Welcome to the October edition of American Farmland Trust's monthly E-newsletter, featuring the latest on farm and ranch land protection, agriculture and the environment, planning for agriculture, local food and more.
Carbon Farmers: Cleaning the Air, Ensuring the Future
As stewards of our nation’s food-producing lands, farmers can be key players in addressing the environmental challenges facing us today. Farmers are working to increase the benefits already inherent in their operations by improving their ability to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the carbon trading market American Farmland Trust is helping to develop, these benefits would translate into monetary value for the farmer. In August, AFT brought together farmers, academics, and specialists to visualize what a carbon trading system and federal policy incorporating these agricultural benefits would look like.
New Guide Helps Plan for Agriculture
Farms and farmland remain cornerstones of many Connecticut communities. To help towns proactively plan for the future of agriculture, American Farmland Trust and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities completed a joint publication: Planning for Agriculture: A Guide for Connecticut Municipalities. The guide covers a broad range of tools available to help local governments address the economic and land use needs of farmers and to help create a supportive atmosphere for agriculture. Topics covered include the benefits of farms; involving farmers in town decision-making; planning and zoning tools; right-to-farm ordinances; subdivision regulations; financing local farmland protection; addressing common issues; and promoting local farm viability.
What’s on the Farmer’s Plank?
Last week, hundreds of supporters signed our petition asking the presidential candidates to adopt the Farmers Plank. This is an important time in our country’s history, with rising global food demand, spiking fuel and food prices, and the threat of development putting more pressure on our producers and farmland than ever before. However, a fully implemented farm bill can help all of us enjoy a cleaner environment, while stemming the loss of farmland and locally grown food. Educate yourself on the farm, conservation and food views of presidential hopefuls Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama, and call for the fulfillment of the farm bill’s promise!
Support for Local Farms and Local Food Comes in Many Sizes
As the farmers market season comes to a close in some parts of the country, retail stores are often the only option for food consumers during the late fall and winter months. A recent AFT poll found that 58 percent of respondents think major retail stores should play a larger role in supporting local farms and food. Some retail and wholesale outlets are already doing their part to help sustain local farms and farmland. In Texas, H-E-B grocery stores host farmers markets in their parking lots, while local food advocates in the New York City region are working to develop a new wholesale farmers market to supply retailers and restaurant chefs. In North Carolina, Eastern Carolina Organics is helping rural family farmers access urban markets while protecting the state’s farmland.
Around the Country
Suffolk County, New York, a model for the country in farmland protection and creator of the country's first Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement program, saved its 50th farm.
What does Oregon taste like? Just ask the kids eating local in their school cafeterias in Portland.
California legislature passesd AB 2168 in support of farm stands.
North Carolina offers a tax credit to farmers utilizing green energy equipment.
Celebrate Colorado’s magnificent farm and ranchland and submit your best photograph into a contest.
North Carolina is a state causing concern as the one of the country’s leaders in farmland loss.
A Pennsylvania water quality trading system received accolades as a cost-effective way to remove polluting nutrients from the Chesapeake Bay.
California passed SB 375, a piece of landmark legislation for farmland preservation and the environment.