American Farmland Trust released 45 “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."

McElwaine said, "They 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," he said.

"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."

Thompson added, "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."

The 45 profiles include agricultural producers in 25 counties around the state. 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. Several organizations played a role in identifying farmers and ranchers for the profiles.

All 45 Stewardship Profiles can be found online at: http://www.farmland.org/programs/campaign/california-voices.asp

The American Farmland Trust expresses its goals as being dedicated to conservation, protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.