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E-News September 18, 2006

What Makes a Successful Agricultural Easement Program?

The first national assessment of local agricultural easement programs, based on the examination of 46 programs in 15 states, uncovers practices and approaches that have helped communities  protect farm and ranch land across America.  AFT 's two newly released reports show that some local programs are more effective than others because of clear preservation goals, priorities that reflect the deliberations of elected officials, citizens, program managers and planners, and the strategic use of limited funds to acquire easements. A link between the easement program and local planning was also found to be important. A National View of Agricultural Easement Programs was conducted by AFT's Center for Agriculture in the Environment and the Agriculture Issues Center, University of California, with support from the Farm Foundation.

Building A New Economic Future Based on the PastKentucky Barn

AFT’s Southeast Director Gerry Cohn joined a resource team brought together by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in central Kentucky to explore opportunities for preserving family farms and historic farm structures through new crops, marketing approaches, and economic development strategies based on the historic and cultural resources of the region. New strategies suggested included supporting the viability of farms through local food promotion and farm-to-institution sales; expanding agri-tourism through regional coordination; building collaborations between farms and towns; and developing barn rehabilitation case studies and demonstration projects.

Expanded Tax Incentives for Donated Conservation Easements Signed into Law

On August 17, 2006, President Bush signed the Pension Protection Act of 2006 into law. The new law, applicable for 2006-07 benefits, allows qualifying farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their income along with other provisions that provide greater benefits for donating development rights to their land. This is a great victory for conservation, and AFT thanks all who contacted the President and urged him to take action.

All That's New About PACE

American Farmland Trust’s Farmland Information Center (FIC), the nation’s premier clearinghouse of information about farmland protection and land stewardship, is growing! New updates to the ever-expanding collection of resources include:

Photo Credit: Michael AblemanAFT's National Conference, Farming on the Edge: The Next Generation - November 13-15, 2006

Register by September 15 (TODAY) to save $75 on a 3-day registration

Around the Country

In California, a voter initiative, Proposition 90 on the November ballot could throw California land use and other laws into chaos by requiring the government to compensate landowners any time they reduce property values.

A new study in Michigan finds that selling more fresh fruits and vegetables to local markets could increase net farm income in the state up to 16 percent.

The seventh annual Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit will be held in Reynoldsburg, Ohio on November 2, 2006.

The filing of a property rights initiative (I-933) in Washington has placed important issues for agriculture on the November elections ballot.

New grants to support farmers’ markets in 17 states were awarded by USDA.

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