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
Why MFAI Loves Small Grains – a Short Video
September 17, 2020
The website for southwest Wisconsin’s Uplands Watershed Group, for which MFAI serves as the fiscal agent and coordinator, recently featured a new video about small grains such as barley, oats, wheat, and rye. No surprise that MFAI would make it a priority for our talented staffer, Donale Richards, to film and produce it. For over […]
Glacierland RC&D teams with county conservation departments to provide managed grazing technical assistance to farmers in Jefferson, Waukesha and Rock Counties
September 15, 2020
Glacierland RC&D is one of Wisconsin’s five RC&Ds. They are an independent, not-for-profit organizations that share a common goal: Encouraging economic development while protecting and conserving land, water, and related resources to assure the quality of the natural resource base for future generations. In partnership with the county conservation departments, Glacierland RC&D was selected to […]
Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity
August 26, 2020
You are invited to: Conversations with the Commissioners Share your perspective on the challenges, opportunities and future of rural Wisconsin. Why a Blue Ribbon Commission? Rural communities, tribal nations, businesses and farms are Wisconsin’s strong backbone. The entire state takes pride in the beauty of our countryside, in our rural industries and workforce, and in […]
Wanted: Curious Farmers
August 15, 2020
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is working with partners through our Cover Crops Research and Outreach Project (CCROP) collaboration to help farmers around the state generate farmer-generated research data around cover crops in the state. Simple but reliable farm data can us help build a better knowledge base about the who, what, why, where, and when of cover […]
MFAI Suggests Diversification as Key Topic for USDA Research
August 13, 2020
When USDA sought public comments on what course their research direction should take for the next few decades, MFAI’s Research Director, Nicole Tautges, and Policy Director, Margaret Krome, had some suggestions. In late July, Tautges and Krome submitted comments to USDA, based on the Institute’s more than thirty five-year history of conducting research and working […]