It’s that time of the year again, when you and your loved ones pick the perfect tree to decorate and celebrate the Christmas holiday.
This year, like previous years, my friends and I went to select our trees. But unlike years past, this time we decided to cut our own trees instead of buying them at the grocery store. Having worked for American Farmland Trust for close to two years, it was important to me that we spend our money on a local farm. I did some research and found a family-owned farm not too far from Washington, D.C., that grows “cut your own” Christmas trees.
As a soil scientist I’m excited about an international day to celebrate the importance of soil. American Farmland Trust focuses on soil everyday: saving the best soils from poorly planned development, providing access to these soils for the next generation of farmers, and promoting sound farming practices on the soils so they can provide nature’s benefits.
Soils as a natural resource
For too long soils have been the Rodney Dangerfield of natural resources, treated like a second hand resource by environmentalists and conservationists alike. Seems like water, air, and wildlife got all the great press, regulatory protection, love and respect. What about the soil’s ability to provide food? Help create the flavor of a great wine or Juicy peach? To store water and protect against flooding? Continue reading
AFT Supports Vision for Cover Crops and Soil Health
American Farmland Trust has joined a diverse coalition of agriculture and conservation groups in delivering ”A Common Vision Statement on Cover Crops and Soil Health” to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to urge further work on cover crops and soil health across relevant department agencies and major program areas.
“Cover crops and soil health have been capturing the attention and involvement of farmers and organizations all across the U.S.,” stated the groups. “These practices represent a systems-based approach to enhancing crop production and profitability, protection of soil and water resources, and land stewardship.”
American Farmland Trust’s National Conference Online Registration Closes Wednesday, October 15
Don’t miss your opportunity to attend Farmland, Food and Livable Communities, the premiere national conference weaving farmland protection together with conservation, food systems and next generation issues. In addition to keynote speakers such as USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, Former California Secretary of Agriculture and AFT Board Member A.G. Kawamura, and National Geographic Photojournalist Jim Richardson, the conference offers four tracks of workshop sessions on cross-cutting themes.
While online registration closes Wednesday, October 15, on-site registrations at the Hilton Lexington Downtown are welcome October 20-22. The bus tours, Saving the Bluegrass and Urban, Bourbon and Brew, are full, but if you would like to be added to our waiting list, contact us at AFTNationaConference@farmland.org.
For more information visit www.farmland.org/nationalconference.
We look forward to seeing you in Lexington, Kentucky!
American Farmland Trust Submits RCPP Proposals
Yesterday was the deadline for organizations submitting Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) proposals to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). American Farmland Trust is leading two proposals that were submitted. If accepted, the proposals will result in 5-year projects in their respective geographic areas.
One proposal is being led by AFT’s Midwest office and will address water quality degradation from non-point agricultural sources on private lands in Illinois, a primary resource concern for the state and the Mississippi River Basin. The project would be one of the first efforts in the state to begin implementation of the “Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.” Continue reading
American Farmland Trust Supports Climate Smart Agriculture Initiative
American Farmland Trust Supports Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture
New partnerships to address climate change were announced this week at the United Nations Climate Summit, including the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. Held in New York, the U.N. Climate Summit was attended by leaders from around the globe as well as finance, business, civil society and local leaders from public and private sectors. The summit sets the stage for an ambitious global agreement by 2015 that limits the world to a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature.
One outcome of the summit is the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. The Alliance is a new effort to promote greater international engagement on ways agriculture can help mitigate the impact of climate change. The Alliance brings together governments, businesses, farmers’ organizations, civil society groups, research bodies and intergovernmental entities to address food security in the face of climate change.
American Farmland Trust is supporting this effort through the North American Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture which was also announced at the U.N. Climate Summit. The three-year North American initiative will give farmers, ranchers and foresters the opportunity to collaborate with industry, academia, government and NGO partners in developing ways to improve production resiliency and mitigate current and future risks of changing climatic conditions.
Congress Passes Continuing Resolution
The House of Representatives and the Senate this week passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government agencies through December 11. Because Congress failed to pass any appropriations bills before the end of fiscal year 2014, a CR was necessary to pass to avoid a government shutdown. The CR passed in the House and Senate maintains spending at current levels.
Congress Returns, Readies Continuing Resolution through December 11
As Congress returned this week from August recess, the House of Representatives began the process of approving a continuing resolution (CR) to extend government spending beyond September 30 which marks the end of fiscal year 2014. Government agencies are currently only funded through the end of the fiscal year, so a CR is necessary to avoid a government shutdown. The CR would maintain spending at current levels.
At this point, passage of the CR is expected to be a formality. The House Rules committee was expected to review and approve the CR earlier this week, however that consideration has been postponed until the week of September 15. Approval by the House Rules committee would clear the way for the CR to be considered on the House floor before proceeding to the Senate and finally being signed by the President.
Note—American Farmland Trust’s Farm Policy Roundup will not be published next week in observance of the Labor Day holiday. The next edition will be published on Friday, September 5.
American Farmland Trust Conference Is Just Around the Corner, Don’t Miss Out!
Did you know American Farmland Trust’s National Farmland, Food and Livable Communities conference in Lexington, KY begins in less than two months? We have an exciting line up of workshops in store for you that will explore important topics ranging from farmland protection policy and community food security to farmland succession and the next generation of farmers.
And keynote speakers will share their experiences and expertise on compelling issues in farming and food. Just this week, conference keynote speaker and photographer Jim Richardson was featured discussing his work in National Geographic’s Proof series. Hear his discussion and have a preview of just part of what is in store for you. Don’t delay–early-bird registration ends September 1.
Will you be joining us in Lexington?
AFT Conference Early-bird Discount has Been Extended to September 1
REGISTER NOW FOR EARLY BIRD RATES!
Register today to save $75 on a 3-day registration!
Join American Farmland Trust and more than 70 local and national leaders to network, strategize and share best practices to support family farmers, protect farmland and strengthen community food systems. Keynote, plenary and workshop sessions are organized around four cross-cutting themes:
- Conserving Farmland and Growing Smart
- Supporting Agriculture and Community Food Security
- Helping the Next Generation Succeed in Agriculture
- Promoting Farmland Succession and Access to Land
Join us in Lexington to craft next steps to advance your work in these areas and to enjoy Kentucky’s famous hospitality. Other conference highlights include two bus tours: Urban, Bourbon & Brew and Saving the Bluegrass, a Kentucky Proud reception and Farm Fresh banquet.
Click here for conference program and registration information. Register today to get the early bird discount!