Tillamook September Sales Campaign Successfully Delivers $1.6 Million to American Farmland Trust
Today, American Farmland Trust announces it has received $1.6 Million from Tillamook County Creamery Association to save farms and farmland and support the needs of farmers. Inspired by the amazing resilience of farmers across this country as they continued to feed Americans even in a time of national crisis, AFT and TCCA have teamed up to permanently protect farmland and provide direct support to farmers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather and climate change and other forces impacting the food and agriculture systems.
On September 1, TCCA committed to raise up to $1.6 Million through reserving 10% of sales on Tillamook products for AFT. Nationwide media coverage supported by award-winning actor, producer, director and activist, Eva Longoria brought star power and passion for American agriculture and the farmworker community to the Tillamook ‘All For Farmers’ effort, enabling TCCA to deliver fully on its commitment.
We appreciate and thank TCCA for the huge contribution it has made to ensuring a stronger future for farming,” said Beth Sauerhaft, AFT vice president of programs. “Partnerships drive change with like-minded organizations and individuals coming together with a common purpose. In Tillamook, we’ve found a partner that shares our values for respecting the hard work of farming, investing in the future of farmers, and protecting irreplaceable farmland.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the challenges in our food system. Supply chain disruptions, inequalities faced by frontline workers and the struggles of our farmers as they tried to pivot quickly to new distribution channels with the closure of restaurants and institutions has added incredible stress where some were already close to a breaking point.
Beth continued, “The U.S. is facing the alarming loss of farmland. An average 2,000 acres of rich farmland is being lost each day to commercial development, climate change is impacting growing conditions imperiling production in our most important farming regions and 371 million acres of land will be in a state of flux in the net 15 years as senior farmers retire and the next generation faces the challenges of land access.”
In TCCA’s September press release Patrick Criteser, TCCA president and CEO, said “The unpredictability of the pandemic and the complexities of the supply chain are squeezing the economics for many producers and putting many multi-generational farms at risk. This year’s unique challenges have accelerated and intensified the hardships that many farmers across the country were already facing.”
Being a farmer-owned and farmer-led co-op gives TCCA a resilient edge. TCCA farmer-owners direct the entire production chain and are accountable to consumers. In other words, the business model brings farmers and people closer together, while the opposite typically happens with corporate food production where farmers simply supply goods and are then removed from the decision-making process.
“Our business model enables responsible growth, sustains the farming way of life for our owners, and allows us to give back with initiatives like All For Farmers,” said Crieser.
With funding from Tillamook, AFT will help permanently protect a projected 6,000 acres of productive farmland in threatened regions of the country. Additionally, Tillamook’s gift will fuel the launch of AFT’s Brighter Future Micro-Grants Program that will provide grants of up to $5,000 to farmers near 16 cities across the nation. Application details can be found on AFT’s website in English and Spanish.
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 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.