American Farmland Trust Sponsors 2020 Breeders Cup to Call Attention to Farmland Protection on Equine Land
The factory floor of the $45 billion equine industry, farmland used to raise horses represents some of the best land and some of the best soil in this nation and should be protected.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — American Farmland Trust, a national leader in protecting agricultural land, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land has announced it will sponsor the 2020 Breeders Cup alongside a host of globally recognized partners. The most prestigious thoroughbred event in the world with purses totaling $31 million, the November 6-7 Breeders Cup is the championship event of the best racing thoroughbreds and will be an important place to recognize the value of the land that supports the industry.
In the U.S., 2,000 acres of farmland are converted every day – including our most productive, versatile, and resilient land according to AFT’s Farm’s Under Threat: The State of the State report released in May. Nationwide, 11 million acres were converted to non-agricultural uses between 2001-2016, 4.4 million acres considered “National Significant”, the nation’s best soils.
“As staunch supporters of both the American Farmland Trust and the Breeders’ Cup, Brerry and I are immensely proud to see AFT’s sponsorship of this remarkable global event. Protecting farmland, which is the factory floor of the horse business, is critical to this nation not just because it is important to horse people, but because we are protecting some of the most productive, versatile, and resilient soils in this country. I hope to see more farms across the nation put their land into conservation easements, preserving it in perpetuity for its highest agricultural purpose.” said AFT President’s Council member and former board member, Libby Jones who co-owns Airdrie Stud with her husband, Brereton, a former Kentucky Governor and a founding member of the Breeders’ Cup.
AFT and its partners across the nation have permanently protected nearly 7 million acres. An additional 300 million acres have been protected with conservation practices. Sharing its mission as a partner with the Breeders Cup championship, AFT hopes will help spur interest in farmland protection across the equine community and as a result, drive state and local policies to facilitate permanent conservation on our nation’s most productive, versatile and resilient soils.
PRODUCTIVITY, VERSATILITY, AND RESILIENCY: Farms Under Threat combines multiple datasets to analyze agricultural potential based on the land’s productivity, versatility, and resiliency (PVR). The analysis incorporates feedback from a group of national experts to prioritize and weight a set of criteria to determine which agricultural lands are best suited for long-term cultivation. Maps representing soil productivity and capacity, land cover and use, crop type, and length of growing season were developed and combined using weights elicited from the national experts. The resulting continuum of PVR values apply to the land’s suitability for producing food and other crops. The higher the value, the more productive, versatile, and resilient the land is for long-term cultivation when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods.
“AFT is a proud sponsor of this year’s Breeders Cup and as a national organization, supports the conservation of equine land,” said Billy Van Pelt, AFT senior director of external relations. “We celebrate the success of the thoroughbreds in this year’s Breeders’ Cup and want to draw attention to the importance of the equine industry and the permanent protection of its ‘factory floor’, farmland.”
“We are excited to welcome The Breeders’ Cup World Championships back to the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, where the conservation of our world-class soils and iconic farmland have helped Lexington remain the Horse Capital of the World,” said Helen Alexander, Bluegrass Land Conservancy.
AFT partners with land trusts across the nation. Bluegrass Land Conservancy is AFT’s local land trust partner in Kentucky.
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.