Governor Paul R. LePage joined Commissioner Walt Whitcomb in presenting the 2015 Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award to Jon Olson of Mt. Vernon, Maine, for his exemplary service as executive secretary and administrator of Maine Farm Bureau Association. The annual award has been given since 2001, in recognition of notable contributions to Maine agriculture. Olson was honored at the Commissioner’s luncheon held Tuesday, January 13 during the Maine Agricultural Trades Show.
“Maine has the most farms and the greatest diversity of food production in New England,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Leaders like Jon Olson and the organization he represents, the Maine Farm Bureau, are part of why Maine agriculture is on the rise. Every day, Maine farmers and producers toil to bring healthy, nutritious food to our tables. Through the contributions of Jon Olson and others we can look to the future of Maine agriculture with great optimism.”
In his remarks, Commissioner Whitcomb praised Jon Olson and his lengthy public service career. “Jon Olson has built a legacy accumulated through three decades of patient, respectful persuasion,” said Whitcomb. “No one individual in that period of time has had a more lasting influence over the well-being of Maine farm families. Today I am pleased to recognize your service on behalf of Maine’s agricultural community.”
Jon Olson of Mt. Vernon, Maine, is serving his 24th year as Executive Secretary and Administrator of Maine Farm Bureau Association, the state’s largest general farm organization of 5,700 members. He also serves as the organization’s lobbyist.
In addition to Farm Bureau involvement, Mr. Olson has been selected to serve on various state and Northeast committees. Mr. Olson is a member of the University of Maine Board of Agriculture, Maine Dairy Industry Association Board of Directors, and the Maine Equine Industry Association Board of Directors. He was selected by Maine Governor, Angus King, Jr., to serve on the Governor’s Council of Landowners and Sportsmen Relations. Mr. Olson is one of the founders of the Agricultural Council of Maine and currently serves as its Treasurer. Mr. Olson is also a trustee of the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Olson has served on the University of Maine Agricultural Advisory Committee and was its President from 1990-1992. He has served as Treasurer for the Maine Endowment for Research and Teaching from 1985-1990. He has also served as President of the Maine Highway Users Federation and the Maine Pesticides Forum.
In 1996, Olson was the first recipient of the Maine Farm Bureau Association “Friend of Agriculture” award.
Olson received a B.A. from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Masters Degree in Public Administration with honors from the University of Maine. Currently he is working on a Master of Divinity Degree at the Bangor Theological Seminary. In 1967-1969, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa. A member and Chairman of the Trustees of the First Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, Mr. Olson and his wife Alice have two sons, Nels and Luke.