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AFT Welcomes USDA Announcement of New Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets

Jennifer Morrill: 202-378-1255, jmorrill@farmland.org

Washington, D.C., December 18, 2008“Ecosystem service markets will be one of the most important and exciting new tools to improve our nation’s environment—reducing greenhouse gasses, improving water quality and expanding wildlife habitat,” said Jon Scholl, American Farmland Trust (AFT) President. “The new Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets—the activities of which were authorized in the farm bill passed in June—will help make these markets a reality.”

“As the single largest user of land and water resources in the United States, agriculture has a significant impact on the nation’s environment. Agriculture also is one of the most cost effective ways to improve two of our nation’s most pressing environmental challenges—water quality and climate change. Creating markets for environmental benefits will result in enormous new opportunities for farmers and ranchers to improve the environment while expanding their sources of revenue.”

Scholl opined on the future decisions of farmers and ranchers: “Our vision for the future is one where producers see ecosystem services as a commodity just like corn, soybeans or wheat.”

The successful launch of ecosystem service markets is a high priority to AFT, and in fact, is a key component of AFT’s Agriculture & Environment Campaign. “We look forward to providing assistance and expertise to Sally Collins, the new USDA director, in developing these markets. We can end up with cleaner water, cleaner air, and a more economically viable agriculture sector if we do this right,” Scholl says. 



American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.

AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.

American Farmland Trust