2014 Farmer/Rancher Listening Session Tour
**If you didn’t make it to one of our sessions please fill out the Farmer and Rancher Survey to add your voice!
We have come to the end of the road on our 2014 Listening Session Tour. In just two short months, FoFF traveled nearly 3,000 miles to meet with hundreds of producers all across Oregon. From personal struggles to regulatory barriers, we’ve heard a lot! Now, we’ll begin processing and prioritizing all of the information we’ve received to chart a course of action to refine our programs and resource offerings, and our guiding food and farm policy document-the Agricultural Reclamation Act - and plan for the 2015 legislative session. It will be here before we know it! For more about our journey, check out our Tales From the Road.
Some standout themes from the listening sessions include:
* A desire to incorporate agritourism possibilities, balanced with concerns about liability and effects on neighbors;
* Developing strategies to preserve farmland and keeping working lands in production for future generations;
* Finding and supporting the next generation to be on the land;
* Creating farmer-owned cooperatives for managing farmland, coordinating and sharing infrastructure for aggregation, distribution and marketing, and crop coordination to meet local institutional demand;
* Implementing GMO safeguards;
* Finding suitable small farm insurance options;
* Increasing consumer awareness and education; and
* Addressing concerns over the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), including the compliance costs for small and mid-sized farms.
Access to capital and financing has always been a topic of concern for many small farmers. We felt proud to be able to offer a new financing tool that FoFF, in collaboration with our partner organizations and with the support of citizens like you, were able to create in the 2013 legislative session. This new tool is Oregon’s Beginning and Expanding Farmer Loan Program, also called Aggie Bonds. It’s Oregon’s first financing program specifically for farmers and ranchers and is poised to launch in early April. If you are interested in participating in this program, please let us know.
The road trip alone was a massive (but fun!) undertaking and a mountain of work remains. However, we are more inspired than ever by your thoughtful participation. Our collective voice is stronger and louder because of it! Heartfelt thanks to all of you who joined us at one of our 20+ listening sessions and to Farm Aid for their financial support.
2014 Listening Session Tour
JANUARY: Big thanks to our partners and to all of the folks who turned out for the four Wholesale Success trainings/listening sessions! Read more here>>>
FEBRUARY: What a whirlwind of a month! A fantastically full conference season with half of FoFF’s small staff on tour. Over 100 farmers & ranchers (and a few food advocates) gathered at 8 listening sessions from the North Coast, down the Willamette Valley and all the way to Klamath Falls to talk with us about farming in their part of Oregon. We appreciate the feedback and advice. Your cultural and practical wisdom are invaluable.
MARCH: The final leg of the 2014 tour began with two stops in Central Oregon; Bend and then Redmond as a part of the Living on a Few Acres conference. From there we traveled to all the way to just about the Idaho border to host a session in Ontario-a different time zone! Next we looped up to La Grande, Pendleton and to our final stop in Hood River for a inspiring farm-centric evening with the Gorge Grown Food Network.
You can check out our 2014 Tales From the Road to learn more about our travels. For questions or more information please contact Leah@friendsoffamilyfarmers.org or call the FoFF office 503-759-FARM (3276)