Farmers and consumers alike have shown a growing interest in humane, environmentally friendly meat, egg and dairy products. Consumers want to buy them and farmers want to produce them. With growing concerns about factory farming practices and its health and environmental impacts, pasture-raised animal husbandry holds a lot of appeal. Friends of Family Farmers (FoFF) aims to support these burgeoning interests and connections through their newly-launched initiative: the Oregon Pasture Network (OPN).
This statewide network will support the growth of pasture-based farming in Oregon. The OPN is a community of farmers, ranchers, food business owners and consumers who share similar values around the way food should be produced. They believe that raising animals on pasture, rather than in confinement, is the most sustainable, humane way to produce animal products. When asked why he feels the network is important, Jon Bansen, member of OPN’s Farmer Advisory Committee and Organic Valley Co-op producer, said simply “Pasturing is important to our planet. I believe it is the one farming practice that will aid in our fight against global warming through carbon sequestration.”
The OPN will help these committed farmers by connecting them to each other for networking and support, connecting them to existing resources and expert assistance, and by promoting them to consumers. One exciting way that FoFF intends to do this is by creating Oregon’s first-ever, statewide pastured producers’ directory so that consumers and food business owners can find the sort of meat, eggs and dairy they are seeking.
The Oregon Pasture Network is the newest iteration of FoFF’s popular “Pro Pasture” campaign, launched in 2013, which centered on encouraging farm-direct purchasing and farm-to-table restaurant connections to support pasture-based livestock producers. The OPN will provide new and improved support to Oregon’s dedicated pasture-based livestock producers through membership-based activities, educational opportunities, networking and market promotion. More information is available on the OPN webpage or by calling 503-581-7124, or emailing OPN @ friendsoffamilyfarmers.org.