The following is an announcement from the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance about grants going to Central Oregon farms and ranches for their efforts toward efficiency.
High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA) is pleased to announce awarding this year’s On-Farm Efficiency Grants. Through this competitive grant program, HDFFA awarded nine farms and ranches in Central Oregon a total of $26,861 to implement innovative projects that promote greater efficiencies in time, water usage, crop yield, and more. The recipient farms range in size from one acre to upwards of 200 acres, each feeding the community in different ways. Investing in local growers encourages more efficient farming practices and a more resilient food economy here in Central Oregon. HDFFA congratulates this year’s awardees and looks forward to seeing the ongoing success of these businesses and their contributions to our food system! The 2023 On-Farm Efficiency Grant helped to make the following projects possible:
- DD Ranch, LLC supplemented an NRCS grant to install a center pivot irrigation system on a three-acre plot of land to grow forage for their animals.
- Fibonacci Farm purchased a propane heater for one of their greenhouses to extend their season by several weeks. Because of this project, they were able to sell tomatoes eight weeks earlier than last year.
- Gorilla Greens, a microgreens business, purchased new grow racks and expanded and upgraded their germination room to grow their capacity.
- Hive & Pine Farm, LLC invested in a mechanized multi-row seeder and starter kit to improve efficiency to the seeding, germination, and transplant processes.
- In Cahoots Heirloom Apple Orchard Collaborative purchased state of the art fruit processing equipment and will be working with a local vintner to create apple cider.
- Lazy Z Ranch purchased a trailer and syrup pump setup to be able to better distribute feed to their apiary when natural forage is lacking.
- Mahonia Gardens added aseason extension system through the purchase of a hoop-house and overhead irrigation kit. This season they planted tomatoes, broccolini, early kale, and carrots in this particular hoop house.
- Sunlife Farm & Ranch, LLC is working toward developing their ASP composting system. Due to delays with their contractor, this project is still in progress, but they hope to have it running this winter.
- Wild Grown Farm installed irrigation and energy upgrades to their greenhouse system and purchased a thermal printer for plant labels.
Each farm was also required to contribute a match of at least 50% to their award amount, which could be provided in cash, in-kind donation, and/or labor. When taking into consideration both grant funds and provided match, local farmers invested over $50,000 in on-farm purchases that will lead to efficiency in time, water usage, crop yield, and more. HDFFA has offered this grant program for two years. The 2023 On-Farm Efficiency Grant opened in December of 2022 and received thirty applications through the month-long HDFFA is a 501(c)3 non-profit serving Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson Counties as well as the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. HDFFA’s mission is to support a healthy and thriving food & farm network through education, collaboration and inclusion. For more info visit hdffa.org. application period, with a total grant request of over $80,000. Applicants this year were required to be located in Crook, Deschutes, or Jefferson Counties or the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; be operational during 2023; primarily sell their products within Central Oregon; and be mindful of the environmental impact of their operation.
“The high numbers of applications we received for this grant really attests to the need for direct infusions of funds in small farms. With the thin margins and unpredictable markets that many producers face, having even a small boost can lead to a notable economic impact,” says HDFFA’s Agricultural Support Manager, Andrea Smith. HDFFA aims to strengthen and highlight the resiliency of local farms. One major goal of HDFFA’s Agricultural Support program is to connect producers to funding opportunities, including OFEG. Since 2018, HDFFA has invested more than $120,000 in grant and award funding to Central Oregon farmers.
The 2023 On-Farm Efficiency Grant was made possible due to a generous private donation. Additional funding came from the Community Food Projects grant from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Learn more about these projects at hdffa.org/2023-grantees, and read about previous funding that HDFFA has provided for farmers at hdffa.org/hdffa-grants. Future grant and award programs for farmers are dependent on HDFFA successfully obtaining funding to administer similar opportunities.