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Focus on Massachusetts

Welcoming a Leader in Conservation to Our New England Staff

Kip Kolesinkskas, American Farmland TrustIn January 2012, we were pleased to welcome Kip Kolesinskas to American Farmland Trust’s New England office as our new Conservation Scientist.  

Kip joins us from a long and successful tenure with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for Connecticut and Rhode Island. From 1995 to 2011, he managed the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection program in Connecticut, which contributed $38.6 million to protect more than 10,000 acres of farmland.

Kip has a tremendous understanding of the resource challenges facing our region and the federal conservation programs being used to address them. We are excited to have him working with us to find creative and collaborative ways to protect our agricultural resources, expand access to land and improve the region’s farm and food security.

You may already know Kip from his ongoing contributions to the Farmland ConneCTions project and the Planning for Agriculture and Conservation Options for Connecticut Farmland guides. If not, please join us in welcoming him to American Farmland Trust. He may be reached at kkolesinkskas@farmland.org.

Keep Local Farms“Keep Local Farms” Program Aims to Help New England Dairy Farmers

A new “Keep Local Farms” program launched by New England state agricultural leaders and dairy promotion organizations and inspired by the “fair trade” concept, will allow consumers to contribute online to directly support the region’s dairy farmers, and in the future, through co-branded dairy products. “Dairy farms are the ‘anchor tenants’ of New England’s agricultural landscape,” said our New England Director Cris Coffin. “The stability of this bucolic pastured landscape depends on the economic stability of our dairy farms—and this initiative offers consumers a way to support local dairy farms directly and help ensure that farmers receive a sustainable price for their milk.”

FACT: New England has approximately 1,880 dairy farms; dairy farmers are currently receiving about .97 cents per gallon of milk while it costs about $1.80 a gallon to produce.

Dinner at the Farm TableOn-Farm Dinners in Connecticut and Massachusetts Celebrate Local Food

The last of the acclaimed Dinners at the Farm were held over three beautiful nights at Old Maids Farm in South Glastonbury, CT. Working Lands Alliance—a project of American Farmland Trust—was one of only four organizations selected as a beneficiary. At the same time, Good Tastes Kitchen of Newburyport hosted a farm-to-table event at Cider Hill Farm, in Amesbury, MA. Chefs at both events delighted guests with a feast of locally grown products sourced from the host farms and other local producers. The hugely popular dinners are intended to generate awareness of the vitality of the local farming community and the delicious food it provides.

No Farms No Food Governor Proclaims August 16-22 Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week

Calling the more than 190 farmers’ markets across the Commonwealth “essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms,” Governor Patrick has proclaimed August 16-22 Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week. The number of farmers’ markets in the state has nearly doubled in the last ten years illustrating the tremendous demand for Massachusetts grown products and the vital importance of securing the farmland necessary to produce food locally.  The week kicks off Monday, August 17, when Agriculture Commissioner Scott Soares will read the Governor’s proclamation at the 25th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market.  

Gov. Patrick with local farmersMassachusetts Governor Patrick Featured in American Farmland

Governor Patrick’s ambitious agenda to protect farmland and support farm businesses in the Commonwealth was featured in Spring edition of AFT’s American Farmland.  After noting the growth in Massachusetts’ agricultural industry, Governor Patrick added, “We are doing a lot to keep this momentum going, from investing in the protection of farmland to helping farmers thrive and compete, to helping farmers gain control of their energy costs through efficiency and renewable energy investments.”  In January, Patrick took again showed his commitment by signing the conservation tax credit legislation into law, providing a valuable new land protection tool.

Farms for the FutureAFT Report on the Future of Farmland in Massachusetts

Farms for the Future: Massachusetts’ Investments in Farmland Conservation provides readers with a better understanding of Massachusetts agriculture and the land on which it relies.  The report includes a review of state programs that are saving farmland, protecting the environment and helping improve farm profitability.  Farms for the Future recommends a number of actions to improve and complement those programs.

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