The Oregon Pasture Network is Officially Launched!

Farmers and consumers alike haveoregon pasture-smaller 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).

OPN Farmer, Jon Bansen, and family

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.”

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Jon Carter, OPN Farmer, of Jo Le Farms

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.

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Gus and Margot Liszka, OPN Farmers, of Naked Acres

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.

Get Connected with Oregon Farm Link!

OFL-logo-2colorThere are over 500,000 beginning farmers growing food across America, so you may be surprised to learn that the average age of farmers in the state of Oregon is 60 years old.

Even more shocking, between 2007 and 2012, the state lost nearly 25% of its beginning farmers.The gap between farmers leaving agriculture and those entering is steadily increasing. Who will grow our food in the future? Friends of Family Farmers has one solution to Oregon’s land access crisis: Oregon Farm Link.

Oregon Farm Link is an online hub that connects beginning farmers and ranchers with land holders. In addition to hosting land listings, Oregon Farm Link serves as a portal for those interested in getting involved in agriculture, with a board of job listings and a comprehensive resource library designed to assist farmers of all experiences.

Oregon Farm Link is a major upgrade to Friends of wheel hoeFamily Farmers’ popular iFarm land link program, which was originally created in 2009. iFarm facilitated more than 70 land matches around the state, but the site needed major improvements to handle the demands of hundreds of listings.

Chelsea Girimonte, farmer at Vee Cee Farm in Dayton, OR explains, “As first-generation farmers we’re not always sure how to access all the resources in our agricultural community, including land lease and partnership opportunities. iFarm helped us access landholders and start conversations we wouldn’t have had the opportunity for otherwise.”

Since its launch in late May, Oregon Farm Link has been buzzing with activity! The site has been joined by nearly 30 new land holders and land seekers, and new job postings have been listed almost daily.

Now is the time to cultivate the next generation of Oregon’s agrarians!  List your land, find land, look for a job, & locate resources on FoFF’s new Oregon Farm Link database.

For more information, visit oregonfarmlink.org