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Ep. 81: John Piotti, CEO & President of American Farmland Trust, Washington D.C. ||
On episode 81 of Sourcing Matters we welcome John Piotti of American Farmland Trust. American Farmland Trust (AFT) is an organization that works to protect and conserve farmland throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C, – AFT is staffed and governed by farmers, policy experts, researchers and scientists. With the call to action of “Join the Movement”, “Save a Family Farm”, and “Stay Informed” – American Farmland Trust seeks to engage diverse stakeholders in evaluating: What will happen to the nation’s food supply if we continue to wastefully develop our best farm & ranch land?
By the late 1970s, Peggy Rockefeller, a passionate farmer and active philanthropist, had become frustrated that none of the major environmental or agricultural organizations were effectively applying the emerging tools of land conservation to agriculture. She pulled together a brain trust to explore what could be done. This first-of-its-kind analysis of how and why America was losing farmland had recently been completed by USDA and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. The group recognized the serious threat posed by farmland loss and concluded that our nation needed a new kind of organization, one that stood at the intersection of agriculture and the environment. It would take a unique and highly innovative organization to operate effectively in this previously unexplored realm. But there was clearly a void that needed to be filled. They formally chartered American Farmland Trust in 1980.
John Piotti joined American Farmland Trust as president and CEO in July 2016, bringing more than 25 years of executive management and public policy experience to the organization. Prior, John served as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust for 10 years. Under his leadership, Maine Farmland Trust became an award-winning statewide nonprofit organization, helping over 500 Maine farms remain viable. Piotti has earned a reputation as a nonpartisan problem-solver; as a Statesman, an Eisenhower Fellow – and – as a leader in future food that has helped stabilize a regional dairy industry, and procure funding to protect working waterfronts & our natural lands. John holds three degrees from the MIT, in engineering, public policy, and management.
TuneIn to our 50 minute conversation to hear more about how the practice of American Farmland Trust has now cast over 6,500,000 acres of farmland in the United States into perpetual conservation. With John’s focus on conservation (regenerative) agriculture practice of these lands, and more – AFT will remain a pillar in American farmland access, and its management for the foreseeable future.
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