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
Review and Public Comment of the Live Stock Siting Rule
September 13, 2019
“Last week, MFAI submitted comments to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection pertaining to the Department’s proposed revisions to Rule ATCP 51, the Livestock Siting Rule. The Livestock Siting Law that passed in 2006 required the law and the corresponding rule to be subject to review and public comment every four years. […]
Citizen input will improve livestock siting rules
July 28, 2019
Wisconsin’s Livestock Siting law passed over a decade ago, and although it and the rules to implement it are supposed to be subject to periodic review by technical advisors and the public, Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture has never previously held public hearings as the law specifies. But last month, the state Board of Agriculture approved […]
Farm Aid Concert at Alpine Valley, Sept 21, 2019!
July 10, 2019
Farm Aid board artists Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young. Photo © Marc Hauser Each year, Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host a Farm Aid festival to bring together a wide variety of artists, farmers and fans for one mission: keeping family farmers on […]
We need an all-hands-on-deck effort to support farmers in crisis
July 4, 2019
Photo: No more cows are milked in the old dairy barn on the Hardie family farm. by Chris Hardie/for Agriview A friend once described the most traumatic experience of her life. It wasn’t an assault, an accident or even any physical injury. As a child, her father was laid off as an air traffic controller […]
A Practical State Program That Would Support Soil Health
July 2, 2019
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute researchers have long conducted research on farming practices that build healthy, biologically active soils, and our policy team has supported policies that create incentives for their inclusion in farming systems. A recent opinion piece in the on-line news group Food Tank speaks to the many reasons healthy soils matter so much […]