A Year of Progress, What's Next for the Farm Bill, and Holiday Gifts Straight from the Farm

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Welcome to the December issue of E-news. Click here to view a version of E-news on the web. Can't wait until next month's E-news? Check out our Farmland Report blog.

farmer and daughter

A Year of Progress for Farms, Food & Farmland

The closing of another year is a time for reflection on the progress we’ve made while charting a course to prepare for the opportunities of the coming year. We have drawn support from farmers and citizens alike to preserve policies and programs at all levels of government that will protect farmland, promote environmentally friendly farming practices, and keep farmers on the land. Our efforts have had direct impacts as we’ve worked with farmers and ranchers to preserve our precious land and water resources.

We’re proud of our efforts over the past year to protect and steward America’s working lands and grateful to our partners and supporters for their vital roles in these achievements. Read our updates about the past year of work throughout the United States.

What's Next for the Farm Bill?

U.S. Capitol with blue sky and American flagWith the Super Committee unable to meet a resolution, discussions on the next farm bill have slowed and the current thinking is that the process will stretch into the spring. The lengthier deliberations timeframe will allow for further analysis of the 2012 Farm Bill proposal from the Agriculture Committees’ leadership and for opportunities to incorporate public comment. Check our timeline of the farm bill process that will be updated as more information unfolds. If you live in the Northeast or are interested in how the farm bill impacts farms and food there, please join one of our upcoming farm bill webinars on conservation and local and regional food.

The Best Holiday Gifts Come From Farmers

The-Orange-Shop drop.jpgIn the town of Citra, located just off the shores of Orange Lake, is one of Florida’s greatest gems: The Orange Shop. Co-owners Pete and Cindy Spyke are third-generation citrus growers whose groves have been bearing fruit since the Civil War. In addition to selling their fruit to locals and travelers at their historic storefront, they sell a dazzling array of fruit boxes, gift baskets and even a Christmas tree of premium fruit and other holiday delights.

During the month of December Pete and Cindy are donating 20% of sales on any product in the Orange Shop’s online store to American Farmland Trust when you use coupon code FARMLAND, which also will give you free shipping!



A new database tool will help public and private decision makers be more informed about the conservation of working rural lands in Texas.

A new “Field to Food Bank” project in Wisconsin will result in a “chain of generosity” that seeks to support farmers in the state and help feed residents in need.

With high crop prices and the housing slump, some farmers and investors in Arizona, Florida and Illinois are buying land that had been slated for development and using it for agriculture.

Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and GROWN Locally have teamed up to develop Grower's Manual: A Template for Grower Cooperatives, a guide to help local food cooperatives improve their handling practices and meet food safety standards.

A report from the National Young Farmers’ Coalition details the biggest challenges faced by young and beginning farmers based on a survey of 1,300 individuals.

With global populations on the rise, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization recently warned that the trend of increasing acreage of highly degraded land—noted to be up to 25 percent of all land globally—must be reversed.

The final webinar in our series on Local and Regional Food Systems Planning will take place December 13 at 2 pm. Register for the webinar on county- and community-based planning.

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