Farm Incubator

Headwaters Farm Incubator Program is designed to assist in the development of new farmers. The program involves leasing out sections of EMSWCD’s Headwaters Farm to motivated, experienced individuals who will use it as a launching pad for their own farming endeavors.

Update: One-year pause on accepting new farms to Headwaters Incubator Program

The Headwaters Incubator Program will be taking a one-year break from bringing in new farm businesses. We will use this time to focus on supporting our current cohort of farmers, to take a close look at the services and resources we provide program participants, and to build out various components of the program. We look forward to opening up the application process again in October, 2022.

Contact Rowan Steele, Headwaters Farm Program Manager with any questions at or (503) 935-5355.

Learn how Headwaters helps farmers

Watch these two videos to learn how the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program has helped Dan and Emily as they launch their farm businesses.

About the Farm Incubator Program

Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the nation have been helping farmers for over 70 years. Typically, this work has focused on improving topsoil and water quality. However, one of the increasingly problematic threats to agriculture — both here in East Multnomah and across the nation — is the aging farmer population and the lack of qualified, experienced, and skilled individuals ready to take the helm and responsibly manage America’s farmland.

Headwaters farmer smiling
EMSWCD values diversity and equity within our incubator program. We encourage applicants of diverse backgrounds and traditionally underserved communities to apply.

This breakdown isn’t due to a lack of interest, as the high demand for entry-level farmer learning opportunities shows. Instead, many new farmers face a combination of institutional, cultural and financial barriers, all of which greatly inhibits the development of new farmers and farm businesses. These barriers often consist of a lack of access to:

  • Capital: farmland, equipment and infrastructure
  • Peer support: Well established farm networks and support systems
  • Agricultural training

EMSWCD’s Headwaters Incubator Program serves as a launching pad for farm businesses by providing the resources necessary to helping farmers overcome these barriers. Our goal in doing so is to help keep good farmland in production while adding to the diversity of the local “farmscape.”

Questions about Headwaters Farm?
Contact Rowan Steele, Headwaters Farm Program Manager, with questions or to schedule a tour: