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**RAFI 2014 Annual Report

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RAFI 2014 Annual Report

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**RAFI 2014 Annual Report

  1. 1. RUral advancement foundation international 2014 annual report Cultivating markets, policies, and communities that sustain thriving, socially just, and environmentally sound family farms.
  2. 2. Dear Friends, We take pride in presenting this report on the activities of the Rural Advancement Foundation International for the year 2014. Last year, we took on complex challenges: reforming federal farm policy, preserving agricultural biodiversity, and working to increase food security while connecting food producers with local communities, to highlight just a few of our efforts. On all of these fronts, we have focused our work on family farmers, those who make possible the kind of agriculture our country both needs and deserves. In 2014, we won much-needed reforms to federal crop insurance programs that will better enable small and mid-scale diversified farmers to survive their toughest years and thrive in their best. We kicked off new research projects and initiatives that will help expand both farmer sales and access to fresh produce in low- income communities. Throughout the year, we worked side-by- side with farmers, providing financial resources through our grant program, financial counseling through our farm advocacy program, and training on better farm risk management. We’re used to working on the so-called boring stuff: federal policy, credit and lending, ag economics. Some call it the ‘business side’ of farming; for us, it’s about making sure that the people who help to keep us alive and healthy are making a good living, too. We believe that farmers should be able to focus on doing what they do best, and that their success is the strongest foundation we can build for a truly sustainable future. Our goal is nothing less than fresh, healthy, and fairly produced food for all. We hope you’ll join us on the road ahead. Scott Marlow, Executive Director Alex Hitt Board President Scott Marlow Executive Director From Our Director 2|2014AnnualReport
  3. 3. 9,000+ Farmers and community members who learned from our Agricultural Reinvestment Fund’s farmer-led demonstration projects 400 People educated at our Landowner Rights and Fracking presentations. 250 People engaged and inspired by our Beyond Hunger Relief program staff at conferences, workshops, and field days. 200 Farmers educated on crucial farm risk management issues at conferences, workshops, and field days. 130+ New jobs were created by family farmers receiving grants from our Agricultural Reinvestment Fund. 100+ Federal policy makers, farmers, plant breeders, and advocates gathered at our 2014 Seeds and Breeds Summit in Washington, DC. 75 Farmer cases consulted on by our Farm Advocacy staff ranging from insurance issues to loan restructuring assistance. 2014 At A GLANCE 3|2014AnnualReport
  4. 4. PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE POLICY REFORM The 2014 Farm Bill represented a series of wins for RAFI recommendations. Although the final bill was a mixed bag, RAFI staff worked to assure program reforms for diverse vegetable and livestock, direct-to- consumer, and organic farmers. While we may object to major sections of the farm bill, we continue to find ways in the details to support family farmers who are doing what is right for the land and their community. Farm Bill programs incorporating RAFI recommendations include Crop Insurance, the Non- Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, Organic Certification Cost Share, and Organic Research and Education Initiative. We never work alone. RAFI’s work on the farm bill included our membership in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the National Family Farm Coalition, leadership roles in the Domestic Fair Trade Association, the National Organic Coalition and the Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform. Following more than a decade of advocacy by RAFI and our partners, USDA released the Whole Farm Revenue policy, a new crop insurance product featuring many of the reforms we requested. The new policy rewards diversification, makes insurance available to farmers who are selling into high value local and organic markets, and will help farmers obtain financing. THE BACkbone of policY: Good Research We partnered with researchers in North Carolina State University’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics to design and conduct original research on how the use of crop insurance interacts with different types of risk management tools. The results of this research are being used to reform existing risk management programs to make them more effective for sustainable farmers. 4|2014AnnualReport
