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 part 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/Studio XIII Photography
Building a Collaborative, Inclusive, Producer Centered Network
We are connecting policy, research, education, and the work of farmers and ranchers on the ground so they work together. We are investing in building relationships with the organizations, agencies and individuals interested in farming for climate resilience. It is also critical that we create a network that is multicultural and inclusive as we move forward.
As a starting point, we work to better understand what's already being done in this space in Oregon and what needs to shift. We have shared what we've learned in our report Lay of the Land & Levers for Change: Farming for Climate Resilience in Oregon 2021 and Beyond
Building Capacity of Oregon’s Producers: Education Program
Farming for climate resilience looks different depending on what crops a farmer is growing, at what scale, and which markets they are selling to. We know there are Oregon farmers that are already doing the work of implementing farming practices for climate resilience on their land today. And we recognize that the best pathway to catalyze change on farms is for farmers to hear from other farmers, whom they trust and can relate to. Interested in participating? Fill out our survey here! By building our network, we’ve identified agriculture producers, like yourself, in each region of the state, representing a variety of farm sizes and types, who can provide farmer-to-farmer education, sharing best practices with their peers.
We are also collaborating with existing farmer education programs in Oregon that 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.
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. Between now and July 2023, we’ll be working to advance a soil health bill, which would establish a Soil Health Initiative at the state level, with the purpose of improving soil health on Oregon’s agricultural lands. OrCAN also serves in an advisory role to the Oregon Global Warming Commission, providing input on the State’s work to promote carbon sequestration on Oregon’s farms and ranches. We’re simultaneously working on the Farm Bill to advance the provisions in the Agriculture Resilience Act, which is a farmer-driven, science-based roadmap for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. agriculture by the year 2040.
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.