A Southern Oregon rancher received a $235,000 grant to market and develop the products from her herd of 80 Tibetan yaks bred and raised on the 200-acre Firebird Farms near Ashland, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Owner Sophia Weiss, one of 11 Oregon farmers who received a grant through the USDA Rural Development Office, is using the money to work with Pacific Northwest mills to turn her yaks’ fibrous wool into yarn and yak hides into leather. She started her ranch nine years ago with a pair of yaks purchased from a Craig’s list ad and started building her herd. She even purchased some of her yaks from movie actor Steven Seagal, when he sold a ranch in Montague, Calif. Another grant recipient, Zena Forest, received about $250,000 for marketing and processing raw logs into flooring near Rickreall, Ore., while other recipients raise bison, grow blueberries, operate creameries, or manufacture olive oil.
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