DAVIS, Calif., Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Farmland Trust today released forty-five Profiles In Stewardship showing how farmers and ranchers in 25 California counties have improved the environment by adopting conservation practices that serve as examples for others to follow, according to Andrew McElwaine, President and CEO of AFT.
"One of AFT's top priorities is to promote sound farming practices and improve the environment by protecting our land, air and water," said McElwaine. "The case studies we released today demonstrate how farmers all over California use conservation practices to protect the environment and the natural resources they and we depend on. They are role models for good stewardship of land and resources."
"These farm leaders clearly show agricultural producers in California care about the environment and are motivated to take positive steps to enhance it," said McElwaine. "They also demonstrate the potential benefits of conservation and serve as encouragement for other farmers to adopt the same practices.
"Programs authorized by the federal Farm Bill are critical to providing the kind of technical and financial assistance that farmers need to make these practices more widespread," said McElwaine. "It is vital the Senate-House conference committee in Congress finish its work and agree on a new Farm Bill that fully funds farm conservation programs that expired on September 30."
"The conservation practices highlighted in the Profiles conserve water, reduce greenhouse gases, improve air and water quality, restore wildlife habitat, generate renewable energy and achieve other environmental benefits," said Edward Thompson, Jr., California State Director for AFT. "We have seen practices like these become increasingly commonplace throughout the state and the Profiles help document that trend."
"These producers are making environmental stewardship an integral and prominent feature of the California brand. That's one of the key goals set by the State Board of Food & Agriculture when it adopted 'California Agricultural Vision' as a blueprint for the sustainability of agriculture," said Thompson. "As consumers become more and more aware of the connection between their food and the environment, this will give California farmers and ranchers a competitive advantage."
"But to successfully address environmental issues facing agriculture and fulfill the California Agricultural Vision, we need a more aggressive, well-coordinated strategy for promoting environmentally beneficial farming practices," said Thompson. "Many public agencies and private sector agricultural organizations in California are now promoting these practices, but have yet to join forces in a way that would take full advantage of their various contributions. AFT would like to help make that happen."
"We would like to thank each of the farmers and ranchers who participated in Profiles in Stewardship for sharing their stories and helping us better understand the conservation practices they adopted," said Thompson.
The 45 profiles include agricultural producers in 25 counties around the state-- Alameda, Butte, Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Kings, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Ventura and Yolo counties.
The case studies were compiled under the direction of Steve Shaffer, an AFT California Environmental Consultant and former chief of the Environmental Division of the California Department of Food & Agriculture.
The following organizations played a significant role in identifying farmers and ranchers for the Profiles In Stewardship series: the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Ag Innovations Network, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, Cachuma Resource Conservation District, Sand County Foundation, California Cattlemen's Association and the Environmental Defense Fund to produce Stewards of Land and Water case studies.
Funding for this initiative was provided by the Adams Legacy Foundation.
All 45 Stewardship Profiles can be found online at: http://www.farmland.org/programs/campaign/california-voices.asp
The American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.
For more information on the policies and programs of the American Farmland Trust, contact the California Office of AFT by calling 202-309-1162 or visit www.farmland.org/california, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AFTCalifornia or Twitter www.twitter.com/farmland.
To learn more about California Agricultural Vision, visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/agvision/.
Edward Thompson, Jr., California State Director, American Farmland Trust
or to Contact Andrew McElwaine--
David Hess, Acting Communications Manager, American Farmland Trust
SOURCE American Farmland Trust