Farm of the Future
The Farm of the Future initiative profiles working farms, forests, and ranches that are participating in environmental markets or receiving payments for ecosystem services in the United States. With changes to management practices, these working lands generate new revenue from ecosystem services as a supplement to traditional income.
The Farm of the Future case studies document how five landowners changed their land management practices to provide water quality, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and carbon benefits—managing working lands to generate new revenue from ecosystem services as a supplement to traditional income. EcoAgriculture Partners produced Farm of the Future with support from the USDA Office of Environmental Markets.
The Case Studies
Buck Island Ranch is one of eight ranches in Florida's Lake Okeechobee watershed supplementing its cattle sales with payments for water retention as part of an ecosystem services pilot project.
Mudford Farm maintains corn, soybean, and wheat production on its most productive soils while restoring wetlands and wildlife habitat on marginal agricultural land near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The farm’s management strategy generates returns from a wetland mitigation bank, hunting permits, water quality enhancement, and traditional row crops.
Sacramento River Ranch sells wetlands and habitat mitigation credits to local developers in addition to its food production on 2,600 acres of cropland and orchards in the northern portion of California's central valley.
Watson Partners Farm in Minnesota receives payments for planting a cover crop with its sugar beets as part of a phosphorus trading program within its cooperative. Cover cropping sequesters phosphorus and offsets discharge from the cooperative’s wastewater treatment facility.
Big River and Salmon Creek Forests demonstrate a new approach to sustainable forest management that involves a “light touch” harvest plan, the protection of wildlife habitat and water quality, the sale of carbon offsets, and job creation in local rural communities on the North Coast of California.