Farm Aid's mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to support Farm Aid's work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose food from family farms. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $48 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture, and promote food from family farms.
Helping farmers thrive (hft)- through the 1-800-farm-aid hotline and email@example.com email service, farm aid's in-house farm advocate refers farmers to an extensive network of family farm and rural support organizations across the country. Referrals provide immediate support to farm families in crisis and farmers seeking to transition to more sustainable farming practices, as well as for individuals looking to become farmers. Given the strain in today's farm economy, farm aid expanded its response in 2018. We received a record number of contacts to the farm aid hotline in 2018. There were 1,034 farmer contacts via the farm aid hotline, a 109% increase from 2017, and surpassing any other year we have on record. In response, farm aid doubled its annual emergency grant budget, increased its advocacy for farm policy that delivers fair prices to farmers allowing them to make a living, and reconvened the farm advocate link network via regular calls to strategize with our resource partners about how to strengthen the network in times of crisis. Farm aid also conducted a survey of farm service providers across the country to help inform farm aid's understanding of what farmers are experiencing across the u.s. And the capacity of service providers to keep pace with the need. Farm aid's resource network (farmaid.org/ideas) offers an interactive website and database of more than 700 organizations that provide guidance for new farmers, direct assistance to farmers in crisis, and support for farmers looking to transition to more sustainable production methods and markets. Through the farmer resource network, farm aid makes connections between individuals, farm service organizations, and businesses to address challenges and create opportunities for farmers. Farm aid points farmers and advocates to our most trusted resources, new offerings and timely opportunities via our curated resource guides and the resource spotlight blog. In 2018, farm aid became recognized as an expert on the issues of farmer stress and mental health, with many interviews including on broadcast news. Farm aid was also part of a coalition of farm organizations that helped bring awareness and action to the issue of farmer mental health via advocacy on the farm and ranch stress assistance network, which was included in the 2018 farm bill that passed congress in the second week of December and called for $10 million in funding to support organizations providing mental health resources to farmers and those working in agriculture. Farm aid was honored to continue to lend its experience, expertise and a great deal of donated staff time, to play a role in the disbursement of funds from the historic class action suit, in re black farmers discrimination litigation, a suit brought by black farmers against the u.s. Department of agriculture for decades of discrimination in farm lending. Class counsel from this case engaged farm aid as a technical advisor. Farm aid provided administrative support to lead class counsel and the organizing group of african american farm leaders in planning and implementing a black farmers meeting in March in atlanta, georgia. The purpose of that meeting was for leaders and farmers in the african-american farming community to coalesce and develop their vision for a thriving future of african american farming, which will inform the decision making for disbursement of the remaining cy pres funds. An outcome of this meeting was the self-formation of a black farmer leadership council that will provide leadership and input for lead class counsel's recommendations to the court for the second phase of cy pres funds.farm aid awarded $228,000 in grants to organizations that help farmers secure the resources they need to begin farming, access new markets, grow sustainably, and build resilience in the face of financial and natural disasters. Farm aid made grants in the amount of $40,500 to assist farm families affected by hurricane florence in the carolinas. An additional $49,000 was granted to support farmers affected by emergencies and economic disasters across the country, including low dairy and crop prices.
Taking action to change the system (tacs)- farm aid works with local, regional and national organizations to promote fair farm policies and grassroots organizing efforts. Farm aid granted $230,000 to family farm organizations working to ensure competitive markets for family farmers, address antitrust and contract violations, fight factory farms, strengthen the grassroots around a unified vision for our farm and food system, and amplify an effective farmer voice to reform the food system.farm aid's farmer leadership fund granted $17,769 to defray expenses for farmer leadership training programs, strategy meetings and other opportunities to elevate the voice of family farmers.in march, farm aid authored an op-ed published in the hill on global trade and the need for supply management in the dairy industry to prevent oversupply of milk, which leads to the current abysmal prices that dairy farmers are receiving. Farm aid informed the public about the reasons, and possible solutions, for the dairy crisis via a fact sheet and interviews in the media.in 2018, farm aid created the farm bill hub to help the farm aid audience navigate important legislation for farmers, rural residents and all of us who eat. Farm aid also joined a coalition effort to urge state attorney general offices to join an active department of justice investigation of the bayer-monsanto merger and publicize their involvement. Farm aid joined a coalition of farm groups in fielding a poll of nearly 1,000 farmers across america to examine their views of the pending merger that indicated that farmers overwhelmingly opposed it. Nonetheless, it was approved by the doj.farm aid continues to serve as a leader and contributing member of various collaborative efforts to change our farm and food system and advance the power and participation of farmers in these efforts. These have included efforts to address economic and social injustices across animal agriculture, efforts to elevate on-the-ground solutions to climate change, and efforts to build the supply of non-gmo food ingredients and animal feed in the u.s.farm aid also continues its leadership in the philanthropic community to bring attention to the varied challenges faced by family farmers and to encourage collaboration and collective problem solving. Farm aid developed and facilitated workshops on the challenges of helping farmers respond to natural disasters and the value of individual farm advocacy at the sustainable agriculture and food systems funders forum. Both workshops have led to ongoing dialogue in the funding community about how to better support this critical work.
Growing the good food movement (ggfm)- in 2018, farm aid and its partners continued to implement strategies that bolster the good food movement-the growing number of americans demanding family farm-identified, local, organic or humanely raised food. Farm aid awarded grants in the amount of $98,000 to organizations that strengthen infrastructure for local and regional food systems and raise awareness of their value. These grants support work to create new markets for farmers and enhance access to good food for everyone, regardless of income or race.