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
Gulf Fishermen Toast Wisconsin’s Uplands Farmers For Protecting Their Fisheries
November 17, 2017
Eighty five farmers, fishermen, agency, business, University, and non-profit group supporters – all enthusiastic eaters – gathered near Dodgeville in Southwest Wisconsin last Thursday evening, November 16, to celebrate farming conservation practices of Iowa County’s Uplands Watershed Group in Southwest Wisconsin. The evening highlighted stories of nine people affected by the Dead Zone in the […]
Green Lands, Blue Waters Conference
November 1, 2017
Are you concerned about farming systems, water quality and soil health in the Upper Mississippi watershed and beyond? Join the Green Lands Blue Waters Conference on November 28 and 29 at the UW Pyle Center in Madison.
Wisconsin Poised to Legalize Industrial Hemp
Wisconsin seems ready to join 30 other states that have already legalized industrial hemp. The Senate unanimously approved the industrial hemp Senate Bill (SB) 119 and sent it over to the Assembly. On Thursday, November 10th, the Assembly approved the bill and the next step would be for Governor Walker to sign it into law. […]
Help Influence Crop Insurance Policies and Earn $20
The 2014 Farm Bill greatly increased access to crop insurance for diversified, organic, and specialty crop growers, but so far only a small percentage of those who are eligible have taken advantage of these new opportunities. Please give your input and share the link with all who may be interested.
GULFS November Outreach
With the growing season coming to a close, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute’s Assistant Policy Director, Devon Hamilton has kept busy with continuing outreach and youth education at Badger Rock Middle School around food system issues included in the scope of the GULFS program curriculum.