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July 2012 Newsletter

News from CFACjuly670
Summer Outreach Campaign
LandLink Montana is On the Up!
Events
August 18th: Farm FUNdraiser, Flathead Valley
September 5th: Farm Tour, Bitterroot Valley
Summer Outreach Campaign

For many years, members and allies of the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition (CFAC) have urged our local government to curb the loss of farmland to sprawling development.  Whew!  It has been a really long row to hoe.  But, we are much closer to reaching our goal than ever before! 

Your financial contribution at this exciting, critical stage will fuel a major collective push to finally secure a fair, common-sense solution to the loss of working lands. Our community has recognized this problem for decades.  Yet, when it comes to subdivisions, our elected officials have failed to take real action.  As a result, Missoula County has lost 29,000 acres of once-productive land since the mid-1980s—quality soils ruined by heavy machinery and covered in houses and pavement. 

Just recently, despite hearing from hundreds of constituents in opposition, the Board of County Commissioners approved the Alexandra Estates subdivision; 23 residential lots will be spread across 116 acres of prime agricultural land.  State law requires counties to mitigate the impacts of subdivisions on agriculture, but Missoula County still lacks the tools to implement a vision for a sustainable agriculture and local foods.

Now, our officials are listening.  Countless calls, letters, and testimony from people like you have inspired promises for change.  Finally, the County Commissioners have committed to taking decisive action over the next few months!  Whether the policy they adopt will be effective or weak is up to us.  

This summer, CFAC is launching a community-wide media and outreach campaign to ensure that our elected officials know how much their constituents care about farms, ranches, and local food. 

 

  • Watch and listen for signs, advertisements and more with the “Keep Ag in Our Culture” slogan! 
  • Visit our action-oriented website: SpeakUp4Farms.org to learn about the many ways you can be involved.  
  • Donate to the campaign financially!

CFAC’s larger mission includes greatly expanding our local food economy.  Let’s re-direct much more of the $300 million Missoula County eaters spend on food each year back to local businesses, such as farms, ranches, processors, distributors, grocers, and restaurants.  That’s real economic development!  But we can’t do it without the farmland. 

If we want to keep agriculture around for the long term in Missoula, we have to protect the land base.  Support our campaign and you’ll be supporting the growth of working farms and ranches in our county!

Like local food?  You like farm and ranch land.  Let’s keep Ag in our Culture! 

 

Land Link Montana is On the Up!

 

Land Link Montana is making great progress this year in its mission to help connect the next generation of farmers and ranchers to land.  This summer, we’re amping up the program by actively recruiting new landowners.  We are also organizing resources to assure the success of matches.  (Check out our new “Resources” webpage: http://missoulacfac.org/farmtransitionresources.html .) We are looking for local farmers and ranchers, educators, bankers, lawyers, and business owners who can help beginning farmers and ranchers start and run successful farm enterprises as well as ease land transition and retirement.

For those of you who don’t know much about Land Link Montana, here is the scoop:

Land Link Montana is a matching service that helps connect beginning farmers and ranchers with landowners who are looking to transfer, sell or lease their land.  To facilitate matches, we gather relevant information from seekers and landowners and connect them based on land characteristics, business interests, and personal goals.  We hope to work out mutually beneficial agreements that provide opportunities for new farmers and new ranchers. We value the amazing agricultural land-based knowledge in Western Montana, and we want to ensure that our farmland remains under good stewardship.  

To help accomplish these goals, we want your input (and your help)!   

If you know landowners who want to sell, rent, or pass on their farmland, please tell them about our program!
If you know experienced (awesome) beginning farmers or ranchers looking for land, please tell them about our program!
Let us know if you are, or can recommend, an exceptional farmer, lawyer, business consultant, loan officer, accountant, real estate agent, teacher or chef who might share expertise in these categories:

  • Business Planning
  • Loans and Financing
  • Lease, sharecrop, and buy/sell arrangements
  • Estate Planning
  • Retirement Planning

Email or call us with input or questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find more information at: http://landlinkmontana.org/

Thanks so much! We are grateful for your support and input!

 

Farm FUNdraiser

Check out Purple Frog Gardens summer farm-to-table dinner series!  Join them on August 18th for a Farm Dinner FUNdraiser supporting Farm Hands and AERO in the work to support and promote local foods!  There's also a bonus cooking class from 4:30 - 5:30!  Visit www.purplefroggardens.com or visit them at the Whitefish Farmers' Market for more info!

 

Farm Tour

Join CFAC, MSU Extension, Montana Sustainable Growers' Union, and the Western Montana Growers Co-op for a Farm Tour in the Bitterroot Valley!  Save the date for September 5th!  More details coming soon!