|Welcome to the January 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 to hear more about farms, food, and the environment?
Check out our Farmland
Report blog where we post regular updates
about our work across the country and in the nation's capital.
No Farms No Food®
Rally & Lobby Day, March 30th
Strong Farm & Food Economy & Healthy Environment & Local Food
hold our second annual No Farms No Food®
Rally & Lobby Day on Wednesday, March 30, at the State Capitol in Albany, New York.
Join farmers, food advocates, local officials, environmentalists and other New
Yorkers to meet with legislators at the State Capitol about the critical
importance of farms and food to New
economy and food security.
Bus transportation roundtrip from New York City to Albany
will be available.
Registration will be available soon on our website at www.farmland.org/newyork.
Check Out Last Year's Rally.
Dairy Farmer Nominated
for Commissioner of Ag
Aubertine, dairy farmer and former North Country
state senator was nominated for Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets by
Governor Andrew Cuomo. As state senator of the 48th Senate District,
including Oswego, Jefferson and part of St. Lawrence counties, Aubertine served
as an outspoken advocate for funding environmental programs aimed at helping
farmers protect land and water resources. Last year Aubertine sponsored
legislation supported by American Farmland Trust that cut red tape for farmers
seeking funds to protect their land, making private land trusts eligible to
apply to the state’s Farmland Protection Program. The bill became law in May
Agriculture Guide & Webinars
brand-new guide to Planning for
Agriculture in New York:
A Toolkit for Towns and Counties will be soon available. The guide
highlights 80 towns and counties that have taken action to keep farms viable
and protect farmland.
Register today for one of the webinars:
| New England
Pleased with New Chief Agricultural
Officers in Vermont and Connecticut
Cris Coffin, our New England Director, is thrilled with the new Chief Agricultural Officers appointed in Vermont and Connecticut. Chuck Ross, the new Secretary of Agriculture in Vermont, has been instrumental in Sen. Patrick Leahy’s efforts on behalf of the state’s dairy industry, farmland protection and agricultural business and market development. Connecticut’s new Commissioner, Steve Reviczky, has been a member of the Working Lands Alliance Steering Committee and former staff for the state Farmland Preservation Program. “Ross and Reviczky will be two strong and effective advocates for agriculture and land conservation,” said Coffin.
Out State Conservation Tax Credit
On January 1, 2011,
Massachusetts became the first state in New England with a personal income tax
credit for the full or partial donation of a conservation restriction or
agricultural preservation restriction. The tax credit is capped at $50,000 and
will be valuable to farmers and farmland owners who make a donation of the value
of their restriction when participating in the state Agricultural Preservation
Restriction Program. American Farmland Trust and our conservation partners helped improve the
legislation to make the tax credit refundable.
Governor Malloy Visits Working Lands Alliance
Lands Alliance welcomed new Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy and newly-appointed
Commissioner of Agriculture, and former Steering Committee member, Steve
Reviczky to its January 11th meeting. Chair Terry Jones presented the
three legislative priorities [PDF]: state bonding for farmland preservation;
revisions to the Community Investment Act to restore funding to the Farmland
Preservation Program and continue the state’s support of dairy farms; and the
permanent preservation of six state-owned farmland properties. The governor expressed his commitment to the maintenance and growth of farming as an industry in Connecticut
and agreed with the need for bond funding for farmland preservation.
| Chesapeake Bay
Milestone Reached in the Chesapeake
The first decade of the 21st century has ended and with it, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia passed a major milestone for the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.
The regional agreement acknowledged the crucial role land conservation
plays in the Bay’s water quality and set a goal to protect 20 percent of
the farm, forest and ecological land area in the watershed. In just 10
years, the states have preserved 7.26 million acres!
Gov. McDonnell Seeks Additional Support for State Farmland Protection
In the current lawmaking session, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has proposed legislation to preserve working farm and forest lands that will accomplish his goal to protect 400,000 acres of open space during his four-year term. Contact your state officials and thank them for representing the interests of Virginia’s working lands.
San Francisco Bay Area Assesses Challenges, Opportunities
The San Francisco Bay
Area is one of the nation’s leaders in local food. Sustaining
Our Bounty: An Assessment of the State of Farming and Ranching in the San
Francisco Bay Area [PDF], summarizes the challenges and opportunities of the
region’s $1.9 billion a year agriculture industry, calling for new strategies
to support its future prosperity. A key may be to enable farmers and ranchers
to capitalize on the growing demand for locally-produced food from the region’s seven million consumers. In March, along with our partners, Greenbelt Alliance and
Sustainable Agriculture Education, we will convene a regional conference to
design strategies to sustain Bay Area agriculture.
