Looking Ahead – 2023 Legislative Session
Friends of Family Farmers has always had systemic change at the heart of our mission. We were founded on working within the system to create opportunities and remove barriers for small and mid-size, socially and ecologically responsible farmers. This means in addition to our programs and coalition work, we bring the needs of our farmers straight to the people building the regulation and legislation that help or hinder the health of our local food system.
Now that the data has been collected from our 2022 Family Farm Survey and Focus Groups, we are excited to share with you the results and our policy priorities for the 2023 legislative session. We continue to amplify the voices of Oregon’s family farmers to decision makers as we advocate for funding, policy changes and expanded programming specifically geared towards small and mid-size producers during every legislative session.
We saw some common themes emerging and looked at the possibilities both within our programs and what it is possible for us to work on this year. FoFF is putting forward two bills that will boost farm viability and create new income streams for small farmers in 2023. We are also supporting many higher level systems change bills developed in coalition.
Other Bill Priorities in Coalition:
- Maintaining the Willamette Valley Canola Protected District
- Expand Meat Processing Grant Funding
- Double Up Food Bucks
- Large Tier 2 CAFO Moratorium
If you are interested in learning more about legislative advocacy, we encourage you to attend our upcoming Advocacy Workshops and InFARMations. We are excited for you to follow along and engage in this important process! We are working to create positive change to support healthy local food systems and sustainable, family-scale agriculture.
2022-2023 FARMER ADVOCACY WORKSHOP SERIES
November 1: Building a Relationship With Your Legislators
PART ONE AND TWO
December 6: Giving Testimony – RSVP HERE
January 3: Engaging with the Media – RSVP HERE
2022-2023 INFARMATION SERIES
November 3: Improving the Pickle Bill: More Opportunities for Small Farmer Value Added Products
December 8: Shouldn’t it be Easier to Buy Raw Milk? – RSVP HERE
January 5: Working Together: Coalition Partner Legislative Priorities – RSVP HERE
Love Our Advocacy? Donate to Support it!
Advocacy is best when it is by and for our community. We fund our systems change work with small donations from individuals like you who are impacted by these policies. Whether you’re a farmer looking to sell your raw milk at a farmers market or a customer looking to buy more local goods, your support makes this possible. Your tax deductible donation also helps keep our advocacy programs free to everyone!
Past Farm Policy Successes
Since 2011, Friends of Family Farmers has spent a lot of time at the Oregon Capitol working on behalf of Oregon’s farmers, and that includes many efforts to assist beginning farmers. Beginning farmers bring a unique voice to many policy discussions and we encourage them to testify at hearings and make their voices heard. In recent years we have helped pass the following legislation of interest to small and mis-sized farmers:
Oregon’s Farm Direct Marketing Law – allows farm direct sales of many different products as well as up to $20,000/year in sales of specific home-processed low-hazard foods like pickles, jams, jellies, etc. Read an ODA Fact Sheet on what types of products are covered under the Farm Direct Marketing Law here.
Oregon’s Farm Direct Poultry Law – allows farmers to raise, slaughter and sell up to 1000 birds per year for on farm sales directly to end consumers. Read an ODA fact sheet on the Farm Direct Poultry Law here.
Oregon’s Beginning and Expanding Farm Loan Program (aka Aggie Bonds) – provides lower-interest lending for qualifying beginning farmers and ranchers for land and equipment purchases. Read a fact sheet and find application materials for the Aggie Bonds program here.
The Meat Processing Grant Fund that we proposed in HB 2785 was passed with a $2 Million to build and upgrade meat processing infrastructure around the state and an additional $300,000 allocated for the OSU Meat Lab to upgrade their facilities to better teach meat science. This will be rolled out in tandem with the new state meat inspection program in development by ODA and will help alleviate the processing bottleneck experienced by many small producers.
The Bovine Manure Tax Credit has been discontinued! This provision was designed as a way for large agribusiness facilities to avoid paying some taxes by employing a methane digester. These facilities were not giving the climate mitigation results they promised, were almost always discontinued after the life of the tax credit, and this program was only available to Oregon’s largest factory farms. We are happy these folks will now have to pay their fair share of taxes like all the small farmers across the state already do.
The Soil Health Specialist Position was added to ODA’s budget. This means that the state now has the funds to fill a position in Director Taylor’s office to advise on soil health concerns and incentives.
Many of the other bills we supported in the 2021 legislative session were passed! Double Up Food Bucks, the SNAP matching program for farm direct sales, received $4 Million in state funding, and the Farm to School program received ample funding as well.
Stop Factory Farms
Factory farms are showing up around the nation at an unprecedented rate. Since 2005, our organization has been contacted by many Oregon communities that have been impacted or threatened by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) — we are not talking about small and medium Oregon confined animal feeding operations.
We have been working closely with family farmers and rural residents to ensure that their property values, rural businesses, personal health and quality of life are protected from the air and water pollution that are a result of concentrating thousands or tens of thousands of animals and their waste, in one location.
This tremendous amount of pollution (which the Oregon Department of Agriculture estimates to be around 10 million tons of manure, litter and process wastewater per year) threatens our water, our air and our communities.
If you need help organizing against a factory farm in your community, we can help. Please contact us for more information on how to protect your community from the potential harms of industrialized agriculture.
Read the Story of Oak Grove Road and learn how the community of Canby warded off 1.5 million Foster Farm chickens.
Let’s Put the Culture Back in Agriculture
Friends of Family Farmers encourages active participation in the shaping of rural communities. Towns and regions across the nation are working toward reclaiming local food economies, which is becoming increasingly necessary as energy prices sky-rocket and industrial food safety concerns are encouraging consumers look for alternative food choices closer to home.
Family-scale agriculture and local food production, processing, distribution and sale can be the cornerstones of thriving rural communities, healthy people, strong social character and land stewardship.