State Guides Help Communities Plan for Agriculture
Communities often focus on planning for new residential, commercial and industrial development, but many municipalities have not dedicated significant resources to planning for agriculture. However, a growing number of states across the nation are recognizing the importance of planning to protect farmland and support their agricultural industries. In California, Wisconsin and New York, guidebooks are available to advise municipalities on farm-friendly planning policies.
House and Senate Agriculture Committees Call for Cuts in Programs
The House and Senate Agriculture Committees recently approved their respective FY 06 budget reconciliation packages. The Senate plan calls for trimming $3.14 billion from agriculture programs over the next five years while the House plan calls for $3.7 billion in reductions.
The Economic Impact of Transition on Small-Farm Prosperity
Shifting market forces or the end of a federal program has created economic uncertainty for many small farmers. Although some farmers are exploring new crops/enterprises and land stewardship strategies in order to adapt, transition can create risks. In North Carolina, American Farmland Trust is collaborating on a small-farm prosperity project to evaluate how new high value crops and farmland preservation techniques can help small farms stay economically viable.
Bearing Fruit, Reducing Pesticide Use
Apple, cherry and peach growers in Michigan are setting the stage for reductions in pesticide use in fruit orchards across the country. Producers are measuring the impacts of management practices to develop sustainable, whole farm approaches for integrated pest management. “We’re working towards safer, more ecologically sound methodologies that farmers can actually use in the field,” explained grower Jim Laubach. American Farmland Trust's Center for Agriculture and the Environment and Michigan State University are guiding the process as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program.
News Briefs from Around the Country
Remember to nominate your favorite deserving farmer for American Farmland Trust’s 2006 Steward of the Land Award by December 1, 2005!
On November 10, 2005, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with American Farmland Trust and Ohio State University's Swank Program, will host the sixth annual Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit in Reynoldsburg.
Pennsylvania Governor Rendell hosted a reception to create new market opportunities for “PA Preferred” producers, promoting the branding effort to help customers easily identify products grown, produced or packaged in the state.
Proposals are currently being accepted for grants to be awarded in early FY 06 in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest for the FQPA/Strategic Agricultural Initiative Program from the EPA and AFT's Center for Agriculture in the Environment.
Upcoming U.S. Department of Agriculture farm bill listening sessions will be held in Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and New Jersey.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2006 funding for voluntary conservation programs on working lands.