Friends of Family Farmers supports citizens actively participating in building and shaping their agricultural communities. We are happy to offer services to communities that would like to organize and promote socially responsible farming and build a healthy local food system. Together, we can put some of the “culture” back into agriculture.
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 beginning and farm-direct producers:
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 citizens of Canby warded off 1.5 million Foster Farm chickens.
Let’s Put the Culture Back in Agriculture
Friends of Family Farmers encourages active citizen 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.
Effective Community Organizing
If you would like advice or assistance in starting a conversation in your area around community development through food and agriculture and the revitalizing of local economies, contact us to find out how we can help.