|Welcome to the July issue of E-news. Click
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Check out our Farmland
LATEST IN YOUR STATE
New Video: The Benefits of Conservation Practices on Farms
What is nutrient trading and why is
it important for a healthy future? To help answer these questions, we teamed
up with the Maryland Department of Agriculture and talked with farmers and
experts about nutrient trading in the state and its possible impact on the Chesapeake Bay. The video will be used as a new tool
to assist the state's roll-out of a program that has the potential to bring new
revenue sources to farmers and lower the cost of pollution reduction for all
citizens of Maryland.
Working to Protect Farmland and Improve Water Quality
Mid-Atlantic Director, Jim Baird,
recently spent time discussing the relationship between farmland protection and
water quality with members of the Baltimore County Farmland Preservation Board,
farmers and other citizens, and local conservation organizations. Baird
presented on how working lands protection and land use planning go hand in hand
to produce better water quality outcomes. The question has arisen in the
context of the
federal strategy mandated by President Obama’s executive order to clean up the bay.
Connecticut Town Planner Receives National Award for
Supporting Farms and Food
Lebanon Town Planner Philip Chester
has been awarded the title of 2011 Outstanding
Small Town and Rural Planner by the American Planning Association (APA). Chester, who served on our Advisory Committee for Planning for Agriculture: A
Guide for Connecticut Municipalities, has helped
protect more than 1,000 acres of local farmland; dedicated annual funding to
farmland preservation; implemented cluster zoning
regulations and agricultural buffers for new subdivisions; enacted a
right-to-farm ordinance; and initiated a thriving farmers market. “Too
often municipal leaders focus on developing land versus preserving agriculture.
Both have their pluses, but only agriculture provides sustainable value in
terms of the environment, municipal finance, aesthetics and food security,
which can be appreciated by everyone,” said Chester.
Rhode Island Begins to Implement Strategic Plan
lawmakers adjourned for the year, the Rhode
Island General Assembly took the first steps to implement A Vision for Rhode Island Agriculture: Five Year Strategic Plan. House
Resolution 6287 directs the state’s Department of Environmental Management
to work with other governmental and non-governmental entities to review current
laws and policy innovations from other states. They will then develop a suite of
policy recommendations that expand Rhode Island food production and agricultural operations. House Bill
5707, approved by the state legislature and awaiting final approval by the
governor, addresses an issue identified in the Strategic Plan—limits on
agriculture imposed by local zoning ordinances—by allowing plant agriculture in
all zones by right.
Maine Farmland Trust Offers
Maine Farmland Trust is pleased to announce that
Conservation Transaction Grants of up
to $10,000 are available through a 2011
Farmland Conservation Grant Program. Grants will support projects that will
permanently protect active farmland in Maine
through conservation easements (donated and purchased) and fee acquisition.
Land trusts operating in the state of Maine
that meet all eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply. Proposals are
accepted on a rolling deadline, and Maine Farmland Trust reviews proposals at
the close of every other month.
|2011 Legislative Session Wraps Up
The New York State legislature has gone home for the
summer. Two bills benefiting agriculture and farmland protection have passed. Assembly
Bill 5663/Senate Bill 4056 expands public awareness of the state Environmental
Protection Fund, which provides money for New York’s Farmland Protection Program. It
passed both legislative houses. Assembly
Bill 1389A/Senate Bill 614-B, which authorizes and encourages the financing of
farm product transportation and distribution projects to help both urban
communities and the state’s farm economy, also passed. Both of these bills now go
to Governor Cuomo for approval. Please contact the governor and let him know of your support for these two pieces of legislation.
|Top Five Farmers Markets in the
Running in New York
Our annual America’s
Favorite Farmers MarketsTM contest is heating up and New York market-goers are showing their
pride by voting for their favorite markets. At press time, New
York’s top five markets in the running are:
Saratoga Farmers Market
Farmers Market at the Williamsville Mill
Ithaca Farmers Market
South Wedge Farmers
Last year, the City of Rochester Public Market won first place for
large sized markets and the Saratoga Farmers Market came in third place for
medium sized markets. Thanks for your participation and best of luck to all the
Farm Bike-a-Thon to Benefit Farmland Conservation
Tour de Farm Bike-a-Thon, to be held on Sunday, July 17, is a fun,
healthy and educational bike ride organized by the Agricultural Stewardship Association and Saratoga PLAN to raise funds for land
conservation while celebrating farms in the upper Hudson Valley. Tour de Farm brings cyclists through more than 5,000
acres of scenic protected farmland in the region surrounding
the Saratoga National Historical
spectacular agricultural landscapes relatively unchanged since the 1777 Battle
Looking Ahead at Environmental
Markets for Farms
leaders from Northwest nonprofits met on the Hood Canal
at a workshop we sponsored on environmental markets in mid-June. The workshop
was very successful at building a common strategy for coordinating work on
market development. Moving forward, small groups will continue to meet on
market opportunities in the 2012 Farm Bill; transferable tools for credit
valuation; and engagement of Washington
regulators in market approval. As we continue to work on farmer-friendly
approaches to environmental markets, this collaboration will help us move
markets forward in the Northwest.
