OSU College honors Malheur County "Pioneers"


CORVALLIS - Andrew "Bud" Greeley of Jordan Valley; Keith Gressley, Isao Kameshige and William Panike of Ontario, and John J. Bishop of Vale, are among the 41 men and women who were honored as Diamond Pioneers Tuesday, Oct. 14, by the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

They and the others added to the college's Diamond Pioneer Registry were guests at a luncheon hosted by Dean Thayne Dutson at the OSU Alumni Center in Corvallis. Guest speaker was John V. Byrne, OSU president emeritus and a fellow 2003 Diamond Pioneer.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the registry, which honors those 75 years and older for their contributions to agriculture, OSU and their communities. The award, began when the college observed its 75th anniversary, has been given to 746 persons, including this year's group.

Clint Shock, superintendent of the OSU Malheur Agricultural Experiment Station in Ontario, nominated all five Malheur County "pioneers."

Greeley operates the ranch his father purchased in the Succor Creek area in 1911. In addition to his ranching work, he has been a leader in irrigation and conservation activities in the area.

A past chair of the Malheur County Soil and Water Conservation District, Greeley was honored as outstanding director in Oregon. He resigned from the board in 2000 after more than 30 years of service. He helped form the Succor Creek Irrigation District and chaired the Succor Creek Improvement District board when the Texas basin dam was built to stabilize stream flows. He has been an active member of both the Oregon and Owyhee Cattlemen's Association.

Gressley moved to Ontario in 1948, buying a farm on Morgan Avenue. He is a partner in the diversified operation with his son, Bob Gressley, and son-in-law Mike VanLith. Grandson Scott Gressley is also getting involved.

In addition to farming, Keith Gressley worked for the Production Credit association (PCA) for 25 years, retiring as manager of the Ontario office of the Baker City PCA. He was a director of the Malheur County Farm Bureau for many years and also served on the Malheur County budget committee.

Kameshige came to Malheur County in 1946 and began farming with his family. He remains active in the farm operation. He is a past officer of the Malheur County Potato Growers and Malheur County Onion Growers associations and represented this area on the Oregon Potato Commission.

His community activities have included serving as president of the Ore-Ida Buddhist Temple. In 1987, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce named him Agriculturist of the Year.

Panike started farming on the Oregon Slope when his father retired. Starting with forage and livestock, he later switched to row crops. He pioneered alfalfa seed production in northern Malheur County. With entomologists from OSU and Washington State University, Panike developed an artificial bed for the alfalfa bee and later helped develop the leafcutter bee as another pollinizer for the seed crop.

Panike is past president of the Malheur County Alfalfa Seed Growers Association and helped form the Northern Alfalfa Seed Growers Association of Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Montana and Nevada to work with university researchers. He is a past director of the Malheur County potato and onion grower associations and was involved in forming the county potato bargaining association. He is a past president of the Malheur County farm Bureau and in 2002, was elected to the Oregon Farm Bureau Hall of Fame.

Bishop came to the Ontario area from The Netherlands as a young boy. He grew up herding cattle on the open range. He eventually ran a 900-cow operation with his brother, selling out in 1995.

Twice elected as a Malheur County commissioner, Bishop now serves on the Malheur Watershed Council and represents wild horses and burros on the Bureau of Land Management Advisory Council. Earlier, he served 15 years as chair of the BLM and Malheur County grazing advisory boards and 12 years on the county planning commission.

Others to be honored include: Adams: Virginia Tubbs; Baker City: Fred Warner; Central Point: Kenneth Beebe; Cornelius: Don B. Anderson; Corvallis: Alfred Haunold, John V. Byrne, Charles Leach, William McGuire, H. Joe Myers, Burdette Peterson, Roger Peterson and Dale Weber; Hillsboro: Peter Jensen; Halsey: Vincent D. Dobbin and Glen Grossen; Island City: Ralph Hart; John Day: Arlene Oliver; Keizer: Harold Youngberg; Klamath Falls: James Elings and James Kerns; Moro: John Shipley and Donald Thompson; Pendleton: Robert Ramig and Virgil Rupp; Phoenix: David Lowry; Portland: H. Ronald Cameron; Shedd: Len Forster and Floyd Smith; Sisters: Don Grabe; The Dalles: John R. Thienes and Eldon Wagenblast; Tigard: Carl Froude and Beverly Froude; Tillamook: Carl and Irene Bosch; Wamic: Everett Metzentine.