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E-News May 4, 2006

 

Promoting Good Health by Bringing Farms to the Workplace

Dr. Preston Maring of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, California, has launched a movement to promote healthy eating by connecting Kaiser Permanente employees and patients with farmers who sell locally grown produce. Maring started one of the nation’s first hospital-based farmers’ markets in 2003; since then, more than 25 markets in five states—Hawaii, Georgia, Colorado, California and Oregon—have sprung up at Kaiser Permanente hospitals. AFT’s 2007 Farm Policy Campaign includes policy recommendations to promote improved diets and healthy eating.

New Report Examines Impact of CSP on New England Farmers

A recent study is helping farmers and policymakers better understand the country’s first comprehensive green payments program. The Conservation Security Program: Rewards and Challenges for New England Farmers [PDF] analyzes the size and type of payments that farms are eligible to receive and makes recommendations for program reforms. Recommendations include increasing outreach to farmers; developing a universal application process for all federal conservation programs; establishing minimum stewardship payments for smaller farms; and eliminating the administrative caps that have been placed on program payments. The study was conducted by  the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at Tufts University in collaboration with the New England Field Office of American Farmland Trust.

New Paths to Farm Profitability

No-till Farming in Iowa - NRCS Photo by Lynn BettsFarmers and ranchers across the U.S. are finding new and innovative ways to improve the bottom line of their operations by changing their practices. Dynamic farming, an approach that utilizes conservation till methods and a diversity of crops, enables farmers to react to fast changing markets and weather while boosting profits. Direct sales of value-added products—as well as co-operatives that provide fresh products for local consumers, restaurants, businesses and schools—are also on the rise. AFT’s 2007 Farm Policy Campaign includes a focus on new policies to help all farmers and ranchers take advantage of these and other innovative market opportunities.

Washington State Conference Helps Shape Farm Bill Proposals

American Farmland Trust is engaging with local communities to develop a stronger 2007 Farm Bill. The Pacific Northwest office recently teamed up with Washington farm organizations and agencies to hold “Visions of the Federal Farm Bill,” which addressed ways the local community can respond to the next farm bill. More than 150 participants represented nearly 100 different firms, farm businesses and organizations. Such events will help other groups interested in the farm bill develop policy that can truly meet the needs of agriculture and address the public interest in the years to come.

Land Use Tour Sows the Seeds for Midwestern Farmland Protection

Development encroaching on Lancaster County, PA farmlandAmerican Farmland Trust conducted a six-day rolling Ultimate Land Use Study Tour through Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for elected officials and leaders to learn about successful growth management and farmland protection programs. Tour participants, most hailing from Wisconsin, learned about the strategies and components of successful farmland protection programs, such as Lancaster County, Penn.’s Agricultural Preservation Program. They will use the knowledge to create and implement programs at home. AFT conducted the tour in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.

New Source for Model Documents and Legislative Briefs

New resources are now available on AFT’s Farmland Information Center (FIC) Web site. Visitors will find a growing collection of sample documents—from model easements to land evaluation systems. New state pages bundle key contacts, statistics, literature, laws, sample documents and legislative briefs to provide a snapshot of farmland protection activity. The changes—based on feedback from users—mark the second anniversary of the online clearinghouse that serves more than 60,000 people each year. 

Mark Your Calendar for AFT’s 2006 National Conference, November 13-15, 2006.

Around the Country

Maryland received $361 million from the real estate transfer tax for land conservation and approved an Agricultural Stewardship Act.

Georgia Gov. Perdue signed the Land Conservation Tax Credit Bill, which provides a free market approach to land conservation and will create a land legacy for Georgia.

Save Leelanau Farmland, Inc. is lobbying the Leelanau, Michigan County Board to put a 15-year, 0.5 mill tax on the Nov. 7 election ballot to fund farmland protection.

The Center for Farmland Policy Innovation has opened at Ohio State University.

York Township, Fulton County has created Ohio’s first Agricultural Security Area, which prevents the extension of water and sewer lines, new roads and development on the 554-acre designated area.

San Diego County, California has a new Web site dedicated to the San Diego Farming Program.

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