Little-noticed laws in more than half the states allow retailers to keep a portion of the sales taxes they collect from shoppers. The practice is costing states over $1 billion a year and lining the pockets of large chains, notably Wal-Mart. Continue reading
Viewing all Articles Page 141 of 228
Prior to 1999, Georgia levied ad valorem taxes for some agricultural commodities, such as fruit and nut trees and livestock. Legislation passed in 1998 relieved small scale farmers of this additional burden. For other crops, such as ornamental trees and shrubs, the possibility of ad valorem taxation was eliminated.
The legislation is noteworthy not because of the tax impact- farmers will save about $ 2.5 million a year, or an average of less than $20,000 per Georgia county- but because it targets those tax cuts to a well defined "family farm" scale agriculture.
This program allows recipients of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to receive part of their supplemental food aid in the form of coupons that can be redeemed at local farms and farmers markets. In 2009, about 2.2 million recipients received farmers’ market benefits. Coupons redeemed through the FMNP resulted in over $20 million in revenue for farmers in 2009. More than 17,000 farms, 3,600 farmers markets, and 2,600 roadside stands are authorized to accept WIC FMNP coupons. Continue reading
Colleges and Universities, especially the nation’s land grant universities are a perfect laboratory for policies that support locally-grown and/or organic food supplies. The University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems completed a survey of schools in 1998 and identified a handful that had policies in place that supplied their food service departments with significant quantities of locally grown and/or organic food. Continue reading
In 1967, the Wholesome Meat Inspection Act and the Wholesome Poultry Products Act authorized states with inspection programs certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as "at least equal to" the federal program to inspect meat and poultry products for distribution within a state’s borders. An adversarial relationship between state programs and the USDA and little interest in direct marketing caused many of the programs to be dropped. Today, meat producers interests in niche markets and marketing have resulted in 25 state meat inspection programs being reinstated and expanded across the country. Continue reading
This Iowa county has a two-pronged policy approach to encourage the production and use of locally grown organic food. First, there is a property tax rebate for farmers who convert from conventional to organic farming practices. The second approach is a mandate that the County purchase locally grown organic food through its food service contractor. Continue reading
Farmers’ markets are for farmers directly selling what they produce. However, as the markets have proliferated, some retailers have been allowed to set up their own stands to sell produce from out of the state and the country. Some cities such as Dallas, Texas, have set up their code to clearly delimit how a farmers’ market is to be organized, and who will be allowed to sell at it. The code keeps the markets true to their name.
Community Supported Agriculture(CSA) began in over 30 years ago in Japan – where it is known as"teikei", meaning "putting the farmers’ face on food". In the CSA model, citizens buy seasonal shares in a local farm, receiving weekly deliveries of vegetables and other produce. As shareholders, members often form a close relationship with the farmer(s), directly sharing the uncertainties and rewards of the season, often helping with planting and harvesting. Farmers benefit by having a stable, predetermined market to grow for, reduced marketing costs, and financial stability from pre-season "seed money" paid up front. Nearly all CSA’s in the US use sustainable, organic methods of cultivation, are small in size, and serve local customers. Lacking supportive laws, CSA’s have nonetheless seen tremendous growth in the US and now number over 2,500. Continue reading
The Berkeley School District passed a food policy requiring school cafeterias to serve organic foods to its 9,500 students. The policy explicitly makes a commitment "to increase the amount of products purchased from local farms". To fund the initiative, a portion of the$650,000 the district currently spends on cafeteria food is allocated for local organic food. Organizers have also sought bulk discounts from growers and manufacturers. In addition, school sponsored gardens are expected to provide a significant percentage of the necessary food. Continue reading