Public-private partnership protects farmers and watershed
Food systems vital in community planning
Issues In Depth
Crafting the next generation of US farm policy
Success stories online
Public-private partnership protects farmers and watershed: The Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) and NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection are promoting voluntary, market-based incentives to help small farmers upstate curb agricultural runoff, and in the process, protecting the waterways that provide the city’s nine million residents with clean drinking water. WAC’s new Market Development Initiative will expand efforts to keep struggling New York farms economically viable through a range of strategies including agri-tourism, diversification, and innovative cooperative marketing and distribution projects. For more information see http://www.nycwatershed.org/index_economic_init.html.
Food systems vital in community planning: Engaging local governments in food system planning helps them take a comprehensive approach to ensuring a community’s quality of life, concludes a new study by Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences. Featured in the study is Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s successful partnership with a regional economic development organization. For a summary of the study, see http://www.cardi.cornell.edu/cd_toolbox_2/tools/food_system_planning.cfm.
This research is available through Penn State and Cornell’s online Community and Economic Development Toolbox, which offers strategies for integration of agriculture and economic development. http://www.cardi.cornell.edu/cd_toolbox_2/tools.cfm.
Crafting the next generation of US farm policy: The new farm bill represents a turning point in federal policy, with conservation and agriculture communities reaching greater common ground than at any time in the past. As the action moves into the critical rulemaking and implementation phase, organizations are working on a number of fronts to shore up gains and identify opportunities for further progress.
Noting that the new law creates the greatest opportunity for conservation on private land since 1985, the Soil and Water Conservation Society has identified five key areas that hold the most promise for shaping implementation of conservation provisions in ways that maximize the payoff to producers and consumers. These include building an effective technical services infrastructure; encouraging collective action in key locations, and linking EQIP with conservation buffers. For a full copy of the report, Seeking Common Ground for Conservation: How Conservation Measures Up in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, see http://www.swcs.org/t_seeking_intro.htm.
National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture made its recommendations for implementing the farm bill’s newly created Conservation Security Program (CSP) in a recent letter to USDA. An interim final rule on CSP is to be released late this summer, with the expectation that farmers can begin signing conservation security contracts early in fiscal 2003. Signatories to the letter include American Farmland Trust, Center for Rural Affairs, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Land Stewardship Project, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Michigan Integrated Food and Farming Systems and Michigan Land Use Institute. A copy of the letter is available at http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/signOn-7-1-02.html.
An article in the Summer 2002 issue of the Northeast-Midwest Institute’s Economic Review highlights opportunities for regional leadership in developing alternative models of successful farming, using resources available through the 2002 Farm bill, and for crafting future legislation that will support a more diverse and sustainable system of agricultural production. The article is available online at http://www.nemw.org/ERSummer02.pdf. For more on the Institute’s Agriculture Policy Program, see http://www.nemw.org/agriculture.htm.
Success stories online: USDA and the National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils have launched a searchable, interactive website that features profiles of sustainable agriculture, forest management, and community initiatives that integrate social, economic and environmental concerns.
Included are innovative programs developed by The Food Alliance (http://www.rcdsuccess.com/food%5Falliance.htm) and Community Involved in Sustainable Agriculture (http://www.rcdsuccess.com/wkkellogg%5Ffoundation.htm).
USDA will select stories for a special publication for distribution nationally and at the September 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. Stories can be submitted or reviewed on the website at www.rcdsuccess.com.