Farm Sustainability

RAFI Lead Farm Advocate Benny Bunting visiting a farmer.

RAFI’s Lead Farm Advocate Benny Bunting visiting a farmer.

Between 2010 and 2013, with the help of our Lead Farmer Advocate, Benny Bunting, we assisted more than 250 family farmers, preserving approximately $50 million in farm assets. Make a contribution here to help keep our advocates on the front lines working to save and strengthen family farms.

Our Farm Sustainability program serves small and mid-scale family farmers by assisting them in transitioning to more sustainable farming operations and increasing their chances for success. The transition to high-value, differentiated markets is crucial to the success of mid-scale family farms. Family farmers are uniquely situated to fill the growing demand for specialty products that provide environmental benefits. However, many family farmers must often rely on advocacy services, as well as technical assistance, to make the transition to more sustainable farming operations.

Our Approach

Through our Farm Sustainability program we:

  • Assist individual farmers who are facing financial crisis
  • Provide training and publications for farmers and advocates on significant agricultural issues
  • Advocate for policies that encourage and support the transition to sustainable farming operations

Program Areas

Farm Advocacy

Our staff provide financial planning assistance and advocate for the farmer to lenders and other agencies. We serve diverse farms across the Southeast, ranging from small, specialty operations to livestock and commodity operations on thousands of acres. Many of the farms we work with are owned and operated by minority farmers. We provide expert knowledge in complex lending situations combined with more than two decades of experience fighting to keep family farmers on their land.

Risk Management

We conduct research on a variety of significant risk management issues facing farmers. We advocate for policies that will improve farmers’ options for mitigating risk. Better risk management can save farms and help changing rural economies thrive.

Disaster Assistance

We have published guides to assist farmers in dealing with disasters. See our Disaster Assistance section for more information.

Upcoming Projects

North Carolina Farmer-Veteran Network

RAFI’s Farm Sustainability Program is currently developing a North Carolina Farmer-Veteran Network to serve military veterans transitioning to civilian life in agriculture. To learn more, click here or email [email protected]

Farm Advocacy Webinars and Trainings

The Farm Sustainability program is also launching a new series of farm advocacy webinars and trainings. For more information on the webinar series, click here or email [email protected] If you are interested in one-on-one advocacy trainings, please feel free to email [email protected]

Partnerships

Farm Advocate Link

A project of Farm Aid, RAFI-USA and many cooperating partners, the Farm Advocate Link is a three year old national network of farm advocates whose goal is to honor and support established advocates, welcome new and aspiring advocates, and provide ongoing training, professional development, and a shared sense of purpose to all advocates.

The Farm Advocate Link arises from the tradition of farmers-helping-farmers established during the 1980s farm crisis. Today, advocates throughout the country–including farm finance experts, attorneys, rural organizers, social workers, crisis counselors and of course farmers themselves–act as sources of support and provide referrals for farmers and ranchers who seek assistance via Farm Aid’s hotline (1-800-FARMAID and [email protected]).