2016 was a landmark year for many reasons, not all of them good. Though the election cast a dark shadow on the future of many public programs promoting sustainable agriculture, there have been some major wins for beginning farmers in our country. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has put together a list of the best things that happened in our movement in the past 12 months. Some highlights include:
- The USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach now resides directly under the Secretary of Agriculture, giving the beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers that the Office serves a more direct line to policy change
- 2016 had the highest enrollment in the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program of any year to date. In fiscal year 2016, 1.3 million acres were enrolled in CCRP. These lands will be held to higher conservation buffer standards and conservation practices.
- The FDA amended the Food Safety Modernization Act’s definition of a “retail food establishment” to ensure that farmers selling value added products in their direct to consumer stands are free to do so.
To read the full list of victories for the beginning and sustainable farmer communities see NSAC’s full list here.