This Holiday Season, Conservation Funding for All?
"We can have all the conservation and farm stewardship programs in the world,” says AFT President, Ralph Grossi, “but without adequate funding, they become nothing but lost opportunities for cleaner air and water, improved wildlife habitat and protected farmland and open space.” AFT led more than 20 other organizations in signing a letter to President Bush requesting that conservation programs are funded at no less than current authorized levels in 2008. The need is clear, as three out of every four farmers who apply for conservation funding are turned down due to lack of funds, while farmers and ranchers in 88 percent of our watersheds have not had the opportunity to enroll in the Conservation Security Program.
AFT and the DOD Defend Farmland
AFT and the Department of Defense Sustainable Ranges Program recently issued the joint publication, Working to Preserve Farm, Forest and Ranch Lands: A Guide for Military Installations [PDF]. In the face of increasing urban sprawl, the DOD is working to ensure the future use of military training land by addressing issues of potential encroachment on military training. "The DOD Sustainable Ranges Initiative is a win/win approach to working with states, communities, and conservationists. Sustainable Ranges Initiative is a positive way to promote training and readiness at military installations and to preserve and protect the working landscapes surrounding them. The viability of our installations is directly linked to working with others outside our fence lines,” says Alex A. Beehler, Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environment, Safety and Occupational Health).
Participants Dig Up Food Geography, Farm Policy and Farming on the Edge
Participants at AFT’s Farming on the Edge Conference toured farmland protection projects and visited local operations in Delaware that demonstrated the value of comprehensive land use planning and agricultural education. Attendees also enjoyed a feast of local flavors and farm fresh cuisine from nationally known chefs. Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm’s CE-Yo, and agrarian author Michael Ableman joined AFT President Ralph Grossi at the podium for keynote talks. Grossi challenged the audience to stay informed, talk to their Congressional representatives and work toward a new federal farm policy. “There are very legitimate needs in agriculture that are unmet, and our programs will continue to get cut until a broad constituency wants them,” Grossi said. “And we need a constituency that’s sustainable for the future.”
Farm and Food Policy for All—Farmers, Citizens and Communities
American Farmland Trust’s new farm policy brochure, Farm and Food Policy For All—Farmers, Citizens and Communities [PDF], highlights AFT’s policy recommendations as detailed in Agenda 2007 and offers a glimpse into how AFT is leading a campaign to strengthen the future of American agriculture. We invite you to sign up for AFT’s Farm Policy Update, a bi-weekly publication that features the latest policy developments, news articles, reports and other information related to U.S. farm policy.
Record Crowds Gather to Protect Ohio Farmland
More than 230 people attended the seventh annual Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit to hear AFT President Ralph Grossi deliver an overview of land protection efforts across the country while outlining AFT's vision for a new U.S. farm bill in 2007. “Open space and clean water are farm products,” Grossi said in his luncheon keynote address, explaining that more funding for conservation programs would be good not just for the land, but also for Americans in general, who value a healthy environment. The summit, held every year outside of Columbus, is believed to be the largest state farmland preservation conference in the nation.
Help Protect America's Farms and Ranches
When you support AFT you give the gift of healthy land and food for generations to come. This holiday season, when you go online to support AFT you'll receive all of the AFT Membership benefits as well as the exclusive AFT "No Farms, No Food" luggage tag, our gift to you this holiday season. Help protect farm and ranch land, clean water, healthy food and wildlife habitats today!
Around the Country
A blue ribbon commission chartered by California Governor Schwarzenegger has recommended a suite of policy reforms aimed at promoting more livable communities and farmland protection in the San Joaquin Valley.
AFT presented lifetime achievement awards to retiring Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont and retiring Congressman Sherwood Boehlert of New York for their outstanding contributions to farmland protection, conservation and stewardship.
Massachusetts Governor-elect Deval Patrick recently announced transition working groups to solicit comments and develop policy recommendations for his administration.
Through a collaborative partnership in North Carolina led by the local Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) board, Alamance County has passed a Farmland Preservation Ordinance.
The Private Landowner Network is a lead group working on the national cooperative conservation initiative, an important part of farmland preservation.
In Pennsylvania, The Farmers’ Market Development Act (HB 2472) was passed. This piece of legislation will create a mini-grant program for the start-up and growth of farmers’ markets.
The new publication, This Is Smart Growth, highlights farmland preservation and illustrates how communities across the country can turn their visions, values, and aspirations into reality, using smart growth techniques to improve the quality of development.