Merkley, Wyden Announce $1.49 Million Coming to Oregon for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and
Ron Wyden announce the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding a
total of $1,493,897 to support education and land access programs for beginning
farmers and ranchers in Oregon, providing them the tools and resources to

“Agriculture is deeply ingrained in Oregon’s economy,” said
Senator Merkley. “These awards to OSU and Rogue Farm Corps will ensure that Oregon’s
new farmers and ranchers are able to thrive and make Oregon’s economy even
stronger in the future.”

“This federal investment in the next generation of farmers
and ranchers in our state will help ensure a bright future for these
traditional Oregon enterprises,” Wyden said. “I’m glad OSU and Rogue Farm Corps
have earned these grants, and I will keep battling to secure similar
investments that provide opportunities to grow farming and ranching throughout

These awards are part of the National Institute of Food and
Agriculture’s (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BRDDP)
that supports a wide range of professional development activities across an
array of important topics for new farmers and ranchers, such as managing capital,
acquiring and managing land, and learning effective business and farming

“This grant allows us to continue our work supporting
Oregon’s beginning farmers as they build profitable businesses that contribute
to and diversify Oregon’s farm and ranch economy. This grant includes a special
focus on adapting to and developing resilience in a changing climate. We do
this work by collaborating with our extensive network of farmers on cutting
edge online and in person education, mentoring through farmer networks, and
hands-on demonstration and training,” said Garry Stephenson, Director of the
Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems at Oregon State University

“The average age of farmers in Oregon is 60, and nearly
two-thirds of our state’s farmland is expected to change hands in the next 20
years,” said Project Director and Rogue Farm Corps Executive Director, Abigail
Singer. “When this land gets put on the open market, it’s at risk for
development, real estate investment, and being taken out of agriculture. But in
this moment of transition we also have an opening to connect retiring farmers
with a new, more diverse generation of farmers who are ready to take the reins.
This USDA grant will provide much-needed resources to facilitate this intergenerational
transition work, at a time when beginning farmers face huge barriers to entry.”

The awards to Oregon can be found below:

  • Rogue Farm Corps: $743,900 to support Transitioning Oregon’s
    Farmland: Access, Planning, and Assistance for This Generation and the Next
    (TOF), which is working to establish Oregon’s first regional hub for land
    access and will provide one-on-one land access support through individualized
    planning, skill-building, and connections with service providers.
  • Oregon State University: $749,997 to support the OSU
    Extension Small Farms Program housed within the OSU Center for Small Farms
    & Community Food Systems, which is developing innovative programs that
    effectively support the launch and success of beginning farmers and ranchers