  5. 5. 5|2014AnnualReport North Carolina becomes a pilot state for AGR-Lite. While it and a similar policy, AGR, provide a whole-farm insurance option that is simple in concept, they are not widely adopted by farmers due to the complicated application and claims adjustment process. 2005 2007 2012 USDA provides an organic price option for specific crops in existing crop insurance policies, offering better coverage for organic farmers. 2013 RAFI brings farmers to meet with USDA to discuss ways to improve whole-farm insurance. We recommend changes that are included in the new policy. The long & winding Road to Crop Insurance Reform Historically, crop insurance has best served commodity growers in the Midwest, but we work to ensure that it serves a diverse set of farmers including commodity, specialty, organic, direct market, and diversi�ied farmers. Our rationale is simple: crop insurance not only helps farmers survive severe weather and manage risk but can also help pave the way to other risk management tools and the ability to access agricultural credit. In short, we aren’t advocating for or against crop insurance; we’re advocating for farmers. 2005 2002 Hurricane Katrina and other Gulf Coast hurricanes strike. 2007 RAFI’s Scott Marlow testifies to the House Agricultural Committee stating that many of the fastest growing segments of the ag economy (including livestock, various specialty crops, and organic crops) are woefully underserved, if served at all by available crop insurance options. Hurricane Floyd hits. RAFI provides information to farmers and farm advisors about disaster programs. In reviewing programs and assessing the needs of farmers, we determine that crop insurance can serve as a key risk management tool. 1999 The Risk Management Agency (RMA) introduces a new crop insurance policy, AGR-Lite, an ‘adjusted gross revenue’ plan to protect against low revenue due to natural disasters and market volatility. RAFI collaborates on research with USDA economists, university researchers, credit providers, and farmers to provide data on the risk-mitigating impact of crop diversification. Data will be incorporated into new and existing policies. 2014 USDA announces a whole-farm revenue protection policy, known as WFRP, to replace AGR and AGR-Lite. After a two year delay, the 2014 Farm Bill becomes law. It takes positive steps toward expanding coverage for farmers utilizing sustainable practices. 2014 RAFI releases a report showing that federal disaster programs, including crop insurance , have not changed to keep up with growing demand for specialty crops, direct marketed products and organic. USDA adds organic price elections for four crops: Corn, soy cotton and processing tomatoes, allowing organic producers to insure their full costs. 2011 16 crops now have organic price elections and USDA commits to collecting the data required to offer it on all crops. Following the 2007 testimony, the 2008 Farm Bill requires the development of organic price elections, which are one of the recom- mendations in the testimony. 2008
  6. 6. Seed is the foundation of rafi Reversing the Loss of Seed biodiversity We held the Summit on Seeds and Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture in Washington, DC in March 2014. The event brought together plant breeders, experts on the seed industry, farmers, activists and academics to discuss the state of our seed supply and develop recommendations for reinvigorating public breeding and increasing seed availability. The summit was convened to address the crisis in seed biodiversity and global capacity to develop diverse seed and breed varieties. The purpose of the event, and key to this renaissance of resilience, was to address the need for more public cultivars and breeds that are regionally adapted, readily accessible to both breeders and farmers, and housed in the public domain. In October, RAFI published the “Proceedings of the 2014 Summit on Seeds and Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture, which includes summit papers, original research, presentations and findings. The proceedings also contain an action plan to build plant and animal breeding programs that will enhance the biodiversity of these critical resources. We worked closely with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and other partners to distribute the findings. Download the Proceedings to learn about the challenges and recommendations for the future: http://rafiusa.org/publications/seeds/ 6|2014AnnualReport
  7. 7. seeds & Breeds for the 21st century The Seeds & Breeds for the 21st Century Coalition works to: Reinvigorate our public plant and animal breeding capacity. Ensure that regionally adapted public cultivars are readily available to provide greater choice to farmers. Prioritize support and training for the next generation of public cultivar developers. Protect, enhance and utilize our agricultural diversity to address the key challenges of 21st century agriculture. In October 2014, our Just Foods Program Director, Michael Sligh (pictured on the left), organized an initial meeting of the Global Working Group on Seeds in Istanbul, Turkey, extending the groundwork laid at our 2014 Seeds and Breeds Summit to include international partners. 7|2014AnnualReport
