|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.
All farmers and ranchers know
preparing for the year ahead starts with looking back at the bright spots and
challenges from the seasons before. At AFT, we’re proud that in 2012 we rallied
farmers and citizens alike to advocate on behalf of protecting farm and ranch
land. Our innovative projects helped family farmers pioneer sound farming
practices, which help to preserve our land and water resources. We also laid
the groundwork to keep farmers on the land by providing tools and resources
that allow them to thrive.
In this month’s E-news, we’re sharing accomplishments and inspiration from 2012
in the words of our expert staff across the country. We hope you enjoy their
insider perspectives and join us in the vital work that lies ahead in
the New Year.
OUR WORK AROUND THE COUNTRY
A Vision and a Plan for California Agriculture
"AFT helped launch a 'greenprint,' which is
intended to be a set of strategies for the conservation and sustainable
management of land and water resources, in the San Joaquin Valley. This is
California’s most important agricultural region, the southern half of the
Central Valley. It’s like a fruit forest 250 miles long by 50 miles wide. In
the spring when all the fruit, the almonds and the peaches and the plums
everything are in bloom, it’s just astonishing. But it’s under siege from urban
growth with a population of four million expected to reach nine million by
Read more from California Director Ed Thompson, Jr.
Preserving Clean Water and Viable
Farms in the Mid-Atlantic
all the reasons we have identified through the years for why farmland is
important are all still true, we also have this heightened concern about water
quality. We need to understand what role farmland and farmers play in this
realm and we articulate that to people. They need to understand how much
agriculture is part of the solution for this issue, too. And so this last year
I’ve been working on making the case that farmland is essential for water
quality so we can make it part of the policy solution."
more from Mid-Atlantic Director Jim Baird
Protecting Farmland by the Acre—and the Inch—in the Midwest
"As farm couples age, typically women live longer
than men. After they become widows, women are frequently in charge of a very
valuable asset—meaning the farmland—and they may or may not have been engaged
in dealing with government programs or some of the institutions that impact the
farmland itself. I thought there’s an opportunity here, a niche for American
Farmland Trust to play in helping educate and empower women who own or control
the land. Through conversations with my AFT colleague, Anne Sorensen, I found that we both
had that same thinking in common. So we are making the case those women
landowners have a lot of influence on who rents the land and whether or not
conservation will be applied to the land."
Read more from Midwest Director Mike Baise
Planning for Food and Agriculture in New England
"It’s been an exciting year, with so much interest
and energy around the region on building New England’s food system
infrastructure and fostering economic development in agriculture. And with each
of the New England states focused on planning for agriculture and the
food system, it’s a great opportunity to think holistically about the region’s
farmland base and what it will take not only to stem the loss of productive
farmland, but to put additional land back into production to grow the region’s
food production capacity."
Read more from New England Director Cris Coffin
Spreading the No Farms No Food® Message in New
"I think it was a pivot year for AFT and our work
in New York…I think that in 2012 we saw that perhaps we are starting to rebuild
some of the things that have been hurt so deeply. For example, our state
farmland protection program got a boost in funding in 2012, up to $12 million.
That program permanently protected 20 farms in 2011-2012. Those are 20 farm families
and it is 6,000 acres of farmland that is now going to be permanently protected
in this state."
Read more from New York Director David Haight
Advocating for Farmland Forever in the Pacific Northwest
"We have a really significant problem with
farmland loss here in the Puget Sound region. We’ve lost about 60 percent of
our farmland here since 1950, and of course this is near and dear to our
mission as an organization. One of the things I’ve been interested in doing
since I got here is to try to develop a strong campaign for farmland
preservation in the Puget Sound region, particularly where the rates of loss
have been high….We hope that this Farmland Forever campaign is going to result
in the protection of more than 100,000 acres of additional farmland here in the
Read more from Pacific Northwest Director Dennis
©2012 American Farmland Trust. All Rights Reserved.
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