Calling on Congress to Preserve
In the past
month, many of you have shared with us why
conservation matters. It is a point that has been missed by the House as
they disproportionately cut funding to conservation programs in their 2012
budget proposal. On
June 28, thousands of citizens reached
out to the Senate and collectively voiced their concerns that funding for
conservation programs is necessary to ensure a healthy future for us all.
But the work is far from over. Stay tuned through updates on the Farmland
Report blog and consider visiting your Senators in their
home offices during the August recess.
Can Individual Citizens Help to
every day, individuals take action and share in our vision of saving the land
that sustains us. From joining the local planning board to calling on state and
national elected officials to making conscientious shopping choices, efforts to
protect farmland add up to make a broader impact. The
positive results of working toward the common goal of healthy farm and ranch land were recently seen in Wisconsin where a
public outcry kept the governor from passing his proposed elimination of
farmland protection programs in the state.
Leaders Announced in America’s
Favorite Farmers MarketsTM Contest
market make it to the top of the list in the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets
TM contest? From now until the end of the contest, you can
updates of state-by-state leaders. At the end of the contest, the top
farmers market in every state will receive a package of special bumper stickers
from Websticker.com to promote their market. The contest continues through
August 31 so there is still plenty of time to vote and support your favorite
Supply and Demand in the Local Food
interest in local food is on the rise, bringing along with it the opportunity
to grow local farm economies. However, in many parts of the country, farmers
who sell directly to consumers are facing various challenges in order to meet
the increasing demand. Looking at recent studies, our Managing Director for
Farmland and Communities, Julia Freedgood,
farmer-to-consumer sales—one of the fastest growing sectors of the food
economy—may hold the key to keeping farmland in farming.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton declared July 16th as Sustainable
Agriculture Day in the state to highlight farming practices that are
environmentally friendly, economically viable and socially sustainable.
the passing of House Bill
168 in North Carolina, land used
fide farming purposes,” as defined by the state law, is now protected from
cities, townships, and villages spreading out and developing on the
recently released 2009-2010 Buy
Local, Buy Wisconsin Impact Report
highlights an increased awareness in local products and the increased use of
local agricultural goods in restaurants and stores.
Connecticut town planner who helped protect
local farmland; dedicated annual funding to farmland preservation; implemented cluster zoning regulations and agricultural buffers for
new subdivisions; enacted a right-to-farm ordinance; and initiated a thriving
farmers market has been awarded the title of 2011 Outstanding
Small Town and Rural Planner by the American Planning Association.
|In Erie County, New York, we are helping with the update to the farmland protection
in this most recent planning process is the inclusion of the city of Buffalo in
discussions surrounding opportunities for new farms and markets.
|In Illinois, grocery stores only carry about 0.2 percent of the food that is grown in-state. Local Food Farms and Jobs, a task force based in the capital of Springfield, is trying to increase the amount of food produced and consumed in-state to 20 percent by 2020.
The Farm &
Food Leadership Conference will be held September 12 to 13 in San Antonio, Texas, and will focus on creating a better
understanding of where our food comes from.
Launched in 2010, the Massachusetts
Department of Agricultural Resources now has 20 farms certified in the Commonwealth Quality
seal program, signifying that they are high-quality products produced and
processed in the state.
A pair of celebrity chefs
from South Carolina, the Lee
Brothers, has teamed up with the state’s department of agriculture in a
contest to win a locally sourced meal cooked up by the duo.
California Roundtable on Water and
Food Supply has
released recommendations on the environment, including water needs on farms.
The recommendations cover ways to increase knowledge of water maintenance and
improve support for farmers and ranchers.
|The North Dakota Department of Agriculture released a guidebook of food grown and produced in the state.
Reserve Program, a farm bill initiative aimed at protecting water resources and
expanding wildlife habitat, was the topic of a recent informational webinar
co-hosted by the Farmland Information Center and the Partnership of Rangeland
In an effort to provide more healthy options for school lunches, Michigan has been selected by the USDA as one of two states
to participate in a new pilot program to increase the ability of schools to use
locally produced fruits and vegetables.
|From July 23 to 31, Maryland residents can join thousands of others in the state to eat locally for a week through the Buy Local Challenge.