Breaking News
More () »

Breweries ask customers to drink a beer and help save Oregon farmland

The Oregon Agricultural Trust campaign launches October 10. Participating locations will make their own Oregon-sourced beer or cider and donate a portion of sales.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Drinking a beer and helping save some farmland in Oregon—that's the pitch of the campaign called Cheers to the Land.

For the second year in a row, the nonprofit Oregon Agriculture Trust is collaborating with 18 different breweries and cideries across the state. 

All with a similar goal: to protect Oregon farmlands from developers and help farmers with succession plans for the future generation of farmers. 

"Farming in this country is the backbone of our existence. And the depletion of the small farms is significant to that,” said Steve Light, one of the co-owners of Freebridge Brewing. “Succession is really critical and this is a very difficult task of being a farmer. It's not always appealing to other generations."

Freebridge Brewing, located in The Dalles, is one of the 18 participating locations of Cheers to the Land that officially starts back up this fall. 

“We were aware of the project obviously because of our ties in the industry last year and said 'wow wouldn't it be great to be involved this year' and when they invited us we just jumped on board," said Laurie Light, the other co-owner of Freebridge Brewing. 

Both tell KGW they come from a multigenerational family of farmers. So they get the importance of this nonprofit's mission. 

"It makes it easy when large money gets involved and wants to either change the land to like wind farms, for instance, that are in our area or multi-unit developments of orchards in our area as well," said Steve. 

According to the Oregon Agricultural Trust, 25% of Oregon land is farms and ranches. The average age of farmers in Oregon is 60. 

"We're looking at about 64% of the land changing hands over the next 20 years simply due to age and retirement,” said Sal Lopez, with the Oregon Agricultural Trust. “Many of the people who will be retiring don't have succession plans." 

The Oregon Agricultural Trust campaign officially launches on October 10 and may run through November. Each participating location is making its own Oregon-sourced drink and donating portions of its sales to the cause.

"Last year we raised $12,000 with cheers to the land,” said Lopez. “This year we're hoping to double that amount."

Here’s a list of participating locations: 

  • Alesong Brewing & Blending of Eugene
  • Baerlic Brewing of Portland
  • Barley Brown's Brewing of Baker City
  • Block 15 Brewing of Corvallis
  • Buoy Beer of Astoria
  • ColdFire Brewing of Eugene
  • Crux Fermentation Project of Bend
  • Falling Sky Brewing of Eugene
  • ForeLand Beer of McMinnville
  • Fort George Brewery of Astoria
  • Freebridge Brewing of The Dalles
  • Gorges Beer in Cascade Locks
  • Level Beer of Portland
  • Reverend Nat's Hard Cider of Portland
  • 10 Barrel Brewing in Portland
  • Thunder Island Brewing of Cascade Locks
  • Son of Man Cider of Cascade Locks
  • Wolves & People Farmhouse Ales of Newberg

Before You Leave, Check This Out