Friends of Family Farmers:  Promoting and Protecting Socially Responsible Agricuture in Oregon Today and into the Future.
                                                                             May 2013

FoFF Membership

Have you become a member of FoFF yet? Membership donations are critical to the work we do. We have many membership levels. For more information, contact Cathy, or call us @ 503-759-FARM (3276).

Volunteer with FoFF!

Do you have skills? Interested in helping FoFF achieve our mission? FoFF has many volunteer opportunities for you! Find a place with us by signing up today or contacting Cathy for more information.

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Small Farm Legislation Advances in Salem

Aggie Bonds, Poultry, and Canola Bills all Move Forward

Since the beginning of the year, FoFF staff and volunteers have been working hard to advance legislation to help Oregon family farmers succeed. We've rallied at the State Capitol, testified at hearings, and generated thousands of calls and emails to legislators. On May 13, HB 2393, legislation to ensure that small-scale poultry producers won't face costly and time-consuming county conditional use permits passed the Oregon Senate 29-1. It is now headed to the Governor's desk.

In late April, an amended HB 2427 (canola) passed out of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 8-1. The amended bill would enact a five year moratorium on canola production in the Willamette Valley, with research into the cross-pollination and disease risks from canola on specialty seed and other important industries. It would nullify the Oregon Department of Agriculture's controversial 2013 canola rule. Earlier in the month, FoFF and our allies formally filed a legal challenge to the ODA canola rule.

Meanwhile, HB 2700, also known as 'Aggie Bonds,' passed the House Agriculture Committee unanimously in mid-April. This bill would establish a first-ever Oregon beginning farmer loan program, administered by Business Oregon, and is intended to enhance low-interest lending to beginning farmers, as well as small farm and ranch families looking to grow their businesses.

Both the canola bill and Aggie Bonds are now in the Ways and Means committee, along with many other important items like Farm to School (HB 2649), funding for OSU Extension programs, and Farm Direct Nutrition bills (SB 456 & HB 2921) that will require funding from the legislature to move forward. You can read about all these bills and how you can help in our May 15 Muckboots in the Capitol blog post. Your ongoing support will be needed to help ensure these small farm priorities move forward.

On the not-so-bright side, SB 633, a bill that would pre-empt all local laws that apply to agricultural seed and food narrowly passed the Senate in late April. This bill could overturn ordinances in several counties meant to protect fruit growers, prevent enforcement of local rules meant to protect agricultural operations from invasive species, block counties from protecting farmers from unregulated planting of genetically modified crops, and prevent community-right-to know efforts for labeling foods that have been genetically modified. The Oregon House now needs to hear from you - read more and take action here.

Celebrating 4 Years of iFarm Oregon!

Connecting Farmer and Ranchers to Land Throughout Oregon

Since 2009, when Friends of Family Farmers started connecting landholders and landseekers through our landlinking program iFarm, we have had over 500 participants and made dozens of matches. Beginning farmers can find land for sale, lease, or partnership around the state - from .5-acre urban lots in Portland to 400-acre ranches in Eastern Oregon.  

We have begun collecting the many success stories from our farmers and started with Marilyn Pratt of River's Blessings Farm, who has leased to not one, but two iFarm farmers. Read more about this success story here, and look for more stories as we write them here. For more information about iFarm, email

Useful News For & About Farmers

Know a family farmer or rancher featured in the news, or have information that may be valuable to farmers?  Let us know!

Events and Offerings

Mark your calendar now to save the date for these upcoming gatherings and opportunities.

May 22 - Ag Employer Information Session (Woodburn)
May 29 - Slow Food Policy Workshop  (Portland)
May 30 - Financing Our Foodshed Book Reading (Portland)
June 1 - Free Pesticide Round Up  (Clackamas & Multnomah Counties)
June 11 - InFARMation (and Beer!): Farm Craft Libations  (Portland)
June 21-22 - Regards to Rural Conference 2013 (Corvallis)

Additional events can be viewed on our Community Calendar.  Have a farmer event in your community that we can share with our farmers and supporters? Please contact Cathy.
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