Letter sent to Central Oregon mayors, commissioners, state/federal congress, and fellow nonprofits:
As the Executive Director of HDFFA, my staff and I are committed to our 65+ tri-county farm and ranch Partners who feed our Central Oregon community. We are advocates for them and know that current and future water allocation will have a drastic effect on their ability to not only feed our community, but also their livelihoods.
We spoke with a rancher this morning who said that due to current circumstances, many ranchers will need to sell their livestock at auction this fall, causing a glut in the market resulting in low prices. If instead ranchers keep their livestock, they may not have the funds to pay for enough hay, causing starving animals and loss of income and jobs. This is one story of many that we have heard to date. Beyond just our 65 Partners, our entire agricultural economy is poised to take a massive hit this fall and next year unless we are collectively proactive and provide support.
As a small non-profit, HDFFA will do everything we can to support our farmers and ranchers through advocacy and resource sharing, but feel strongly that it is most effective to work in collaboration with regional agencies and organizations.
We are aware of the financial resources available to counties through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and want you to know that we also have a small portion of ARP funds that have been committed to HDFFA. We plan to provide $40,000 in funds to farmers and ranchers in the fall of 2021 for use in 2022 to improve on-farm efficiencies, including irrigation improvements, and/or educational opportunities. However, with limited funding, we are only able to allocate a small portion to each of our constituents depending on the number of applicants that apply.
We are reaching out to you, our government officials, nonprofits and organizations, to let you know that these funds will be made available, and to see if there is a way to leverage our funds with any current or future projects you may have. By streamlining referrals and promoting all available resources, we can maximize the amount of on-farm improvements that can be made throughout the tri-county region.