American Farmland Trust is pleased to announce that our new president, Andrew McElwaine, will be speaking at the Harvesting Opportunities in New York conference in downtown Albany , on November 20. McElwaine succeeds Jon Scholl and brings more than 30 years in land and water conservation to his new role at AFT. “I’ve devoted my life to conserving working and natural lands,” said McElwaine,” especially protecting farms and ranches. I am honored that American Farmland Trust has asked me to turn my energies toward working with the farmers and ranchers who make their living on that land.”
The spring issue of Edible Buffalo spotlighting “Women in Agriculture” includes a profile of American Farmland Trust’s Senior New York Field Manager Diane Held, who manages projects to improve access to farmland for the state’s next generation of farmers. After graduating from Cornell with a degree in agriculture and receiving a master’s in environmental studies at the University of Buffalo she learned first-hand about farming by leasing land to operate a 30-cow dairy. Diane’s struggles as a young farmer were not in vain as she now puts lessons learned to use helping the next generation of farmers get started. “It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination,” said Held about starting a farm. “What’s different now is there’s a lot more consumer interest in local foods and that works to the beginning farmer’s advantage.”
Three reports have just been released pointing to farmland conservation as essential to local food security and helping the next generation of farmers begin farming.
Securing Fresh, Local Food for New York City and the Hudson Valley: A Foodshed Conservation Plan for the Region, recently released by Scenic Hudson, provides a strategic approach to conserving agricultural land near New York City.
Farmland Access and Tenure Innovations, a report by the Land Access Project Task Force analyzes programs and policies to increase beginning farmers’ access to farmland and identifies strategies to encourage public and private landowners to sell or lease their land to beginning farmers.
The task force also produced Does the Option at Agricultural Value Protect Farmland for Beginning Farmers , a policy analysis that studies the success of an optional legal requirement that farmland under conservation easement to be sold at its agricultural value rather than market value- ensuring the affordability of protected land for farmers, particularly beginning farmers.
Harvesting Opportunities in New York, November 20, Albany
The second annual Harvesting Opportunities in New York: Growing Local Food Economies and Protecting Farmland conference will be held on November 20 in Albany. The business of growing and selling food is a major contributor to New York’s economy. Farms annually sell billions of dollars in products yet New York continues to lose thousands of acres of farmland to development each year. “This conference will build on last year’s event, continuing to motivate more New Yorkers to work together to grow our local food economies and save the irreplaceable farmland on which New York depends,” said American Farmland Trust New York State Director David Haight.
Posted in Agriculture and Environment, Farmland Protection, Local Farms and Food, New York Policy, State Budget, State Legislation Tagged agriculture, Albany, American Farmland Trust, beginning farmers, conservation, economic development, farmland protection, local food, New York, No Farms No Food
Last month, American Farmland Trust was awarded two Conservation Partnership Program Grants. The Conservation Partnership Program is a public-private partnership between the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance that invests in New York land trusts. “This program is unique in the nation,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. “The state’s investment…multiplies several times in benefits to local communities, improving both the local economy and the environment.” The grants awarded to American Farmland Trust will assist in the development of the Hudson Valley Farm Link Network and our No Farms No Food campaign to engage New Yorkers in protecting farmland. The Conservation Partnership Program is funded through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.