How does this program work?
The Oregon Pasture Network mentorship program is ideally intended for farmers who seek personalized guidance from an experienced pasture based farmer and business owner regarding grazing management practices, pasture health and forage diversity, humane livestock management and/or best business practices.
The program is open to new and beginning farmers, as well as already established farmers in Oregon. There will also be supplemental sessions offered by outside experts and OPN on marketing pasture based products, relevant funding resources, land conservation strategies and other related technical assistance opportunities.
Applications for the first mentorship cohort are currently available. The mentorship program requires a six (6) month commitment, from March 2023 to September 2023. Space for this first cohort is limited to four (4) mentees, and each mentee selected to be a part of the program is required to pay the $75 administrative fee (for OPN Members) or $150.00 (for Non-OPN Members) upon entry into the program.
What is the goal of this program?
Experienced farmers have a deep desire to give back and new or beginning farmers have the interest and need to learn directly from someone who has done what they are trying to do, and that is the explicit goal of this program – an information exchange in practice.
The Oregon Pasture Network is committed to expanding pasture based agriculture across the state of Oregon for small family farms. We want to help producers improve livestock and grazing practices, so that farms can build community food resilience, raise awareness of the benefits of pastured food products, create local jobs, and stay economically viable during uncertain times.
By offering a mentorship program of this kind to pastured producers, we create the ability to provide direct and customized technical assistance to small farmers. There are OPN farmers who are beginners, some are very well seasoned and some are right in the middle. We believe that all farmers can benefit from direct mentorship, however our hope is that the farmers who have been farming for a few years, that still wish to improve their practices, have specific business goals and are interested in being mentored, will apply for this unique opportunity.
As the program grows, it is our goal to continue to provide small farmers with the technical assistance, education and resources that help farmers improve their business and farming practices, and ultimately improve their products.
Outcomes will vary based on individual goals. Upon being selected to participate in this mentorship program, mentees should have 2-3 specific goals in mind that they would like to achieve during the 6-month mentorship program. Goals can vary, but should be focused around growing a farm based business, improving grazing practices and forage, improving animal welfare, breeding programs or obtaining certifications (i.e.: organic or AWA) and specific learning outcomes will be customized for individual farms.
At the end of the cohort, both mentors and mentees will be expected to conduct a 30-60 minute debrief with OPN staff, fill out an online survey and provide a short 1-2 page written report (images optional) on their experience. This feedback will help us improve the program for future cohorts.
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