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On the last Sunday of February, over 70 farmers and ranchers came together for the first Annual Farmer and Rancher Delegation, hosted by the nonprofit Friends of Family Farmers. The Agricultural Reclamation Act is a roadmap for future food and agricultural policy that prioritizes family-scale farms and ranches, food security and rural economic viability.
The Delegation was a culmination of a year and a half long effort to band farmers and ranchers together. Over the past months, hundreds of agrarians have participated in 17 community meetings throughout the state.
During these meetings, folks identified common challenges and obstacles that make it difficult to raise and produce food in their regions. The Delegates discussed and deliberated a of key issue areas where they hope to bring about change.
A few of the topics discussed were lack of access to meat slaughter and processing, the fact that the current farming population is rapidly aging, and the lack of support and cooperation from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Within each issue area discussed, the Delegates voted on three action items that can be taken to keep agriculture vibrant and economically feasible in our state.
A major theme of the community meetings and the Delegation is that the status quo is not working for all Oregon farmers and ranchers. Without immediate change, we risk losing a good deal of those who base their livelihood on the farm and contribute to the economic and cultural existence of our rural communities.
Without a plan of action, the face of Oregon farming, as we know it, is set to drastically change over the next ten years. For example, it would be silly to require a bicyclist to have a Commercial Drivers to share the road with an wheeler.
The Agricultural Reclamation Act strives to address these issues and ensure that public officials hear and understand the needs of farmers who are practicing a type of agriculture that respects the land, their workers and animals, sustains rural communities and contributes to the state's economy. A final version of the ARA, drafted by the farmers and ranchers who attended the Delegation, will be approved and made public in May. From there, the group will take their recommendations to the Board of Agriculture and will be looking for broad-based support from the food and agricultural community.
The work in Oregon is the first of its kind, and provides a unique perspective to the growing national food movement that is focused on vitality, health and cultural connectivity.
The Agricultural Reclamation Act has been supported by the McKenzie River Gathering and Farm Aid, with hopes that it can be replicated in other parts of the country where farmers are facing some of the same challenges. It is our belief that every person- urban and agrarian, farmer and eater- has the ability to make choices that can help regenerate our food system.
To get involved, please call Megan Fehrman, For questions or feedback about our college or website, please. Toggle menu Go to search. Search Field.