Samantha Levy Joins American Farmland Trust’s Federal Policy Team to Lead a Multiyear Strategy Aimed at Advancing Transformational Climate Policy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Samantha Levy joins American Farmland Trust’s federal policy team as Climate Policy Manager to lead the development and implementation of AFT’s climate policy agenda. AFT believes that our nation’s farmers and ranchers play a pivotal role in delivering solutions that will sequester carbon and make agriculture more resilient to climate impacts, such as drought and flooding. In addition to engaging the 117th Congress, AFT is preparing a multiyear strategy to advance transformational climate policy at the state and federal level, including the 2023 Farm Bill.
In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change supported the mounting interest among policymakers in regenerative farming practices as a way to mitigate climate change.
A report by American Farmland Trust demonstrates that widespread adoption of just two regenerative practices on U.S. farmland —cover crops and no till—would sequester the carbon equivalent of removing up to 260 million automobiles from American roadways each year.
“American Farmland Trust is working for a future where American agriculture is climate neutral, or even a net carbon sink. To achieve this, we must act urgently to implement policies that support broad adoption of regenerative practices on farmland, protect farmland from development and encourage smart renewable energy siting on farms,” said Tim Fink, AFT Policy Director. “Samantha Levy has the policy knowledge, experience and a passion for this work that will supercharge our federal policy efforts at a time where the opportunity is great, and the stakes could not be higher. She has repeatedly demonstrated through her outstanding work with AFT’s New York team her unique ability to bring diverse partners together toward shared goals.”
Newly created, the Climate Policy Manager position will deepen AFT’s ability to address the crisis and take advantage of the capacity farmers and ranchers have to help our society mitigate its impacts. In addition to working as a member of AFT’s federal policy team, Levy will work closely with AFT’s Farmers Combat Climate Change Initiative.
Levy led AFT’s climate work in New York, working in coalition with farm and environmental groups to incorporate farmers into the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, advocate for smarter solar siting on farmland, pass landmark soil health legislation and support funding for other programs that help farmers mitigate climate change.
In 2019, Levy was appointed as a member of the Agriculture and Forestry Advisory Panel to the Climate Action Council to develop recommendations to reduce agricultural GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration in soils, and she also served as a member of the Governors’ Racial Equity and Diversity in Agriculture Workgroup. Levy was named one of City and State Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Albany in 2020, and was listed in their Agriculture Power 50 in 2021.
Prior to joining AFT, she worked as a farmers’ market manager in the New York metro region, and served as an intern at Slow Food USA and for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for whom she investigated federal policy angles to facilitate intergenerational transition of farmland.
She holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts from NYU Tisch, and Masters of Arts in Food Systems from New York University, and graduated from year one of Cornell University’s LEAD NY program in 2020.
“Climate change is already taking an enormous toll on members of our society economically, physically and emotionally —and especially on those most marginalized and vulnerable,” said Levy. “The most recent IPCC report and the devastating droughts, fires and other extreme weather events impacting our communities from coast to coast have underlined the urgent need to come together and take immediate and drastic action to halt climate change. As stewards of the land who grow essential food and crops on millions of acres, our nations’ farmers are poised to join in this fight, but it won’t happen without well-designed policies to support their critical efforts.”
Levy added, “climate change is one of the greatest existential issues we face. I stand at the ready to work with lawmakers and leaders across the nation alongside farmers, researchers and partners to implement policies that help more farmers reduce emissions, sequester more carbon in soils, protect more farmland and advance smart solar siting. The time to work diligently together to stop climate change is now.”
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 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.