Susan Payne Joins AFT as Senior Farmland Viability Advisor - American Farmland Trust

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Susan Payne Joins AFT as Senior Farmland Viability Advisor

(Washington, D.C.) Susan Payne joins American Farmland Trust as Senior Farmland Viability Advisor, where she will help advance AFT’s work in farmland protection, farmland access, farm viability, and other issues, by supporting existing initiatives, including new farmland protection demonstration projects, and identifying opportunities for greater integration of AFT programs in these areas.  

As former Executive Director of the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee, Payne directed every aspect of the state’s Farmland Preservation Program and the New Jersey Right to Farm Program. Her entire 35+ year career, including 16 years as a staff planner and director with the Burlington County Office of Resource Conservation, has focused on protecting New Jersey’s land and water resources, especially state farmland.  Additionally, Payne created and implemented programs recognized as national models for the protection and retention of agricultural land, including the implementation of Burlington County’s popular Installment Purchase Agreement financing model, and the establishment of the state’s first two municipal Transfer of Development Rights programs in Lumberton and Chesterfield Townships.  

“Protecting farmland has been my fundamental purpose and passion throughout my entire career,” said Payne. “I could not think of a more natural professional role to progress into than this one with AFT to have a profound impact on saving the land that sustains us.”  

”Susan’s extensive experience and expertise in farmland protection and planning for agriculture will be invaluable as we continue to develop and implement strategies to support farmers and protect our nation’s farmland,” said AFT Vice President of Programs Beth Sauerhaft, PhD. “We are excited to have her on board and look forward to the positive impact she will undoubtedly bring to our work.”   


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 8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.   


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