Pittsboro, NC – March 17, 2022 – Executive Director Edna Rodriguez today announced Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA’s policy priorities for 2022. “We have always based our policy advocacy on the foundational importance of work we do directly with farmers and rural stakeholders, and the policy issues we pursue emerge from that work,” she said. “While that drives us to work on a wide array of issues, in 2022 we are focusing on four key areas which have come up as critical for impacted farmers and stakeholders.”
Equitable Access to Credit
Farmers need loans to begin, operate, and grow their farms, but agricultural credit systems do not equitably serve BIPOC farmers, small farmers, beginning farmers, or farmers with diversified production.
Local and Regional Supply Chain Resilience
Small- and mid-scale farms can implement resilience practices on-farm, but also need to be part of a larger resilient local and regional supply chain to thrive. This infrastructure has been hollowed out over the decades as giant corporations have bought up smaller local companies and concentrated their control.
Finalizing & Implementing Strong Packers & Stockyards Rules
Farmers and ranchers need USDA to implement stronger Packers & Stockyards Act (PSA) enforcement rules, which mandate fair competition standards in the livestock industry and protect farmers, ranchers, and growers from corporate power abuses by massive meatpacking corporations.
Equitable and Urgent Response to the Climate Crisis
We must take swift, comprehensive, and committed action to avert the worst impacts of climate change and protect those who are most vulnerable. Farmers can be a part of the solution.
Policy Director Margaret Krome-Lukens adds that other key policy actions to look for this year include initial Farm Bill 2023 discussions and proposals. “And, as always, ongoing implementation work is critical in improving the ways programs are administered for farmers and to make sure that funds that have been appropriated for a variety of agriculture and food programs get to the people and places where they are most needed,” said Krome-Lukens.
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