The structure and funding to keep working lands working.
2017: OAHP was signed into law. 2019: However, it is not yet funded.
OUR GOAL: Secure $10M in funding for the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program (OAHP) in 2019 via HB 2729.
THE OUTCOME: The bill advanced to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means—the State’s budget committee—but did not advance further in the legislative process. There were 16 pieces of testimony in support of OAHP submitted to the legislative record for HB 2729.
Chief sponsors: Rep. Witt, Rep. Helm, Sen. Hansell.
NOW WHAT? Securing funding for OAHP will continue to be a legislative priority for COLT, as farmland protection has never been more urgent. Oregon lost 340,000 acres of agricultural land between 2012-2017, according to recent USDA census information—underscoring the urgent need to fund policy solutions that protect farm and ranch lands with high conservation value.
How you can help:
Thank you for continuing to build momentum for OAHP. Here are ways to help:
- Thank the HB 2729 chief sponsors and cosponsors for their leadership and ask that they consider advocating for OAHP funding during the 2020 short session.
- Set up an in-district meeting with your local legislator and urge them to support funding for the OAHP. You can find out who your legislators are here.
- Continue to discuss the need for the OAHP in the conservation community so that COLT can have a larger and more diverse coalition of supporters in the next legislative session.
Why do we need the OAHP?
A historic opportunity:
Two-thirds (10.45M acres) of Oregon’s agricultural lands will change hands in the next 20 years, yet up to 80% of Oregon farmers and ranchers may not have a succession plan.
Agriculture at risk:
In this transition, productive land and associated habitat are vulnerable to sale for non-farm uses, fragmentation into unviable parcel sizes, and eventual development. Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture confirms that Oregon continues to lose farmland.Read the OAHP Coalition’s press release here.
Lost Federal dollars:
A federal program exists to permanently protect US agricultural land—NRCS’s Agricultural Land Easement program (ACEP-ALE). Yet each year, Oregon leaves millions of federal dollars on the table because we do not have a state grant program to match this funding. The 2018 Farm Bill has more funding than ever for agricultural land protection; Oregon’s legislature must step up and invest in protecting the State’s agricultural lands.
Governor Kate Brown Signs Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program Salem, Oregon (September 19, 2017): At a signing ceremony today, Governor Kate Brown put her support behind the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program (HB 3249). This landmark bill creates a suite of tools designed to help farmers and ranchers pass their legacies on to the next generation. These […]
The OAHP Coalition
Who developed this Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program? The Governor’s oﬃce convened a work group with representatives from a diverse coalition of agricultural and conservation organizations to develop a synergistic suite of programs to address both farm and ranch succession and land preservation.