Ag Vision Co-chair Named as New Secretary of Food
Jerry Brown has appointed a friend of American
Farmland Trust, Karen Ross, as the new state Secretary of
Food & Agriculture. Before serving two years as chief of staff to U.S.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Ms. Ross was executive director of the
California Association of Winegrape Growers and member of the state Board of Food
& Agriculture, in which she co-chaired California Agricultural Vision with
former American Farmland Trust president Ralph Grossi. Ag Vision is a design to lead California to a
strategic agricultural plan, a process AFT was asked to orchestrate. In
mid-December, we released a series of recommendations endorsed by the State
| Main Stories
A Gift of Farmland Becomes a Legacy of Love
Owen and Ellen Love donated their 660-acre farm outside Climax, Michigan to American Farmland Trust. The Loves believed deeply
in protecting their valuable farmland for future generations. Through the
recent sale of the farm subject to a conservation easement, their vision will
now extend to help others protect even more working lands in Michigan through the Owen and Ellen Love
Family Farmland Protection fund managed by American Farmland Trust. The Love family’s remarkable contribution is one that will certainly
have a lasting impact on the future of agriculture in the state.
Protecting Farmland is Top Priority According to the Agenda 2011 Leadership Poll
More than 2,500 of our
supporters weighed in on our Agenda 2011 Leadership Poll to help highlight the
farmland protection, environmental and healthy food policies that require the
most urgent attention in their states. The lead concern noted by 84 percent of the poll participants is protecting the land for future generations. The responses have helped us develop a sharper view of
priorities for farms, food, and the environment on both the local and national
A New Political Landscape for Farms, Food and Farmland?
The new political landscape
that materialized during the 2010 mid-term election is becoming clearer as the
Republican leadership has organized the committee structures. Keith Good,
author of FarmPolicy.com, provides a look at the leaders who will chart
the nation’s course for federal farm policy for the next two years.
Protecting the Environment Outside of the Courtroom
The recent American Farm Bureau Federation vs. Enviromental Protection Agency lawsuit brings the environmental challenges of the Chesapeake Bay into a contested legal space. In an opinion piece from, our president, and former Illinois Farm Bureau employee and Environmental Protection Agency advisor, Jon Scholl, shares his perspective on the effectiveness of a collaborative environment outside of the courtroom. Through programs like the BMP Challenge, we have brought together agriculture and environmentalists in the Chesapeake Bay region to achieve their common goal of protecting the local watershed.
Cleaning up our waterways will take more than just the efforts of farmers. Everyone has a role to play. Pledge to do your part by taking our Clean Water Challenge: Match A Farmer's Commitment.
| Around the Country
On January 1, Dennis Canty stepped in as our
Pacific Northwest Director. Canty, who co-authored the Guide
to Environmental Markets for Farmers & Ranchers, brings
extensive experience working with local and state agencies and governments,
non-profit organizations, and Indian tribes throughout the region on
conservation and watershed planning.
great training opportunities for new farmers [PDF] with a focus on small-scale, fruit
and vegetable production.
Trust launched a campaign to preserve
100,000 acres of farmland by 2014, as the state expects about one-third
of their farmland to transition ownership over the next 10 years.
Virginia allocates $100,000 in spending for farmland protection.
board of director member Daniel Shaw recounts American
Farmland Trust’s work in Colorado
Columbia County, New York is taking advantage of the state
Farmland Protection Program, utilizing its resources to assess the status and
potential of farming within their community to support and promote local
and Natural Areas Program has protected nearly 9,000 acres across Dakota County so far, but with
original bond funds dwindling, the county is debating the best strategy moving
|Lancaster Farmland Trust
received a $75,000 grant from Pennsylvania's
Growing Greener program to steward Lancaster County's
treasured farmland by helping owners of preserved farms implement conservation
practices on their farms.
|In mid-December we released
a series of recommendations endorsed by the California State Board as
part of the Ag Vision process, which
is designed to lead to a strategic plan for California agriculture.
New England states are
highlighted as examples of where spending to protect
farms continues in spite of economic hard times.
|Ohio Ecological Food and Farm
Association’s (OEFFA) 32nd annual conference, Inspiring Farms, Sustaining
Communities, is coming up on February 19-20, 2011 in Granville, Ohio.
Stabenow (D-MI) gave her first major address as chairwoman of the Senate
Agriculture Committee and highlighted
the key role Michigan agriculture
plays in the state’s economy. “As Michigan’s
second-largest industry, agriculture generates more than $71.3 billion in
revenue each year and accounts for one out of every four jobs in the state.”
American Planning Association selected Wallace Roberts
Todd to receive the first National Planning Excellence Award for a
Planning Firm. We worked with the firm to write the growth
management plan update in Pennsylvania’s
County and Union counties.