Workshops Spur Interest in Farmland Protection
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The recent “Growing Wisconsin” workshops provided farmers, landowners, local and state officials and planners with the opportunity to learn from some of the nation’s leaders in protection of working lands, including AFT’s Regional Director Scott Everett. “There is great potential for farmland protection in Wisconsin but it takes leadership to get these programs off the ground,” said Everett. “There appears to be good solid leadership at both the local and state levels in Wisconsin, so we will see how things go in the future.” The workshops discussed ways to protect working lands through the use of voluntary programs, such as purchase and transfer of development rights, and land use policies.
Leaders Honored with AFT’s Inaugural Congressional Steward of the Land Awards
AFT awarded its esteemed Congressional Steward of the Land Award to three Senators and three Congressmen. AFT honored Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), and Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) for their profound commitments to conservation and farmland protection. “It is a great honor to recognize true champions of conservation and farmland protection,” said Ralph Grossi, AFT president.
So We Have a Farmland Protection Program... How Do We Pay For It?
More than 25 states and 55 local communities have Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) programs to protect important farm and ranch land. However, the biggest challenge often is not putting the program in place but in finding ways to fund it. Who benefits and who pays? How much money can be raised? AFT's Sources of Funding Fact Sheet [PDF] provides an overview of funding sources and issues to address when deciding how to pay for farmland protection programs.
You Can Make A Difference
When we lose farmland, we lose our most fertile and productive agricultural soils, habitat for wildlife, local jobs and community businesses. We invite you to join AFT as a member today. Your membership support will help AFT continue programs that protect our important working lands, support local farms, and promote a farm policy that serves farmers, ranchers and your community. New members who join online will receive all AFT membership benefits plus the exclusive AFT edition of The 2007 Old Farmer’s Almanac. Already a member? Help us update our records by clicking here.
Around the Country
USDA’s Farms and Loss of Farms Report shows that North Carolina is leading the nation in the loss of farms.
AFT testified before the New York State Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees to urge the state legislature to significantly increase farmland conservation funding.
Virginia's general assembly took a big step forward for farmland preservation this year when they provided $4.3 million for a statewide program for purchase of development rights (PDR) over the next two years.
California is the world’s twelfth largest source of greenhouse gases, but the state is about to become the nation’s leader in reducing their impact on global climate.
In Pennsylvania, HB 318 will authorize municipalities to acquire highway corridor conservation easements and provide for highway corridor overlay zoning.
Connecticut’s Working Lands Alliance launched “The Face of Connecticut Campaign” and called for a $1 billion investment over 10 years in land conservation.
Keep a lookout for the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program Request for Proposals, which is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.