California Farmers Combat Climate Change

AFT's Farmers Combat Climate Change California program includes research, policy recommendations, and promotion of production methods aimed at sequestering carbon and improving soil health and water reliability.

AFT scales up the adoption of soil health and water reliability projects via the following regional and state-level approaches: 

  • San Joaquin Land And Water Strategy: In July 2018, AFT and the Conservation Biology Institute released the San Joaquin Land And Water Strategy which identifies the most critical farmland and water supplies to protect in the valley. Stemming from this spatial analysis in the region, AFT and CBI determined where prime agricultural land and reliable water resources intersect in addition to the future impacts these resources face. Based on these findings, AFT is launching a multi-year program centered around the development of agricultural land protection, water conservation, and groundwater recharge projects. Initial projects will focus in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and Fresno Counties. Our partners in this work include the Conservation Biology Institute, Fresno Council of Governments, Strategic Growth Council, and the Kern County Planning Department. View the full San Joaquin Land And Water Strategy report and key messages document here.

AFT protects farmland and advances smart growth to significantly reduce emissions through the following research:

  • Avoided Farmland Conversion as a Climate Strategy: AFT is leveraging its research, Agricultural Land Conservation: An Important Part of California’s Climate Strategy, to educate policy makers on how preventing the development of farmland is an effective approach to reducing climate change impacts. Based on AFT's findings, California urban land uses generate an average of 58 times more greenhouse gas emissions per acre than the production of California's leading crops. The Helen K. Cahill Center for Farmland Conservation Policy Innovation continues to be an important partner in this work. 
  • Underserved Farmer Outreach Program: In 2013, the results of grower surveys and focus groups conducted by AFT indicated that cost, risk and availability of technical know-how are among the major influences on grower decisions. Motivated by these findings, AFT is developing a program to provide underserved communities of growers with vital technical resources. The program will enable farmers to implement innovative conservation practices. AFT is collaborating with Resource Conservation Districts, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, UC Cooperative Extension and the Almond Board of California on this program.
  • Economic Incentives for Conservation Practices: In tandem with the Underserved Farmer Outreach Program, AFT is working to measure the economic and environmental impacts of soil management practices. This assessment was similarly inspired by the results of AFT's 2013 grower outreach surveys. Support on this program has been provided by the California Department of Conservation and the Information Center for the Environment at UC Davis.