  8. 8. Farmer-led seed trials Currently, the overwhelming majority of breeding is done by private industry, and is focused on transgenic technology and reliance on chemical pesticides. Industry breeding protocols do not address the pest management challenges specific to organic or low- pesticide production. Organic producers are often pressured to use varieties inappropriate for their climates because of limited seed options permitted under organic certification guidelines. As part of our ongoing response to this pressing problem, our Breeding for Organic Production Systems (BOPS) program oversees farmer-led field trials of non-GMO corn, wheat, soybean, and peanut seed lines for organic production. The program prepared for expansion in 2015 to include new crops and regions in the Southeast. Seed trials yield serious results CORN In our 2014 trials, we tested four varieties of a high protein, open pollinated corn from a plant breeder in Wisconsin and partnered with Organic Valley on their organic corn trials. The Organic Valley corn trials had an overall average of 164 bushels per acre. breeding for organic production SYstems 8|2014AnnualReport
  9. 9. PEANUTS Farmers tested an experimental line from peanut breeders at NC State University, providing important feedback and early experience with this new potential variety. WHEAT Our wheat trials tested both hard and soft wheat using commercial lines already available to farmers. Soft wheat is the most commonly grown, however hard wheat is preferred by bakers and offers our organic growers a new market for their product. Through our research we were able to determine a top performing hard wheat variety and some very promising varieties of soft wheat. SOYBEANS Our soybean trials included three experimental varieties provided by North Carolina State University and five publically available varieties. In our trials, the experimental varieties had the highest yields. This is great news for both the university and organic growers and we are currently working with NC State University to encourage the release of these varieties for organic production. The full results of our on-farm variety trials can be found at: http://rafiusa.org/bopscoalition/ INNOVATION IN PUBLIC PLANT BREEDING 9|2014AnnualReport
  10. 10. AGricultural reinvestment fund NEW ON-FARM ENTERPRISES The Agricultural Reinvestment Fund (formerly the Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund) assists innovative and entrepreneurial farmers with developing new sources of agricultural income through the provision of cost-share grants. The Fund supported the creation of 460 jobs between 2012 and 2014 through the distribution of 77 cost-share grants to entrepreneurial and innovative farmers. In 2014, 20 farmer projects were funded. “This grant meant everything to us. We had the business side down. I couldn’t have met the production goals without the grant. My business doubled in one year. There was demand and there still is. We simply did not have the money to do what we needed to do. Without the grant from RAFI, we couldn’t have met the demand of our customers for our produce.” - Natalie Relyea, Relyea Farms The map above features the more than 550 farmers and collaborative agricultural groups that have been awarded grants since the start of the program in 1997. Check out our website for an interactive version of the map and click on any point to see farm project details: http://rafiusa.org/grants/ Kay Doby, Hot Shot Goat Farm 10|2014AnnualReport
  11. 11. growing innovation WE wrote the book on innovation RAFI’s first Kickstarter campaign funded the development of our Growing Innovation project, which is creating an online library of all of our farmer-led, grant-funded projects over the course of the program’s 18 year history. We also published Growing Innovation 1.0, which highlights the stories of eight family farmers who are finding new ways to sustain their farming operations. Their experiences provide insight into the joys and challenges of farming and ranching. Download the Growing Innovation 1.0 e-book online: http://rafiusa.org/growing-innovation/ Growing Innovation Launch Party 11|2014AnnualReport
  12. 12. ON THE FRONT LINES For decades, our staff of farm advocates have been assisting farmers both in states of transition and financial crisis. We provide direct counseling on financial and technical matters and guidance in making farms more credit-worthy and sustainable. In 2014, our Farm Advocacy staff helped 75 farm families stay on the land and in their homes by providing financial counseling and expert mediation services. Our advocates also worked closely with farmers who were victims of lending discrimination. Thanks to a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, RAFI launched the Farmer Leadership Network, a leadership development initiative that trains and supports the voter participation and engagement of historically underserved farmers in agricultural decision-making bodies in North Carolina. Our hope is that our leadership work in NC will serve as a model for states both across the Southeast and the nation. Farm advocate Benny Bunting, 2014 TRaining the next generation of farm advocates In 2014 we launched a new training series for farm advocates. The series provides helpful resources and information to aspiring advocates and an opportunity for professional development for more established advocates. Training topics included: • Farm Advocacy 101 • When the Phone Rings: Initial Farm Advocate & Farmer Conversations • Disaster Assistance for Farmers • Cash Flow: The Common Language Between Farmers and Lenders Our resources for farm advocates are available online at: http://rafiusa.org/programs/farmsustainability/advocacy-webinars/ 12|2014AnnualReport working Side-by-side with farmers
