Our mission is to empower a broad, producer-centered network to improve soil health across Oregon through collaboration, education, and policy advocacy.
We envision a future where healthy soils are the foundation of thriving food systems in Oregon–reconnecting healthy ecosystems, economies, and communities.
OrCAN was founded in 2017 as a volunteer-run effort laser focused on state-level policy advocacy at the intersection of climate change and agriculture. Today, we are building an inclusive and collaborative producer driven network, providing educational programming for technical assistance providers, and continuing to advance institutionalized support for soil health that works for a farmer's bottom line.
With a state-wide bird’s eye view on the landscape of soil health on farms and ranches in Oregon, we work with farmers, researchers, technical assistance providers, non-profits, and policy makers. We have organized hundreds of stakeholders in support of incentivizing best practices for climate resilience in the state.
We are active members of the Oregon Community Food Systems Network, the National Healthy Soils Policy Network, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Western Cover Crop Council.
Photo Credit: Blue Raven Farm by Jaime Thrower
Building a Collaborative, Inclusive, Producer Centered Network
We bring together state and federal agencies, OSU Extension, OSU researchers, SWCDs, and nonprofits across Oregon to align resources to meet farmers’ needs on the ground. We build relationships inclusive of Black, Indigenous, and other Farmers of Color (BIPOC), small and large scale producers, conventional and organic growers, and more.
We’re diving into an intentional network planning process to clarify the structure of our inclusive, collaborative state-wide soil health network, with a focus on meeting the needs of historically marginalized and under-resourced producers.
Building Capacity of Oregon’s Producers: Education Program
With over 37,000 farms across the state, we think the best strategy to reach them is to work with the existing ecosystem of trusted agricultural service providers and influential producers. We see a need for Oregon’s agricultural service provider community to provide a holistic suite of support services, from financial incentives to a variety of educational opportunities, because every farm has different needs. We believe that if producers have adequate technical and financial resources and a network of supportive peers, they are more likely to successfully implement the holistic land management practices and plans that result in healthy soils.
We are collaborating with existing farm service providers in Oregon who farmers trust and rely on—from soil and water conservation districts to beginning farmer education programs. Click here for more information on our Train the Trainer: Farming for Climate Resilience workshops in collaboration with OSU Extension, Oregon Natural Resource Conservation Service, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Are you a farmer or farm service provider Interested in participating in OrCAN’s network? Fill out our survey here! By building our network, we’ve identified agriculture producers in each region of the state, representing a variety of farm sizes and types, with interest in a variety of soil health practices.
Policies and Programs that Fit Farms
OrCAN is working to create systemic change by advocating for strong policy to advance soil health on Oregon's farms and ranches. During the 2023 legislative session we engaged with farmers and ranchers and the conservation community and successfully advocated for financial incentives and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers for the adoption of natural climate solutions, including soil health practices. We are thrilled that the state will be providing this support for climate mitigation and resilience, including soil health, on Oregon's farms and ranches and we’ll be engaged as our state agencies implement these new programs. We’re simultaneously advocating at the federal level for federal funding for state soil health programs.
Our work at both the federal and state levels is focused on providing new opportunities that work for farmers and ranchers in Oregon. As these policies and programs are developed and implemented we’ll do our best to ensure they advance soil health, are practical for farmers, and support an equitable food system--engaging farmers in every step of the process.