By: Will Van Vactor
A recent study by Oregon State University’s Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems, Portland State University’s Institute for Portland Metropolitan Studies, Portland State University’s Planning Oregon, and Rogue Farm Corps, focuses on the challenges farmers and communities face when trying to preserve farmland. The report highlights an interesting statistic in its Executive Summary: "Ten million acres—64 percent—of Oregon’s farmland will change ownership in the next two decades." What will happen to it? Will the farmland stay in farm use?
Of concern to the authors are the following trends (see page 6 of the study):
For farmers and their families, succession planning is critical to ensure their farms or ranches stay in agricultural production. Rogue Farm Corps has a web page dedicated to resources to help farmers and ranchers do the necessary planning.
Although a small part of the study, as an Oregon land use attorney, I paid particular attention to the authors' comments on how land use policy can help preserve farmland (pg. 81). The authors suggest:
The authors also recommend looking at:
Finding solutions will be a challenge. Preserving productive agricultural land is important. As the saying goes, "no farms, no food."
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