WASHINGTON (KTVZ) — Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated a total of $1.49 million to support education and land access programs for budding farmers and ranchers in Oregon grants and provides them with the tools and resources to succeed.
“Farming is ingrained in Oregon’s economy,” said Senator Merkley. “These awards to OSU and Rogue Farm Corps will ensure Oregon’s new farmers and ranchers are empowered to thrive and make Oregon’s economy even stronger in the future.”
“This federal investment in our state’s next generation of farmers and ranchers will help ensure a bright future for these traditional Oregon businesses,” Wyden said. “I’m glad OSU and Rogue Farm Corps received these grants, and I will continue to fight to secure similar investments that provide opportunities to expand farming and ranching throughout Oregon.”
These awards are part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which supports a wide range of professional development activities across a number of important topics for new farmers and ranchers, such as: B. Managing capital, acquiring and managing land, and learning effective business and farming practices.
“This grant allows us to continue our work to support budding Oregon farmers in building profitable businesses that contribute to and diversify Oregon’s farm and ranch economy. This fellowship includes a particular focus on adapting to and developing resilience in a changing climate. We do this work by collaborating with our extensive network of farmers on cutting-edge online and in-person education, mentoring through farmer networks, and hands-on demonstrations and training,” said Garry Stephenson, director of the Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems at Oregon State University
“The median age of Oregon farmers is 60, and nearly two-thirds of our state’s farmland is projected to change hands in the next 20 years,” said Abigail Singer, project leader and executive director of the Rogue Farm Corps. “If this land is put on the open market, it risks being built on, invested in real estate and taken out of agriculture. But in this moment of transition, we also have an opportunity to connect retiring farmers with a new, more diverse generation of farmers who are ready to take the reins. This USDA grant will provide much-needed resources to facilitate this transitional work between generations at a time when farmers starting out face enormous barriers to entry.”
Oregon’s awards were:
- Rogue Farm Corps: $743,900 in support of Transitioning Oregon’s Farmland: Access, Planning, and Assistance for This Generation and the Next (TOF), which is working to establish Oregon’s first regional hub for land access, and individual assistance to will provide access to land through individual planning, capacity building and links to service providers.
- Oregon State University: $749,997 to support the OSU Extension Small Farms Program, housed at the OSU Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems, which develops innovative programs that effectively support the startup and success of farmers and ranchers (BFRs).