Pierce CD - Agricultural Assistance Program

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This is the presentation about the Pierce Conservation District's Agricultural Assistance Program presented by Sarah Wilcox at the June 18 Nisqually River Council meeting.

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Pierce CD - Agricultural Assistance Program

  1. 1. Agricultural Assistance Program Sarah Garitone, Program Coordinator for Agricultural Assistance Pierce Conservation District, Puyallup, WA
  2. 2. Welcome to Beautiful Pierce County SQUARE MILES: 1,790 POPULATION: 805,400 PRINCIPAL CITY: Tacoma Source: “Pierce County Profile” http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/profile.htm
  3. 3. Rich History of Agriculture 1942 Victory Garden in Tacoma Puyallup berry fields – summer 1916 Source: Price, Lori and Ruth Anderson. “Puyallup: A Pioneer Paradise.” Arcadia Publishing: San Francisco, 2002.
  4. 4. Pierce County What Is Grown Here? • 2nd in nation for rhubarb production (2007 Ag Census) • 9th in WA for vegetables, melons, and sweet potatoes… including: pumpkins, cabbage, lettuce, $84 million radishes, green onions, etc. agricultural • 2nd in WA for tulip and daffodil goods sold production (2007 Ag Census) • Aquaculture • Largest egg producer in Western WA & 3rd in WA • Many small-scale diversified operations
  5. 5. We have some of the best farmland in the world. 38,940 acres remaining which are well suited to farming (2008). http://www.piercecountycd.org/images/PierceFinalReport.pdf
  6. 6. A Note About Soil… “A civilization can persist only as long as it retains enough productive soil to feed its people. A landscape’s soil budget is just like a family budget, with income, expenses, and savings. You can live off your savings for only so long before you run out of money.” - David R. Montgomery, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations (pg. 23) Estimated that it takes 500 years to make one inch of topsoil (American Farmland Trust) American Farmland Trust - Earth as an Apple http://www.farmland.org/resources/reports/default.asp#
  7. 7. Threats – Conversion of prime soils – Urban fringe farming – Regulation barriers and challenges – silo gridlock – Breakdown of agricultural infrastructure - processing – Land fragmentation – Land prices – Leased land Fife, WA - Sept. 2008 Before and After
  8. 8. Farming on the Edge
  9. 9. Farm Trends, Pierce County • 1945 – 170,000 Acres – 5,564 Farms • 1974 – 62,000 Acres – 1,140 Farms • 651 Farms = 16% of Farmland • 44 Farms = 39% Farmland • 68% farmers worked off-farm • Major contributor loss of processors Farm Size, 2007 • 2007 – 47,677 Acres – 1,448 Farms 44.4% 13.4% 1-9 A 10-49 A 0.3% • 58 % farmers primary 3.3% 0.4% 50-179 A 180-499 A occupation off-farm 500-999 A 0.1% 40.2% 1,000 + A
  10. 10. Historical Farming Trends, Pierce County # Farms 6000 5000 4000 3000 # Farms 2000 1000 0
  11. 11. Obesity Trends* Among U.S. Adults BRFSS, 1985 (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person) http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/maps/ No Data <10% 10%–14%
  12. 12. Obesity Trends* Among U.S. Adults BRFSS, 2007 (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person) No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%
  13. 13. Opportunities – We have some of the best soil in the world – Remaining land base – Land transfer programs – Creation of new markets – Increased consumer demand 38,940 acres for local products remaining which are well – New generation of farmers suited to entering industry farming (2008) http://www.piercecount ycd.org/images/PierceFi nalReport.pdf
  14. 14. Agricultural Assistance Program With an overall mission to conserve natural resources… Create Reconnect opportunities for people to food farm profitability • Farm Infrastructure & Tools Needed • Local Product Marketing Campaign • Capacity Building of Farmers Markets • Urban Growing & Community Gardens • Senior Food Box Program • Partnerships – ex: Tahoma Food Policy Coalition
  15. 15. Farm Infrastructure & Tools • USDA Mobile Meat Processing Unit – Run by Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative – Cattle, hogs, sheep, and goat • Small-scale poultry processing equipment - Since May 15, 2010 - 140 birds processed, estimated value $2,185
  16. 16. Local Food & Farm Marketing • Branding – Puget Sound Fresh – Salmon Safe Certified • Tacoma Library Book of the Year Promotion • Community Garden Tour in Tacoma • Eat Local For Thanksgiving Pledge
  17. 17. Our Work with Farmers Markets Provide technical assistance and funding to markets in Pierce County: – Staffing, especially for low-income program support – Marketing programs & branding – Consumer education – Start up costs for new markets
  18. 18. Why Farmers Markets? Creating the space for face-to-face interaction between producers and consumers… According to the USDA AMS there has been a 13% increase in markets 2008 – 2009 Source: USDA AMS-Marketing Services Division, “Farmers Market Growth: 1994-2008,”Jan 2008, http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateS&navID=WholesaleandFarmersMarkets&leftNav =WholesaleandFarmersMarkets&page=WFMFarmersMarketGrowth&description=Farmers%20Market%20Growth&acct=frmrdirmkt
  19. 19. Community Gardens & Urban Growing • Organizing community garden information online L’Arche/Food • Tacoma Community Garden Tour Connection 07 & 08! Orchard • Community Conversations about Project: urban growing New orchard will be • Helping to hire new coordinator planted on for Tacoma/Pierce County! local farm, fruit to go to local food bank
  20. 20. Low-Income Senior Food Boxes How does it work? People Served 2006 1300 boxes/433 clients 2007 2,330 boxes/ 630 clients Partners: 2008 Aging and Long Term Care 3,000 boxes/ Pierce County Council 630 clients Eligible: Low-Income Seniors who would be eligible 2009 for Senior Farmers Market Nutrition 1,875 boxes/625 Program vouchers clients
  21. 21. Tahoma Food Policy Coalition “growing a just, healthy, and sustainable food system by influencing policies, developing projects, and sharing resources.” June 2008 - stakeholders from many different aspects of our local food system have met to begin better coordinating work, including; health department, parks, farmers, neighborhood councils, farmers markets, etc. Graphic Source: Laura Raymond, Re-Shaping Seattle’s Food System: Sustaining a Healthy City
  22. 22. Stakeholders, Plans & Reports • Pierce County Agriculture Strategic Plan (2006) • Pierce County Agricultural Production Capacity Study (2008) – land inventory • Conservation Futures Lists • TDR/PDR Identified properties Stakeholders: Planning and Land Services, Economic Development, City of Tacoma, Cascade Land Conservancy, Pierce Conservation District, WSU Pierce County Extension, PCC Farmland Trust, American Farmland Trust, Watershed Councils, Master Builders Association, Pierce County FARM Board, local farmers, and more.
  23. 23. Needs and Gaps • Regulatory review or coordination • Continued market development • Continue development of missing tools farmers need to be profitable • Support County PDR/TDR Program • How to raise or leverage funding for preservation? • How to identify priority preservation sites? – Possibly choose property that meets more than one criteria
  24. 24. Thank you. Contact Information: With Sarah Wilcox, Pierce Conservation District sarahg@piercecountycd.org – (253) 845-9770 x108

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