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Farming is Our Future: American Farmland Trust to Launch Initiative to Transform Agriculture

The pandemic previewed the impacts of a collapsing food system – land preservation, better farming practices and land access are key to ensuring agriculture will support society in the future.

WASHINGTON, DC – For 40 years American Farmland Trust has led the conservation agricultural movement, yet the problems in the U.S. food system have never been more urgent. AFT’s Farming is Our Future initiative will transform agriculture for the next 40 years and beyond by reducing the rate of farmland loss by 75%, decreasing carbon emissions by 650 million metric tons annually and increasing the number of beginning farmers to the highest level in 50 years.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare how fragile our food and farming systems are, revealing supply chain weaknesses and racial inequities that have been inherent in these broken systems for too long, we also know the impacts of rampant farmland and ranchland loss, climate change, and unjust barriers to farmland and ranchland access will make it impossible to sustain agriculture into the future unless something is done to address them now.

AFT has the tools to protect irreplaceable farmland and ranchland, but we must apply them at a much larger scale. We know that agriculture currently contributes to our climate crisis, but we also know that through better practices, farming “done right” can be a climate mitigator and help to heal the earth. And with the right support, all farmers and ranchers can overcome barriers to land access and find ways to make a sustainable living stewarding the land.

On Aug. 30, AFT will launch Farming is Our Future to elevate the approaches it has developed over decades, to increase the scale of our impacts and to make this necessary difference now – while there is still time.

“For 40 years, American Farmland Trust has led the conservation agriculture movement. Along the way, we’ve permanently saved 6.5 million acres of farmland. Bridging environmental and agricultural communities, AFT has brought regenerative farming practices to millions more acres of land – all while supporting our nation’s primary conservation stewards: our farmers and ranchers.

“Relentless farmland loss to development, the impacts of climate change and the challenges associated with the pending transfer of huge numbers of farms and ranches to a new generation, each pose immediate threats to agriculture as we know it, and to every eater’s way of life.

“The current pandemic has also shown us glimpses of how great innovation, perseverance and resiliency play out in our food system – and we’ve seen many people appreciate and value the security of good food, farms and the environmental services they provide in a new way. This is heartening, but we can, and must, do more to meet the existential challenges we’re facing head on.”

John Piotti, president and CEO, American Farmland Trust

The changes AFT envisions are transformational.

Join us in the agricultural movement of the next 40 years.

Launch Events:

On Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. ET, American Farmland Trust is hosting a Facebook live stream – where AFT’s passionate and experienced staff will address some of the major challenges facing our current agricultural system.

Following our live-stream event, AFT will host a Free Range Conversation on Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET that focuses on how AFT is planning to address the challenges of agriculture today. AFT staff will discuss solutions centered on the land, practices and people that give us hope for the future of farming. AFT’s president John Piotti will be taking your questions live on the phone and on Twitter using the #FreeRangeAFT hashtag. Sign up in advance, and you can send John a question that he’ll do his best to answer on the call.

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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.

About the Author
Lori Sallet

Media Relations Director

lsallet@farmland.org

(410) 708-5940

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