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Trust Hires New Natural Resources Conservationist in Midwest
Trust has hired Jennifer Filipiak for the newly created Natural
Resource Conservationist position in the Midwest region. The position is
designed to support American Farmland Trust's activities in promoting
conservation best management
practices to farmers, increasing use of cover crops, developing
markets, encouraging farmland protection, and engaging women farmland
conservation. “Jen brings a wealth of experience to American Farmland
says Midwest Director Michael Baise. “She most recently led conservation
programs promoting sustainable agriculture for the Illinois Stewardship
Alliance. She has rich experience with The Nature Conservancy in Iowa
watershed projects and supporting conservation with scientific planning
expertise, project management and grant administration. We are lucky to
her on board.” Filipiak holds a BS
degree in biology and ecology from Northern Michigan University; and an
MS in wildlife ecology from
Southern Illinois-Carbondale. She begins her work with American Farmland
Trust on October 21 and will be located in Bloomington, Illinois.
Environmental Collaboration Topic of Keynote at Water Quality Trading Roundtable
American Farmland Trust President Andrew McElwaine will give the keynote address at The National Roundtable on Water Quality Trading on July 18 in Cincinnati. The two-day meeting will bring together key policy makers, industry and agriculture leaders, environmental groups, and others to discuss practices and policies for advancing market-based solutions to cleanup impaired waters across the country. McElwaine will speak on environmental collaboration.
AFT is currently working with state agricultural agencies and Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) on interstate water quality trading in the Ohio River Basin through a project led by the Electric Power Research Institute. The Ohio River Basin Demonstration Project aims to get water quality trading on the ground and uses lessons learned from the pilot trades to refine various elements of the trading plan.
Water quality trading is an innovative market-based approach to achieving water quality goals for nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, through programs that allow permitted emitters to purchase nutrient reductions from another source, like agriculture. It offers a financial incentive for farmers in the Ohio River Basin to implement conservation practices, while at the same time improving water quality and saving money.
Outreach to Women Farmland Owners Continues in the Midwest
Trust’s Midwest office continues to reach out to women who own
farmland. On June 12, a
women-only learning circle in Princeton, Illinois, one of several
gatherings convened by American Farmland Trust, Prairie Rivers and the
Food and Agriculture Network, brought women landowners in Illinois
with other women who can help them. Twenty-five
women landowners and owner-operators attended; collectively they own or
operate about 9,000 acres of farmland in four Illinois counties.
Discussion centered on ways to prevent soil erosion and improve soil
ways to manage hay and pasture lands, how to determine cash or
rental rates, and ways to work effectively with tenants to improve
on the land. The afternoon field tour
featured examples of practices on nearby farms. Inspired by the session,
participants concluded, “Ladies, it’s time to get more involved, know
staff and work with our tenants to place conservation on the land that
more about American Farmland Trust’s work to empower women landowners.
American Farmland Trust Midwest
Director Accepts Reappointment to Agricultural Statistics Advisory Committee
Baise, Midwest Director for American Farmland Trust, has recently been
reappointed to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics. In this role, Baise helps to advise the U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture and NASS on the conduct of the agricultural census and surveys,
critical tools in helping to understand the landscape of American agriculture.
“I am pleased to be reappointed by Secretary Vilsack,” said Baise. “U.S. farmers,
agribusinesses and consumers depend on the valuable information gathered
through the various NASS surveys, crop reports and Agricultural Census. NASS
employees work hard to provide accurate and timely information so crucial to
making sound agricultural policy and business decisions.” Congratulations,
Precision Agriculture and Water
of our work in the Ohio River Basin, American Farmland Trust recently launched
a two-year project to develop and refine the first credit estimator for precision agriculture variable rate technology (VRT) practices in water quality trading programs. Data from universities, John
Deere and Trimble will compare crop uptake budgets with applied nutrients (phosphorus
and nitrogen) and use modeling at the farm-field level with edge-of-field
monitors to account for excess nutrients. We will test and refine the resulting
protocol with farmers and Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky state regulatory
agencies. The work is supported by a USDA Natural Resource Conservation
Services Conservation Innovation Grant, The Mosaic Foundation and collaborating partners.
Full Speed Ahead for Interstate
Water Quality Trading
Trust met with project partners in Columbus, Ohio, on November 13 to
design an online registry for the Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading
Market; review our modeling, credit calculation tools and in-stream
procedures; and discuss our initial farmer engagements and contracts.
the next two years, the project will execute pilot trades with farmers
Kentucky and Indiana. These states signed the
nation’s first interstate pilot trading plan in August 2012 to allow power
plants and municipal wastewater treatment plants to purchase nutrient
reductions from farmers.
A Year of Progress in the Midwest
From the steps of the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, to farm fields stretching across Minnesota to Ohio, 2011 has been a year of bringing people together. Farmers and citizens alike are fighting for policies and programs that will keep farmland in farming, while new opportunities are evolving to help farmers be better stewards of the land.
As we prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the year ahead, you can read more about our accomplishments in the Midwest from the past year.
Midwest: The Year in Review
American Farmland Trust has fought to protect farmland in the Midwest for 27 years. Sometimes called America’s breadbasket, the Midwest is blessed with prime farmland soils that are the envy of the world, but we know we can’t afford to take these priceless resources for granted. That’s why we’ve been hard at work in this important region, and have made significant progress over the past year.
Ohio's Champaign County Farmers Market is the large category winner of our 2010 “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets” contest. Congratulations to everyone who voted their hometown market to the top!
Learn more about the Champaign County Farmers Market!
The Clean Ohio Bond offers great promise to farmland protection and the environment. By preserving farmland, protecting green space, cleaning up urban brownfields, and providing recreational trails the bond will ensure a bright future for Ohio—all without raising taxes.
American Farmland Trust was instrumental in the creation of the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. Since its inception in 2000 the Clean Ohio program has made an impressive impact on Buckeye farms [PDF].
Focus on Ohio
American Farmland Trust is proud to be included in the inaugural issue of edible OHIO VALLEY, a magazine dedicated to celebrating the local food artisans, growers, and producers of the Greater Cincinnati region. Published quarterly in time with the seasons, edible OHIO VALLEY focuses on local, sustainable food sources, and the people who work the land to bring this bounty to readers tables.
With beautiful photography and thoughtful content, the magazine and website will help readers savor and connect to the region’s food culture. An indispensible guide for people who are passionate about food, edible OHIO VALLEY is a feast for the senses.
An American Farmland Trust study helped inspire a public radio report on the effects of sprawl and farmland loss in Northeast Ohio. Our updated Cost of Community Services study for Madison Village and Madison Township in Lake County showed that new subdivisions typically do not provide enough tax revenue to support the public services they require—whereas farmland pays more in taxes than it costs in services. Specifically, residential development in the township required $1.24 in public services for every $1 those homes paid in taxes, while farm and forest land required only 37 cents in services for every dollar in taxes. WCPN Radio in Cleveland used the studies as the foundation for their news report on development patterns in the Cleveland metropolitan area.
The Ohio Agricultural Landowners Guide [PDF] is available to farmers who want to conserve and protect their land. The 16-page full-color guide summarizes a full range of federal conservation programs, state farmland preservation options and assorted local initiatives.
The guide includes case studies of ideas and efforts that have been effective: innovative zoning in Clark County, active land trusts around the state and entrepreneurial farm marketing in Wayne County, where the Hartzler family opened the first new dairy processing plant in Ohio in decades.
Michael J. Baise
2717 Bule Ridge Court
Bloomington, IN 47408
To learn more about agriculture in your state, visit the