Logs on Berkshire Farm property
The Senate and House Agriculture Committees will be making decisions that could dramatically effect the amount of federal conservation funding available to family farmers and organizations.
We need your help in urging the Agriculture Committees to support these conservation programs when they make their recommendations on the 2012 Farm Bill to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Please take a moment to contact our Federal Representatives, Congressman Chris Gibson, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to let them know how important these conservation programs are to the future of Columbia County.
Shaker Swamp and Mt Lebanon Ridge
Northern Pygmy Clubtail Dragonfly
The Columbia Land Conservancy is currently working to conserve 2000 acres of land in New Lebanon that depends on federal funds from the Forest Legacy Program (see photos on right). If the wrong version of the Farm Bill is passed, than funding for the program will be cut and our New Lebanon project will be put on hold indefinitely, due to lack of funds.
Many local farmers make use of federal agriculture funds to make farm improvements and protect the environment. If the wrong version of the Farm Bill is passed, than funding for these grants will be cut and local farmers will have additional financial challenges in what is already a very touch market. These farms are good for Columbia County’s landscape, character, and economy. We want policy that makes encourages more farming.
The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses. CLC made use of a similar New York State program to protect approximately 5,280 acres of working farmland. State funds dried up, and CLC is turning to the federal for aid on these particularly ambitious farm conservation projects. However, if the wrong version of the Farm Bill is passed, than funding for Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program will be cut and it will be more difficult to preserve working farmland in Columbia County.
Based on the feedback of nearly 100 land trusts, the Land Trust Alliance, created these guidelines for the 2012 Farm Bill
- Maximize funding for perpetual working lands easements
- Embrace match alternatives
- Streamline the application and appraisal process for FRPP and GRP
- Leverage public-private partnerships for all working land easement programs
- Ensure that program consolidation does not undermine programmatic goals
- Give farmers and ranchers new options under the Conservation Reserve Program
Visit their website for more information about this issue.