Wednesday, March 22, 2023

By:  Lynne Terry

Oregon Capital Chronicle

The federal government has allocated more than $2 million to Oregon farmers and ranchers in seven counties to expand marketing and sales of various items, including of bison meat and yak products.

Oregon’s U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, announced the funding on Wednesday. The $2.1 million in grants are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s value-added product program, which is designed to help producers develop new products and gives a priority to new or beginning farmers and ranchers, small and medium-sized operations, those who are socially disadvantaged, cooperatives and some family farms. 

The USDA allocates $31 million through the program each fiscal year, giving each project a maximum of $250,000.

“Oregon producers competed well for a good share of those monies,” Jill Rees, deputy state director of the USDA’s Rural Development office in Oregon.

The $2.1 million for Oregon is divided among 11 projects in Clackamas, Deschutes, Jackson, Lane, Multnomah, Polk and Wallowa counties:

  • Zena Forest, a farm in Rickreall, Oregon, won $249,592 to expand its marketing and processing of raw logs into engineered flooring.
  • Stangel Livestock, a family farm in Enterprise, is getting $250,000 to expand the marketing and sales of grass-fed bison meat and related bison products.
  • Scenic Fruit Company, a farm in Gresham, won $72,000 to work with Oregon State University Food Innovation Center on a feasibility study and to market a blueberry dessert topping.
  • Firebird Farms in Ashland is receiving a $234,895 grant to expand the production, capacity, and marketing of Tibetan yak fiber goods including skulls, hides, and down fiber.
  • Wild Oasis Bison Ranch, a farm in Eagle Point, won $250,000 to expand the marketing and sales of its bison cuts.
  • Rainshadow Organics, a farm in Sisters, is getting $49,999 to expand the marketing and sales of Shrub, a juice drink made with excess or imperfect vegetables.
  • La Creole Orchards in Portland won a $49,999 grant to expand the marketing and sales of its olive oil with assistance from the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center.
  • Creamy Cow, a farm in Junction City, is getting $250,000 to expand the marketing and sales of its cheeses.
  • Lady-Lane Farm, a farm in Mulino, won a $250,000 grant to sell its cheese, butter, and ice cream in new markets.
  • TMK Creamery in Canby is receiving a $250,000 grant to expand the marketing and sales of its ice cream, Swiss cheese and distilled Cowcohol whey-based vodka.
  • My Brothers’ Farm in Creswell, won $250,000 to market and expand the sale of its organic hazelnuts.

Wyden and Merkley said the grants will help Oregon farmers and ranchers, who rely on sales of specialty products, to increase sales.

“Oregon’s family farmers and ranchers have put Oregon on the map as an agriculture powerhouse, all while supporting jobs across the state. These grant dollars help kick-start efforts for family farms to innovate and continue to compete in a global marketplace,” Wyden said.

Merkley added: “The opportunities these grants will create for innovation and keeping Oregon farmers and ranchers competitive in the global market will have lasting impacts for Oregon communities.”