Land Conservation Commission Recommends Steps to Keep Farmland in Farming
A report finalized by the New England Governors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation offers recommendations to keep the region’s farmland in farming. Recommendations include a New England Farm and Food Security Initiative to identify and address barriers and opportunities to increase production and consumption of New England-grown farm and food products, and protect the region’s agricultural lands. Commission members briefed the New England governors on the recommendations, and we will be working with the Commission and the six state Departments of Agriculture to move these valuable recommendations forward.
“Keep Local Farms” Program Aims to Help New England Dairy Farmers
A new “Keep Local Farms” program launched by New England state agricultural leaders and dairy promotion organizations and inspired by the “fair trade” concept, will allow consumers to contribute online to directly support the region’s dairy farmers, and in the future, through co-branded dairy products. “Dairy farms are the ‘anchor tenants’ of New England’s agricultural landscape,” said our New England Director Cris Coffin. “The stability of this bucolic pastured landscape depends on the economic stability of our dairy farms—and this initiative offers consumers a way to support local dairy farms directly and help ensure that farmers receive a sustainable price for their milk.”
FACT: New England has approximately 1,880 dairy farms; dairy farmers are currently receiving about .97 cents per gallon of milk while it costs about $1.80 a gallon to produce.
New Legislation Allows More Estates to Protect Land
Two bills recently signed into law by Governor Carcieri will help to protect important land in Rhode Island and will help to transfer property from one generation to the next. The legislation enables estates and executors of estates to convey conservation easements when the will does not discuss an easement. H. 5490 and H. 5488 will also make it possible for more estates in Rhode Island to benefit from federal tax incentives for donating the easement. Previously no specific provision in Rhode Island statutes authorized trustees to grant conservation easements. Some title attorneys had taken the position that, absent specific authority in the will or trust, easements cannot be granted as gifts. The legislation provides clarification.
$2.5 Million Land Conservation Bond Approved for November Ballot
In response to calls, emails and letters—including those from AFT—the General Assembly voted to continue Rhode Island's farmland protection and land conservation programs and place a $2.5 million bond referendum on November's ballot.
Please be sure to thank those state Representatives and Senators who supported the bond referendum, giving the state's voters the ability to decide the future of state's land conservation program.
Green payments in new england
AFT has partnered with Tufts University in Boston to gain a better understanding of how the fledgling federal Conservation Security Program (CSP) is working in New England. The findings will be used to help AFT shape its framework for changes to CSP and any subsequent federal green payment programs. Under the direction of Tufts’ Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Tufts graduate students interviewed farmers in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut and developed case studies for how the program is currently working—or would work for those farms that are not yet eligible—for dairy, cranberry, potato, apple and both organic and conventional vegetable operations.
Suffield Planner Outlines Steps to Successful Farmland Preservation Programs
At the Southern New England Planner’s Conference held in Newport, Rhode Island, a session on farmland protection strategies concluded with Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Local Farmland Preservation Program [PDF, 123KB], a presentation by Phil Chester, Suffield (CT) town planner. Suffield has preserved a farm a year, or 400 acres of prime farmland, over the past five years, using municipal, federal, state and private funding. More Rhode Island success stories.
New England Field Office
Cris Coffin, New England States Director
1 Short Street, Suite 2
Northampton, MA 01060-3952
(p)413-586-9330 ext. 29