Final Farmer Field Day Coming Up!

Thank you so much for sending your interns and/or coming to our field day last week at River Road Farm! Greg gave us a great tour of the farm, along with a fascinating explanation on the pros and cons of their nonprofit status. A big thanks to Dave for showing us valuable seed-saving techniques as well! And what a delicious potluck with food from right there on the farm!

To find out more about the event, read this great article in the Missoulian!

Up Next!

Our Final Field Day at County Rail Farm in Dixon!

Wednesday, September 16th from 3pm-7pm, with a potluck dinner

Started in 2010 by Margaret De Bona and Tracy Potter-Fins, County Rail Farm is a diversified vegetable farm that has rapidly made a name for itself. With some of the earliest asparagus around, great marketing materials, and their own branded lettuce mixes sold in stores around the state, Tracy and Margaret have a lot of knowledge to share.  Their field day will focus on sharing their expertise in marketing, farming efficiently, and selecting the right crops and varietals for your operation.  For more on County Rail Farm, check them out on Facebook or visit their website.

Please register at least 3-4 days in advance (by September 12th) so we can give Tracy, Margaret and their crew a sense of what to expect. It really helps us prepare to know how many people are coming!

CAPS’ Latest Subdivision Framework a Big Improvement

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FARMLAND: Save It Don't Pave It

Friends of farmland spoke up and the County heard! THANK YOU! The draft framework CAPS of subdivision regulations released on August 14th, 2015, contains meaningful protections for farmland. They included a suite of mitigation options for developers and gets rid of acreage requirements.

Things are looking up for our farms!

Come celebrate with us at a Farmland Forum this coming Sunday, August 23rd, at Ten Spoons Winery in the Rattlesnake. Enjoy an evening of conversation in a lovely setting. Learn more about the County process. Get answers to your questions, and help us put the final pieces in place. Ask CAPS and the Missoula Consolidated Planning Board to:

  • Protect ALL farmland, including soils of local importance!

The new language only protects farmland situated on soils classified as having prime or statewide importance, not farms on local soils. Removing local soils from protection would mean 62% of current farmland in Missoula County would no longer be protected, and is contrary to Montana state law.

  • Charge a developer fee that makes on-site and off-site mitigation attractive options.

Upcoming Events

TenSpoon logo 2 copySunday, August 23rd from 6 to 8:30 pm

Farmland Forum at Ten Spoons Winery

Monday, September 1st at 7 pm

Missoula Consolidated Planning Board Meeting

Visit the CFAC website for more information.  www.missoulacfac.org

Read the latest draft. SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENTS THROUGH AUGUST 26TH.   http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/mccaps/CurrentPlanningPermitting/SRRP/SubRegRewrite_Comments.htm

River Road Field Day

Garden City Harvest’s River Road Farm in Missoula

Seed Saving, Cover Cropping, a Potluck, and more!

Wednesday, August 19th, 3pm – 6pm, followed by a potluck dinner

River Road Community Garden and Neighborhood Farm is one of four urban farms managed by Garden City Harvest. Established in 1996, River Road sits on 3.5 acres and includes 55 community garden plots and a farm that offers 15 winter CSA shares and 64 summer CSA shares and raises 4,000-6,000 pounds of produce annually for the Poverello Center. Because many farmers are considering forming as nonprofits, farm manager Greg Price will talk about the unique benefits and drawbacks of farming as a nonprofit, along with a discussion of the ins and outs of managing a large CSA program, and his seed saving, cover cropping and weed and pest management techniques. For more info on River Road Farm, click here.

Click here for more info and to RSVP

Field days are free, farmer-led, on-farm events geared towards people who are just at the beginning of their farm exploration – interns, folks thinking about starting a farm in the near future, and those who are just getting started. Of course, beginning and established farmers and ranchers are welcome, too!

Each field day is farmer led so they vary in topics and times based on the farmers’ areas of expertise and availability. To best assist the farmers in hosting a successful field day, we ask that you register at least three days in advance, or by Sunday, August 16th. Walk-ins are still welcome, but we’d greatly prefer to have a good estimate of numbers in advance.

