A new report on our equity initiatives is now available!
EMSWCD recently conducted an evaluation of the Partners in Conservation (PIC) grant program focused on our efforts to address equity through the grant funding we provide to local organizations. The evaluation was conducted by an independent consultant. We are pleased to share the final report: “EMSWCD Partners in Conservation (PIC) Grants Program Evaluation Report” by Jamie Stamberger, which can be found here. This report is the product of an online survey and interviews that were conducted in spring of 2021 with the participation of recent PIC grantees and other partners. Read more
Thanks to a 2019 Renewable Development Fund grant (RDF) from Portland General Electric, EMSWCD was able to purchase and install a 70kW photovoltaic system at Headwaters Farm. The solar panels were installed on two structures on the farm and began feeding electricity into the grid in April of 2020. In its first year of solar production, the renewable energy system generated 84 megawatt-hours, or enough to offset around 90% of the farm’s annual electricity consumption! This equated to a savings on the farm’s electricity bills of just under $10,000 for the year.
The Headwaters solar project was made possible with support from the PGE Renewable Development Fund, which contributed $55,566 towards the $155,374 total project cost. The Energy Trust of Oregon also contributed $23,715. Together over 50% of the project’s cost was covered by the Energy Trust and PGE’s RDF funds, with the balance coming from EMSWCD.
Nancy Hamilton, EMSWCD’s Executive Director, said of the project: “We are excited to be generating electricity at the farm and reducing our carbon footprint. And we are very grateful to PGE and their Green Future customers, as well as the Energy Trust of Oregon, for helping to make this solar project happen. The Headwaters Farm solar installation is an important demonstration opportunity for our farmers and visitors to Headwaters Farm, and the wider community we serve. The project also made a lot of sense for us financially.” Read more
Access to farmland is a growing challenge for farmers! Learn why it is a problem, and what we are doing to address this need in the new Farm Access section on our website. The section also includes two examples of recent farm access projects and a variety of resources you may find useful.
Visit the Farm Access
It’s never too early (or too late!) to begin securing your farm’s future. A farm transition plan is essential to protecting your interests and minimizing attorney fees, taxes, and family stress. This free virtual workshop series will help you understand your options and navigate the planning process.
In partnership with the Clackamas Small Business Development Center at Clackamas Community College, Clackamas SWCD and Tualatin SWCD, EMSWCD will host four virtual workshops covering the following topics, each from 1 to 4 PM:
- January 27th: The estate planning process and options
- February 10th: Strategies for having difficult conversations
- February 24th: Organizing your finances and business structure
- March 10th: Preparing your operation and heirs for transition
Pre-register for the workshops here! You can also find out more about the importance of farm transition planning here.
To EMSWCD grantees, partners, and supporters: We know how deeply all of you have been affected this past year by the upheaval and uncertainty that surrounds us. Here at EMSWCD, we have continued to do our work the best we can and to look for ways to support our communities. Ironically, it is in these extraordinary times that we are presented with a rare opportunity to consider how we may want to do things differently, to move in a direction that responds to the weight of this historic moment.
In this vein, EMSWCD has decided to take a “strategic pause” for the 2021 Partners in Conservation (PIC) Grant cycle – suspending the competitive grant opportunity for one year. While we will forgo the normal application process for PIC 2021, EMSWCD is committed to supporting our grantees and partners through this challenging time, and we intend to do this by extending some current grants and offering non-competitive new grants for our regular grantees for the fiscal year 2021/22. We have developed our initial criteria for this continued funding (please see below). The SPACE grant program will continue to operate as usual.
During this time, our staff will have the opportunity to address many aspects of our grant funding program with an eye toward greater equity and more strategic funding. We plan to conduct an evaluation of EMSWCD’s grants program in light of changes in the context of our regional funding, to implement new DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and other strategic initiatives, and to more fully engage with partners, grantees and other stakeholders about the future of our grants program. Read more
Sixteen acres of property along Johnson Creek in east Multnomah County are now forever protected thanks to a conservation easement agreement between the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) and property owner Lou Foltz.
“Our partnerships with private landowners are critical to protecting our natural and farmland resources” said Carrie Sanneman, board chair for the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. “It is heartening to know that EMSCWD’s decades long partnership with the landowner has now been secured for perpetuity thanks to his generosity and foresight,” Sanneman noted.
The property is adjacent to two working farms owned and operated by the conservation district – Headwaters Farm and Mainstem Farm. Preventing development on this property helps protect the rural character of the area, allows for farming to continue into the future and conserves important habitat for native fish, wildlife and plants.
- A view of the maturing plantings on the property
“I’m pleased that we are restoring a variety of flora on the property while also maintaining the ability to designate a portion of it for farming,” said landowner Louis Foltz. “I’ve been partnering with the conservation district for many years to ensure that this acreage is a healthy environment for fish and wildlife, while contributing to a clean water environment in Johnson Creek. This relationship will allow future landowners to sustain the habitat while simultaneously providing an option for some farming.” Read more
Are you planning for the future of your farm? We have added a brand new Farm Succession page to the Working Farmland Protection section with information on our farm succession planning workshops, as well as a great list of farm planning resources and other available workshops!
Visit the new Farm Succession Planning page here!
EMSWCD’s Headwaters Farm and Mainstem Farm were both featured in the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts (COLT) “State of the Lands” 2020 report! The feature covers our Headwaters Incubator Program, which leases land and equipment to farmers launching their new farm businesses, and details how a graduate of the program is now farming on the adjacent Mainstem Farm, which was acquired by EMSWCD through its Working Farmland Protection Program.
There are also ten other features in the report detailing the work and successes of land trusts and other organizations working to protect vital natural lands in Oregon.
Read the COLT report here.