President and CEO
McElwaine brings to American Farmland Trust more than 30 years
of senior nonprofit management experience in conservation, public
policy and land protection. He joins American Farmland Trust
after a seven-year term as President and CEO of the Conservancy
of Southwest Florida.
McElwaine has an impressive track record in conservation, land
protection, agriculture and public policy. As President and CEO of
the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples, Florida, he helped
to acquire easements on farm and ranch land through donations
to and purchases by the Conservancy. He supported a successful
campaign for a state constitutional amendment to reduce property
taxes on lands with agricultural easements, and sought solutions to
Florida’s long-term water and growth-management problems.
He also successfully led coalitions at the local, state and federal
level to restore the Everglades, improve water storage and management, and balance growth with land conservation. He
acquired easements on farm and ranch land and oversaw more than
25,000 acres of easements held by the organization.
Prior to that, he was President and CEO of The Pennsylvania
Environmental Council, where he worked to conserve land and water resources in the state, including farmland. He
co-chaired two successful statewide bond initiatives that generated over $1 billion in conservation financing, including
substantial support for local and regional farmland protection. As a result, Pennsylvania became one of the nation’s
leaders in farmland easement purchases. He also served as the lead contractor for the Susquehanna River nutrienttrading
program, which rewards farmers for implementing best management practices.
Previous positions include Director of Environmental Programs at the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Endowments, staff
member on President George H. W. Bush’s Commission on Environmental Quality and Senior Legislative Assistant to
the late U.S. Senator John Heinz (R-PA).
McElwaine earned a B.A. in political science from Duke University, a master’s degree in policy and history from
Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in history from George Mason University.
Though he was born in New York City, his parents moved to Washington, D.C. when he was a young boy, and he spent
most of his boyhood years in the Tracy Place neighborhood near Rock Creek Park.
McElwaine’s roots are not confined to the East. He spent most summers at his cousin’s family cattle ranch in Dubois,
Wyoming, where he experienced cattle-raising first-hand and rode horses on the lands along the Wind River.
He has two college-aged sons with his wife, Barbara, an avid gardener of native fruits and vegetables.
1150 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036