First Annual Kentucky Food Policy Summit

Click on the Flier Below to Register and see the Full AgendaFoodPolicySummitFLIER

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Farm Bill Signed Into Law

Today marked the end of a long journey to pass a new Farm Bill as it passed the Senate on Tuesday and was signed into law by President Barrack Obama today. Relevant to new provisions in the bill, the signing took place at a farmers market in East Lansing, Michigan.

CFA has been well informed by our national partners including the National Family Farmers Coalition and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition throughout this long process including the past week as details about each provision have been outlined.  Now we are pleased to pass this information along to our Kentucky members.

What is clear is that at the state level we should be working together to understand how we will be affected and also how new provisions will be implemented, regulated and held accountable. This is going to take a good deal of people power as we learn how to lessen the impacts of funding cuts and make the most of new opportunities. And looking further down the road, we should be evaluating our priorities and collectively working towards a vision for the next farm bill.

So, let’s start with what is coming down the pike from this newly enacted legislation… Continue reading

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Annual Meeting Update

The winter of 2014 is one that we won’t be forgetting for a while. After two attempts to hold CFA’s Annual membership Meeting, CFA’s Board chose to exercise their powers under the By-laws and voted to accept the five nominees for the five open Board seats. The Board will choose the officers at the next Board meeting.

Your 2014 CFA Board is:

Ben Abell, Jefferson Co., farmer

Carla Baumann, Madison Co., farmer

Marlena Bolin, Oldham Co., farmer

Lily Brislen, Fayette Co., rural sociologist

Nelson Escobar, Oldham Co., farmer

Todd Howard, Floyd Co., farmer

Renee Koerner, Campbell Co., farmer

Lisa Markowitz, Jefferson Co., professor

Josh Orr, Jefferson Co., market manager

Cathy Rehmeyer, Pike Co., farmer

Louie Rivers, Franklin Co., Ag extension

The Board and staff will be working to provide other opportunities to provide the communications training and member input through webinars, regional meetings and the summer Leadership summit. Look for more information in the upcoming newsletter.

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CFA Annual Meeting on Jan. 25th in Frankfort

Register Today! Click on the flier below to register online

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Annual Meeting Update

CFA 28th Annual Meeting RESCHEDULED for Saturday, January 25th at the Kentucky State University Research and Demonstration Farm

Click HERE to Register

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Food Safety Modernization Act Webinar

Check it out here! The following link will take you to the full powerpoint:  Food safety, FDA rules, nov, 2013

Interested in writing comments to the FDA? Check out this Sample Letter

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Online Food Policy Workshop

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Click on the image above to Register Today!

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How the Government Shutdown Affects Farms

Partially adapted from the National Farmers Union

Overall
Since 1976 there have been 17 government shutdowns, the longest lasting 21 days in 1995-1996. But, since we are in a Farm Bill revision year, this shutdown’s impacts are seen from the field to the fork. And it’s the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program that will be dealt the smallest fork and the family farmers whom we rely on will be stranded without access to any “non-essential” USDA services.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is furloughing all employees except for 17 presidential appointees and employees considered “essential.”  According to USDA, “essential” employees are those that perform emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. However, local Farm Service Agency, Rural Development, or Natural Resources Conservation Service staff will not be considered essential, so farmers and ranchers will not be able to receive any loans for programs they have applied for.

This particular part of the shutdown is already affecting CFA farm members. One member was unable to close on their farm property and is now in limbo trying to keep their contract alive.

shutdownusda1Learn more about the FSA office closure plan by clicking on this Report. In addition learn how the Rural Development office has been affected by clicking HERE.
Farm Program Payments
Farm program payments for crops planted in 2013 would continue after the farm bill expires September 30. However, payments would not be able to be delivered under a government shutdown.

Food Safety
Food safety inspectors are considered essential and would stay on at the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) would also continue inspections to the extent they’re paid by user fees.

Rural Development Programs
Rural development programs would be put on hold, and no additional loans/grants, including RD rural housing loans or guarantees, will be issued. Projects already financed that are under construction would also be delayed. These programs include the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG), Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants (REDLG), among several others.

Conservation
Because National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff is not considered essential, enrollment in conservation programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), and Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) would stop. In addition, there would be no future financial assistance or technical assistance available through NRCS staff. However, USDA would continue to honor existing contracts.

Foreign Agricultural Service
Funding for Foreign Agricultural Service’s Foreign Market Development Program and Market Access Program could be delayed.  Funding for international offices and staff will stop.

