Feds invest in local ag producers

In a joint press release from their offices on Nov. 5, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, U.S. senators for Oregon, announced a new federal investment in local agriculture businesses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program allocated more than $3.2 million to 15 agricultural producers in Oregon, including one in Yamhill County.

The goal of the investment is to help ag businesses develop new products and market them.

“Agricultural innovation has long played an essential role to the vitality of rural economies throughout our state,” Merkley, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the USDA, said in the release. “I’m pleased that these investments are headed to Oregon to help grow the small businesses and farms that continue to be trailblazers in producing the sustainable and creative products we’re known for.

“Especially as we continue to grapple with the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis, I will continue to look for every available opportunity to support our agricultural producers as they create more jobs, expand their operations and find new markets.”

Sokol Blosser Winery near Dundee, which produces organic and sustainably crafted wines, will receive $49,500 to expand its customer base. Other recipients of the federal dollars include Friends Farm in Lane County; Chalice Vineyards in Lane County; Mt. Hood Forest Products in Hood River County; Uproot Meats in Jackson County; Sunshine Mountain Vineyards in Wasco County; Tillamook County Creamery Association; Whistling Duck Farm in Josephine County; Territorial Vineyards in Lane County; B&B Organics in Jackson County; District Row in Marion County; Scott Henry’s Winery Corp. in Douglas County; Kitamura Farms Inc. in Malheur County; Thompson Creek Organics in Jackson County; and Firebird Farms in Jackson County.

“A strong quality of life in rural Oregon depends on continuing to invest in these innovative agricultural businesses that generate good jobs and world-class products in every nook and cranny of our state,” Wyden said in the release. “Those investments are especially vital during this pandemic to help farms and small businesses statewide weather this economic storm, and I’m glad these signature Oregon enterprises have secured these federal resources. This is good news for these businesses, and I am committed to finding and funding more winning investments throughout Oregon.”