Farmers and Ranchers Reap Rewards for Land Conservation Practices

The American Farmland Trust program rewards land conservation practices by farmers and ranchers.

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ILLUSTRATION: GRIT MAGAZINE STAFF

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This program awards farmers and ranchers who put words into land conservation practices. 

Land stewardship is more than just a concept to the nonprofit American Farmland Trust. For each of the past 10 years, the organization has selected a farmer or rancher who epitomizes its mission of preserving farmland and promoting environment-friendly practices.

Last year, Tom Hutson, a New York dairy farmer, earned the Steward of the Land Award in response to his work with the DeLancy, New York-based Watershed Agricultural Council, helping to eliminate the need for a costly water filtration plant for New York City. Hutson and his fellow farmers implemented land conservation practices with assistance from WAC.

The stewardship program also works to highlight the public benefits of such farming and ranching practices, providing background for discussions on such topics as the 2007 Farm Bill.

"We need to keep in mind the many things that good farm stewards provide," says Ralph Grossi, president of American Farmland Trust, “clean water, open space and wildlife habitat and more, in addition to the food, fiber, fuel and timber products we enjoy every day.”

The award is presented in memory of Peggy McGrath Rockefeller, a farmer and conservationist who helped found AFT. The national organization works with individuals, as well as with communities, to protect and maintain land, and plan for agriculture needs. A leading advocate for farm and ranch land conservation, AFT works to ensure that more than a million acres of American farmland remain productive.

To learn more about American Farmland Trust and its Steward of the Land Award, visit the website at www.Farmland.org.