Farm Advocacy Webinars

We’ve recently launched a new series of webinars and trainings. Our last webinar, entitled Cash Flow: The Common Language Between Farmers and Lenders, was held Thursday, September 18th,2014 at 11am EST. See below to view a recording of the session. 

What Do Advocates Do?

Sitting across the table from a banker or a loan officer is often intimidating and scary, especially when the farm is on the line. Who can farmers depend on to sit on their side of the table and provide guidance, or at least act as a witness, a note-taker, a second set of eyes and ears? Since the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, farm advocates have helped farmers navigate the maze of regulations that govern agriculture and access to farm credit. Many of these advocates were experienced farmers and knew first-hand the legal and financial challenges facing small- and mid-scale farmers. We are in great need of advocates both to provide guidance in making farms more credit-worthy and sustainable, but also to act as witnesses in uncovering poor service, predatory lending, and discrimination.

Farm advocates help connect farmers with social, legal, agricultural, and financial resources and services. Advocates may also assist farmers by referring them to helpful organizations, agencies, or other professionals or by directly providing assistance in their own areas of expertise.

Training Module #4: Cash Flow: The Common Language Between Farmers and Lenders

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 11am EST

This webinar, with Gary Matteson of Farm Credit, covered the basics of farm business planning, as it applies to borrowing. He specifically discussed cash flow analysis, a vital communication tool when borrowing, and also helped audience members plan for what the lender needs to see. This webinar is intended both for farmers preparing to borrow money and to the advocates wishing to help farmers during this process.

Cash Flow The Common Language Between Farmers and Lenders from RAFI-USA on Vimeo.

The Grass Fed Beef budgeting spreadsheet that appeared in the webinar, as well as a more general spreadsheet that can be applicable to vegetable production, can be downloaded here.

Training Module #3: Disaster Assistance

Click here for Disaster Assistance Videos

These three talks by Scott Marlow of RAFI give helpful advice on preparing for, dealing with, and recovering from a disaster. Documenting Disaster emphasizes the importance of documentation following a disaster, and discusses how and when to document. Division of Labor During a Disaster explains which disaster agencies and programs to approach depending on the type of damages sustained, and Stages of Disaster Recovery details the phases individuals and communities go through after disaster strikes.

Training Module #2: When the Phone Rings: Guidelines for Initial Farmer to Advocate Conversations

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 2pm EST

This webinar explained what happens when a farmer first calls an advocate or advocacy organization. Skills and tips for talking to farmers who are in crisis were discussed, as well as types of questions advocates ask to get a comprehensive situational statement from the farmer. The presenters also discussed questions asked for record-keeping purposes, to gather information from farmers after listening to their story.

When the Phone Rings: Guidelines for Initial Farmer to Advocate Conversations from RAFI-USA on Vimeo.

Training Module #1: Farm Advocacy 101

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 3pm EST

In this webinar, we discussed who advocates are and the work they do, as well as specific examples describing when a farmer might seek the advice or services of an advocate. Different levels of advocacy were covered, including accompanying farmers to bear witness and to provide clarity, helping to get forms together, recognizing issues, helping with appeals, and representation during the appeals process. Important resources, useful publications, and a guide to major farm advocacy organizations in the US were also included.

RAFI Farm Advocacy 101 Webinar Video from RAFI-USA on Vimeo.