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America Farmland Trust Projects are Promoting Environmental Stewardship by California Farmers and Ranchers

In California, American Farmland Trust is working to increase the adoption by farmers and ranchers of environmentally Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs), particularly those that reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions, and improve water quality. We work closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and farm and ranch organizations across the state to promote BMPs that meet the “triple bottom line” of farm profitability, environmental sustainability, and community responsibility. American Farmland Trust’s recent work includes:


  • BMP Challenge: AFT encourages growers to participate in field trials of environmentally beneficial management practices (BMP) by offering to indemnify them for any reduction in crop yield that might occur, if they follow prescribed procedures. This takes the risk out trying new farming practices that improve the environment.
  • Grower Survey & Focus Groups: AFT recently conducted a survey and focus groups with fruit and vegetable producers around California to learn why they have adopted, or are reluctant to adopt, beneficial management practices. We found that cost, risk and availability of technical know-how are among the major influences on grower decisions.
  • Conservation Practices Resource Guide: AFT published an easy-to-use, on-line guide for fruit and vegetable growers who want to learn more about beneficial management practices. The guide allows growers to match their crop and specific environmental goals like water quality improvement and pesticide reduction. It links them directly to the conservation practice manual of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops: AFT is a participant in this effort by a broad coalition to develop practical metrics that provide a uniform method of measuring environmental performance on farms growing fruits, nuts, and vegetable crops. AFT co-led the effort to develop a metric for irrigation water use efficiency.


  • Profiles in Stewardship: AFT has compiled a portfolio of 45 case studies detailing the environmentally beneficial management practices being applied by farmers and ranchers throughout California.


Contact Us:

California Office
P.O. Box 73856
Davis, CA 95617


Edward Thompson, Jr.
California State Director
(p) 530-564-4422



Daniel O'Connell
San Joaquin Valley Field Representative
(p) 559-967-1940

Serena Unger
California Policy Consultant
(p) 415-336-2981

Steven Shaffer
California Environmental Consultant
(p) 530-758-6943



American Farmland Trust