From a speech given at the annual meeting of the Louisiana Association of Conservation District Supervisors and at the annual convention of the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts.
Welcome to the literature area of the FIC Web site. Here you will find a collection of articles, books, fact sheets and technical memos, reports and studies related to saving farm and ranch land and supporting agriculture. You can filter by state, topic and/or type of document ("category"). Use the Search feature to conduct a more refined search.
The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided funding for American Farmland Trust (AFT) to estimate the benefits that a farm could provide a local community in the future when its development rights are purchased. AFT analyzed the financial impacts to communities and individuals that result from protected farmland. Through the use of existing sources of data to generate this information, potential benefits are quantified in a way that taxpayers can understand and appreciate.
AFT compared the costs of purchasing easements on two farms to the benefits those farms could provide to their communities to field test a methodology developed by J. Dixon Esseks, Richard C. Owens, Charles A. Francis and Dennis Schroeder in “Estimating the Benefits to Local
Stakeholders from Agricultural Conservation Easements.” Their research identified local residents or stakeholders who are likely to benefit from purchase of agricultural conservation easements (PACE) including:
1) owners of the farm, 2) subsequent buyers, 3) owners of adjacent
or neighboring properties, 4) local travelers enjoying the views of the protected parcel, 5) local residents who find recreational opportunities, 6) consumers who purchase agricultural products grown on that land,
7) owners and employees of local businesses providing goods and services to the farm, 8) users of downstream water who avoid flood damage or flood control costs, 9) users of downstream water who avoid the costs of sediment build-up or water pollution, and 10) local residents who value farmland preservation for protecting wildlife habitat, rural “history and heritage,” curbing urban sprawl or achieving other civic purposes.
This study investigates the relationship between permanent land conservation--achieved through public or nonprofit acquisition of either land or conservation easements--and property tax bills.
The study examines the short-term effect of land conservation by calculating the tax increase caused by removing $500,000 of property value from the tax rolls in seven sample towns.
The study then correlates the residential property tax rate in each Massachusetts town with various measures of development and ruralness to demonstrate the long-term effects of land conservation.
The purpose of this report is two-fold: 1) To provide a better understanding of the breadth of community food system work occurring across Oregon, and 2) Identify opportunity areas where additional investment could catalyze, leverage and/or expand capacity of the community food system movement. Potential outcomes of stronger community food systems in regions across Oregon include:
1. Reduced hunger and increased food security;
2. Improved access to healthy food for people of all income-levels;
3. Improved health outcomes resulting from increased consumption of fresh, local meat/produce;
4. Increased markets for farmers, especially small-mid-size;
5. Stronger local economies (especially rural) resulting from new food sector businesses, new food sector jobs, and food purchase dollars remaining in and circulating through the local economy.
This report focuses more heavily on the economic and social implications of strengthening community food systems to better understand how strengthening community food systems can improve outcomes around food security, health and economic development. The environmental impacts of agriculture have not been analyzed as part of this report, although many of the organizations interviewed work in this area.
Planners have historically focused on air, water, shelter and food. In the 19th century, as cities expanded, light and air gained prominence in an effort to combat public health concerns and disease. In the early 20th century, the garden city movement addressed the role of food in relation to planning. This relationship was lost for decades, but now food is moving to the fore once again - regionally, nationally and globally. Public health and welfare concerns are evident when issues such as ‘food deserts’, healthy eating options and rising obesity rates are addressed by planning organizations. Communities seeking to transform their food systems to promote access to affordable and nutritious food for everyone can do so through planning tools (e.g. zoning and community planning) and grassroots initiatives.
This report summarizes research on the state of community and squatter gardens in Philadelphia, with a focus on the production and distribution of food. The specific aims of this project were to measure the amount of food grown in community gardens and to trace its distribution. The broader goal of this ongoing research is to understand the roles and impacts of community gardens in building food security for households and communities. It involved three sorts of research, all conducted in the summer of 2008:
1) On-the-ground survey of community and squatter gardens throughout the city of Philadelphia.
2) Weighing of harvest at six gardens in different sections of the city.
3) Interviews with gardeners and garden coordinators on the distribution of harvest, as well as interviews with garden support program staff.
This publication reports on the history of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the U.S. and discusses the various models that have emerged. Recent trends in the CSA movement are presented and demographic information provided about the distribution of CSA farms in the U.S. Several CSA cases are profiled and a survey of recent research is presented. References and resources follow the narrative
For the past 20 years, we have heard a great deal about Community Supported Agriculture as a novel marketing and community-building concept. The accepted history of Community Supported Agriculture in the United States is that Jan VanderTuin brought the concept from Switzerland in 1984. CSA projects had been sprouting up there and in other parts of Europe since the 1960s. Such enterprises also were found in Japan in the 1960s when women’s neighborhood groups began approaching farmers to develop direct, cooperative relationships between producers and consumers, known as ‘teikei.’
In 1986, the first two CSA projects in the United States began delivering harvest ‘shares’ from Robyn Van En’s Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts and the Temple/Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire. As of March 2004, 1,034 CSAs were listed in a national database managed by the Robyn Van En Center for CSA Resources1 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Library, Alternative Farm Systems Information Center.
