In the American West, a climate emergency is affecting the nation’s food supply and the many benefits that farms and ranches provide to ecosystems, economies, and communities. Farmers and ranchers across the region are experiencing record-breaking fires, historic droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, and other conditions with deep and devastating impacts.

Regenerative Agriculture West will protect rangeland like this one in Colorado with mountains in the distance.
Colorado rangeland photo by Casey Reynolds.

The last few years have particularly been a call for a renewed commitment towards increased resilience for the West’s food and agricultural system.

Increasing resilience requires a sustained commitment of resources, leadership, innovation, and greater capacity to support Western farmers and ranchers adapting to changing conditions.

The challenges are indeed daunting and certainly require support from farmers, ranchers, landowners, agricultural organizations, environmentalists, academia, policymakers, businesses, and consumers.

AFT is responding to these challenges through its Resilient Agriculture West Initiative.

Oregon farm field shows why Resilient Agriculture West is needed.
Oregon farm field photo by Ian Sane.

The initiative leverages our national resources, regional expertise, and strategic partnerships to strengthen the viability of farmers and ranchers, increase climate resilience, and protect the nation’s food supply.

Resilient Agriculture West’s Approach
  • Conduct research to evaluate threats to Western agriculture from real estate development and climate change
  • Identify and protect the land best suited for agriculture and climate resilience
  • Implement and highlight keystone projects focused on protecting prime agricultural land, protecting water resources and promoting smart solar energy 
  • Document the economic and environmental impacts of climate-resilient practices
  • Provide funding and direct assistance to farmers and ranchers, who adopt water conservation, soil health, and other regenerative agricultural practices
  • Advocate for policies and programs that support agricultural land protection, smart solar, water resource management and other regenerative agriculture practices  
Farms Under Threat in Western States
Farmers of all types stand in Camarillo farm field
Farmers at McGrath Family Farms in Camarillo, California.

To support Western state planners and policy makers in making effective land use decisions that protect the most productive, versatile and resilient agricultural land, AFT conducted research into farmland loss in each state under three different scenarios between 2016 to 2040.

Leveraging high-resolution spatial analysis tools, we analyzed the effects of these scenarios — Business as Usual, Runaway Sprawl, or Better Built Cities.

Go to Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future for a web mapping tool, state-specific reports, and recorded webinars.

Western Drought and Climate Change
drone shot of San Joaquin Valley farmland, water and housing.
The nation’s top farming region — the San Joaquin Valley — faces significant development and climate challenges.

Watch this discussion on Drought, Wildfires, and Climate Change: The Future of Farming in the West. 

Read how these conditions are affecting:

Tune in to No Farms No Future  podcast to hear about the Western drought from Western farmers and AFT experts.

Resilience Agriculture West means protecting our resources from wildfires.
Scottish highlanders graze at the Bodega Bay Ranch in Sonoma County. The seventh-generation California ranch received a Brighter Futures Fund grant from AFT and partners to buy a firefighting skid called a QTAC. It allows safer prescribed burns, after grazing, to reduce more deadly wildfires in the community.