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Barnyards and Birkenstocks: Why Farmers and Environmentalists Need Each Other

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Don Stuart
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In his new book, Barnyards and Birkenstocks: Why Farmers and Environmentalists Need Each Other, Don Stuart stresses collaboration. An attorney who has held director positions with American Farmland Trust, a commercial fisheries trade association, and the Washington Association of Conservation Districts, he argues that combining efforts could advance the economic needs of one group while furthering conservation activities of the other, and points out costs of continued political impasse. " forcefully makes the case that there is significant peril to the goals of each if the current stalemate over environmental concerns about farming operations continues - unresolved, " states Peter Goldmark, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands.

To promote empathy between farmers and environmentalists, the author presents opposing perspectives on a range of topics such as incentives, regulations, government spending, environmental markets, growth management, climate change, public lands grazing, and the federal farm bill. Stuart explores agriculture's environmental risks to water and air quality, wildlife habitat, wetlands, and human health, as well as private and public interests related to farmland loss, explaining why intervention is so necessary. Then, drawing from multiple case studies and a lifetime spent resolving conflicts, he identifies characteristics of successful community programs and suggests a model for a prosperous, healthy future. He includes a variety of tools such as sensible zoning, purchasing development rights, and creating environmental markets, and discusses situations that warrant their use.

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