Category Archives: News

“What does the future hold for your farm?” A free farm succession program

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) and the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University are offering a family farm succession program, entitled “What Does the Future Hold for Your Farm?,” on Tuesday, February 3 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Milwaukie Center, 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive, Milwaukie, OR 97222. There is no cost for the program and light refreshments will be served.

Oregon farmer trends infographic

Our infographic on Oregon farmer trends, based on data from the USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture

The average age of farmers in Oregon is now over 59 years (see our infographic) and many family farms are facing a transition between generations, or to someone outside of the family. There are many important issues for farm families to consider when retiring from farming. “Can the current owners afford to retire?” “Do the children in the family want to keep farming?” “How do we transfer the farm’s assets?” These are just some of the important questions and issues that will be addressed. Read more

That was NIFTI!

Rowan explains the irrigation system at Headwaters Farm to NIFTI Tour participants

What I took away from Field School 2014

by Rowan Steele, Farm Incubator Manager

On October 3rd the farm incubator world descended on Headwaters Farm as part of the National Incubator Farm Training Initiative’s (NIFTI) annual Field School. The three-day event included two days of meetings, lectures, discussions and networking, and ended with a day of farm tours and onsite presentations.

As with any conference, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of topics, interactions, ideas and the general “nerd-fest.” The 2014 NIFTI Field School was no different—a complete inundation of everything that is beginning farmer development. It has taken a few weeks just to process the experience. In fact, I think it might take a full off-season before the content can be fully synthesized in relation to the Headwaters Incubator Program (HIP). Read more

Updates from Headwaters

It’s been a great season for the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program; one that has seen both the farm and its farmers grow by leaps and bounds.

This year there were eight farm businesses operating at Headwaters Farm. These businesses range from small scale medicinal herb operations to multi-acre vegetable production for restaurant sales. The diversity being produced onsite is evident in the range of markets where these products are sold. For example, several incubator farms practice Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)—subscription farming directly to the consumer—some of which are even forging a new approach to this model by providing bulk ‘canning shares’ of complementary preservable crops, like dill, pickling cucumbers, and garlic. Still Other farmers go with more traditional routes like selling at farmers markets or to local retail outlets. Read more

Hello from the new Executive Director

Jay standing in front of EMSWCD offices

I am very excited as I begin my first week as the Executive Director of the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (EMSWCD). With a great staff, supportive board, helpful partners and a motivated public, we are ready to build on our successful track record to make a big difference in the lives of people living in the district.

During my career, I’ve had the pleasure of helping protect land and water at local, national, regional and global levels. As such, I know the positive results that local organizations like EMSWCD can have in restoring and protecting natural resources. I look forward to helping the EMSWCD achieve its conservation goals from the eastern reaches of Multnomah County to the Willamette River, a beautiful part of the world. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions you might have. I can be reached at jay@emswcd.org or (503) 935-5352. Read more

Fairview Creek Headwaters Permanently Protected

Fairview Creek Headwaters

MAY 29, 2014

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), Metro and the City of Gresham have purchased and permanently protected the Headwaters of Fairview Creek and Grant Butte Wetlands for wildlife habitat and public open space. This significant 33-acre acquisition includes over 1/3 mile of Fairview Creek, a portion of Grant Butte, habitat for about one hundred species of wildlife, and a very essential block of natural open space for the residents of East Portland and the City of Gresham. Metro and Gresham will manage the property.

“We are really excited that we were able to partner with Gresham and Metro to permanently protect this amazing resource for the community,” said Board Chair Laura Masterson. “These types of partnerships are critical to preserving nature in our neighborhoods.” Read more

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