June 22-26, 2001



WHEREAS, The U. S. Conference of Mayors and American Farmland Trust formed a historic urban-rural coalition between local elected officials and farmers to develop smart growth policies that will promote city reinvestment and farmland preservation; and

WHEREAS, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, over two million acres of rural land are being lost to development each year, which is double the rate of a decade ago; and

WHEREAS, this partnership strives to remove development pressure on irreplaceable and invaluable farmland located near metropolitan areas called urban-influenced farmland; and

WHEREAS, The U. S. Conference of Mayors recognizes that protecting important urban-influenced farmland through the purchase of conservation easements is a valuable smart growth tool, which can assist in creating a comprehensive smart growth plan; and

WHEREAS, well managed urban-influenced farmland provides habitat for native species, protects local watersheds and clean air environmental benefits; and

WHEREAS, urban-influenced farmland provides thirty percent of our grain, forty-five percent of our livestock and more than eighty percent of our domestic fruit, vegetables and dairy products; and

WHEREAS, urban-influenced farmland near metropolitan areas have historically provided local markets with not only farm commodities, but continue to serve as economic engines in local economies; and

WHEREAS, the preservation of urban-influenced farmland provide local farmers markets with commodities that provide food supply stability while contributing to the overall quality of life in metropolitan areas; and

WHEREAS, The U. S. Conference of Mayors believes it is in the Nation's best interest to protect domestic food supply, especially farmland surrounding metropolitan areas,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The U. S. Conference of Mayors encourages its members to work more closely with farmers through urban-rural coalitions to further discussions on preventing farm failure through city reinvestment strategies, urban-influenced farmland preservation and local farmer's markets programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U. S. Conference of Mayors strongly encourages federal and state governments to promote local farmers markets through infrastructure and facility improvements, including rehabilitation of existing facilities, and marketing efforts to increase profitability for urban-influenced farms, thereby preventing farm failure and ensuring the future stability of local food supplies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference strongly encourages Federal and State governments to work with mayors and farmers to further implement smart growth policies and programs that encourage development in existing urban centers and better protect the nation's urban-influenced farmland; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference supports voluntary purchase of development rights programs and other farmland protection tools at the state, county and local level, including federal incentives for such efforts, that protect private landowners of urban-influenced farmland, who may face escalating land prices from development pressures; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference calls upon the Administration and Congress to include funding for conservation programs, stewardship incentives, programs for research, marketing and rural economic development programs, and assistance to sustain and expand farm markets, including rehabilitation of existing facilities, and to promote marketing and sales at these markets to support independent and resource conserving farms in the farm bill.