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
9 Steps to Conservation Planning
January 12, 2017
Farmers of many sizes and kinds tell MFAI about the merit of conservation planning. As farmers in Iowa County’s Trout Creek-Mill Creek Farmer-Led Watershed project have found, sometimes the process shows them how they can save money on fertilizers or other inputs. It can also help them organize their farm activities and farm investments. Always […]
Funding Workshop at Southern Conference
MFAI’s Policy Program Director Margaret Krome will be presenting at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference Saturday afternoon, January 28 with her colleague, Sagdrina Jalal, who directs the Georgia Farmers Market Association. Our workshop will address Federal Funding Opportunities for Farmers and Organizations. There are numerous federal funding resources available for farmers, and this […]
On Farm Research – Design & $
Michael Fields’ Policy Director, Margaret Krome and Diane Mayerfeld, with UW-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems will co-present a workshop on grant writing to support on-farm research at the big Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference at 11:00 a/m/ on Friday, February 24 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The MOSES conference is the largest event […]
USDA Reinvents CSP – Enrollment Deadline Feb.3, 2017
December 13, 2016
For over 15 years, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and other partners in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition have worked to create and support USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which is designed to support farmers and ranchers as they actively manage and expand conservation activities on their agricultural land. MFAI and other NSAC partners have advocated […]
Farmer Production Contracts Survey
December 8, 2016
The Drake University Agricultural Law Center is collecting data on farmer experiences with production contracts—legal agreements under which they care for poultry or livestock owned by another party or grow a crop under a contract. This survey is being conducted on behalf of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Results will be used to prepare a […]