HDFFA is invested in increasing the ability of Central Oregon farmers and ranchers to overcome shocks and strains on their operations by providing financial support for on-farm infrastructure, supplies, and professional development. In 2021, HDFFA opened applications for producers to apply for On-Farm Efficiency Grants under one of these areas of criteria for up to $4,000 in grant funds with a 50% match. Awardees were selected in January of 2022, distributing a total $45,704 in funds to 14 Central Oregon farms and ranches through the program this year.
One example for the use of grant funds was a producer that purchased a movable chicken pen with the goals to expand broiler production, improve process efficiency, align production cycles with nature, and improve animal welfare. In these pictures, you can see the small enclosure that was in use in previous years, and the new structure that grant funds helped to purchase.
The owner of this business estimated that with this purchase, they will: produce 33% more chicken in 27% less time, expand their meat CSA member base by 33%, save 150 hours of labor this season, and have an estimated economic impact of +$15,000 this year, leading to an estimated impact for the lifetime of this structure of +$120,000.
“This $4,000 grant created an economic impact for my farm business of +$15,000 in the very first year. Thank you HDFFA for recognizing that, by investing in on-farm infrastructure, the ripple effect is resilient farm businesses and a strong local food community.”
Other applications of these funds included the purchase of a root washer kit to increase their capacity for root vegetables, a fenced garden space for raised beds and greenhouse installation, an onsite commercial kitchen, high capacity mobile pig feeders, a cardboard shredder for sheep bedding, and more.
This grant opportunity was only offered in 2021 and at this time there are no plans to continue funding under the same parameters and format. However, HDFFA continues to seek creative ways to support Central Oregon’s farmers and ranchers through funding and educational opportunities.
This project is funded by the Beginning Farmers Ranchers Development Program grant and the Community Food Projects grant, both from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).