The pandemic previewed the impacts of a collapsing food system – land preservation, better farming practices and land access are key to ensuring agriculture will support society in the future.
For 40 years American Farmland Trust has led the conservation agricultural movement, yet the problems in the U.S. food system have never been more urgent. AFT’s Farming is Our Future initiative will transform agriculture for the next 40 years and beyond by reducing the rate of farmland loss by 75%, decreasing carbon emissions by 650 million metric tons annually and increasing the number of beginning farmers to the highest level in 50 years.
Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare how fragile our food and farming systems are, revealing supply chain weaknesses and racial inequities that have been inherent in these broken systems for too long, we also know the impacts of rampant farmland and ranchland loss, climate change, and unjust barriers to farmland and ranchland access will make it impossible to sustain agriculture into the future unless something is done to address them now.
AFT has the tools to protect irreplaceable farmland and ranchland, but we must apply them at a much larger scale. We know that agriculture currently contributes to our climate crisis, but we also know that through better practices, farming “done right” can be a climate mitigator and help to heal the earth. And with the right support, all farmers and ranchers can overcome barriers to land access and find ways to make a sustainable living stewarding the land.
“For 40 years, American Farmland Trust has led the conservation agriculture movement. Along the way, we’ve permanently saved 6.5 million acres of farmland. Bridging environmental and agricultural communities, AFT has brought regenerative farming practices to millions more acres of land – all while supporting our nation’s primary conservation stewards: our farmers and ranchers.
“The current pandemic has also shown us glimpses of how great innovation, perseverance and resiliency play out in our food system – and we’ve seen many people appreciate and value the security of good food, farms and the environmental services they provide in a new way. This is heartening, but we can, and must, do more to meet the existential challenges we’re facing head on.”
John Piotti, president and CEO, American Farmland Trust