|Welcome to the March 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.
Regional Planning in California’s
San Joaquin Valley
Joaquin Valley is California’s leading
agricultural area, responsible for more than $20 billion in annual food
production. It is also one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, losing six
square miles of farmland a year to urban development. Until 2004, there was no
regional planning for growth in the valley; just eight counties and more than
30 cities going their own way. Today, however, there are at least three
separate regional planning exercises taking place, each with its own
objectives, timetable and leadership. What will emerge from all this planning is
a legitimate question, and the fate of the region’s irreplaceable,
world-class farmland hangs in the balance.
|Ask the Maryland General
Assembly to stop cuts to farmland protection programs!
Maryland’s Department of Legislative
Services has proposed to permanently cut funds dedicated to land conservation. Initiatives
that are threatened, including Program Open Space and the Rural Legacy Program,
help ensure a healthy future for the state through supporting the economy,
helping to face environmental challenges, and providing food for a growing
will these proposed cuts harm immediate farmland protection needs, but also set
the tone for limited funding in the future.
take action: Ask the Maryland General Assembly to stop cuts to farmland
Spread the No Farms No Food® Message at Ag Day
Join us for
and Massachusetts Ag Days. Joined by Working Lands Alliance, we will
speak with state leaders about our top legislative priorities in Connecticut [PDF] on
March 16. The popular event will be held in the Hall of Flags of the State
Capitol in Hartford
from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Three weeks later, we will meet with
legislators on Thursday, April 7 at the State House in Boston for Massachusetts Agriculture
Day. The day will include a “Taste of Massachusetts” reception in the
Great Hall featuring farm and specialty food products from across the
state. Contact us for more information about how to join these opportunities to
remind elected leaders of the importance of agriculture
and to spread the No Farms No Food® message.
Time to Register! No Farms No Food® Rally & Lobby Day, March 30
Register now for the No Farms No Food® Rally & Lobby Day, March 30 at the
New York State
Capitol in Albany.
The advocacy agenda includes support for programs that protect farmland from
development, provide economic opportunity for farmers and food businesses, and
make nutritious, locally grown foods available to all New Yorkers by expanding
farmers markets, supporting community gardens and feeding the hungry with fresh
food grown by New York
farmers. The free event runs from 9:30 to 4:00 p.m. and includes a local foods
lunch. Free bus transportation is available roundtrip from New
York City to Albany.
Visit our website for more information,
to read and sign on to the agenda of legislative priorities, or call (518)
Farming: The Next
webinar, Helping a “New
Generation” Succeed in Farming, will
be offered on March 16. It is one of a series of
webinars to help communities support their local farms. This webinar
will look at how towns and counties can attract new farmers and farm families
and keep farming viable in their communities. Presenters will be Marissa Codey,
Senior Farmland Protection Manager, Columbia
Land Conservancy, and Michelle Hughes, Director, New Farmer Development Project,
New York City Greenmarket.
Hot Off the Press: Hudson Valley
Food & Farming Reports
Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation, which supports the growth of the Hudson Valley’s
agricultural economy, has released a new report, Understanding
Food Systems: Identifying Business Opportunities for Hudson Valley Farmers and
Food Entrepreneurs, which provides a review of the market-based
relationships that create the framework for local and regional food systems. A
second report, The State of
Agriculture in the Hudson Valley, published by the Glynwood Center,
offers a detailed picture of agriculture in the region.
Markets for Northwest Farmers and Ranchers
following up on the publication of the Guide
to Environmental Markets for Farmers and Ranchers with several
projects to open markets to agriculture.
Recently, we joined a group of community organizations led by Climate
Solutions to consider ways to move forward with cost-effective,
farmer-supported carbon sequestration projects despite the national stalemate
on climate policy. Now we are beginning work on a first-of-its-kind cooperative
to organize farmers to participate in emerging environmental markets. We will
soon be hosting a meeting of environmental market leaders from across the
Northwest to discuss how to cooperate on establishing farmer-friendly markets
in the region. And speaking of the Guide,
we have a pretty good supply of them in our office. Call us (206)
860-4222 if we can send you some copies. At the moment, we can handle orders up
to a box (75 copies).
