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Unformatted text preview: By: Caroline Dalla Betta Definitions: Local Agriculture- Local agriculture is an agricultural system where food is produced and marketed close to home. Local agriculture farms tend to be smaller in size and have a larger diversity of crops and livestock. This diversity and complexity replaces specialization and simplicity, and economies of scope replace the traditional economies of scale that are more common. Community Supported Agriculture -CSA is a partnership of mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters which provides a direct link between the production and consumption of food. Supporters cover a farm's yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season's harvest. CSA members make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season, and assume the costs, risks and bounty of growing food along with the farmer or grower. Benefits of Supporting Local Agriculture Local agriculture assures a food system that is safe, affordable and accessible to all. Buying locally grown food supports local jobs. Fields, pastures and waterways contribute quietly and gently to our way of life by providing scenic vistas, open space and wildlife habitat that are critical for quality of life. Locally grown food requires less energy input thus resulting in reduced environmental impact and financial cost for transportation. Stronger regional food systems create greater food security and sustainability. Agricultural land provides habitat for 75% of the nation's wildlife. Small Farmers' Economic State The USDA reckons farmers' markets account for less than 2 percent of the more than $70 billion Americans spend on produce. Farms with annual revenues between $10,000 and $99,000-which describes the vast majority of farmers' market vendors-have an average operating profit margin of negative 24.5 percent. Therefore on average most small farmers' loose money. Why the Negative Profit? Problem facing local food production is not the lack of demand, but the lack of infrastructure. To compete, local farmers must produce at levels that would supply stores such as Whole Foods and WalMart. Small scale farmers do not have enough access to capital to invest in such things as; farm equipment, composting machinery, washing and cooling facilities, and delivery trucks, that would be necessary for mass production. Since they are loosing money they are unable to make those investments themselves and few banks will invest in businesses with negative profit margins. The Farm Bill
Budget Breakdown Farm Bill Proposal The Farm Bill has a series of proposals but one in particular is directed toward local farmers. The proposal titled "Payment Limits," states that the single most effective thing congress can do to strengthen family farms would be to stop subsidizing mega farms. This proposal is accomplished by setting enforceable payment limits on loan deficiency payments, marketing loan gains and all other income support. California Land Conservation Act Also called the Williamson Act Act states that an owner of agricultural land may enter into a contract with the county if the landowner agrees to restrict use of the land to the production of commercial crops for at least 10 years. Lingering Issues Local agriculture faces several lingering problems that increase costs while decreasing availability. Not enough capital to invest in necessary machinery to produce at high production levels necessary for large suppliers. Unable to get investments from banks due to negative profit margins. People will demand locally grown foods until a certain price is reached. Prices continue to rise due to higher costs of fuel and other basic farming necessities. Reference Sites: What is Community Supported Agriculture and how does it work? ( http://www.localharvest.org/csa.jsp) Environmental Laws Affecting State Agriculture ( http://www.nasda-hq.org/nasda/nasda/Foundation ) "Eatin' Good in the Neighborhood" ( http://www.grist.org/cgibin/printthis.pl?uri=/commen http://www.grist.org/cgibin/printthis.pl?uri=/comme ) ...
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- Spring '08