Healthy soils are the foundation of productive farmland and farm viability. Healthy soils can improve both on-farm productivity and environmental health by preventing the loss of soil and nutrients to our waterways, protecting water quality and water quantity, and restoring soil biology and function. They are also critical to enabling farms and ranches to sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and be more resilient to increasingly intense and erratic weather conditions.
AFT’s Soil Health Stewards Program is an ambitious national effort to engage and support agricultural land protection practitioners in promoting soil health practices with the farmers, ranchers, and others who own and manage permanently protected agricultural land—and on the agricultural land their agency or organization itself owns. The program’s focus is on the more than 6 million acres of permanently protected farms and ranches across the United States, recognizing the lasting impact that soil health improvements on this land will provide.
The program seeks to serve the needs of land trusts and public Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) programs, both those already engaged in this work and those just starting out, to enable them to grow their efforts to support and incentivize producers and landowners of protected land to address soil health.