American Farmland Trust is writing to support the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s proposal for a Soil Health Forever stamp to create awareness of the importance of soil health management.
For over 35 years, American Farmland Trust has led the fight to save family farms. We’ve helped protect more than 6.4 million acres of family farmland from destructive development and implemented conservation practices on millions more. Today, we continue to be the nation’s leading advocate for family farmland and ranchland.
In 2018, we uncovered shocking news about our farmland through our study Farms Under Threat. We found that between 1992 and 2012, we lost nearly 31 million acres of land— nearly twice as much as previous datasets have shown. We lose 175 acres an hour, or 3 acres every single minute. 11 million of those acres were among the best farmland in the nation—classified as the most productive, most versatile and most resilient land.
As we face the production and sustainability challenges of the 21st century, focusing on soil health is the right thing to do – and that now is the right time to do it. The world of agriculture is facing enormous challenges ahead. Soil is a living and life-giving natural resource. Healthy soil is alive and productive, it can sequester carbon and create resiliency in farmland production, dampening the effects of more frequent flood and drought cycles on America’s farms. For America's farmers and ranchers, the soil beneath their feet is the foundation of their success – it's a life-giving force that grows the food to sustain our nation.
Beyond food security and economic prosperity, well-managed agricultural land provides open space, recreational resources for activities like hunting and fishing, and critical ecological services such as wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge, and flood control. This incredible diversity provides the United States with invaluable options to help the nation optimize the use of agricultural resources to sustain future generations.
Farmers and ranchers are already adapting to impacts from climate change and extreme weather events. Severe droughts and flooding are becoming the norm. Healthy soils keep carbon in the ground and out of the atmosphere where it becomes carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Farm practices that keep the soil healthy are powerful weapons in the fight against climate change.
At American Farmland Trust, we think saving farmland by the inch is just as important as saving it by the acre.
In the Midwest, American Farmland Trust works with family farmers and conservation partners to protect and restore the health and productivity of this vital natural resource. We encourage farmers to adopt practices that increase the soil's organic matter, making it more productive and resilient.
Farmers who implement soil health management systems have optimized inputs, reduced fuel and labor costs and got equal or even higher yields from their fields. Soil health management as the key to the long-term production and sustainability of the nation’s working lands.
Achieving soil health is part of a systems approach to agriculture production that benefits the landscape, reduces nutrient loading and sediment runoff, increases efficiencies, and sustains wildlife habitat, while providing the potential for cost savings to producers. As we face the production and sustainability challenges of the 21st century, focusing on soil health is the right thing to do – and that now is the right time to do it. For that reason, American Farmland Trust wholeheartedly supports the recommendation to the USPS Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to produce a new Soil Health Forever Stamp.
With that in mind, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture is leading an effort asking the USPS to issue a Soil Health Forever stamp in the near future. CCSI is championing this effort and we would appreciate your support.
Click here to sign the Soil Health Stamp Petition!