Welcome to the April issue of E-news. Read on to get the latest on climate change legislation, download a new report on Local Food, Farms and Jobs, and get the basics on farmers combating climate change.
See How Farmers Fight Climate Change!
Every day farmers are helping to reduce the impacts of climate change, and the Farmers Combating Climate Change 101 tutorial explains how a “cap and trade” system will work and why farmers will be such an important part of the equation. It also demonstrates how YOU can help! We’ve included a glossary of climate change terms, as well as legislative updates to make this your one-stop agriculture and climate change headquarters. You can support farmers’ efforts to combat climate change by completing the action.
Looking to Local Farm and Food Systems as Economic Engines
Most of the $48 million Illinois consumers spend every year on food does not stay in the state, so Illinois is looking to a local farm and food strategy to create jobs, revitalize rural communities and keep local dollars in local economies. A recent task force report prepared for the Illinois General Assembly, Local Food, Farms and Jobs: Growing the Illinois Economy, points out that even a small increase in the amount of food grown for local consumption can have a big impact for farmers and others in food-related businesses. The report encourages rural, urban and suburban communities to cooperate statewide and presents a plan for 20 percent of Illinois food expenditures to be grown, processed and distributed in-state by 2020.
500th Farm Protected in Delaware
The “First State” may be small in size, but it’s still a leader in farmland protection. Delaware has protected more acres of farmland per capita than any other state and just celebrated the protection of the state’s 500th farm. Formed in 1991, the Agricultural Lands Preservation program has put over 90,000 acres under agricultural easement to help protect Delaware’s top industry. American Farmland Trust’s president, Jon Scholl, commended the program in a letter to Secretary Kee: “Protecting the most basic resource of agriculture—the land—from non-agricultural development ensures that our farms and farmland will continue to provide the bounty of food and fiber along with continuing to contribute to our environment, local communities, heritage and well-being for generations to come.".
A Giant Step Forward for Agriculture and the Environment: Draft
Last week Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee, and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, rolled out a draft for landmark climate legislation. This federal bill would set the stage for U.S. farmers and ranchers to adopt new practices to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or produce low-carbon renewable energy. Widespread adoption of “climate positive” practices on farms will combat climate change while also providing a new stream of income for farms and ranches.