In 1833, Meadowfoam is first classified by an English botanist, Robert Brown. Europeans import it as an ornamental plant. Covering a range of 11 species and subspecies, it earns the common name meadowfoam because when viewed in full bloom it appears to be covered with a layer of blinding white foam.
Following extensive screening by the USDA in the 1960s, meadowfoam is one of only a few hundred plants, from amongst the thousands collected, to be flagged for further research as rotational crops. Towards the end of the decade, Oregon State University (OSU), in Corvallis, Oregon, is selected as one of 12 sites for growing trials.
In 1983, a collaboration of seven farms in the Willamette Valley began commercial production of meadowfoam. In 1984, these seven farms joined with eight more farms to form the nonprofit Oregon Meadowfoam Growers Association (OMGA).
By 1997, over 80 growers are involved in meadowfoam crop production necessitating the reorganization of OMGA into an open enrollment cooperative. Founded as the OMG Meadowfoam Oil Seed Growers Cooperative, the name is later shortened to OMG.
As of 2016, OMG consists of 48 member farms all dedicated to the sound production of meadowfoam and daikon radish seeds. OMG holds regular, comprehensive grower meetings to ensure that all members understand and support the cooperative’s mission. The cooperative dedicates a staff agronomist to support, monitor, and maximize sustainable crop production.
Photo: Three generations of meadowfoam growers at Ioka Farms in Silverton, Oregon.