Category Archives: Conservation Legacy

2017 Agricultural Census Demonstrates Need for EMSWCD’s Working Farmland Initiatives

rows of vegetables at Headwaters Farm, and a row of greenhouses in the background

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the final 2017 Census of Agriculture figures in mid-April; statistics for all of Multnomah County are available here. The census findings highlight the importance of EMSWCD’s working farmland protection efforts, as Multnomah County lost 15% of its farmland from 2012 to 2017 – or about 2.5 acres a day.

Farmers in Multnomah County are on average 2 years younger than their peers across Oregon and the US, which is reinforced by our Headwaters Incubator Program for new and beginning farmers. And with the average per-acre value of agricultural land and buildings increasing 75% in Multnomah County to the second highest of any county in Oregon, the importance of our work to improve access to affordable farmland is greater than ever.

Important milestone for the Working Farmland Protection Program

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) is pleased to announce that the working farmland protection component of its Land Legacy Program has closed on the acquisition of its first-ever working farmland easement. This month, EMSWCD secured the permanent protection of a 57-acre farm property in the Gresham area.

The acquisition of the easement occurred in conjunction with the sale of the property, which EMSWCD had owned since 2011. EMSWCD acquired the property when it was listed for sale and at risk of no longer being available for productive use by the local farming community. Proceeds from the sale will be used by EMSWCD to protect additional working farm properties.

A working farmland easement is a legally binding blueprint for the future of the property which ensures it will remain in active and highly productive agricultural use. The recently released U.S. Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture underscores the need for these working farmland protection efforts, with Multnomah County losing an average of 2.5 acres of farmland a day during the period from 2012 to 2017.

The easement for this property also seeks to address the growing challenges of farmland access and affordability. Farmland affordability is a challenge in Multnomah County, with the Census of Agriculture finding a 75% increase in the value of farmland and buildings from 2012 – 2017 and the second highest average farmland/farm building values of any county in Oregon. The easement incorporates provisions that ensure the property will remain in the ownership of a farmer and limits residential infrastructure that could make the property unaffordable for agricultural operators. As part of the transaction, EMSWCD also secured an option to acquire a working farmland easement on another 20-acre property owned by the buyers. Read more

Public hearing notice regarding conservation easement for working farmland: March 28th, 2019

EMSWCD will hold a public hearing on March 28th, 2019 at 5:00 PM at Multnomah Grange #71, 30639 SE Bluff Road, Gresham, OR 97080 in connection with the acquisition of a conservation easement for working farmland. This easement is being acquired in connection with the sale of EMSWCD’s Oxbow Farm and will ensure the property remains in agricultural use in perpetuity.

EMSWCD acquired the property in 2011, when it was listed for sale. At the time, EMSWCD was concerned that a sale could result in the local farming community losing access to one of the most productive farms within our district. That concern motivated EMSWCD to purchase the property and then make it available for lease to two Multnomah County farmers. Read more

From our farmers: Mora Mora’s first year

Mora Mora farm stand

This is a farmer-contributed post in our “From our farmers” series, written by Catherine Nguyen of Mora Mora Farm, who is enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program.

Mora Mora Farm is a single-farmer, half-acre, diverse vegetable operation that just wrapped up its first season through the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program. Mora Mora grows produce to sell at one weekend farmers’ market and for a handful of friends in the city. When people find out that it’s just me running the farm, doing everything from seeding and harvest to bed preparation and marketing, the normal response is, “Wait. You’re doing this all on your own?!”

The decision to begin as a single-farmer operation simply stemmed from my own personality. I like being able to see the whole picture: production and sales, starting up my farm and setting up systems to maintain it, figuring out where operational weak points are, and how I can optimize the system as a whole. I knew if I ever wanted to have ownership of a farm and manage people well, I’d better know what the heck I was doing and why.

Of course, being a single-farmer operation comes with its challenges: Read more

Film screening “Farmers for America” on November 28th

Join us for a screening of the documentary Farmers for America.

  • When: Wednesday, November 28th. 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
  • Where:
    Columbia Grange #267
    37493 NE Grange Hall Rd.
    Corbett, OR 97019

FREE! Snacks provided.

Let your friends know you can make it on Facebook.

Farmers for America film
Learn more
about the film

For questions or special accommodations, please contact Chelsea at (503) 935-5376 or by email at chelsea@emswcd.org.

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