The Politics of Small Farm Policy in Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/h989r483k

2011

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  • During the 2011 Oregon Legislative session, seven bills were debated that addressed policy affecting small farms. This paper seeks to understand the environment surrounding these bills: what is the political structure for determining small farm policy? To answer this question seven policymakers were interviewed and two legislative hearings were observed. The policymakers included legislative, governmental, and non-governmental officials. Three potential models were explored from the literature. First, that policy is determined by competing coalitions of policy specialists. Second, that an iron triangle of legislators, agency officials, and interest groups dominate the policy environment. Third, the policy structure is in transition towards a more open system. The models are assessed and compared using evidence that emerges from the interviews and observations of the process. The research finds evidence supporting two models and the conclusion is that the structure of small farm policy in Oregon is in transition. Based on the research the author recommends that policymakers design a long-term agricultural vision and recognize the importance of agriculture to rural communities, and calls on Oregon State University to become more involved in farm policy discussions.
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