WASHINGTON D.C., May 14, 2013 - In an age where many battles are waged between environmentalists and agriculturalists, producers may have a friend in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

After years of working to save endangered species and prevent them from extinction, the WWF is focusing on partnering with agricultural producers to develop sustainable farming practices that benefit producers, consumers, and wildlife alike.

“What we found was that the production of food and fiber was the biggest threat to the places that we cared about,” Dr. Jason Clay of the WWF said Monday in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “We came to realize that if we don’t get how and where we produce food and fiber right, we don’t have an environmental agenda anymore.”

Clay said the organization is now working to help people understand the real environmental costs of the products they produce and consume. WWF hopes that by working to improve the production methods of today, it will improve the farming practices and environmental standards of tomorrow, because as Clay said, “Today’s better practice is tomorrow’s norm.”

One American success drawing the attention of the WWF is the USDA Conservation Reserve Program. Clay points out that even after withdrawing about 8 percent of American row cropland out of production, growers still saw a net increase in production.  Clay said this could serve as a model for responsible agricultural practices moving forward.

“Farmers stopped farming the problem land and started spending more time on the good land,” Clay said. “I’ve looked at 20 different crops. In each case, farmers could take anywhere from five to fifteen-percent of land out of production and produce more on what’s left. That’s the kind of thing we need to look at.”


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