The Yolo County Ag Futures Alliance has identified development mitigation policy as a significant opportunity to improve public policy and improve the results for agriculture and the environment. The group is developing a series of principles to guide effective mitigation in the County. The group expects to release it recommendations in early fall.
The AFA is also focusing on developing local markets for Yolo grown produce based on the principle that buying local is a critical first step to ensuring healthy agriculture and reducing the use of fossil fuels in the food system.
The AFA completed its Constitution in April 2006 and introduced the group to the community with a presentation to the Board of Supervisors in May of 2006.
Yolo County is blessed with a mild climate, relatively ample water, and close proximity to two of California’s biggest markets—San Francisco and Sacramento. These same blessings make Yolo County an ideal site for additional population growth. As a result Ag finds itself caught in the middle between its desire to become economically and environmentally sustainable and the pressure to convert land to non-farm uses. This backdrop made Yolo County one of the high-priority locations for the expansion of the AFA process beyond Ventura County.
The leader of the effort to introduce the AFA process in the County was Rick Landon, Yolo Co. Agricultural Commissioner. In the spring of 2004, Rick helped organize a series introductory meetings about the AFA. Calling his contacts in farming, ranching, the environmental community, agriculture support agencies, and community leaders, Rick encouraged them to consider a building a new coalition to support agriculture. Several meetings later a core group agreed to launch the Yolo AFA.
The first formal Roundtable Meeting of the AFA was held in October 2004 with 24 participants invited representing production agriculture, environmental and civic organizations, and support agencies.