AFTA 2019 Tours
Monday, June 24th: 12-4pm
This half-day tour will give participants a sense of the natural and cultural history of the Willamette Valley through a trip to Marys Peak, about an hour’s drive southwest of Corvallis. At 4097 feet, Marys Peak is the highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range. On a clear day visitors can see the Pacific Ocean to the west, views of the Willamette Valley, and many snowcapped peaks in the Cascade Mountains to the east. Trails to the summit wind through alpine meadows and old Noble fir forests (about 1 ½ miles each), and spots lower on the flanks of the Peak offer more sheltered walks in Oregon’s iconic forests in case of rain. Marys Peak has been designated a Scenic Botanical Area due to its unique plant communities, and the open meadows offer a range of wildflowers through spring and summer. Tour leaders will discuss the ecological communities seen along the trip and provide context within the broader PNW region. Tour includes 2 hours driving and 2 hours walking/viewing. Transportation and boxed lunch provided.
Space is limited. If interested in the pre-conference tour, please select this option at registration (additional fee applies).
Tuesday, June 25th, Full Day
Western Oregon has an international reputation for its agriculture and forests. Agriculture in the Willamette Valley is diverse, producing many specialty field crops and horticultural crops. The local approach to agroforestry has tended more towards diverse cropping systems (modified AF) generating ecosystems services along a spectrum of applications. Examples include ecosystem-oriented activities such as oak savanna restoration, where livestock are added to provide additional economic opportunities that help offset restoration expenses. Family farm and forest business operations may also add ecosystem services (usually at expense) to improve farm sustainability, and incorporate agroforestry crops and techniques to layer production values.
The two tour options for the 2019 AFTA Conference will look into some of these mixed annual, perennial woody crop and native forest mixtures, resources and creative thinkers exploring new ways to meet complex personal, economic and ecological objectives. Both tours will conclude at Tyee Wine Cellars for a tour of the operation and a catered dinner.
Please select a tour option at registration.
Oak Basin Farm
Oak Basin Farm is a hilly 900-acre site where timber production is integrated with oak restoration, rotational grazing of highland cattle, conservation values, and non-timber forest products (such as essential oil production). The property is owned and managed by brothers Jim and Ed Mersenich along with their families. For the last 20 years they have been managing the site on the flanks of the Cascade Mountains for timber production and habitat, tailoring their approach to sites that stretches from 500-2100 feet in elevation and include areas of shallow soils. Jim and Ed are very active managers of both their timber and conservation units, working closely with many agencies (including BLM and USFWS) to accomplish their vision. Cattle are a part of their savanna and meadow management for both vegetation control and offsetting costs.
Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center
The Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center is a non-profit permaculture demonstration site located on a 40-acre land trust near Cottage Grove. This regional resource center for researching, demonstrating, and educating the techniques & strategies of sustainable living. A 5-acre clearing is the site of intensive garden production, orchard and food forest, and natural buildings. The surrounding forest is managed for timber and habitat, with ponds integrated within the forest landscape.
Tyee Wine Cellars (Tour and Dinner)
Tyee Wine Cellars is located on the scenic Buchanan Family Century Farm founded over 130 years ago in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Earlier generations ran an all-purpose farm by growing wheat, animal feed and livestock. It is operated today by the fourth and fifth generation family farmers. The farm is a diverse operation, with an estate vineyard and winery, tasting parlor and events facility, hazelnut orchards and grass seed fields. Tyee manages the vineyard under Salmon-Safe ecolabel standards and has done extensive restoration of riparian, wet meadow and oak habitats. This focus on conservation is incorporated into the business operation in picnic tables and hiking trails for guests through the orchards, oak trees native woodlands and wetlands.
USDA Germplasm Repository
The USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository is a branch of the Agricultural Research Service that preserves genetic resources. The repository in Corvallis (one of nine in the United States) is home to the germplasm collection of temperate small fruit, pears, hazelnut, butternut and specialty crops. The site is part of the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), a collaborative effort to acquire, conserve, document, and distribute crop germplasm. Participants will tour the repository and have the chance to engage with researchers and technicians.
Kenagy Family Farm
The Kenagy Family Farm produces a mix of crops on 325 acres of versatile, irrigated farmland along the Willamette River. The farm is a highly diversified operation, on which the family raises a wide variety of annual and perennial crops. Horticultural crops include processing vegetables for processing and some fresh market fruits and vegetable. Agronomic crops include small grains, agricultural grass seed, vegetable seed crops and native plant seed crops. A goat herd is used to help control blackberries/brush and graze cover crops. The family stewards an additional 100+ acres of riparian vegetation, wetlands and forest actively managed for mixed economic and ecosystem service objectives, an unusual characteristic on valuable prime agricultural ground.
Tyee Wine Cellars (Tour and Dinner)
Tyee Wine Cellars is located on the scenic Buchanan Family Century Farm founded over 130 years ago in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Earlier generations ran an all-purpose farm by growing wheat, animal feed and livestock. It is operated today by the fourth and fifth generation family farmers. The farm is a diverse operation, with an estate vineyard and winery, tasting parlor and events facility, hazel orchards and grass seed fields. Tyee manages the vineyard under Salmon-Safe ecolabel standards and has done extensive restoration of riparian and wet meadow and oak habitats. This focus on conservation is incorporated into the business operation in picnic tables and hiking trails for guests through the orchards, oak trees native woodlands and wetlands.