AFT Welcomes a New President, Environmental Impacts of Flooding, Farmland Protection Report, Virtual Local Foods Resources and more

American Farmland Trust
American Farmland Trust

E-News July 18, 2008

Welcome to the July edition of American Farmland Trust's monthly E-newsletter, featuring the latest on agriculture and the environment, farm and ranch land protection, planning for agriculture, local food and more.

First Day at the Helm of AFT

Jon Scholl in SoybeansThis week we welcome Jon Scholl as the new President of American Farmland Trust. “Jon is a farmer from Illinois who understands the challenges farmers face. His career experiences with agricultural organizations like the Illinois Farm Bureau, and more recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have prepared him for this role,” says Ralph Grossi, who is stepping down as AFT’s President after 23 years. Grossi will be returning to his fourth-generation family ranch in California and will provide counsel to AFT. “I am confident that Jon embodies AFT’s commitment to both agriculture and the environment.” 

Pacing off Steps for the Future of Farms

Ohio farm at dusk
With the passing of the 2008 Farm Bill, more funding has been designated to support farmland preservation through purchase of agricultural conservation easement programs or PACE programs. According to our new State PACE report, state-level purchase of agricultural conservation easement programs invested nearly $305 million to protect 168,130 acres in 2007. PACE programs, currently authorized in 27 states across the country, help preserve farmland by offering agricultural landowners an alternative to development. The programs also encourage second generation farming by ensuring an agricultural future for cultivated land. 

Farmland, Food Prices and the Environment at a Crossroads

Flooded Field Tractor
The Midwest flooding has spotlighted not only the impact on food prices when we lose prime farmland, but also the worrisome environmental consequences of nitrate runoff into waterways from crop fertilizers. With increased pressure on their land and their bottom line, farmers in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio are finding support for their role to help solve this clean water challenge through programs such as American Farmland Trust's BMP Challenge

Virtual Resources for Local Food

Little Girl and NFNF ToteMaking the commitment to eat local helps preserve farmland within communities, allowing consumers to have access to diverse, delicious and safe foods. Finding local sources for your favorite foods can be challenging, but fortunately there are many tools available to help you eat local and eat well. A few favorites:

  • Use Culinate to find a farmers’ market using an interactive map, locate your state’s best locally produced food, discover delicious recipes and more.
  • CTgrown, a Connecticut state resource, serves as a one-stop interactive guide to local farms, from you-pick farms to CSAs. This is a resource that every state should have.

The Future of the 2008 Farm Bill

CapitalWith the official passage of all 15 titles of the farm bill, enactment now falls to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Within 90 days of the passage of the farm bill, the USDA will issue interim rules and seek public comment. Rules influence the effectiveness of farm bill programs when implemented on the ground, but poorly written rules could thwart the good intentions of the legislation. Be ready to take action this fall to help ensure our hard-fought gains are supported with solid rules.

Around the Country

The environmental cost of the Iowa flooding spans the width of America, leading to pollution as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.

Peddling for farmland: cyclists in Pennsylvania raise money for farmland.

Specialty crop growers in California benefit from new farm bill.

In the final hours of the New York legislative session, the Senate and Assembly passed legislation to provide funding for farmland protection projects.

Albemarle County, Virginia celebrates farmland protection milestones

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