American Farmland Trust President and CEO John Piotti explains why farming represents one of the best opportunities to slow climate change
Speaking at the Sun Valley Institute Forum, he argues that farming—when done right—can make a real difference
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, American Farmland Trust President and CEO John Piotti explained how farming can help save the planet. He was speaking to approximately 250 policy, business, nonprofit and academic leaders at the 5th annual Sun Valley Institute Forum – The Future We Want: Transforming Leadership, Accelerating Innovation, Unlocking Imagination.
“Agriculture can slow climate change but it will require more than just better farming practices, as essential as those are. AFT takes a truly holistic approach, one that also takes into account protecting farmland and supporting farmers. The ability to advance regenerative farming practices is directly dependent on the amount of farmland that we retain. And even if you retain adequate farmland, the system breaks down if we don’t have the people to work that land,” says Piotti.
He continues, “For 40 years AFT has been working on critical issues that will determine our future as a society and a planet. Many organizations are now advancing ‘regenerative agriculture,’ yet AFT has a longer track record and deeper knowledge than most—and we have a broader perspective, which when it comes to climate change, is critically important.”
AFT believes the alarming loss of farmland, the need to scale up regenerative practices and the approaching wave of farmer retirements are critical and interrelated issues we need to address. Piotti’s appearance is part of AFT’s nationwide effort to save the land that sustains us by protecting farmland from development, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. But as he noted in his speech, the work AFT has been doing for 40 years has grown beyond this mission to a much grander goal: saving the planet.
With pioneering research, innovative tools and aggressive advocacy, AFT’s Farmers Combat Climate Change initiative is helping farmers, ranchers and landowners play a unique role in reducing the growing threat of climate change while increasing food production, improving soil health and protecting farmland for future generations.
Taking this one step further, Piotti draws a line in the sand, arguing that we may be at a tipping point, a point at which we do not have enough farmland to both grow our food and provide the much-needed environmental benefits brought about by regenerative agricultural practices to restore the planet. Key to this is that we can’t maximize both on a given parcel of land we can only optimize, meaning losing even one acre jeopardizes our future. No Farms. No Food. No Future.
Watch John’s presentation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnvladxQHbY&t=3s
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 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.