Rogue Farm Corps exists to train the next generation of farmers and ranchers through hands-on educational programs. We support our local agricultural economy and serve as a model for other communities.
Rogue Farm Corps was founded in 2003 by a community of Southern Oregon farmers that recognized the need for beginning farmer training and shared a commitment to mentoring the next generation. In 2006, RFC received a federal grant to develop an innovative curriculum that is the basis of our FarmsNext program.
RFC is the only organization in Oregon with a structured, entry-level education and training program for beginning farmers that is based on commercial farms.
In 2010, RFC took a leadership role in establishing a legal framework for on-farm internships, in response to discussions in Salem with state agencies and concerned farmers about the current quasi-legal status of informal internships. As a result, RFC launched negotiations with Rogue Community College (RCC) in late 2010 to establish a pilot program for legal on-farm internships. With guidance from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Bureau of Labor & Industry (BOLI), RFC has created a model that will ensure the continuity of on-farm internships in Oregon.
In 2012, RFC began collaborating with a group of farmers and farm advocates in the South Willamette Valley who were interested in creating a farm internship program in their community. Together, we launched the South Willamette Chapter of RFC, which hosted its first on-farm internships in the 2014 growing season.
Starting in 2013, RFC began collaborating with a farmers and organizers in other parts of the state. These conversations led to the creation of the Portland Chapter and the Central Oregon Chapter, which will host their first cohorts of interns in the 2015 growing season.
Ongoing expansion efforts are being planned across the state. RFC continues to build collaborative efforts with farmers and advocates all over Oregon.
In 2015, Rogue Farm Corps began to address the fundamental barriers all beginning farmers and ranchers face to accessing farmland by establishing our Farm Preservation Program. This program develops and promote tools to help farmers and ranchers with succession planning and the permanent preservation of farmland.