Think Farm Policy Will Never Change? Think Again.
On Capitol Hill, The Farm, Nutrition, and Community Investment Act (H.R. 2144) was introduced on the House side by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) and will soon be introduced on the Senate side by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)—the only marker bill introduced with comprehensive provisions that address farmland loss and protection. The act aligns farm policy with national priorities to improve access to healthy and local food; protect air, water, land and wildlife; increase production of renewable energy; support farmers and ranchers across all regions; and reduce hunger. Urge your legislators today to sign on for a better future in American farm and food policy.
Help Wanted: Cities Seeking Farmers
A growing appetite for fresh and locally produced food has caused the number of farmers’ markets in and near urban areas to double during the past decade. With city and suburban dwellers stepping up demand for “local harvests,” city leaders are finding that they need nearby farms. The city of Chicago recently pitched in to hire a "farm forager" to help recruit new suppliers and support sustainable farms that provide products for city markets. AFT has recommended policies to ensure the protection of important farm and ranch land near our urban areas, where products for farmers’ markets are grown.
AFT’s new podcast series, “Farmcast,” will frequently bring you Capitol Hill insights and insider attitudes on a new farm policy. Look for us “on the street” in D.C. and across the nation. This week, we’re “Calling on Congress to Fund Conservation.” Listen to comments from AFT President Ralph Grossi and others, including representatives from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Pheasants Forever, who appeared before Congress to speak about the importance of funding conservation programs in the 2007 Farm Bill. Subscribe to AFT’s “Farmcast,” by clicking on the subscribe link on the AFT Audio/Video Web page. You can also get the latest breaking news by subscribing to the AFT RSS feed—an online news update.
Sprawl Doesn’t Pay
A clear connection between sprawl, the loss of farmland and increases in state spending was revealed in the recent Capital Spending Analysis Report completed for the state of Delaware by AFT and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Before 1984, the average new house in Delaware was built on less than half an acre of land. But as of 2002, the average new house consumed 1.23 acres—nearly three times as much land! AFT’s report found that trends in state spending mirror the increases in land consumption, with the state’s capital budget as well as school transportation spending both tripling. "This report now documents that Delaware's serious problems with infrastructure funding directly parallel the rapid land consumption marking the last twenty years of growth in our state," said Governor Minner. What does this all mean? Sprawl doesn’t pay.
Is Cherry Pie on the Endangered List?
Only 37,000 acres of America’s farmland produce tart cherries, the special variety used in cherry pie and other baked goods and fresh juices. This farmland has declined by 25 percent over the past two decades. At this rate, all the land that yields tart cherries could be gone in 60 years! Support AFT and help save the farmland that yields America’s cherries and other fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
Around the Country
Washington state has secured funding for the first-ever Office of Farmland Preservation.
With the California governor’s signing of the Global Warming Solutions Act, Arnold Schwarzenegger is now looking to “terminate” greenhouse gases in the golden state.
AFT sets the record straight on transfer of development rights in Ohio.
AFT is pleased to announce that Jim Baird is AFT’s new Mid-Atlantic States Director.
In New Jersey, legislators are being urged to protect farmland and open space.
Colorado’s Chaffee County is considering the addition of “Smart Codes” to existing regulations to help ranchers stay in business and prevent sprawl.