Call to Action

HB 4060 (OAHP) – FIRST CHAMBER HEARING: 2/6/24 at 3pm,  written testimony due 2/8 at 3pm – More info, template and talking points HERE

2024 Legislative Session

The session started February 5th! Watch this special Muckboots in the Capitol: Legislative Kickoff to find out what priority bills we are working on, the timeline of the short session, how to get involved, and more.

The number one barrier that farmers shared with us on why they are not able to participate in the legislative process is time BUT a close second was the lack of understanding on how to get started…and we can help with that! 

Muckboots in the Capitol: 2024 Legislative Kickoff

OLIS Overview

2023 Legislative Session

Out of the 2,970 measures introduced this legislative session, 653 measures passed — less than 22% of the measures that were introduced. This was a harder than normal session to get things over the finish line, but Oregon’s Community Food Systems had a lot of success! Thank you to everyone who testified, sent letters to lawmakers and participated in the session. These are your victories!  Read our latest blog post to see what happened with all the priority bills we were tracking during the 2023 session – READ THE RECAP HERE.

Get Involved

If you are interested in learning more about legislative advocacy, we encourage you to watch the recordings of our Advocacy Workshops. We are excited for you to follow along and engage in the important legislative process! We are working to create positive change to support healthy local food systems and sustainable, family-scale agriculture. If you are looking for more resources, check out our new  RESOURCE DATABASE HERE.

Farmer Advocacy Series

Building a Relationship With Your Legislators 

PART ONE AND TWO

Giving Testimony 

Engaging with the Media 

 

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. Farm Direct Marketing Law Enhancements passed in 2023 to update original bill with these changes:

    • Product list expanded to include Bigleaf and walnut syrup, fruit and vegetable juices, herbal blends (herbal tea or dried herbs)

    • Steam canning and freeze drying added as allowable food preservation methods

    • Sales/delivery channels expanded to include intrastate online sales and consignment sales

    • Gross sale limit increased to $50,000/year

  • 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.

  • During the 2023 Oregon Legislative Session, $2.65 million was allocated to the Oregon Community Food Systems Network (OCFSN) for the Farmer & Rancher Disaster Resilience  Grant Program.
  • Many of the other bills we supported in previous legislative sessions were passed! Double Up Food Bucks, the SNAP matching program for farm direct sales and the Farm to School program received ample funding.

Stop Factory Farms

3179671255_6b1097e6e3Factory 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

community_meetingFriends 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.

 

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!

DONATE TODAY!