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Orchard exec helps advise Fed

Naumes gets seat on regional board

A Southern Oregon businesswoman will play a role in shaping national banking policy.

Laura Naumes, vice president of Naumes Inc., has been appointed to the advisory council of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She attended her first quarterly meeting via teleconference on Tuesday.

It's quite an honor and I'm really looking forward to it, says Naumes, 42. What they are looking for is an information source.

The council, which has 14 members from nine Western states, provides reports on different regions and industries. The information they provide is included in the Beige Book, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank's 12 districts that is presented to the Federal Open Market Committee and the U.S. Congress.

They are like our grass-roots input on the economy, says Fed spokeswoman Elizabeth Masten. They are part of our network for finding out what's going on right now. They paint an almost instant picture of the current economy.

The Federal Reserve Bank guides national monetary policy, regulates the banking industry and serves as the fiscal agent for the U.S. government. Its districts across the country provide wholesale banking services to financial institutions.

Naumes is believed to be the first council member to hail from Southern Oregon and is the only Oregonian on the current council. She replaces Carla Chambers of Stahlbusch Island Farms near Corvallis, who became a board member at the Fed's Portland branch.

Naumes Inc. is the nation's largest independent apple and pear grower, with orchards in Oregon, Washington and California. The family-run company was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in Medford.

Naumes believes she was picked to represent the agricultural community as well as other regional industries.

Her first meeting lasted just over an hour and consisted of the members giving reports from their regions. Two of the quarterly meetings will be held by teleconference and two in person. The next meeting is in Los Angeles in March.

Advisory council members serve four-year terms, which often are renewed. Members get a small stipend (usually about $100 per meeting), and their expenses are paid, Masten said.

Naumes graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in business marketing. She has served as president of the Rogue Valley Marketing Association and been a member of the pear bureaus of Oregon, California and Washington. She's also a member of the Northwest Horticultural Science and Technical Advisory Committee.