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Nearly $1.5 million will go to OSU, Rogue Farm Corps for education, training programs

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON FARM BUREAU - Federal dollars are being used to spur the next generation of Oregon farmers. An influx of nearly $1.5 million in federal dollars is being used to support burgeoning farms across Oregon, providing tools and resources to bring a new wave into the industry.

"This federal investment in the next generation of farmers and ranchers in our state will help ensure a bright future for these traditional Oregon enterprises," said U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding a total of $1,493,897 to support education and land access programs for beginning farmers and ranchers in Oregon.

The Portland-based Rogue Farm Corps is receiving $743,900 for its Transitioning Oregon's Farmland program, which will establish a regional hub for land access and offer one-on-one support with planning, skill-building and connections to service providers.

Oregon State University received $749,997 for its OSU Extension Small Farms Program, which is developing programs to help launch new farmers and ranchers.

"Agriculture is deeply ingrained in Oregon's economy," said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon. "These awards to OSU and Rogue Farm Corps will ensure that Oregon's new farmers and ranchers are able to thrive and make Oregon's economy even stronger in the future."

The average age of Oregon farmers is 60, and it's expected that nearly two-thirds of the state's farmland will change hands in the next two decades, meaning the need for new people joining the industry is at an all-time high. Rather than allow the land to be developed or turned into a real estate investment, the hope is it will remain as agriculture.

"We have an opening to connect retiring farmers with a new, more diverse generation of farmers who are ready to take the reins," said Abigail Singer, project director and Rogue Farm Corps executive director.

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