Agriculture, Food, Nutrition

American Farmland Trust

No Farms No Food

aka AFT

Washington, DC


The mission of American Farmland Trust is to save the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.

Ruling Year



Mr. John Piotti

Main Address

1150 Connecticut Ave. NW Ste 600

Washington, DC 20036 USA


farmland protection, local food, conservation, ranch, agriculture, farm, farming, farmers markets, smart growth, farmers, ranchers





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Farmland Preservation (K25)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

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Programs + Results

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

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Farmland Protection

Agriculture & Environment

Keeping Farmers on the Land

Federal Farm Policy

State Issues and Programs

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Charting Impact

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American Farmland Trust is the only national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land. Farmland loss affects every aspect of our lives and is one of the most urgent issues of our time. The nutritious food grown on our farms has a direct impact on our health, economy, environment, and communities – and supports our connection to the vast natural and cultural landscapes that built America.

America has lost over 23 million acres of farmland in the past three decades. That loss continues at a rate of 50 acres every hour as we face emerging challenges, critical policy issues, and threats to our most valuable farmland on the edge of growing cities.

Over the next five years, American Farmland Trust seeks to accomplish the following:

• Increase permanent protection of the most valuable and most threatened farmland in the U.S.;
• Decrease conversion of the most valuable and most threatened farmland in the U.S.;
• Increase soil health and reduced nutrient runoff in the most vulnerable watersheds while helping family farmers prosper for the long-term;
• Keep farm and ranch land in production as it transitions from the current to the next generation;
• Expand economic opportunities and access to markets for family farmers and ranchers – especially those threatened by development pressures.

Saving America’s Farmland

Saving our remaining farm and ranch land is more important than ever before. Our continued efforts to protect farmland must overcome, ill-planned development, eroding soils, declining aquifers, exponential population growth and increased local and global demand for food. AFT’s core strategies include:

• Create State of America’s Farmland, the most comprehensive national snapshot of farm and ranch land conservation ever undertaken – showing farm and ranch lands lost over the past decades and targeting the areas where future losses can be expected due to development and a changing climate.
• Advance federal farmland protection policy and reform America’s Estate Tax policies to be farm-friendly.
• Establish AFT as the go-to source of credible information on farmland protection by providing technical assistance and training.

Promoting Sound Farming Practices

Through proven conservation techniques that protect soil, water and habitat, AFT is helping more family farms provide solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. AFT’s core strategies include:

• Increase federal Farm Bill conservation funding to restore funding back to 2008 levels.
• Reduce nutrient runoff leaving farms and target funds to the most vulnerable places.
• Complete demonstration projects that achieve improved soil health and cleaner water in target watersheds (San Francisco Bay Delta, Puget Sound, Upper Mississippi, Ohio River Basin, Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, and western New York);
• Participate in the world’s largest water quality trading market in the Ohio River Basin.
• Engage stakeholders in America’s food and farming system to find common ground balancing regulations and incentives.

Keeping Family Farmers on the Land

National and global food security depends on the ability of American farmers to grow food. Farmland is most vulnerable when it is passing from one generation to the next. An estimated 400 million acres of U.S. farmland will change hands in the coming years due to an aging population of farmers. Even with the wave of renewed interest in farming among the younger generation, there are many barriers to finding affordable land, accessing financial capital and making a successful living. AFT’s core strategies include:

• Help states and communities plan for the future of farming and ranching by adopting “farm friendly” land use policies.
• Train the next generation of leaders and critical thinkers and deliver graduate-level planning curriculum to 10 universities.
• Build capacity and a network of planners, local officials and stakeholder partners in 20 communities to support farm viability through local planning, policy development and public investment.
• Help landowners secure the land for the long-run through estate planning.
• Reform policies that put farmland at risk during land transition.
• Train 1,000 farmland advisers to help the next generation of family farmers.

American Farmland Trust has a strong, experienced, nationally respected team of leaders working across the country to make a difference at all levels – from planning round-tables in small towns to advancing policy reform on Capitol Hill.

Headquartered in Washington DC, AFT’s six regional offices cover some of the most threatened agricultural landscapes and watersheds in the country.

A key component of AFT’s approach involves partnering with national, regional and local organizations to leverage outcomes and engage broader audiences. Key partners include USDA, in particular its Natural Resources Conservation Service and its local offices; National Association of Conservation Districts and its county district offices; and Land Trust Alliance and many local and regional land trusts. AFT also partners with a variety of other institutions: agricultural groups, universities, local governments, sustainable agriculture groups, land trusts, environmental groups, and many others.

American Farmland Trust has a five-year strategic plan that will take the organization through 2020. As part of that plan, the organization defined clear one-year objectives within each Program Area. The work is articulated in a matrix format that allows directors to account for milestones on a quarterly basis.

AFT’s annual objectives are achieved through the core activities of the organization, which include: research, technical assistance and outreach, policy and advocacy and demonstration projects located throughout the country.

Over three and a half decades, AFT helped permanently protect more than five million acres of farm and ranch land. Our work across the country continues to make progress on many fronts. However the critical need for American Farmland Trust’s work continues today. The following are several key initiatives that tackle the challenges facing America’s farmland, water, soil, farmers and food today.

State of America’s Farmland – American Farmland Trust has launched one of its most ambitious projects to date. In addition to analyzing data-driven trends, the project will show what is working to protect farmland nationally and what communities can do to change the status quo.

Estate Tax Policy – It is critical that the U.S. Congress adopt common-sense reforms to alleviate unintended consequences of the Estate Tax. AFT is a leading advocate for federal policy reform that will ensure no family farm is taken out of production and sold for development to pay estate taxes.

The Next Generation of Family Farmers – American Farmland Trust is helping the next generation of family farmers get access to land and care for it for the long-term. Women farmers and landowners are increasingly taking ownership of farm and ranch land in America. American Farmland Trust is developing tailored information and assistance to help them transition to leadership roles in agriculture and achieve their goals of building successful farms. AFT is engaging women landowners through Conservation Learning Circles to bring local groups of women landowners together for facilitated discussions on conservation issues in agriculture.

Conservation on the Farm – AFT has boots-on-the-ground helping advisers, farmers and landowners adopt conservation practices to protect soil, water and habitat. Our accomplishments in this area have positioned AFT at the critical intersection between farm viability and environmental protection.

Communications and Outreach – AFT has doubled its membership ranks in the past three years alone, and is rapidly expanding its reach. Through our communications strategies, media relations, grassroots advocacy efforts and social media, AFT will continue rally support for farmland protection and make it national priority.

In addition to these accomplishments, AFT is continuing to increase our capacity to reach more threatened areas across the country, encourage and support smart planning for agriculture, advance sound policies at all levels of government and work with family farmers to keep their land in farming for generations to come.

External Reviews

Awards & Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2014

Affiliations & Memberships

United Way Member Agency 2010


American Farmland Trust

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Board Leadership Practices

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Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?