It is very important to us that the Oregon Pasture Network be developed with the needs of our pasture-based farmers and ranchers in mind. With that goal, we created the OPN Advisory Committee to help steer our program and activities. These diverse and experienced producers provide insights on program standards and activities, as well as assisting with application reviews and farm visits. We couldn’t be more grateful for the advice and perspectives they bring to the network!
Jon, along with his wife Juli, owns Double J Jerseys, Inc., a certified Organic Jersey cow dairy operation in Monmouth. They currently milk 200 Jerseys on their farm and market their milk as part of the Organic Valley Cooperative. Jon grew up on a dairy farm in Yamhill Co., went away to college, then came back and farmed with his father for 5 years before they started their own farm in 1991. The Bansens are passionately committed to soil health and pasture-focused production, and have passed this way of thinking on to their four children: Ross, Christine, Allison and Kaj, who all grew up working on the dairy. Ross, the eldest, recently followed in his father’s footsteps by graduating from college and joining the family business. Jon is a successful farmer, with a focused operation, who brings an experienced voice to the advisory committee.
Gus co-owns semi-urban Naked Acres Farm, located in Beavercreek, with her wife Margo. Gus grew up in a ranching environment in Central Oregon, went away to the NAVY and school, then was drawn back to farming and her love of the pacific northwest. She is a veterinary critical care specialist, while Margo has a horticultural background, making them a great team for diversified farming. They are enthusiastic about sustainability and are currently operating on a small, but very productive, scale on several leased acres and are looking to scale up to larger acreage soon. Their farm is AWA certified and Certified Naturally Grown, and their products can be found at the Hollywood and Hillsdale farmers markets in Portland. Gus brings an urban farming perspective to the advisory committee, as well as representing those farmers who are making the leap from beginning to intermediate experience and looking to expand.
Jared, along with his wife Hilary Foote, owns and operates Nehalem River Ranch, located in Tillamook County on the north coast of Oregon. A native Oregonian, hailing originally from Portland, he operates the 3 year old, 100 acre beef, pork and poultry farm with his wife and two children, and is certified AWA (Animal Welfare Approved) for the hogs and cattle. Their beef is grassfed, and all the animals are pastured, in keeping with Jared’s philosophy of rotational grazing and holistic farm management. Jared also believes in paying it forward and as part of the Nehalem Valley Farm Trust he leverages his policy and finance background to help address land and capital access issues for new and beginning farmers. Most NRR products are direct-marketed to consumers, who can purchase a half or whole animal, with some retail and restaurant sales. As a successful beginning farmer himself, Jared brings invaluable young farmer insights to the committee.
Jon is a native Oregonian. He and his wife, Les, operate Jo Le Farms, a 160-acre sheep and poultry farm in Scio. He has a herd of about 200 grass-fed, pastured Wiltshire Horn and Wiltshire Poll ewes and they have recently expanded to start a flock of AWA-approved laying hens. Jon grew up in Salem and has a behavioral science background, but wanted a more rural setting, so relocated to Scio. While expanding their sheep flock, Jon was able to spend time on many sheep operations in the Pacific NW and Western Canada while judging and competing in sheepdog trials and providing training clinics in the 1980’s and 90’s. His farm principles are inspired by the concept of LISA (Low Input Sustainable Agriculture), and his goals for breeding are to produce low-maintenance, easy-care sheep, adapted to their environment. As a grass-based volume-marketer, Jon brings a unique perspective to the Pasture Network.
Christine is originally from the San Juaquin Valley, where she grew up as part of a multi-generational farming family. She and her husband John now own Deck Family Farm in Junction City. The farm supports their 5 children, employees 10 people and mentors 5-7 seasonal interns. Their farm is an extremely diversified, pasture-based operation and finish about 40 beef per year, 300 pasture raised pork, 250 lambs and 3,000 broiler birds a year. They also house 2,000-3,000 certified Organic laying hens an operate a small raw milk dairy. Christine’s philosophy centers around humane animal husbandry, non-soy-based feed, and management intensive grazing. Deck is also dedicated to forest and watershed restoration, and has reforested 40 acres of their property and rehabilitated riparian corridors. Deck Family Farm is Certified Organic for all land, and certified Organic for their beef and the layers, as well as being certified grassfed by the AGA (American Grassfed Association) and certified Salmon Safe. They sell at several farmers markets, co-ops and restaurants, and are starting a whole diet CSA in the fall of 2016. As a farm operator who has scaled up in the past few years and is looking to refine their market outlets, Christine brings the valuable perspective of an expanding farm to the Oregon Pasture Network.
Larry Martin along with his wife, Sophia, and their three daughters began their move to Oregon in 2000. In the summer of 2001, they purchased 40 acres of the old Higinbotham Dairy farm just west of Central Point. The following spring, Larry shipped 12 bred cows and heifers to their new farm, Martin Family Ranch, that he had selected from their previous cow herd in Iowa. Those 12 cows were the foundation of the current 40 cows now producing. Although Larry had grown up on a diversified grain and livestock farm in Missouri, graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Ag, and had run beef cows his entire 25 years of farming, the production and marketing of grass fed beef was a little different of an enterprise. Larry soon found that the climate and relatively green winters were ideally suited to the production of high quality grass fed and finished beef. Several pastures were reseeded and a rotational grazing system was designed and installed with electric fence and stock watering systems. Approximately 30 grazing paddocks were soon being utilized by the Martins’ expanding herd of cows and calves and yearlings being finished on pasture. In recent years, adjoining farms have been leased and managed as additional pasture and hay ground.