AFT success stories are born from our commitment to support healthy farms, healthy food and
healthy communities —now and for the future. Read below about our recent successes and watch the video to learn more about our work and our history.
Sustaining Agriculture and Rural Regions in the 21st Century
Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and others, we
brought together leaders from agriculture, the environment
and rural development for a National Agricultural Landscapes
Forum to improve policy options for sustaining the agricultural
landscape and rural regions in the 21st Century.
Helping Farmers and Ranchers Protect the Land
Our Farmland Information Center helped countless farmers and
ranchers explore options on how to protect their land as well as
transfer it to the next generation.
Tranforming U.S. Farm Poilcy for the 21st Century
We launched Agenda 2012: Transforming U.S. Farm Policy
for the 21st Century — our plan for a federal farm bill that protects
the nation’s farm and ranch land so we can produce the food needed
for a growing population. Our plan also supports sound stewardship on
working lands in order to safeguard clean water, air and wildlife, and it
helps keep farms and ranches thriving.
Making the Farm and Food Connection
How can we help farmers and ranchers thrive while protecting the
environment and producing more locally grown food? It’s a critical question
that we worked to address in 2011. For example, in California, our Bay Area
Agricultural Sustainability Project focused on strategies to support viable
farms, farmland and local food, while in the region around Seattle, our
Pacific Northwest office kicked off a study of how much farmland is needed
to provide food for the area, and how we can better promote local food and
the farmers who grow it. And across the country in Rhode Island, we took
the lead on a five-year strategic plan that provides a vision for strengthening
the state’s agriculture.
Keeping Water Clean and Farmers on the Land
Farmers are some of our nation’s greatest environmental stewards, but they
face a delicate balance in growing healthy crops while protecting drinking
water. That’s why we’ve stepped up efforts to implement our Nutrient
BMP Challenge® program that encourages on-farm conservation and helps
reduce the amount of fertilizer flowing from farm fields into waterways.
Through the program farmers have reduced fertilizer use by 24 percent,
lessened greenhouse gas emissions by 69 percent and soil erosion by 78
percent on thousands of acres in the Midwest alone.
Finding Ways to Sustain Urban-Edge Farms A report co-authored by American Farmland Trust, Sustaining Agriculture in Urbanizing Counties, studied urban-edge counties across the country and uncovered the evolving mix of conditions needed to keep farms near metropolitan areas healthy and viable.
Leading the Development of Ecosystem Services Markets In Washington state, new American Farmland Trust-supported legislation will help develop ecosystem markets that allow farmers and forest landowners to “sell” environmental services. We are working in the Pacific Northwest and around the country to implement such markets, which hold immense promise for improving the environment and the profitability of agriculture.
Protecting Critical Watersheds Our Mid-Atlantic Clean Water Initiative is improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, by working with farmers in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia to reduce nutrient run-off. We are also working to improve water quality and strengthen agriculture in the Ohio River basin (which covers portions of 14 states) and Minnesota’s Sauk River watershed, through the creation of regional water quality trading systems.
Spreading the “No Farms No Food” Message
Without farms, there would be no food (and we would lose the many
environmental benefits that farms provide). That’s why American Farmland
Trust has been spreading the No Farms No Food® message around the
country, from “Ag Days” held in the state capitols of Massachusetts and
Connecticut to our rally to support farmland protection, local food and
viable farms in New York. And we reached tens of thousands of consumers
and almost every state in the country with that critical message through
our national America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest™ and Dine Out
for Farms™, a nationwide partnership with restaurants supportive of local
farms and food. To date, we've distributed more than one million “No Farms No Food” bumper stickers online and around the country at farmers markets, state capitols, concerts and community events.
Promoting Conservation on the Local Level American Farmland Trust led tours of officials and conservationists to the east end of Long Island, New York, to demonstrate how an urban-edge farming area under threat of development can protect farmland and support its source of local food.
Helping Communities Plan for Local Farm and Food Systems In California, our work with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Bay Area Urban Rural Roundtable helped city and agricultural leaders design a plan that expands markets for local farmers and improves the connection between farms and consumers.
Saving Farmland Protection in Wisconsin
Just two years ago, we led the drive to pass Wisconsin’s Working Lands
Initiative and to create a new Farmland Preservation Program, much
needed in a pivotal farm state losing fertile farmland to development. But
when Governor Scott Walker put promised funds for the program on hold
and called for eliminating it entirely, American Farmland Trust mobilized
farmers, activists and citizens. The state legislature listened, keeping the
program intact and restoring funds for already approved projects.
Winning Funding to Protect Farmland and the Environment Great news for farmland and the environment in Ohio: the American Farmland Trust-backed campaign to pass the Clean Ohio Bond Fund succeeded when nearly 70 percent of Ohio voters approved the bond, which pays for farmland preservation, brownfields cleanup, green space projects and recreational trails.
Boosting Preservation Efforts In New England, key legislative priorities of American Farmland Trust were enacted, including increased funding for farmland protection in Massachusetts and an important change raising the cap on funds that may be paid to landowners participating in Connecticut’s farmland preservation program.
Promoting Smart Growth that Saves Farmland In California, the passage of Senate Bill 375—backed by American Farmland Trust—fundamentally changed the rules for land development in favor of smarter growth. By encouraging more efficient urban development, the law cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions from auto travel while reducing the loss of farmland.
Achieving Success in the 2008 Farm Bill Our efforts helped conservation funding in the 2008 Farm Bill increase by over $4 billion, supporting farmland protection and environmental stewardship on farms, along with cleaner water, reduced soil erosion and greater wildlife habitat across America.
For the first time, the farm bill provided more than $1 billion in new funding for farmers who grow specialty crops (fruits, vegetables and nuts), while increasing programs that support local farmers, farmers markets, fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, and access to healthy foods for seniors and low-income citizens. Our 2008 Farm Bill Campaign worked to usher in these provisions. A new federal pilot program developed and championed by American Farmland Trust called Average Crop Revenue Election, or ACRE, better protects farmers from risk, reduces market distortions and uses tax payer dollars more efficiently, while paving the way for more reform in the future.