April 2024 Member Spotlight: Pryor Garnett

Pryor Garnett (Garnetts Red Prairie Farm) is a long-time member of OFA and the current Governing Council President.

April’s Member Spotlight belongs to OFA’s newly elected Governing Council President, Pryor Garnett of Garnetts Red Prairie Farm in Sheridan, Oregon. Like all good farmer stories, Pryor’s starts with a twist.

Despite being a farm owner since 2009 and farming himself since 2016, Pryor still calls himself a beginning farmer. That’s because Pryor spent most of his career before farming as a patent lawyer. While Pryor was a dedicated gardener for many years, he always thought he’d be a landowner one day. His experience growing his own food had long ago converted him to believing that organic is the healthiest way to eat, and that what’s good for us to eat is also more likely to be sustainable in the face of climate change and in the face of system disruptions.

When Pryor was ready for a change, and as the farmers who rented his farm moved on, he began farming. He received advice from NRCS and Oregon Tilth and worked toward today where his 92-acre farm specializes in growing certified organic wheat and other small grains for food, seed, and animal consumption. Successfully farming with just organic practices is very difficult, Pryor shared. A lot of expertise is needed and he’s still learning, but Pryor believes if he can do it, others in the region may see the opportunity as well. Currently, 62 acres are certified organic or in transition toward organic certification.

But Pryor knew there was more he could offer to the organic movement than just farming alone. When Oregon Tilth asked if he’d be interested in policy work, he knew he could use his skills as a lawyer to advocate in favor of positions that would protect and promote further development of organic agriculture. Since then, Pryor has been no stranger to policy work.

Last summer he hosted a staffer from Congresswoman Andrea Salinas’ office with the help of Oregon Climate Action Network and Oregon Tilth. That work paid off as it earned Pryor an invitation from the congresswoman’s office in January to participate in the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) roundtable as the only organic voice speaking for climate-resilient food supply chain changes in the upcoming Farm Bill.

Pryor notes that most farmers dread advocacy work and will go to great lengths to avoid it, but everyone who has tried it has come away wanting to try it again in his experience. Once a farmer can start building relationships with their members of congress, it’s easier to gain momentum and move the organic movement forward.


Would you like to nominate someone for the Member Spotlight? Please email your recommendation to madison[@]organicfarmersassociation.org.