No single policy is designed to address all aspects of sustainable agriculture, and many serve farmers who would not characterize themselves as sustainable agriculture adherents as well as those who would. But taken as a whole, policies help move the nation’s agriculture toward a more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable future.
Our policy program empowers citizens to use democratic processes to direct government resources to support sustainable agriculture’s many objectives. For example, Michael Fields coordinates the national sustainable agriculture movement’s annual grassroots campaign to obtain funding for sustainable agriculture programs. We meet with agency staff to encourage proper administration of programs we have helped create and improve.
They might be federal marketing programs like the Farmers Market Promotion Program or Conservation Stewardship Program. Or possibly policies such as measures to reform the direct farm payments in the federal commodity programs.
In Wisconsin, we advance programs such as the new Buy Local Buy Wisconsin program and Farm to School program, whose legislative passage Michael Fields coordinated and led. We also promote managed grazing, bioenergy, new markets and opportunities, local food, agricultural innovation, and the next generation of farmers.
Michael Fields also works to build the capacity of the sustainable movement. For example, we cultivate new leadership through our policy internships, build the grassroots power base that helps our movement achieve its many victories, and offer grantwriting workshops to help farmers and ranchers nationwide access federal programs’ resources.
Latest Public Policy Posts
Good News, Bad News: 2018 Farm Bill Passage
December 14, 2018
After what can only be called a contentious process and protracted hiatus, the 2018 Farm Bill passed both houses last week and was sent to the President for signing, which he was expected to do, as of this writing. Overall, given the extreme political conditions under which it was negotiated, given the extremely bad House […]
Industrial Hemp License Deadline Extended
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s industrial hemp research pilot program requires both growers and processors to obtain one-time licenses, and register each year that they intend to plant/process industrial hemp. DATCP has extended the deadline to apply for 2019 licenses and registrations through March 1, 2019. More information on licensing, registrations […]
Conservation Stewardship Program
December 10, 2018
Producers with expiring Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will have the opportunity to renew their contracts in 2019, even though the program is not currently authorized under a farm bill. Contract holders must sign contract modifications by the end of this year to be eligible. NRCS CSP […]
Post-Election Farm Bill Updates
November 14, 2018
To many producers and conservationists, the midterms were critical for more than the many social issues that have captivated the news for months, as Congress has struggled to pass a new Farm Bill and the FY 2019 appropriations bill. Both bills inform the agricultural agenda and programs across the states […]
Farmer – Fisherman Dinner & Field Day
November 7, 2018
Nestled between the setting sun over harvested grain fields, a fire crackled in Folklore Village as smoke billowed over a cabin full of friendly, hungry faces. Fishermen from the Gulf of Mexico and farmers alike spent their afternoon laughing and cooking a meal for over one hundred guests interested in their story and work.[…]