Senate Passes Farm Bill- the House is Up Next
Chairwoman Stabenow and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack meet with West Michigan farmers at May Farms in Sparta. Photo credit: US Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
Last Monday, the Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (S. 954), also known as the farm bill. The bill will cost nearly $955 billion over the next ten years, which is a $2.4 billion a year cut from current spending levels.
Some of the most contentious areas of reform were the switch from funding direct payments to crop insurance subsidies, cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the consolidation and funding cuts to conservation programs.
Other provisions of the bill include funding for beginning and organic farmers, the specialty crop grant program, alternative energy funding, support for farmers markets and local food, rural infrastructure improvement, and funding for forestry programs.
From the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Commissioner
Photo credit: NRCS
With growing season in full swing, John Salazar, the Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), wrote an opinion piece in CDA's June newsletter urging his fellow Coloradans to buy local produce in support of the farmers and ranchers who play a vital – yet often overlooked – role in all of our lives. “Buying local products benefits local farmers, ranchers and processors as well as the state economy…and the next time you’re enjoying a healthy, Colorado-grown meal, be sure to thank Colorado’s farmers and ranchers!”
View the CDA June Newsletter
Perhaps equally overlooked is the role of food hubs in ensuring that local and regional produce actually gets to market. Many small farms do not have the resources to effectively bring their food to consumers, and that is where food hubs come in. They coordinate the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of locally and regionally produced foods to connect farmers and ranchers with consumers.
Learn more about food hubs and find food hubs in your area
I Love My Farmers Market Celebration
Photo credit: USDA.
The American Farmland Trust, a national nonprofit dedicated to saving America's farm and ranch lands, founded the I Love My Farmers Market Celebration as a way to raise awareness of, and money for, the family farmers burdened by finanacial struggles and increasing pressure from developement. Throughout the celebration, which began on May 28th and ends at midnight on September 9th, participants pledge to spend $10 at a farmers market. Pledges can be cast once a day, and can be allocated to multiple farmers markets.
Each week, one lucky participant and their favorite farmer will receive a free No Farms No Food® hat. The Top 100 most celebrated markets will receive a special logo honoring their achievement, No Farms, No Food® gear, and recognition on the Celebration’s website.
Veterinarians Now Listed on Maine Conservation Center
Anyone with a domestic pet knows the importance veterinarians play in keeping our beloved animals healthy, but few are aware of the vital role veterinarians play in ensuring the health of our livestock. Large animal veterinarians help ensure a good quality of life for the animals and safe, high quality food for us to consume. Large animal vets, who only make up around 8 percent of all veterinarians, often travel to visit their patients, who include cattle, sheep, horses, goats, and pigs, usually working out of a modified truck rather than seeing them in an office. The other 92 percent treat domestic pets, such as cats and dogs, pocket pets (hamsters, gerbils, etc.), and our avian friends. The Maine Conservation Center hosts both large and small animal veterinarians, so whichever type of vet you are looking for, you can find him or her here.
View List of all Maine Veterinarians
Photo credit: UC Cooperative Extension.
A management plan is a key component of stewardship of family forests. When you develop a management plan, you construct a strategic course of action to achieve your goals; whether it is financial return, reduction of risk, maintenance of biodiversity, aesthetics, or recreation. Moreover, a plan will provide an outline for its continued management and is essential in ensuring the successful transfer of your family forest to future generations.
The University of California Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with CalFire, has developed the comprehensive training website Starting Your Forest Management Plan
. Here you can get a broad overview of the importance of management plans, information on how to assess your forest property, an overview of forest ecology and management tools, and an explanation on why connecting with a Registered Professional Forester is important in developing your plan. The site also contains information on state and federal programs that can help offset the cost of developing a forest management plan.
Virginia Farmer Protects 315 Acres Along 2 Miles of Back Creek
Back Creek. Photo credit: Virginia Outdoors Foundation.
In 1956, Ed Cook purchased a farm in Bath County, Virginia, which now totals 315 acres bordering George Washington National Forest for over two miles on the east and west. Since then, the surrounding land has become increasingly developed, with a 25 acre subdivision abutting his land. Out of concern that the same could happen on the farm he loved since boyhood, Cook recently partnered with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the Valley Conservation Council to preserve his farm’s heritage as both working farm and forest land, and protect important wildlife habitat along Back Creek.
Help Preserve Vital Resources and Rural Communities Today!
Maintain your own PLN Profile
Service providers that are listed on the PLN can now update and maintain their own listings. If you are interested in creating a free listing, updating your current listing, or have questions about this important feature click here!
Tell Us About Your Conservation Success
PLN will be developing a webpage devoted to discussing the successes and challenges of farmers, forest owners and ranchers. Click here to share your story on PLN.
Spring Vegetables and Quinoa Recipe
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has offcially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa."
To celebrate, here is a recipe for quinoa and spring vegetables.
Become a member of RFF and its PLN and show your support for farmers, forest owners, and ranchers.
To help private landowners, who are stewards of 71% of our country’s land, and learn about membership benefits click here.
Shop for Conservation
Robin Schiele, a dedicated conservationist and talented painter of exotic birds, is donating a portion of his sales to RFF.
Support Schiele and conservation by purchasing an original work of art today!
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