A reference list of CSA information compiled by the USDA lists more than 100 articles and books, many published in the mid-1990s. CSA has been covered in everything from Mother Jones and Mother Earth News to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. For more than a decade, major newspapers have been touting the CSA model as a way to buy farm fresh produce and build urban-rural partnerships.
This case study provides an analysis and evaluation of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). To examine CSA as a potentially viable Future Economy Initiative, interviews, a survey, and secondary data sources were utilized. From May 2014 to October 2014 16 in-person semi-structured interviews with CSA farmers were conducted across three counties in Western Massachusetts. A copy of the interview and survey can be found in the appendix. There have been few comprehensive efforts to analyze CSA across the United States, however this study provides an overview of the CSA and the resulting economic, social, and environmental outcomes.
A series of coordinated case studies compares the structure, size, and performance of local food supply chains with those of mainstream supply chains. Interviews and site visits with farms and businesses, supplemented with secondary data, describe how food moves from farms to consumers in 15 food supply chains. Key comparisons between supply chains include the degree of product differentiation, diversification of marketing outlets, and information conveyed to consumers about product origin. The cases highlight differences in prices and the distribution of revenues among supply chain participants, local retention of wages and proprietor income, transportation fuel use, and social capital creation.
Compensating landowners is an increasingly important approach for maintaining working landscapes, especially in the face of urban expansion. As an alternative or supplement to government land use planning and regulation, landowner payments recognize the multiple public benefits of keeping farmland in the hands of farmers. The papers included in this collection (products of an April, 2003, conference in Sacramento) describe, evaluate, and suggest variations in a range of compensatory techniques, including: (1) property tax preferences for farmland allowed by state governments; (2) federal cost-share conservation payments administered by USDA; (3) federal payments for the temporary retirement of cropland; and (4) agricultural easements created through the acquisition of development rights from landowners.
Conservation easements are coming under increased scrutiny from Congress and the Internal Revenue Service. Pressure is intensifying on easement holders to guarantee monitoring and enforcement of easements in perpetuity.
Against this backdrop, AFT convened a roundtable meeting on March 21, 2005, with support from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to examine easement stewardship programs around the country. Land trust representatives, NRCS staff, local and state farmland protection program representatives and Land Trust Alliance (LTA) staff attended the meeting. A follow-up session based on the roundtable discussion is planned for the 2005 LTA Rally. The following white papers, which describe participants' easement stewardship programs, are available on the FIC Web site:
1. Reducing the Cost of Conservation Easement Stewardship by Engaging Landowners in Easement Compliance Self-Certification – Land Trust of Virginia
2. Conservation Easement Stewardship Program – Minnesota Land Trust
3. Easement Stewardship for Landscape Scale Conservation Easements – Legacy Partners, LLC
4. Vermont Land Trust Stewardship Systems
5. Easement Stewardship Systems – Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
6. Easement Stewardship – Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation
7. Comprehensive Stewardship in the Upper Snake River Valley – Teton Regional Land Trust
Census of agriculture data were used to estimate manure nutrient production and the capacity of cropland and pastureland to assimilate nutrients. Most farms (78 percent for nitrogen and 69 percent for phosphorus) have adequate land on which it is physically feasible to apply the manure produced onfarm at agronomic rates. (The costs of applying manure at these rates have not been assessed). Even so, manure that is produced on operations that cannot fully apply it to their own land at agronomic rates accounts for 60 percent of the Nations manure nitrogen and 70 percent of the manure phosphorus. In these cases, most counties with farms that produce excess nutrients have adequate crop acres not associated with animal operations, but within the county, on which it is feasible to spread the manure at agronomic rates. However, barriers to moving manure to other farms need to be studied. About 20 percent of the Nations onfarm excess manure nitrogen is produced in counties that have insufficient cropland for its application at agronomic rates (23 percent for phosphorus). For areas without adequate land, alternatives to local land application, such as energy production, will need to be developed.
American Farmland Trust and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, with support from Very Alive, teamed up in April 2006 to survey owners of farms that were preserved through the Connecticut Farmland Preservation Program. A 79 question survey was mailed from the CT Department of Agriculture and included a cover letter from the Commissioner. Completed surveys were mailed to American Farmland Trust and were kept anonymous. Of 217 surveys mailed, 78 were returned, for a response rate of 36%.
On May 19, 2004, the Connecticut Legislature passed Public Act No. 04-222, requiring local governments to mitigate the loss of active agricultural land they take by eminent domain. Beginning on July 1, 2004, the law requires a local government to either purchase an agricultural conservation easement on "an equivalent amount of active agricultural land of comparable or better soil quality" within its jurisdiction or pay a mitigation fee to the state's farmland protection program to protect similar land elsewhere in the state.
The entire mitigation process is to be supervised by the state's farmland preservation program and subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection.
From a speech given at the meeting of Mid-Atlantic States Soil and Water Commissions, Boards and Committees in College Park, Maryland.
Finding affordable land continues to be one of the biggest barriers facing beginning farmers and ranchers. Land trusts, which have long preserved farmland from development, are in a unique position to help new farmers access land. This guide contains nine examples of how land trusts and other conservation groups are working to help farmers and ranchers to accomplish this, and overcome the land barrier.