SALEM, Ore. – Dec. 16, 2021 – On Tuesday, December 14, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bills 5561 and 892 during the 2021 2nd special legislative session. SB 5561 establishes a $40 million State of Oregon Agricultural Disaster Relief Fund through June, 2023. SB 892 directs the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to establish and manage the disaster relief program and distribute the $40 million in funds, intended to help Oregon farmers and ranchers who were adversely impacted by natural disasters in 2021.
This disaster relief program will be administered by ODA, who has been given authority to contract with financial institutions to establish forgivable loan programs. These loans, in turn, will be offered to qualifying Oregon farmers and ranchers, based on the defined requirements of SB 892.
Commissioner Kevin Cameron, chair, said, “We have heard from many farmers who lost large portions of their crops and were financially impacted by the June 2021 heat wave. I personally toured a marionberry farm and saw the horrific damage firsthand from the extreme heat. I hope our hardworking farmers and ranchers are able to access these funds quickly and efficiently through the ODA’s program. ”
With SB 892 taking effect immediately, the ODA is already working to stand up this program. If you or someone you know has a farm or a ranch that was affected by natural disasters in 2021, such as the Pacific Northwest heat wave, you can find more information on the ODA’s website as well as sign up for updates.