Food Aid
Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the federal school lunch program would continue. However, funding would stop for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children (WIC)—which provides grants to states for food aid, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income woman and children. Learn more about the details of the USDA Nutrition Services branch shut down by clicking on this detailed guide to the branch’s shut down. FNS Guide

Forest Service
As already noted, Forest Service employees deemed essential, such as firefighters, would stay on. However, national parks across the nation would be closed. This includes the Smithsonian museums, National Zoo and civil war battlefields and the national monuments in Washington, D.C.

In Conclusion:
The bottom line is that bi-partisan politics are threatening the livelihood of our rural communities and the health of our most vulnerable populations including Women, Infants and Children.  And the big hold up is over the Affordable Care Act that will finally provide farmers with access to affordable care, which has been an issue that we have been lifting up since the beginning of CFA in the early 80s.

Finally, our farmers, who work in one of the most dangerous occupations will be covered and will have the ability to insure the well-being of their families and a future for agriculture in Kentucky. This is a future where farm families don’t have to work part-time or seek employment off the farm. This is a future that supports the people who support us and values rural and urban communities. And, surprisingly this future will save our state billions of dollars in preventative health care costs (many who are suffering in our poorest rural communities). And, that future is the PRESENT, so there is no reason to play politics with our health, economies and our heritage.

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CFA History… A Chronicle of Successful Organizing

2013    Led efforts in Bowling Green, Floyd Co. and Berea for local food system development by facilitating Community Food System Assessments. CFA organized key stakeholders to get  local food into the State Capitol Annex Cafeteria. In Louisville CFA leaders organized grassroots leaders in the local food movement for a meeting with Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville. CFA clarified the process for obtaining free EBT machines for farmers markets.

2012   CFA members meet 41 times with Kentucky Legislators and successfully lobby for HB 419 for a voluntary income tax check off to Kentucky food banks to use to purchase food directly from Kentucky farmers. CFA is named to the Farm to Food Banks Trust Fund Board and the Kentucky Hemp Commission.  CFA members testify about the needs of beginning farmers, EKY agriculture, the right for farmers and consumers to share livestock ownership, and urban agriculture. We successfully advocated to the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board for the expansion of the Farmers Market Infrastructure Grant program to include Marketing and Community Outreach.

2011   CFA members launch the Agriculture Legacy Initiative to support beginning farmers and the future of Kentucky family farming. CFA began participating on the statewide Farm to School Task Force. Members get set to celebrate 25 years.

2010   CFA members celebrate 25 years of community organizing for change. CFA members successfully lobbied legislators to amend the controversial SB 105 (now HB 398), the Livestock Care Standards Commission. CFA began participating on the statewide Farm to School Task Force. Members get set to celebrate 25 years.

2009   First CFA Food Summit held in Louisville. CFA members rallied in Louisville to protest USDA NAIS hearings, leading to a meeting between Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and CFA leaders. CFA win passage of SB 84 requiring state agencies to report local agricultural products buying.

2008   CFA members won passage of HB 495, ensuring that participation in the National Animal Identification System remains strictly voluntary and from coercing farmers into the program.

2007   CFA members won passage of HB120, allowing farmers to sell cooked food at farmers markets. A citizen led Community Food Assessment of West Louisville entitled Bridging the Divide: Growing Self Sufficiency in our Food Supply is completed with policy recommendations to improve access to fresh local foods in all communities. Grasshoppers LLC, the first farmer owned distribution business in the state opens.

2006   CFA members win passage of mandatory state parks buying bill HB 669.

2005   WIC demonstration project begins at Farmers’ Markets in Louisville, helping to grow the markets’ customer base. CFA members were successful in removing biotech money from the state budget.

2004   KY Agriculture Development Board adopts the CFA proposed regional markets plan. Smoketown-Shelby Park Farmers’ Market opens; the West Louisville Food Working Group is formed.

2003   CFA members win passage of House Bill 391, legislation that allows home-processing, micro-processing, and in-state certification. CFA develops a five-year plan for the creation of a locally innovative food economy (LIFE). Portland and Rowan Street Farmers’ Markets are established and CFA Louisville Office opens.

2002   County Councils, under CFA’s leadership, ensure that the first $184,000,000 in Tobacco Settlement Funds are used to help meet the needs of Kentucky farmers and support the development of a local food economy, rather than being used to fund biotechnology.

