MY VOICE: The value of farmland in NE Oregon
We live in an area of the country and state that is rich in culture, history, its hardworking, patriotic and generous people and agriculture. Often, busy lives lead to forgetting the beauty of our backyard and taking for granted all that God has given us.
Northeast Oregon provides an abundance of land for recreation, hunting, camping, fishing, outdoor activities by the acres and miles, but it also provides for rich soil that provides crops that feed countless of people in our state, region, country and undoubtedly planet.
In the report “Trends in U.S. Farmland Values and Ownership,” we learn that farmland values have been steady through a range of years, but the effect on these farmland owners and values from over-burdensome legislation, an overreaching government, GMOs, a stagnant economy and policies that undermine the purpose, intent and desire of farmers and ranchers has been burdensome. These issues place a tremendous wedge and challenge for our friends, neighbors and families in the collective agricultural community.
As we begin another beautiful Eastern Oregon summer, we see acres and acres of farmland with its bounty that reaches all the corners of our globe. I’ve come to meet several farmers who invested time and money in their lands and crops to not just make a decent living but to pass on the legacy of this prideful vocation to their children. It is something we must admire and support.
Farmers’ markets are opening up across our Eastern Oregon landscape, and rodeos are shaping up to provide entertainment, history and an education to our communities, children and adults alike.
One aspect of the bounty we are blessed to have is the local foods grown right here at the foot of the expansive mountains that paint a beautiful portrait and Kodak-like backdrop for us. Local farmers, as local businesses, deserve our support and acknowledgement. It is the locality and pride of our local farmers in Eastern Oregon that add to the flavor, delicious foods on countless kitchen tables and backyard picnics.
Organizations like Oregon Rural Action provide education, outreach and support for farmers and members of our communities. That work and outreach is critical in protecting the farmers and ranchers and their investment in their own lands and our collective communities. Because of this, the mosaic green quilt that is our Eastern Oregon landscape must be protected at all costs.
We must be vigilant to contact state and local elected officials and insist that funding for FFA and 4-H continue, as these children are tomorrow’s farmers and providers for one of the most important components of our economy and lives.
Unfortunately, some elected and appointed officials are working against farmers. USDA Secretary Tom Visilack said in a article on OccupyCorporatism.com “that with more and more Americans moving into urbanized city-centers, the farming communities in rural areas are not necessary in order to supply the U.S. with food and other necessities.”
Just as we strive to bring in new businesses to our areas, we must support the agricultural community because that is the landscape seen on calendars, postcards, websites, pamphlets and in grocery stores. We also marvel and relish in the same landscape as we residents and tourists drive through our quaint and picturesque cities and towns throughout Eastern Oregon.
About the author
Eddie Garcia of La Grande is a political consultant.
My Voice columns should be 500 to 700 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships.