WASHINGTON — American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food®, has hired Michele Laur as its Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration coordinator. Laur will engage in Gulf restoration planning and activities related to agriculture, including assisting USDA with its restoration efforts and evaluating potential synergistic restoration concepts and approaches in each of the Gulf states.
As part of the partnership with NRCS, AFT staff will provide knowledge and expertise toNRCS’s Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Team and facilitate collaboration among Gulf stakeholders to help advance USDA restoration and conservation priorities.
“AFT believes in the importance of our partnership with the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Team created by the USDA. Through this partnership, we can conduct planning and restoration efforts on the Gulf Coast that will provide healthier and more resilient ecosystems for one of the most important agricultural regions in the country,” says Dr. Beth Sauerhaft, AFT vice president of programs.
Laur holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in engineering from North Carolina State University. Over her 20 years of federal service, she worked for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Agriculture. From mid-2012 through December 2016, she was the senior advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture for USDA’s Gulf of Mexico restoration effort following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“The Gulf Coast ecosystem is a national treasure, hosting an array of natural resources and habitats. The health of this ecosystem is essential to the Gulf Coast states and the nation. I look forward to working for AFT, sharing my expertise while capitalizing on AFT’s technical and outreach capacity to support USDA’s continued efforts on Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration,” says Laur.
–Lori Sallet, American Farmland Trust