Category Archives: Headwaters News

Reviewing Oregon’s New Agriculture Census Data

The USDA recently released the preliminary results for the 2012 Census of Agriculture, a statistical overview of national and state agriculture. Oregon’s results in a nutshell: we have an aging farmer population with fewer individuals engaged in farming. Here are a few key takeaways, with further explanation below:

Oregon farmer trends infographic

  • There were eight percent fewer farmers in Oregon from 2007 to 2012, with six percent less males and 15% less female farmers.
  • The age of farmers under 44 years old decreased 22% between 2012 and 2007.
  • The number of operators who have been farming for nine years or less — how the USDA defines a “new farmer” — decreased by 25% from 2012 to 2007.
  • The age of farmers under 44 years old decreased 22% between 2012 and 2007.
  • The average age of Oregon’s farmers is now just a hair under 60 — over two years older than it was in 2007 and exactly two years older than the national average.

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Farm Infrastructure and New Farmer Development

Greenhouse and frame for new bar at Headwaters Farm

It takes a lot to get a farm business off the ground. Growing skills need to be honed to specific microclimates, markets must be explored and established, and there are business and legal structures to develop, budgets to put together, and weed and pest management strategies to define, to name just a few essentials. However, much of this can’t happen without sufficient capital to make the initial investments in land, equipment, and farm infrastructure.

Our goal with the Headwaters Incubator Program is to identify individuals with farm experience, but who lack the capital necessary to launch their own farm business. To do this, the District makes available tools, equipment, and infrastructure essential to successfully producing in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, these items are so critical that the majority of staff time and budget for Headwaters Incubator Program’s inaugural season was committed to developing these basic assets, including a barn, greenhouse, irrigation system, wash station, and walk in cooler. Read more

Accepting applications for Headwaters Farm Incubator Program until November 1st

corn field at Headwaters

We are accepting applications for the 2014 Farm Incubator Program until 5pm November 1st! All interested applicants, please turn in your application materials by that time, and visit the Incubator Application section of our site if you have any questions about the program, how to apply, or about Headwaters Farm. You can also contact Rowan Steele, our Farm Incubator Manager, through our contact form.

Cover Crops at Headwaters Farm

closeup of cover crops

As a farmer, it’s extremely satisfying to see a healthy, robust stand of cover crop germinating. Cover crops can provide a myriad of benefits, including soil retention, transferring atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, suppressing weeds, adding organic matter, reducing compaction, and improving soil depth—saving a farmer time and money in the long run. There are many types of cover crops, and proper selection depends on soil necessities, season, budget, equipment available, weed pressure, climate, and other factors. Given the dynamic problem-solving nature of cover crops, it should come as no surprise that they are a key piece of our conservation agriculture program at Headwaters Farm.

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Thistle-weeding party

Join us for a fun, family-friendly community event to help new farmers fight back thistle! It’s also a great opportunity to meet fellow growers and small farm appreciators, learn about Headwaters Farm and the Headwaters Incubator Program, and take out any frustrations you’re harboring on spiky, invasive plants.

Thistle Read more

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