Program helps farmers, ranchers maintain their land

The government has programs available to help those farms and ranches

The NCRS helps ranchers and farmers maintain their land. November 10, 2016, (KOIN)

CANBY, Ore. (KOIN) — A total of 98% of Oregon’s farms and ranches are family owned, and it takes a lot of work and maintenance to keep them operating at full potential. That means a lot of money.

The government has programs available to help those farms and ranches out.

Cory Melanson is an Oregon farmer, working the soil on his very first farm 20 miles outside of Portland in Canby.

“We purchased this property back in December, and we want to bring it back to life and create a working farm again,” said Melanson.

But the 41 acres of land need some work. Right now, only 29 acres of it is usable farmland. His dream is to restore every last acre and turn it into “Let um Eat,” an organic food business.

“We’re just in the beginning phases with the NRCS. We are talking about getting a high tunnel out. We are going to put some cover crop down, pasture restoration, black berry removal. There is a whole gamete of things. They can help us succeed and move forward cleaning up and restoring what was here,” said Melanson.

Melanson is working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, a division of the USDA.

The whole purpose of the NRCS is to help people help the land through voluntary conservation.

What that means is, someone buys the land, works the land and the government will chip in. All interested parties have to do is apply.

“The process is fairly painless. We are the U.S. government, so we like our paperwork. I like to help people as much as possible getting through the first initial step, which is establishing farm records with the farm service agency,” said Kim Galland with NRCS Oregon.

This year, NRCS awarded over $20 million dollars to land owners across 170,000 acres in the state.

The program helped farmers like Melanson achieve their dreams of returning land in Oregon to its natural beauty

“. . .just building for the future and future generations, stewarding the land back to prosperity and health,” said Melanson.

This happens all while providing food for Oregonians.