We hope to see you there!

Next Steps for Farmland Protection

FARMLAND:  Save It Don't Pave It

FARMLAND:
Save It Don’t Pave It

Thanks to all the people who asked the County for stronger protections for farmland! Close to one hundred supporters made their positions known with email posts and postcards. Way to stand up for agriculture! If you didn’t have a chance to comment earlier, there is still time. The County is still accepting comments on their website until September 1st, the day of the next public meeting on the proposed framework.

Despite a resounding public response favoring stronger farmland protections, the framework CAPS presented to the Planning Board on July 21st was almost identical to the one released on June 2, 2015. Why bother getting involved, you ask? Because you care about saving this valuable, irreplaceable resource. So do we. Let’s overwhelm them with comments. Let’s remind County government of its obligation to represent the people they serve. CFAC and our allies have asked the County to include the following in the new regulations:

  • Protect all farm soil, including soils of local importance – The new language only protects farmland situated on soils classified as having prime or state importance, not on local soils. Removing local soils would mean 62% of current farmland in Missoula County would no longer be protected.
  • Provide developers with a suite of mitigation options – Requiring developers to pay a fee when a subdivision would significantly impact agriculture is a good option in some instances. But it should not be the only option. Let’s create incentives for conserving ag land on the proposed site in a way that incorporates farms and gardens into the subdivision, or preserve farmland on another comparable site. Farmland cannot be saved with money alone. Once farmland disappears, it cannot be replaced.
  • Tie the mitigation fees to the appraised value of the land– The proposed mitigation fee for developers proposing to subdivide farmland has not been established, but CAPS is proposing to have a flat fee, one that will be the same for all parcels regardless of where the land is located and what it is being sold for. They estimate the fee will be between $1000 and $3000 per acre. With land in the Target Range neighborhood currently selling for approximately $100,000 an acre, the proposed fee amounts to a land give-away.

If you care about local food, farms and our future, join CFAC now by sending your comments today. GO HERE to tell the County Commissioners the regulation framework does not do enough to conserve our vital farmland. Then plan to attend the public hearing on September 1st. Your voice matters, now more than ever.

Here is a link to the Missoula County Community and Planning Services site:

http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/mccaps/CurrentPlanningPermitting/SRRP/SubRegRewrite_Comments.htm

Here is a link to the latest framework:

http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/mccaps/CurrentPlanningPermitting/SRRP/Docs/Ag/2015-07-17AgDraftCoverLtrAllDocs.pdf

The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition is a member-driven organization committed to developing our local food and farm system. We need your support to continue this important work. Please consider joining CFAC today. Your membership dues start at just $40 and will help ensure that local food and sustainable farms remain a part of our community for the next generation!

Join CFAC today! www.missoulacfac.org

Farm Employment Legal News

The great resource, FarmCommons.org, recently released some updates on the latest on farm employment law.  We will continue to share these updates with you as we get them!

Farm Employment Laws: Changing faster than the weather

FC_3in-icon_employees 2Connecticut doubles penalty for underpayment of wages. Legislators in Connecticut recently passed a bill that allows underpaid workers to sue employers for twice the amount of their underpaid wages. The double-wage penalty is available if an employer didn’t take any proactive steps to determine how much they were legally obligated to pay their employees. The new, higher penalty is meant to motivate businesses to look into the law: ignorance isn’t bliss anymore!

Federal judge overturns internship ruling. Determining whether your intern is a regular employee or not for the purposes of minimum wage law just got even more complicated. In recent webinars, I mentioned a federal court ruling that found an intern who was enrolled in school and receiving credit for the position was an employee and deserving of the minimum wage. That decision was overturned on appeal in July because the judge felt the lower court was too deferential to the federal government’s argument. Now, that doesn’t mean farmers are safe as long as their intern is receiving college credit. But…they might be safer than they were last month. The plot thickens, as more cases and appeals are likely.

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