Samuel SmidtNational Land Use and Protection Research Initiative Director
Sam Smidt joined American Farmland Trust as the National Land Use and Protection Research Initiative Director in May 2023. He most recently was an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences where he was the director of the Land and Water Lab and Early Career Faculty Fellow for the Water Institute. His lab was widely awarded for elite teaching and research related to sustainable agricultural and natural resources management. Sam is an experienced researcher and leader with specialties including GIS, data analytics, science communication, and data visualization. He has an extensive agricultural background and is particularly skilled at evaluating and modeling land transformation impacts on human and natural systems. His active partnerships include private, non-profit, governmental, and intergovernmental organizations, and he is currently funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Sam is a Midwest native raised in the Pumpkin Capital of the World, and he has graduate degrees in earth and environmental science and policy from Michigan State University and the University of Iowa. He is located in Gainesville, FL, where he operates a small organic Christmas tree farm with his wife and two boys.