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April 2014 Farmland Presevation Newsletter now available

The April 2014 edition of the Farmland Preservation Newsletter is now available.

The April edition includes information about the recently concluded state legislative session, a regional Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) update, an opportunity for the public to engage with a joint senate meeting concerning the Shorelines Management Act and its land use implications, new studies, job opportunities, grant opportunities, calendar items and much more.

Directly download the newsletter by clicking the following link:

April 2014 Farmland Preservation Newsletter (PDF)

As always, there is plenty more to browse and dates to note. If you have suggestions for newsletter content, drop a line to us at ofp@scc.wa.gov

Major report analyzes significant new market for local farms

For complete project information and to download the report, visit the project website.

Seattle, WA (March 4, 2014) – To combat childhood obesity and improve health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation convened a collaborative project in the Puget Sound region to increase consumption of healthy, Washington grown food in King County schools, hospitals and childcare facilities. This multi-phase Farm-to-Institution (F2I) project aims to strengthen the regional food economy and overcome challenges to providing regionally-produced food in institutions that serve low-income children through four components: develop market research to inform impact and program related investment strategies; highlight models and case studies that could be replicated via different forms of investment; leverage and scale successful aspects of current F2I initiatives; and evaluate and document successes and lessons learned.

The F2I report is comprised of five segments: market analysis on King County hospitals, schools and childcare facilities, and also on the state food production industry; an assessment of challenges and opportunities in each market segment; an analysis to support F2I program related investments in Washington State; grant-making strategies that align or support investments; and a series of appendices highlighting market-focused research and resources.

The final report, Farm-to-Institution Strategies: Impact investing in health and economic development through the value chain of healthy regional food in the Puget Sound region, is now available for public download here.

New Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Coming On Line in Spring 2014

Coming this spring to NW Washington, a fully staffed, self-contained, WSDA-certified Mobile Poultry Processing Unit or “MPPU” thanks to funding from the Whatcom Community Foundation’s Sustainable Whatcom Fund.

Pastured poultry has long been recognized as a viable enterprise for diversified family farms. In order to access markets, farmers must have their birds processed. Whether direct marketing, retail, or wholesale, there are specific processing regulations that must be followed and stringent guidelines for the facilities used.

For most small and mid-sized producers, legal options for processing birds, in any form beyond just whole and sold on the farm, meant transporting birds to a local custom slaughter facility, or going to the expense of building a facility on-farm. With the closing of the last remaining northwest Washington custom processor in October last year, local poultry businesses not already possessing their own processing facility are faced with either building a licensed facility and obtaining costly product liability insurance, or shutting down operations altogether.

To be eligible to use this unit, producers will need to have a WSDA Food Processors License, and complete a training workshop. The unit itself will carry liability insurance, allowing poultry producers to acquire coverage through their individual farm policy.

Check out the press release from Northwest Ag Business Center for more details.