We asked RAFI staff members to share what they’re thinking about as we start a new calendar year. Here are some of their responses.
“I would like to see the false narratives about farmers and agriculture be given more visibility to the general public. Small- to mid-scale farmers like the ones RAFI serves are, and should feel, highly valued.”
“I’d love to see fair prices for farmers’ products. Production costs are rising faster than commodity prices making it harder for farmers to break even.”
“So many business aspects of farming are overly complicated. Let’s meet people where they are. By doing so, farmers could access grants and loans more easily.”
B. Ray Jeffers
“Bring back the local livestock markets. Give small farmers an outlet to sell small quantities of livestock.”
“More farmer support programs and lending options that accommodate and incentivize farm operations that choose to use regenerative, diversified, and Indigenous practices. Systemic changes that encourage, not dissuade, farmers from using resilient farming practices.”
“More collectives, coalitions and partnerships between farmers with each other and with distributors. The strength and resilience of smaller operations increases in solidarity, creating a more secure place for them in local food systems.”
“Contract growers need more protections. Farmers should be protected from the devastating impacts of losing contracts without sufficient notice or financial support.”
“Farmer mentorship connections that would support new or struggling farmers gain more confidence in their operation. Provide farmers with a direct line of support, opportunity for side by side hands on experience. Develop farmers as future mentors.”
“More equipment rental options, micro (or macro) start up grants, and other cost-saving options for new farmers. Start up costs would be lowered thereby reducing barriers to entry.”
Otis Wright, Jr.
“There’s so much red tape and paperwork for farmers trying to get assistance from the government. I would like to see things simplified so it’s easier and less time-consuming for farmers. Farmers would have more time to farm!”