|CFAC members are deeply concerned about the rapid loss of agricultural land in Missoula County. We do not believe that residential sprawl is the best use of the fertile lands that can support work farms, sustain rural communities, and feed people. We do, however, see a way for Missoula County's population to continue to grow without spreading houses across working farm and ranchlands.|
|Growing markets for local food is central to CFAC's strategy to conserve agricultural land. Producers need to be able to make a living on the land. CFAC has been working to create new markets and ensure fresh, local food is accessible to families of all income levels. For example, our programs include: Farm to School, EBT (food stamps at farmers’ markets), and Buy Fresh Buy Local (restaurant initiative). Thanks to the work of CFAC members -- as well as an increasingly robust demand for locally produced food in schools, universities, restaurants, farmers’ markets, and grocery stores -- these programs have kept money circulating through local farms and ranches while putting good food on all tables.|
|Helping beginning farmers and ranchers get started is another important component to CFAC's multi-pronged strategy to building a viable local food system and keeping farmland productive. In 2009, CFAC launched Land Link Montana, which is a farm and ranch transfer program that CFAC is piloting to help aspiring producers find suitable land and establish viable tenure arrangements. |
Proactive and comprehensive land use policy is the third prong of CFAC's strategy to protect Missoula County's legacy of working farms and ranches. For decades, Missoula County residents have been talking about the loss of farmland due to unfettered development patterns. Now, it is essential that our local governments implement a predictable development review process that comprehnsively conserves the resources that sustain farms and feed people.
To address the loss of farmland at the point of its permanent conversion to development, CFAC is working to secure land use policies with these goals in mind:
Based on the above goals, CFAC's experience in reviewing subdivision proposals, and the findings in Losing Ground, CFAC has proposed a balanced package of 3 land use recommendations. Note that we are suggesting that the County and City gather public input and agency review in order to fine tune these proposals according to the community's needs:1. Designate “Agricultural Cornerstone Areas” where important agricultural resources exist in Missoula County.
2. Adopt “Agricultural Resource Standards” to mitigate the loss of important farm and ranchlands.
For a bumper sticker, like the one on the left, swing by CFAC's office sometime. We're above Office City in downtown Missoula at 117 W. Broadway.