| You have the power to help save our farms and farmland. You can directly support Minnesota farmers and farmers markets by taking these simple actions.
Improving Water Quality in
October 31 and November 1, American Farmland Trust, Sand County Foundation,
Iowa Soybean Association and The Nature Conservancy convened the third meeting
of leaders involved with water quality projects in the Midwest. Forty-four
leaders from Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois exchanged
information about their USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Mississippi
River Basin Initiative (MRBI) projects. The group discussed ways to engage
farmers, target efforts and scale up pilot efforts into broader initiatives.
Overall, they identified two trends for project success: completing a watershed
plan with local farmers and using performance-based tools that provide feedback.
Farmland Protection Policies in Minnesota
The Farmers’ Legal Action
Group, Inc., recently announced the release of a new and timely report, Preserving Minnesota’s Agricultural Land: Proposed Policy Solutions [PDF]. This
report analyzes Minnesota’s current laws and practices regarding farmland
preservation, suggests steps the state can take to strengthen and streamline
existing programs, and recommends new tools the state can adopt to better
preserve farmland. Situated in the middle of the Corn Belt, Minnesota is an
important agricultural state. It ranked sixth in the nation in overall farm
production in 2009. It is also projected to grow by more than 1 million people
in the next 20 years. “Like the rest of the nation, Minnesota has seen
significant loss of farmland—more than 465,000 acres since 1982—due to
development surrounding growing cities. But it has no statewide plan or vision
for protecting its farmland,” says Julia Freedgood, American Farmland Trust’s
Managing Director, Farmland and Community Initiatives. “The proposed policy
solutions are thoughtful and relevant and an important first step.”
Midwest: The Year in Review
American Farmland Trust has fought to protect farmland in the Midwest for 27 years. Sometimes called America’s breadbasket, the Midwest is blessed with prime farmland soils that are the envy of the world, but we know we can’t afford to take these priceless resources for granted. That’s why we’ve been hard at work in this important region, and have made significant progress over the past year.
Sauk River Ecosystem Services Project
Environmental incentive markets—new “markets” that help farmers improve the environment while also expanding their sources of income—are emerging for water quality, endangered and threatened species habitat, and renewable fuels. AFT’s Sauk River Ecosystem Services Project brings new enthusiasm to soil and water conservation by promoting land use Best Management Practices (BMPs) and establishes a "stackable" credit market of water quality trading and carbon trading to fund these BMPs. Not only is it important to promote these best practices from an environmental standpoint but also from an economic standpoint for Minnesota farmers.
The Sauk River is one of the areas targeted by AFT's Agriculture & Environment campaign to demonstrate agriculture's role in improving water quality.
promoting sound farming practices: helping farmers address today's clean water challenges
In collaborating with farmers, environmentalists, and policy makers, our Agriculture and Environment program protects water quality and reduces climate change while improving the economic viability of farming.
- Take action to support the BMP Challenge and help farmers decrease nitrogen applications and reduce fertilizer contamination of local watersheds.
- Send an AFT eCard and inspire family and friends to protect the environment.
keeping farmers on the land: improving access for family farmers to land and markets
American Farmland Trust (AFT) is working with farmers, planners and policy makers to ensure a regionally diverse structure for agriculture and more favorable economic conditions to keep farmers and ranchers on the land. Since most land use decisions are local, we work to create farm-friendly communities, demonstrate model approaches, educate partners and enact policies at all levels of government to support family farmers and keep land available and affordable for farming.
Michael J. Baise
2717 Blue Ridge Court
Bloomington, IN 47408
To learn more about agriculture in your state, visit the Minnesota state profile page at the Farmland Information Center.