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
November 12, 2019
Tell USDA to Finalize the 2015 Origin of Livestock Rule to Close Organic Dairy Loopholes and Maintain High Organic Integrity Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is asking all certified organic farmers to stand with U.S. certified organic dairy farmers and submit comments to the USDA in support of a strong final Origin of Livestock Rule (OOL). […]
What Really Drives Farm Consolidations?
October 17, 2019
MFAI’s Policy Director Margaret Krome attended the town hall meeting held by USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue earlier this month at the World Dairy Expo in Madison. Among his comments, Perdue answered a question about the loss of small to medium-sized dairy farms in the state, prompting a national discussion about the farm crisis, […]
A Letter to Industrial Agriculture
October 16, 2019
Dear Industrial Agriculture, It’s been a great experiment – a social, political, climatic, public health, and agricultural experiment, but I think it’s time for us to break up. A lot has changed, and I don’t think we’re a good fit for each other anymore. We had our “Get big or get out” moment in the […]
Free Resources Available to Assist Farmers through Wisconsin Farm Center
September 26, 2019
All farmers are eligible to contact Farm Center staff consultants through the Farm Center Helpline at 1-800-942-2474. All of the Farm Center’s services are free and confidential. The Wisconsin Farm Center works with farmers one-on-one to provide free and confidential services, including: • farm financial consulting • farm succession planning • farm business entry or […]
Thank you Farm Aid
September 22, 2019
The annual farm-supporting musical and cultural extravaganza that is Farm Aid came to MFAI’s doorstep this month. Last Thursday, advocates from around the nation gathered in Lake Geneva for a day of exploring topics as diverse as empowerment histories of many Peoples of Color in this country to the ongoing farm crisis to the history […]