the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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AG GAG and other thoughts, by john ikerd

10 Reasons to Oppose ‘Right to Farm’ Amendments

 I grew up on a dairy farm and currently live in a small town in a farming area. I have spent my 50-year professional career working in agriculture, mostly with farmers and people in rural communities. I think farmers have the same “right to farm” as other Americans have to pursue any other professional occupation. However, I don’t think real farmers deserve, need, or even want special constitutional privileges. Here are ten reasons for opposing “right to farm amendments.”

1. Agricultural producers already benefit from special right to farm “legislation in all agricultural states. These laws protect farmers from frivolous nuisance suits brought by uninformed or intolerant neighbors who have moved into traditional farming communities.

2. People in rural communities who have the greatest concern for the future of family farms and rural communities are opposing right to farm amendments. National organizations, such as the Humane Society of the U.S. and the Sierra Club, support rural opponents because they don’t think agriculture should be exempt from public accountability for their actions.

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usda press release: organic markets are growing, 2014 farm bill funding helps access these markets

USDA organic

In today’s press release, the USDA has announced new figures that show the organic industry continues to grow domestically and internationally. Certified organic farms and businesses in the United States have witnessed a 245% increase since 2002 while consumer demand continues to increase exponentially. To help producers further access these markets, the 2014 farm bill has included provisions to support the organic community, including:

  • $20 million annually for organic research, agricultural extension programs and education.
  • $5 million to fund data collection on organic agriculture for policy reform.
  • Expanded options for organic crop insurance
  • Expanded exemptions for organic producers who are paying into commodity “check off” programs, and authority for the USDA to consider an application for the organic sector to establish its own check off.
  • Improved enforcement authority for the National Organic Program to conduct investigations.
  • $5 million for a technology upgrade of the National Organic Program to provide up-to-date information about certified organic operations across the supply chain.
  • $11.5 million annually for certification cost-share assistance, which reimburses the costs of annual certification for organic farmers and livestock producers by covering 75% of certification costs, up to $750/year.

For more information,  check out the USDA Organic Resources Page


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great context-setting events

 

Part IV begins next week. Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 6.17.02 PM

Our policy workshop webinar series investigates four broad themes in food and agriculture policy. Part I explores linkages between theory and practice in food justice; Part II, a legal framework for the new food movement; Part III part examines GMOs and intellectual property; and Part IV, the farm bill and the future of farming.

To join the webinar mailing list for updates and registration information, please contact Susanne Stahl at susanne.stahl@yale.edu. More information is available at http://envirocenter.yale.edu.

The Farm Bill and the Future of Farming
Kari Hamerschlag, Senior Analyst, Environmental Working Group Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Martha Noble, Vice-Chair, Agricultural Management Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT

Ariane Lotti, Assistant Policy Director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT

Sarah Carlson, Midwest Cover Crop Research Coordinator, Practical Farmers of Iowa Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT


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mainstream on farm bill

JP-FARM-articleLarge

Farm Bill Reflects Shifting American Menu and a Senator’s Persistent Tilling
By Jennifer Steinhauer, MARCH 8, 2014

WASHINGTON — The farm bill signed by President Obama last month was at first glance the usual boon for soybean growers, catfish farmers and their ilk. But closer examination reveals that the nation’s agriculture policy is increasingly more whole grain than white bread.

Within the bill is a significant shift in the types of farmers who are now benefiting from taxpayer dollars, reflecting a decade of changing eating habits and cultural dispositions among American consumers. Organic farmers, fruit growers and hemp producers all did well in the new bill. An emphasis on locally grown, healthful foods appeals to a broad base of their constituents, members of both major parties said.

read the full article HERE


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are you joining the beyond the farm bill conversation?

via The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.  And visit Beyond the Farm Bill.org

Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 11.29.22 AM
Register for the National Network meeting and help build food and ag policies that work.

March 24–25, 2014
The Marquette Hotel, Minneapolis
http://www.btfb.org

Next month, innovative experts and organizations will come together for a two day, collaborative meeting to build the “blueprint” for food and agriculture policies that are fair, healthy, and sustainable on all levels. Continue reading

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