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
USDA Offers Assistance to Protect Agricultural Lands and Grasslands
March 17, 2020
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to protect agricultural lands and grasslands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements. The 2018 Farm Bill has provided USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with technical and financial assistance to help private landowners, tribes, land trusts, and other groups protect these valuable […]
Urgent, Simple Action for Farmers to Stop Climate Change
January 9, 2020
Farmers across the Midwest went to the mat with climate change this year, from a cold and wet spring that slowed or prevented planting, to severe storms that damaged fields and roads, to a soggy fall that impeded harvests, and a lot in between. Michael Fields Agricultural Institute believes that government action is urgently needed to […]
The 2020 Buy Local Buy Wisconsin Program Application period is now open
January 7, 2020
Applications are due by 12:00 PM on Friday, February 28, 2020. The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin (BLBW) program seeks to increase awareness and consumption of locally produced foods and related products and to increase the production and improve the distribution of foods and related products for local consumption. The Buy Local Buy Wisconsin Grant program […]
Bill to Support Cover Crops Introduced in WI Legislature
January 2, 2020
On January 8, Wisconsin State Representatives Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) and Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) introduced a bill whose measures derive from the testimony received as part of 14 hearings conducted in summer of 2019 as co-chairs of the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality. The bill proposes $200,000/year to support a pilot program similar to […]
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). […]