Audrey Epp Schmidt Joins The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy adds new staff member to manage a $60 million, multi-partner agroforestry project in the United States

Field of skinny trees sprouting from green grass
AgroForestry This shows a typical silvopasture field that was developed from a slash pine plantation. Brush species invaded abundantly after the canopy was opened up and goats were used to manage the brush. This picture is 3 years after thinning and the field will be thinned again in about 2 years. Understory is bahiagrass, bluestems, blackberries. Basal area is around 50. © USDA

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Audrey Epp Schmidt Agroforestry Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy in North America

The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce the addition of Audrey Epp Schmidt as the Agroforestry Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy in North America. In this role, Epp Schmidt will work collaboratively with TNC staff and partners throughout the United States to advance agroforestry as a natural climate solution.

“We are thrilled to welcome Audrey to our team,” said Kris Johnson, director of agriculture for The Nature Conservancy in North America. “Audrey has worked at the nexus of regenerative agriculture and conservation for more than 10 years. During that time, she has demonstrated great success at bringing together people from different sectors to work together for a common cause—a skill that will serve her well in this position.”

Epp Schmidt’s primary role will be managing a multi-partner $60 million USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant to advance new agroforestry plantings on 30,000 new acres of working lands. The 5-year project is designed to catalyze significant private investments into the agroforestry industry while increasing farmers’ incomes and delivering environmental benefits such as enhanced carbon sequestration, soil health, biodiversity and water quality. While TNC is responsible for grant administration, the project is bringing together leading businesses, academic institutions and non-profit organizations working on expanding agroforestry practices throughout the United States.

“The USDA’s historic investment to accelerate the agroforestry industry through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant will significantly elevate the role of farmers and ranchers in addressing climate change while creating new markets for agroforestry commodities,” said Audrey Epp Schmidt, agroforestry program manager for The Nature Conservancy in North America. “I’m excited to work closely with our partners to implement solutions that will create benefits for the climate, biodiversity, and rural development.”

Epp Schmidt previously held positions at Chesapeake Farm to Table, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and most recently, Propagate Ventures. She holds a masters in geography and a graduate certificate in food systems, the environment and public health from Johns Hopkins University.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.