AFT Partners with Environmental Leaders to Invest in Farms to Improve Water Quality - American Farmland Trust

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American Farmland Trust Partners with Environmental Leaders to Invest in Farms to Improve Water Quality

Albany, NY – Today, American Farmland Trust is pleased to announce the availability of $5,000 grant awards and support for New York farmers to aid in their efforts to protect water quality. The Brighter Future Fund, which has made more than $2 million in grants available to farmers across the nation since 2020, includes a special allocation of up to $120,000 this year through an environmental benefit payment made possible by the efforts of Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club with the goal of investing in agricultural practices that promote clean water for New Yorkers.

“AFT is honored to be selected by Riverkeeper and Sierra Club to receive this funding to promote water quality,” said Linda Garrett, American Farmland Trust New York & New Jersey Regional Director. “It is a win-win, providing a unique opportunity to support farmers in implementing practices or projects that will result in clean water for all New Yorkers and may improve resiliency to extreme weather and productivity. These micro-grants can have an outsized impact on these farm operations.”

“With thousands of small farms in the Hudson River watershed, American Farmland Trust’s work promoting innovative agricultural practices is essential to restoring the quality of water in this region,” said Tracy Brown, Riverkeeper President and Hudson Riverkeeper. “Thanks to the funds we have secured through our successful legal campaign, Riverkeeper is proud to be able to support this vital work helping the agricultural industry in the Hudson Valley thrive while becoming more sustainable and protecting precious water resources.”

“Clean water is the basis for New York’s economic and ecological health. The Sierra Club is thrilled to partner with the American Farmland Trust to protect the purity of our rivers, lakes, and streams through the funding of their novel agricultural programs,” said Roger Downs, Conservation Director, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “We are delighted this settlement money will continue to support regenerative farming practices and nutrient management plans that benefit both the farmer and the clean water we all depend upon.”

This investment will build on existing agricultural stewardship programs led by American Farmland Trust to support farmers in soil health and regenerative practices that benefit water quality. Since 2018, AFT has worked closely with farmers in western New York to highlight the impacts of practical and innovative conservation practices on farm viability, water quality, and other natural resources demonstrated on real working farms. This additional support will deepen AFT’s impact in other critical watersheds across the state and put funds directly in the hands of farmers who are stewarding the land with a focus on protecting clean water.

Together, American Farmland Trust, Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club, leading advocates for clean water, aim to amplify positive environmental outcomes by ensuring that funds are directed toward projects with the greatest potential for improving water quality. This collaboration underscores a shared commitment to sustainable agriculture and the protection of New York’s precious water resources.

The Brighter Future Fund (BFF) was launched in 2020 to help historically underserved farmers and ranchers build, grow, and sustain their operations despite forces impacting the food and agricultural system, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, supply chain shortages, and climate change. In past years, BFF grants have helped livestock farmers to access land to expand their farms, purchase supplies to implement regenerative practices like compost spreaders and no-till drill planters, and improve their profitability with more efficient equipment for harvesting, storing, and selling their crops and livestock like greenhouses, hoop houses, and cooler vans. Applications for BFF grants open July 1st through July 8th, and grantees will be announced in the fall.

Grant applications will be reviewed and awarded in the order the applications are received based on eligibility. To apply, farmers and ranchers should submit a completed electronic  Brighter Future Fund  Application to AFT.


American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food® message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families. Learn more at

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Olivia Fuller

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