Scaling Collective Impact at the Sustainable Agriculture Summit
American Farmland Trust was pleased to sponsor this year’s Sustainable Agriculture Summit held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 2023 theme—“Scaling Collective Impact” —was apparent from the over 800 food and agricultural supply chain leaders and experts present for the lively sessions and engaging conversations. Co-hosted by Field to Market and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, AFT staff members brought examples of research and stories of impact to the booth along with new AFT merchandise, which attracted steady interest from attendees.
This event took place on World Soil Day, and we highlighted some of our Research to celebrate the day. Our Water Initiative Director, Dr. Michelle Perez, discussed findings from this research with farmers curious about AFT’s work and eager to learn more about methods to improve their own soils. By discussing outcomes from case studies implementing soil health practices at farms across a range of geographies and sizes, producers present at the Sustainable Ag Summit were able to leave this event with cutting-edge information in hand to improve their own farms.
Jacob Gilley, our Sustainable Grazing Manager, was in attendance as well to speak with AFT partners regarding our Climate-Smart Beef project. In addition, AFT staff shared information about our Agricultural Carbon Program, Biochar research, and Farm Bill work at this event where producers, sustainability leaders, and agriculture companies converged to discuss timely topics and learn together.
Events such as the Sustainable Agriculture Summit help AFT staff and programs connect with supporters, partners, and farmers in person and in ways that otherwise wouldn’t happen. One of these conversations I personally recall was with a fourth-generation dairy farmer seeking information about how to ensure their farm will be protected in perpetuity. Delivering basic information about farmland easements and estate planning options sounds like a minor role, but it may help save a farm. These types of connections are what makes AFT’s Events & Outreach program so crucial. Building new relationships and strengthening existing ones with audiences across the country are the foundation for inspiring partners and farmers to collaborate with our programs and projects.
“The mission of American Farmland Trust is more important than ever.”
As Board Member Val Dolcini noted, who was in attendance, “The mission of American Farmland Trust is more important than ever.” Raising awareness of AFT’s mission and work is critical during a time where farmland across the nation is under threat. It also helps our staff and organization to engage and include more people in the mission to promote sound farming practices and protect the land that sustains us all.