Farm Policy Roundup – September 19, 2014

 iStock_000000142578MediumCongress 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.

House Subcommittee Explores Soil Health

The House Agriculture Committees Conservation Subcommittee held a hearing this week to examine the benefits of promoting soil health. The subcommittee heard testimony from Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Jason Weller; National Association of Conservation Districts CEO John Larson; Oklahoma Conservation Commission Director of Water Quality Shanon Phillips; Schrack Farms Manager Jim Harbach, and University of Minnesota Extension Educator Jill Sackett.

“When we speak of improving soiStock_000013373398Mediumil health, we are talking about actually enhancing the soil’s capacity to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans,” Chief Weller testified. “Improving soil health simultaneously addresses many of our nation’s most pressing natural resource needs.”

The hearing was part of a weeklong focus on soil health in Washington, DC which also featured a soil health demonstration by NRCS and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission on the National Mall.

Join us in Lexington, Kentucky, October 20-22 – Register today!

registernowGREENAmerican Farmland Trust’s Farmland, Food and Livable Communities Conference is the premiere national conference weaving farmland protection together with conservation, food systems and next generation issues.

The conference offers four tracks of workshop sessions on cross-cutting themes. Sessions in the farmland protection track will address impacts of the new Farm Bill on conservation and farmland protection, showcase exemplary community planning, explore effective policies to reduce conversion of arable land, answer “what makes an easement farm-friendly?”, highlight model Purchase of Agricultural Easement programs, introduce promising policy innovations and provide guidance to land trusts who actively want to conserve land for farming and ranching.

Come learn from the experts and meet local and national thought leaders of model programs including:

  • Anne Bradley, Land Preservation Program Coordinator, Frederick Co., Maryland
  • Brian Bourdages, Farmland Program Manager, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Michigan
  • Katherine Daniels, Farm and Forest Lands Specialist, Oregon Dept. of Land Conservation and Development
  • Nancy Everhart, Agricultural Specialist, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
  • Jerome Faulkner, National Easement Specialist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Krista Magaw, Executive Director, Tecumseh Land Trust, Ohio
  • Rick Pruetz, editor of SmartPreservation
  • Austin Short, Delaware Deputy Secretary of Agriculture
  • Jeremy Stone, National Program Manager, ACEP-ALE, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Knox van Nagell, Executive Director, Fayette Alliance, Kentucky
  • Mackenzie Royce, Executive Director, Bluegrass Conservancy, Kentucky
  • Doug Wolfgang, Director, Bureau of Farmland Preservation, Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture
  • American Farmland Trust’s policy and program staff

For more information about the program, bus tours, Kentucky Proud reception and Farm Fresh banquet, visit

Time is running out – Register today!

Avoid late fees and register by September 30. Questions? Contact Doris Mittasch at



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