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
More Crops Get Coronavirus Assistance: CFAP2
November 12, 2020
Another $14 billion available for farms/ranches. Contact your USDA-Farm Service Agency office today. CFAP 1 helped support farmers whose crops suffered market losses due to the pandemic. CFAP 2 is an expanded version of the same program. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) began taking applications for CFAP2 on Monday, September 21. The program will end […]
The Election and the Electorate
The political divisions that were on full display on post-election state electoral maps lately painted Wisconsin’s rural counties red and metropolitan areas blue. But those living in rural Wisconsin know that there’s considerable diversity of opinion and political affiliation in their communities, as testified by Trump signs and Biden signs in neighboring yards that grew […]
Dung Beetles – Tiny Grazers with Big Soil Health Dreams
November 10, 2020
Join Iowa County’s Uplands Watershed Group in SW Wisconsin on Friday, December 11 for a lunch-hour virtual field day entitled, “Dung Beetles – Free Labor for Healthy Pastures and Clean Water,” featuring Uplands farmer Cherrie Nolden and others sharing experience about the important ways that dung beetles distribute nutrients, foster pasture and livestock health, and […]
“I’m Quitting My Job”
The statement strung together by the four words, “I’m quitting my job,” changed a man’s life trajectory from an east coast cardiologist to a rural Wisconsin farmer. A rainy November morning gives David Zimrin a break from his cows and time for a phone chat. I am excited to hear about his transition from medicine […]
Ecology alert: Feds remove protections for gray wolf by delisting from the Endangered Species list.
November 9, 2020
Gray wolf populations have rebounded considerably throughout the United States after being protected from trapping, hunting, and poisoning by being listed on the federal Endangered Species list for more than 45 years. Wolves were hunted nearly to extinction in Wisconsin and the rest of the U.S. throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but populations are […]