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E-News August 15, 2007

Farming into the Future—How Agriculture Can Help Curb Climate Change

Saratoga, NY farmland

While the United States continues to debate the best approach for tackling climate change, the voluntary carbon trading market is alive and well. Farmers and ranchers are getting a piece of the carbon trading pie, with more than one million acres of U.S. cropland storing carbon in the soil using practices including no-till farming and planting grasses and trees. Agriculture has a significant role to play in helping reach our climate change goals, whether through offsetting carbon, growing biofuels, or generating alternative energy such as wind or solar power. AFT’s Center for Agriculture in the Environment is working with farmers and ranchers throughout the country to host a series of listening sessions to learn just what is working “in the field.”

A Boost for FRPP, Now Farm Bill Focus Shifts to the Senate

Mother and Daughter

Get Heard

Contact your Senators while they're home in August and let them know what's important to you in a farm and food bill.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives completed the first step in the multi-step farm bill process. They passed a bill that provides 35 percent more funding for conservation, increases support for farmland protection, and expands programs focused on healthy diets, local foods, specialty crops and nutrition. While the House bill was a good start, it’s time to look to the Senate for greater reform. Senators Brown (D-OH) and Durbin (D-IL) have set the stage with the Farm Safety Net Improvement Act of 2007, which fundamentally changes subsidy programs to be more market-oriented and equitably applied to farmers. Now’s the time to show your support for AFT's farm and food policies while your legislators are home during the August recess.

Understanding Farm and Ranch Land Protection

Apple As Planet Earth
Click the apple slice
to watch the video!

We get much from farm and ranch land—including fresh and healthy food, protection of our air and drinking water, economic contributions to local and national economies, open space and local community character—and a growing number of areas are protecting working agricultural land. Many communities that have successfully saved farm and ranch land got started by letting people know why farmland protection is so important and then by exploring the Farmland Protection Toolbox [PDF]. You can get started right now by watching our presentation, The Apple as Planet Earth!

Late Summer Reading: Five Books about the Costs (and Pleasures) of Our Food Choices

As the debate over the nation's farm and food policy heats up this summer, you can learn more about what's at stake without snoozing through policy papers. We've picked five books to help you learn more about the important connections between farms and food. The first is bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver's latest book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which chronicles her family's year-long experience of eating only local foods. Kingsolver recounts her family's days filled not only with the tasks of planting, weeding and harvesting, but also with the pleasures of meals cultivated by their own hands. Get the full list here.

Around the Country

Residents in Rensselaer County, New York, protected their first farm from development.

North Carolina’s unsigned budget includes eight million dollars for farmland protection.

Washington’s State Conservation Commission hired Steve McGonigal to manage its new Office of Farmland Preservation.

Ohio’s Food Policy Council seeks to repair lost links between rural food producers and urban consumers, and to create new food and agriculture jobs in cities and farm towns.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly and Governor Rendell showed their commitment to healthy farms and clean water by passing REAP, the Resource Enhancement and Protection Act.

A coalition of environmental, agricultural and public interest organizations in Illinois, including AFT, is promoting the improvement of the existing road and transit system in Kane, Kendall and Grundy counties as a more effective, cheaper and environmentally preferable alternative to a proposed "Prairie Parkway."

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