Mike Omeg, an innovative fifth-generation farmer from The Dalles, Ore., is the newest member of the Capital Press Board of Directors.

The board advises the EO Media Group, which owns the Capital Press weekly newspaper and the ag websites CapitalPress.com, FarmSeller.com and OnlyAg.com. Board members are asked to provide Capital Press managers with insight regarding media and agricultural issues.

Omeg, who turns 38 in November, sees sustainability and innovation as key issues facing agriculture today.

He paraphrases former General Electric CEO Jack Welch: If change is happening faster outside your company than inside, you’re going to stagnate.

“I try to be innovative,” Omeg said. “As a manager, it’s my job to always be looking to do things better.”

Sustainability extends beyond the orchard rows. Omeg and his wife, Lindsay, also raise beef, pork, chickens and turkeys.

“I love farming,” Omeg said. “I make my money with cherries but I also have a huge garden and I like to grow livestock.

There was a time when Omeg didn’t plan on returning to the family farm. He graduated from Willamette University with a degree in economics and minored in biology and environmental science. He earned a master’s degree in science at Oregon State University, specializing in entomology, and worked for OSU’s Extension Service during summers. After college he spent five years on a project with the National Resources Conservation Service.

When his father, Mel Omeg, had a heart attack — he’s since recovered — Mike Omeg began working with a farm succession coach to develop a plan to take over. His parents, Mel and Linda Omeg, are now retired, and Mike Omeg counts farm succession among the key issues facing agriculture.

Other major issues include labor, production practices and pest and disease management. Omeg and his wife, a public school teacher, have a 3-year-old daughter, a 2-year-old son, and are expecting a third child in January.

“It’s great to have an innovative farmer like Mike join the board,” Mike O’Brien, Capital Press publisher, said.

The other board members are Mike Forrester, former Capital Press publisher and one of the EO Media Group owners; Steve Forrester, president and an owner of EO Media Group and editor and publisher of The Daily Astorian in Astoria; Kathryn Brown, an owner of EO Media Group and publisher of the East Oregonian newspaper in Pendleton; and Sid Freeman, who grows sugar beets, onions, corn and bean seed in Caldwell, Idaho.