Category Archives: Working Farmland Protection Program

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

Another success for the Working Farmland Protection Program

We are pleased to announce that our Working Farmland Protection program has closed on yet another important working farmland transaction. This September, EMSWCD acquired a 20-acre property in Corbett, ensuring a future for agriculture on this blueberry, raspberry and blackberry farm.

In the short term, the property will be made available for lease to agricultural operators. The property will likely ultimately be sold to a farmer with the protections of a working farmland easement – a legally binding blueprint for the future of the property which ensures it will remain in agricultural use. As part of the transaction, EMSWCD also secured an option to acquire a working farmland easement on another 20-acre property owned by the sellers. Read more

Working Farmland Protection Program Makes Strides

We are pleased to announce that our Working Farmland Protection Program has closed on an important farmland transaction! This February, EMSWCD acquired a 14-acre farm property directly adjoining its Headwaters Incubator Farm property on the outskirts of Gresham.

Acquisition helps ensure a future for agriculture on the property. With its proximity to EMSWCD’s Headwaters Farm Incubator Program (a launching pad for aspiring farmers), there are exciting opportunities to extend programming for current and graduating participants of the Incubator Program onto this property. The property also enjoys nearly 400 feet of frontage along Johnson Creek, a stream which EMSWCD has long worked to improve through its StreamCare program (a voluntary program with private landowners that restores native vegetation along important waterways).
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