up on a grass seed farm east of Salem in the Silverton Hills where she spent her summers driving combine. She attended Oregon State University and graduated with a major in Business Management and a minor in Agricultural Business Management. After college, Emily started working in community banking until getting a job at Northwest Farm Credit Services and is currently a Relationship Manager there. Emily still finds time to go back to the farm every summer to help out with harvest. Emily has been a member of OWA since 2011 and also serves as the Marion/Clackamas OWA Chapter Secretary.
Treasurer : Tracy Duerst
Tracy Duerst has been a member of OWA since the mid 1980’s and has volunteered at times for the annual Auction and MCWA Chapter fundraisers. She retired in 2009 from a career in banking, with experience in many areas of the industry. She has been the treasurer of several non-profit groups over the past 35 years and has a business management and an accounting degree from Chemeketa Community College. Her husband, Doug, farms with his family east of Salem. They grow grass seed, meadowfoam, oats, hazelnuts, Christmas trees, plus they also have a custom seed cleaning operation and marketing division. They have two children and two granddaughters.
Corresponding Secretary : Jessica Hanna-Locke
Jessica grew up in Central Oregon raising hay and cattle with her family. She attended Oregon State University and earned her degree in Agriculture Business Management with a minor in Animal Science and then worked for Northwest Farm Credit Services for 11 years doing commercial Ag lending. Today she owns her own business and although it isn’t Ag-related, she is very committed to communicating the importance of Ag to the community and beyond. Jessica has been a member of OWA since 2002 and also serves as the Central Oregon President and volunteers for Ag in the Classroom. She enjoys returning to help on the family ranch, spending time with family and friends and enjoying the outdoors.
Past President : Debbie Crocker
Debbie Crocker has farmed with her husband Collin for 31 years in Benton County, around the Monroe area. She has been a long time, active member of OWA, chairing the dinner committee for the annual Dinner/Auction. The past 4 years she has been the Project Coordinator for Summer Ag Institute(SAI). She loves to spend time with her family, travel and work in the yard.