Potato Grower

February 2022

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WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 17 HARRISTON-MAYO JOSH WRIGHT 208 520 4837 CONVEYOR LINE BRUSH WASHER TRUCK AND CONTAINER LOADER UNLOADING CONVEYOR DESIGNED GRADING & SIZING SYSTEMS DOUBLE M MIKE PHILLIPS 208 530 2266 4097-14MayoMfg12h.indd 1 4097-14MayoMfg12h.indd 1 1/10/22 10:53 AM 1/10/22 10:53 AM available for farming, it makes it more difficult for farmers to farm on the land that is left. Over time that can lead to producers seeing less incentive to invest in their operations because they might not see a future for themselves in the business." Farms Under Threat also undertook an extensive policy analysis at the federal, state and local levels, ranking each state in terms of how well they're doing in implementing policy that slows the loss of farmland. Six policy types were analyzed: 1. Purchase of agricultural conservation easement programs 2. Land-use planning 3. Property tax relief 4. Agricultural districts 5. Farm-linking or land-linking programs that match beginning farmers with agricultural landowners 6. State leasing programs "The biggest takeaway is that most states are doing something to respond to farmland loss," says Candib. "But even the states that are doing really well could be doing more." While the initiative has highlighted where much of the work needs to be done in statehouses and Congress, AFT is also dedicated to working with and educating farmers and ranchers on their roles and options in keeping American farmland in production. Across the country, the organization offers support and educational materials to growers about such topics as estate planning, conservation easements, and farm- and land-linking programs. "When it comes to making tough decisions about their land, people can feel really isolated," says Candib. "It's not our business to tell a farmer not to sell his land if that's what makes the most sense for their family. But farmers are the first line of defense when it comes to farmland loss. Their choices do matter to the agricultural system and community." With that in mind, the next phase of the program (which is expected to be published in June of this year) will be a predictive analysis looking forward to 2040 and how population growth and migration, climate change and other factors will continue to impact agricultural land. "The best way to protect farmland is to keep it in production," Candib says. "And in order to keep it in production, we need to make sure farming is viable for farmers." To learn more or to become involved in AFT's efforts to protect American agricultural land, visit www.farmland.org. PG

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