Every year American Farmland Trust presents a $10,000 Steward of the Land Award to a farmer or rancher that best exemplifies AFT's mission of stopping the loss of productive farmland and promoting farming practices that lead to a healthy environment. AFT has started accepting nominations for the 2007 award, with a nomination deadline of December 1, 2006.
Anyone wishing to send in a nomination form can complete it on the AFT Web site at www.farmland.org/programs/award/default.asp. The online form can also be printed off and sent by mail, or you can call 202-378-1255 for an application or with questions.
Earlier this year, AFT named Tom Hutson, DeLancey, N.Y. dairy farmer, the 10th Steward of the Land. Hutson operates River Haven Farm in New York's Catskill Mountains, in a watershed where reservoirs supply drinking water for millions in New York City. Hutson worked with the local Watershed Agricultural Council, and he and neighboring farmers spared New York City the cost of a billion dollar water filtration plant by keeping the watershed pristine enough to satisfy federal drinking water standards.
"Tom, like all of AFT's Stewardship winners, is a champion of good agriculture - leading and showing by example on his farm how you can provide consumers with food and environmental benefits - and attract wildlife at the same time. He is a true steward of the land and a great inspiration to farmers across the country," says Ralph Grossi, president of AFT.
Established in 1997, AFT's Steward of the Land Award recognizes the American farmer or farm family who best demonstrates leadership in protecting farmland and caring for the environment. The award honors the memory of Peggy McGrath Rockefeller, an avid farmer and conservationist who helped found AFT.