support our work
Join the growing movement that is transforming agriculture in our communities from the ground up. We are connecting aspiring farmers with agricultural professionals who provide skills training, experiential education, and classroom learning while connecting existing farmers with resources to ensure sound succession of their farm business to new farmers.
Together, with your support, our education and farm preservation programs will provide new farmers with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to succeed in these challenging times.
Growing Rogue: a future farmers fund
In the summer of 2019, RFC launched the Future Farmers Fund, a scholarship fund that will support people of color and low income folks in becoming farmers and ranchers. Scholarship recipients will be selected on the basis of financial need, being part of a historically underrepresented group, and commitment to farming.
WHY DO WE NEED A FUTURE FARMERS FUND?
There is an urgent need to train and prepare the next generation of farmers. According to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture, the average age of farmers in Oregon is nearly 60, sparking concern for how we will steward our agricultural lands and continue to produce food into the future.
We must address systemic inequalities in our food system, including who can access land, who receives financing and who is able to become a farm owner-operator. According to the last USDA Census of Agriculture, only 3% of farmers in Oregon identify as a race other than white. This is in part due to a legacy of Oregon’s racist Donation Land Claim Act and Black Exclusion Laws of the mid-1800s. These laws set into motion over a century of institutional racism most notorious for stealing land from Indigenous communities and excluding Black people from living in Oregon. Many barriers still exist today in providing equitable access to land and capital for non-white farmers in Oregon. It is past time that we act collectively and decisively to dismantle these systems of white supremacy.
Nearly two thirds of Oregon’s farmland is slated to change hands in the next 20 years as the baby boomer generation of farmers retires. With many adult children of farmers leaving the farm to pursue other careers, this farmland is at risk for development, real estate investment and being taken out of agriculture. Who this land is transferred to and whether it continues to produce food will shape the future of Oregon’s farmland, food systems, and rural communities for many decades to come.
This impending mass transition of farmland is both an unprecedented challenge and an amazing opportunity. It is time to shift these very entrenched dynamics of who is able to own land and run a farm in Oregon, and move toward food justice.
To contribute to the growing rogue campaign directly, please indicate your preference in your online donation or in the memo on your check.
For more information or to discuss other ways to support our work, email Stu, our Executive Director or call: 541-951-5105.