The Conservation Reserve Program protects environmentally fragile agricultural land by rewarding farmers with payments for removing the land from production and restoring it to grassland or other cover. The program, our nation's largest and most successful conservation effort aimed at the stewardship of sensitive lands, was recently under pressure to allow potentially millions of acres back into production—due to rising crop prices, floods and drought. In a commendable decision made by USDA Secretary Ed Schafer, requests for early release of land from the program were declined unless previous payments received for protecting the environmentally fragile acres were paid back.
Around the Country
Indiana receives a $250,000 grant for a Regional Sustainable Food Initiative.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture released a new report highlighting conservation achievements over the past year.
AFT’s Brian Brandt will “kick-off’ the Sauk River ecosystems services project in Minnesota this month.
American Farmland Trust's Ed Thompson is presenting the San Francisco Food Shed Study at the national Slow Food Nation change-makers day on the "No Farms No Food" panel in California this month.
Landmark local milk legislation (pdf) passed in Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
New Hampshire joins the movement to celebrate local farms and food with an Eat Local week.
A Farm Aid concert headlined by Willie Nelson and the Dave Matthews Band will be held in Massachusetts this year.
Three towns in Duchess County, New York are starting work on agriculture and farmland protection plans.