Happy Holidays; we wish you the best this season and hope that you enjoy this issue of e-news packed with the latest on saving farmland, “Growing Local” for a brighter future, and farming for a cleaner environment.
America Votes YES for Farmland
On November 4th, Americans across the country shouted-out a resounding YES for farmland and all the benefits it provides, approving ballot measures to fund more than $525 million worth of state and local measures that include farm and ranch land protection. According to the Trust for Public Land, 74 percent of incentive-based initiatives (34 out of 46) passed. In New Jersey, seven localities approved measures to increase property taxes with matching state funds for farmland and open space protection. Thirteen cities and towns in Massachusetts authorized property tax surcharges through the Community Preservation Act, and the Clean Ohio Renewal Bond passed in every single Ohio county with approval by more than 70 percent of voters. In these challenging times, voters demonstrated they understand that farmland protection supports local jobs and economies while providing the food that sustains us.
To: Our Communities
This Thanksgiving, AFT reminded readers of the Buffalo News about the gifts that farmland brings—both the edible gifts and those you can’t taste but always enjoy. The piece points out that well-managed farmland protects water quality, provides wildlife habitat and grows fresh local food for New Yorkers, all while contributing to the economy of upstate New York. This holiday season, as this state and many others grapple with difficult financial decisions, remember the gifts that farmland provides for your community and take action to support it.
Can’t Wait ‘til the Cows Come Home? Give a Gift Membership and our Cowrrific New Tote
Share your passion for farmland protection and mooove your friends and family by giving them an AFT gift membership, complete with our new No Farms No Food tote. An American Farmland Trust membership is the perfect present for anyone on your list who enjoys fresh local food, cares about protecting the environment and wants to preserve one of our country’s greatest resources—our working lands. Give the gift of membership—send off a holiday e-card to share you warmest wishes for the holiday season, then sit back and enjoy the satisfaction of joining thousands of other Americans who have helped save farm and ranch land this holiday season.
Next Up to Bat: Environment
According to policy experts, the Obama transition team is finalizing decisions about top posts overseeing the environment. The Secretary of the Interior pick is expected to come out within the next few days. With the fulfillment of this post, which oversees the management of huge swaths of key land across the nation, now is the time to act and tell the transition team about the importance of supporting good stewardship practices on our farm and ranch land. While the environment is top of mind, Vote for Your 2009 Priorities if you haven't already, or invite your friends and family to join us in putting together our farm and food priorities for the Obama administration. 2,600 people have already voted, providing over 10,000 votes for top priorities in 2009.
Around the Country
Tennessee helps farmers with their nutrient management plans with a new nitrogen calculator.
California nut farmer recieves environmental leadership award [PDF] from Governor Schwarzenegger.
Massachusetts closed out its legislative season with big wins for farms and farmland.
Attendees at the Farm Foundation’s Food and Agriculture Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., learned about the alarming loss of farmland and what can be done about it.
Maryland and Virginia look to the Transfer of Development Rights tool for helping to direct growth and save farmland.
Leaders from Oregon and Washington state explored challenges and opportunities in ecosystem markets.
The 2009 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference is just around the corner! The conference will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, January 22-24, 2009. Attend our sessions "No Farms No Food" and "From Farm to Sea: Agriculture Working for Cleaner Water."