Skagit County Farmland Protection Strategic Plan
We are working
with the Skagit
County Farmland Legacy Program to prepare a strategic plan for their
purchase of conservation easement program. The
Skagit program is a Northwest leader, providing $1 million per year to
protect farmland with conservation easements. We are using a GIS analysis to
evaluate several strategic options, including reinforcing the urban/rural
boundary in the developing Interstate-5 corridor and protecting a core of
highly productive farmland in the central valley. The Skagit
Valley is the most intact and
productive farm landscape in western Washington;
protecting this land is of great significance to the region.
Working Toward 21st
Century Solutions at National Agricultural Landscape Forum
How much land and water do we need to meet present and future demands for food, energy and environmental services? Recognizing tight budgets and multiple resource demands, 21st century solutions will require greater cooperation between farmers and ranchers, federal, state and local governments and private partners to focus on conservation outcomes.
end, USDA has partnered with us and Farm Foundation NFP to host a National
Agricultural Landscape Forum in Washington D.C.
on April 7-8, 2011. The forum is guided by a Blue
Ribbon Panel of leaders in agriculture and conservation and is part
of the public input process required by the Soil and
Water Resources Conservation Act (RCA) to improve the effectiveness of
federal conservation and rural development programs. Come make your
voice heard! Register
now for the opportunity to take part in this critically important dialogue.
Charting New Waters Coalition: A Pledge to Protect Our
single largest user of land and water resources in America, farmers and ranchers can
be a major part of the solution to the environmental challenge of water
quality. That is why we have joined the Charting New Waters coalition,
committing to help preserve our freshwater resources. You, too, can pledge to
waterways by taking our Clean
Water Challenge: Match a Farmer’s Commitment.
Strong Economic Future Needs
the horizon for the agriculture economy in 2011? Our
president Jon Scholl offers his reflection from the USDA’s annual Ag Outlook
Forum. The message was clear: the loss of farmland and increased demand for
sustainably produced food and fuel puts even more pressure on our working
lands. Yet right now, federal funds for conservation are in jeopardy. Help us protect
programs that farmers need to provide a healthy future—ask
the Senate to stop cuts to hard-won conservation programs!
|Around the Country
meeting in Cayuga County, New York, farmers in the Owasco
Lake watershed came together to address challenges to water quality regulation
in the area.
Anita Zurbrugg, our Midwest Director, Center for
Agriculture in the Environment, will speak at the annual meeting of the Boone
County, IL Farmland Protection Project on March 26. The group, one of only
three organizations in Illinois that focuses on protecting farmland, is
located in one of the most development-threatened counties in the Chicago metro area.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture,
Trade and Consumer Protection released a Land
and Water Conservation Directory, providing a listing of valuable resources
and agencies working on environmental issues in the state.
for New Urbanisim will address the close relationship between Madison, Wisconsin,
and the city’s agricultural neighbors in their annual conference.
|Help develop real-world projects to address local and regional food issues at the Making Good Food Work meeting, April 19-21 in Detroit, Michigan.
A group of Pacific Northwest
organizations has outlined six key tenets they pledge to follow as they work
toward the 2012 Farm Bill. The
Seattle Farm Bill Principles include a focus on conservation practices,
equitable access to healthy foods, and a commitment to strengthening local
Whole Foods Markets in Florida
are helping to get local food moving from farm-to-table more easily. The
specialty grocer will now serve as a drop-off point for Community Supported
Agriculture programs in the state.
College in Vermont will continue its for-credit summer
program in sustainable agriculture. In its third year, the Farm and Food Intensive covers both traditional and
more innovative management techniques that incorporate conservation practices.
A researcher out of Washington
state was recently awarded the 2011 Wolf Foundation Prize in recognition for his
contributions to agriculture research. Among the accolades James Cook
received involved his work related to the positive impacts of no-till crops.
In North Carolina,
the conservation coalition, Land for Tomorrow, has released a
report demonstrating the positive impact that land and water conservation have
on the economy. Among impacted areas are job creation, taxes and tourism.
The White House recently released the America’s Great
Outdoors Report. Among issues addressed were the protection of public
and private lands, historic sites and the importance of land trusts to achieve
Beginning April 1, a series
of meetings in Iowa will address
opportunities to connect women who manage farmland with beginning farmers.
Women own or co-own nearly half the farmland in the state.
calendars! On March 14, general
sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will begin, continuing
through April 15.