2001   CFA presents the Greenprint for Kentucky Agriculture to the governor, successfully influencing ‘Kentucky’s Long-Term Plan for the Development of Agriculture’, a policy document that allows the state to redefine the family farm and create a locally driven economy. The content and direction of the Long-Term plan clearly reflects the mission and principles of CFA’s Greenprint.

2000   CFA members organize to pass House Bill 611, legislation that gives Tobacco Settlement funds back to tobacco regions. CFA is instrumental in providing the structure for spending the funds, setting up local councils to make the process people-driven and farmer-inclusive.

1999   CFA submits a Vision for Revitalized Agriculture to the governor and kicks off a petition card drive to urge legislators to ensure Phase I tobacco monies are used for the benefit of tobacco regions. CFA members in Monroe, Cumberland & Allen Counties pass local poultry ordinances.

1998   CFA ensures that the Southern Dairy Compact Legislation is passed in Kentucky and corporate integrator responsibility is included into swine regulations.

1997   CFA members organize against 3 mega hog operations in Kentucky and hang on to health care reform in special session called to repeal the reforms.

1996   CFA members defeat attempts by insurance companies to repeal the 1994 healthcare reform and successfully increase the monies available for cost-share assistance. CFA members help establish the first Lexington Harvest Festival.

1995   CFA begins organizing youth, begins building our Fund For the Future, hosts one of the most successful Farm Aid concerts ever, coordinates several demonstration projects designed to identify supplemental sources of income to tobacco and publishes State of the South, charting university research and education priorities for development of a sustainable economy in the region.

1994   CFA begins the Kentucky Leadership for Agricultural and Environmental Sustainability (KLAES), promotes a tobacco reinvestment proposal in the halls of Congress, prevents rural schools from closing and successfully fights for new Water Quality Legislation, a cost-share bill that helps farmers install pollution abatement practices, the most far-reaching health care reform legislation in the nation and repeals of a special tax imposed on tobacco farmers.

1993   CFA members help form Kentucky Organic Growers vegetable co-op and develop the Family Farm Loan Fund, matching investors with farmers unable to obtain credit from traditional sources.

1992   CFA members are appointed to the Governors Health Care Task-force, win adoption of State organic certification standards and establish ten additional labor hotlines.

1991   CFA co-founds the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG), wins approval of solid waste legislation which gave communities local control over landfills, organizes the first labor hotline to connect farmers who need help with people who need jobs and fights for a new dairy policy to protect family farmers.

1990   CFA persuades the Kentucky General Assembly to adopt House Bill 557 to provide loans to farmers and used the Community Reinvestment Act to negotiate with Kentucky National Bank to increase capital for Kentucky farmers.

1989   CFA members spearhead a statewide campaign opposing the passage of GATT and stop construction of a landfill and medical waste incinerator for out-of-state waste.

1988   CFA distributes 5,400 bushels of free seed corn to needy Kentucky farm families.

1987   CFA, with the National Family Farm Coalition, wins passage of the Agricultural Credit Act and successfully organizes farmers in Central Kentucky to resist signing contracts with Seaboard Farms.

1986   CFA establishes a credit hotline helping thousands of Kentucky farmers stay on the land. CFA incorporates.

1985   Farmers from several different counties across the Bluegrass Region meet at the Holiday Inn at Bardstown on July 9th for CFA’s first meeting

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Farm Bill 2013 Update

It’s a mess, ya’ll!

The reality of a new 2013 Farm Bill seems to be slipping further away as we approach the end of the legislative session with only 8 work days left in the legislature. But, our colleagues at the National Sustainable Ag. Coalition are keeping us abreast as each day unfolds new possibilities. The real question now is: Will the bill go to conference between the Senate and House? And is there enough time for this to happen?

As you may know, a few weeks ago, the House voted on an unprecedented action to SEPARATE the Farm title and Nutrition Title, thus voting for ONLY the Farm Title. What is truly stunning is that within the Nutrition title is funding for projects like the Farmers Market Promotion Program and Community Food Projects. So, by separating Food from Farming they are blocking support for local food system development. By focusing on eliminating the food stamp program, they are forgetting to support local economies.  Thanks to the Farmbillprimer.org site, we can see exactly how our KY legislators voted for this action. Congressman Yarmuth was the only KY representative who voted NO to pull apart the Farm Bill. Check out the votes by clicking HERE. Take some time to check out this incredible web resource!

Although the House did take this action, they still have not agreed on a separate Nutrition Title bill, so it seems unlikely that the Farm Bill will be split.

According to NSAC: Continue reading

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