TO: Friends of Sustainable Agriculture
FROM: Margaret Krome, Agricultural Policy Coordinator
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
East Troy, Wisconsin
(608) 238-1440, fax (608) 238-1569
RE: Optimizing Use of Federal Programs to Support Sustainable Ag
I work with the national Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture coordinating
the nationwide grassroots campaign to fund sustainable ag programs. The
contacts I've made in this work have convinced me that lots of people in
sustainable agriculture don't realize the potential of various federal
programs to help them pursue their work.
I get a number of calls from people wondering if there's a federal program
that could help them, say, get good information on sustainable ag practices,
get cost-share funding to make major conservation improvements on their land,
start a locally owned value added small business, etc. It seems there's a
fairly large information void among these and many other people about federal
programs that might help people working in sustainable agriculture.
Given the amount of sweat and tears, if not blood, that have gone to keep
funding for many of these programs, it seems a major oversight to not ensure
that sustainable ag interests use them optimally.
Thus Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is embarking on a project to
formally alert members of the sustainable agriculture community about federal
programs that might offer funding, information, technical assistance or other
help they need. We will profile programs ranging from obvious ones like SARE
and ATTRA to lesser knowns like the Federal-State Marketing Improvement
Program or various business enterprise programs. These profiles will be
available through a booklet, workshops, various newsletters and other forums.
The first step, though, is to be sure we do profiles on the right programs.
So right now, we're casting the net to be sure we don't overlook federal
programs that might help someone.
Which gets to a question for you. Have YOU used a federal program to support
sustainable agriculture work? If so, would you mind dropping us an e-mail
message or note or calling to tell us briefly what program(s) you've used or
attempted to use, for what purpose, and with what outcome? We'd greatly
appreciate hearing about programs you've tried to use, successfully or
otherwise, including but not restricted to USDA programs. Your experience
will help others learn about available resources.
Please get back to me by October 7 if possible and indicate if you'd rather
not have me share the information with any others.
My phone is (608) 238-1440, fax at (608) 238-1569, or e-mail at
THANKS A LOT for your help!