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National Farmers Union

Founded as the Farmers Educational Cooperative Union of America in Point, Texas, to help the family farmer address profitability issues and monopolistic practices, National Farmers Union has been working to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


LocalHarvest maintains a definitive and reliable "living" public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. Their search engine helps people find products from family farms, local sources of sustainably grown food, and encourages them to establish direct contact with small farms in their local area. Their online store helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area.

Water Quality Information Center

The Water Quality Information Center (WQIC) is part of the USDA National Agricultural Library. WQIC provides electronic access to information on water quality and agriculture. The center collects, organizes, and communicates the scientific findings, educational methodologies, and public policy issues related to water quality and agriculture.

National Conference of State Legislatures

The National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. NCSL is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of state governments before Congress and federal agencies. NCSL is your organization. The leadership of NCSL is composed of legislators and staff from across the country.

USDA Rural Development

The financial programs of USDA Rural Development support such essential public facilities and services as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service. They promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools. They offer technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations.

The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture

The mission of the Kerr Center is to assist in developing sustainable food and farming systems by:

Supporting farms that provide a perpetual stream of economic goods and ecological/environmental benefits, and which enhance the quality of life of farm families, rural residents and society as a whole;

Promoting markets made up of independently owned and operated farms and firms of a scale appropriate to offer a wide variety of product choices for consumers and economic opportunities for existing and beginning farmers;

Farm Foundation

Farm Foundation, NFP works as a catalyst for sound public policy by providing objective information to foster a deeper understanding of issues shaping the future for agriculture, food systems and rural regions. The Foundation does not lobby or advocate.

Environmental Working Group

The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.

EWG's organizational goals are:

1. To protect the most vulnerable segments of the human population children, babies, and infants in the womb from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxic contaminants.

2. To replace federal policies, including government subsidies that damage the environment and natural resources, with policies that invest in conservation and sustainable development.

National Agricultural Library

The National Agricultural Library is one of four national libraries of the United States, with locations in Beltsville, Maryland and Washington, D.C. It houses one of the world's largest and most accessible agricultural information collections and serves as the nexus for a national network of state land-grant and U.S. Department of Agriculture field libraries.

Slow Food USA

Slow Food USA is part of a global movement, which believes everyone has the right to good, clean, and fair food. With over 250,000 supporters, 25,000 members and 225 chapters nationwide, Slow Food USA advocates for food and farming policy that is good for the public, good for the planet, and good for farmers and workers.

United States Department of Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) works to support the American agricultural economy to strengthen rural communities; to protect and conserve our natural resources; and to provide a safe, sufficient, and nutritious food supply for the American people. The Department’s wide range of programs and responsibilities touches the lives of every American every day. This factsheet provides information about some of our agencies and offices, their missions, responsibilities, and services they provide.

The Conservation Fund

The Conservation Fund forges partnerships to protect America's legacy of land and water resources. Through land acquisition, sustainable programs, and leadership training, the Fund and its partners demonstrate effective conservation solutions emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals.

USDA Economic Research Service

The ERS mission is to inform and enhance public and private decision making on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural development. With over 300 employees, The Economic Research Service is a primary source of economic information and research in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Rural Information Center

The Rural Information Center (RIC) assists local communities by providing information and referral services to local, tribal, state, and federal government officials; community organizations; libraries; businesses; and citizens working to maintain the vitality of America's rural areas.

The RIC Web site contains links to current and reliable information on a wide variety of rural resources and funding sources, including RIC's Database: Federal Funding Sources for Rural Areas Database.

National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information

In 1987, Congress recognized the University of Arkansas School of Law for its "unique expertise in the area of agricultural law" and called for the creation of the National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information at the Law School. Since then, the National AgLaw Center has been funded with federal appropriations through the National Agricultural Library, an entity within the USDA Agricultural Research Service of the USDA.

ChangeLab Solutions

ChangeLab Solutions (formerly Public Health Law and Policy) is pioneering a new approach to public health advocacy by fostering collaboration between public health officials dedicated to chronic disease prevention and local planning officials.

Agricultural District Programs

Agricultural district programs allow farmers to form special areas where commercial agriculture is encouraged and protected. Programs are authorized by state legislatures and implemented at the local level. Enrollment in agricultural districts is voluntary. In exchange for enrollment, farmers receive a package of benefits, which varies from state to state. Minimum acreage requirements and initial terms of enrollment also vary. Agricultural district programs should not be confused with zoning districts that delineate areas governed by local land use regulations.

Right to Farm Laws

Right-to-farm laws are designed to accomplish one or both of the following objectives: (1) to strengthen the legal position of farmers when neighbors sue them for private nuisance; and (2) to protect farmers from anti-nuisance ordinances and unreasonable controls on farming operations. Most laws include a number of additional protections. Right-to-farm provisions may also be included in state zoning enabling laws, and farmers with land enrolled in an agricultural district may have stronger right-to-farm protection than other farmers.

Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements: Sources of Funding

Purchase of agricultural conservation easement (PACE) programs compensate property owners for restrictions on the future use of their land. One of the biggest challenges in administering PACE programs is figuring out how to pay for them. It is necessary to have reliable sources of revenue to allow farmers and ranchers to incorporate the sale of easements into their long-term financial plans. This fact sheet provides an overview of funding sources and identifies some issues to address when deciding how to pay for easements.

Installment Purchase Agreements

An installment purchase agreement (IPA) is an innovative payment plan offered by two states and more than a dozen localities with PACE programs. IPAs spread out payments so that landowners receive semi- annual, tax-exempt interest over a term of years (typically 20 to 30). The principal is due at the end of the contract term. Landowners also can sell or securitize IPA contracts at any point to realize the outstanding principal. The IPA financing plan won the Government Finance Officers Association Award for Excellence in 1990.

Agricultural Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a deed restriction landowners voluntarily place on their property to protect resources such as productive agricultural land, ground and surface water, wildlife habitat, historic sites or scenic views. They are used by landowners (“grantors”) to authorize a qualified conservation organization or public agency (“grantee”) to monitor and enforce the restrictions set forth in the agreement. This fact sheet provides basic information about agricultural conservation easements.

Will We Miss It Before Its Gone?

On November 6, 2001, nearly 1.3 million voters in 14 states approved state and local ballot measures that generated $905 million in funding for new land protection. But in Ohio, open space measures were defeated in four counties, including a purchase of development rights (PDR) program in Wayne County, where a well-designed and locally supported campaign
seemed destined to succeed. What happened, and what lessons can be learned to improve the chances of future campaigns?

Cost of Community Services Studies: Making the Case for Conservation

Cost of Community Services (COCS) studies are a case study approach used to determine a community's public service costs versus revenues based on current land use. A subset of the much larger field of fiscal analysis, COCS studies have emerged as an inexpensive and reliable tool to measure the direct fiscal relationships between existing land uses. Their particular niche is to evaluate the overall contribution of agricultural and other open lands on equal ground with residential, commercial and industrial development.


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