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
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 and will either need to […]
Farmer – Fisherman Dinner & Field Day
November 7, 2018
Nestled between the setting sun over harvested grain fields and the distant hum of highway 151, a fire crackled in Folklore Village as smoke billowed over a cabin full of friendly, hungry faces. Volunteers here were preparing for a dinner of epic proportions. The smell of the ocean still stuck to oysters, shrimp, and fish, […]
Sustain Dane Summit Live Forward Awards
Friday, November 2nd, Sustain Dane hosted their annual summit on the UW Madison campus. This year featured a keynote presentation by Victoria Barrett, various other interactive activities and conversations around sustainability and the environment, and presentations by this year’s Live Forward awardees. Michael Field’s Associate Policy Director, Devon Hamilton, was one of three recipients receiving […]
Why is it urgently important to pass a Farm Bill?
September 21, 2018
by Margaret Krome We’re starting to hear mewings from Congress that, once again, they can’t seem to pass a Farm Bill by the deadline they set four-plus years ago. I know how hard deadlines are to meet, but really, that’s a lot of time to get it right! Why does it matter? Because we can’t […]
Don’t Politicize or Weaken USDA Research Agencies
September 20, 2018
Last week, several former top USDA research officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations held a nationally broadcast webinar to explain their concerns with a Trump Administration proposal that would both politicize and weaken the research apparatus at USDA. MFAI’s Margaret Krome wrote an editorial about this concern in early September. Link to Krome’s editorial […]