Agrarian Trust

Growing New Farmers in Oregon

Growing Farmers is just as important as finding the land. East Multnomah Headwaters Farm Incubator Program seeks to offer beginning farmers land to get their start in a supportive environment.

From their website:

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.

Why is EMSWCD Interested in a Farm Incubator?

We are now accepting applications for the Headwaters Incubator Program 2015 growing season! Learn more in the Incubator Application section.

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.

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

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

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District seeks to use Headwaters Farm as a launching pad for farm businesses by providing the resources necessary to helping farmers overcome these barriers. And, in doing so, help keep good farmland in production while adding to the diversity of the local “farmscape.”