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- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
My husband Dave & I became farmers in our 30's quite haphazardly. We had a real estate opportunity to buy a 40 acre ranch here in Central Oregon, pitched to us as turn-key. All the hay equipment, irrigation equipment was here and with some basic instruction we were told, we'd be ready to go. But as every 1st generation farmer with zero experience knows, it's just not that easy. In the last five years of trying to get this ranch operable and flourishing we have sought information and education anywhere we can. Our biggest struggle to date is attempting to have the books come out even at the end of the year.
I read all the time about people who buy a piece of land and within a couple years are living off profits made on the farm. As a lifelong entreprenuer I pride myself on making money from my own ingenuity. But I cannot fathom how anyone can pull it off in this lifestyle - perhaps the reason itself that the agricultural life in this country is dying. The price of equipment alone is disheartening, then there is maintenance, seed, fertilizer, water rights, utilities not to mention labor!
It is a shame that the government models and regulations do not support the family farm ideal - and hasn't for the last 30-some years. The USDA has structured itself to keep the little guy down despite how much they want to contribute to their community. We dream of earning our income solely off the farm - I don't know if that will ever happen as long as we have a mortgage.
Yet, the local farming community here in Central Oregon is really at a crossroads of growth. Dave & I have discovered a whole network of young, local, 1st generation farmers like ourselves who really want to make a change for the community. It seems we all know that seperately we will all struggle, but perhaps together we can implement some more public access and change for the little guy. The old-timers and aging ranchers around here seem to keep to themselves and do not divulge the secret to their success, which may be contributing to their demise. If there is a future for small Oregon Agriculture I think it is going to have to be a collaborative effort for all of us.
posted 2 years, 10 months ago
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