  13. 13. we go way back, y’all We were honored to host Farm Aid 2014 in our home state of North Carolina, and we were grateful for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the region’s farmers and their enormous significance to food and farming in the US. The show was Farm Aid’s first in North Carolina, though the organization has held several concerts in the Southeast. Since 1985, Farm Aid has been working to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Throughout the years, Farm Aid has worked with our staff to campaign for farm policies that benefit family farmers. “When a farmer in crisis calls the Farm Aid hotline, what they get is my phone number... and we send someone out, and they sit at the kitchen table and they figure out how to save the farm. But over time Farm Aid has come to not just talk about the crisis, but also to talk about the great things and the great resilience and creativity of farmers who are facing a deck stacked against them.” – Scott Marlow, Executive Director, RAFI Executive Director, Scott Marlow, 2014 13|2014AnnualReport FARM Aid 2014
  14. 14. FOOD SECURITY FOR ALL... We launched our Beyond Hunger Relief program in 2014 to identify, develop, and expand sustainable solutions to food insecurity that strengthen just and sustainable agriculture. This three-year participatory research project funded by the Duke Endowment, will ask two main questions: 1) What are the barriers and opportunities for farmers selling into low wealth communities? 2) What are the gaps in the market chain that public and philanthropic investment could fill in order to build a more equitable food system? Our ultimate goal is to use research results to support entrepreneurial and community based solutions to food access. Connect2Direct In 2014 we kicked off a partnership with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project on a major new initiative to increase farmer direct sales and expand local food access. The goal for the collaboration is to support and build equitable community-based local food economies through the development of direct markets for farmers. Connect2Direct aims to increase farm to consumer direct sales and the usage of EBT/SNAP at farmers markets in North Carolina – by over 100% within two years – by providing training and technical assistance to markets and market vendors, creating effective marketing and outreach campaigns, facilitating the transactional process for EBT/SNAP, and building statewide capacity and efficiency to sustainably ensure that all residents have access to fresh foods grown by local farmers. Beyond hunger relief 14|2014AnnualReport
  15. 15. and FOOD for thought Our Come to the Table staff took a break from preparing for the 2015 conferences to organize three learning tours across the state, and to provide training and technical assistance to faith groups starting or expanding food and hunger-related ministries. With our flagship conferences, Come to the Table convenes faith leaders and lay people, hunger relief advocates, farmers, farm workers, school nutrition directors and others to find mutually beneficial solutions to food insecurity. “Loved the field trips and the tour was wonderful. I am so inspired by seeing the different models of giving gardens.” – Learning tour attendee “The best part was hearing folks’ real, honest perspectives about the challenges and barriers they face and what helped them through or what lessons they learned and can share!” – Learning tour attendee come to the table project 15|2014AnnualReport
  16. 16. FOR ALL WHO LABOR IN AGRICULTURE The Agricultural Justice Project was formed in 1999 as a partnership between RAFI, the Farmworker Support Committee (Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas or CATA), Florida Organic Growers, and Peacework Organic Farm to develop, promote and launch domestic fair trade standards that could be adapted for use anywhere in the world. The Northeastern Organic Farming Association (NOFA) is a current partner. The goal of AJP standards is to reward fair treatment of workers, fair prices for farmers, and fair business practices. When farmers are able to gain fair prices and agreements, they can pay living wages to their workers and to themselves, creating an economic incentive for social equity and just working conditions. A New first for New York In 2014 the Agricultural Justice Project announced that GreenStar Natural Foods Co-op and The Piggery Butcher and Local Grocer had become the first Food Justice Certified (FJC) food stores in New York State. West Haven Farm in Ithaca, NY became the first Food Justice Certified farm in NY. 16|2014AnnualReport Food Justice Certified farms and businesses: • Farmer Direct Co-operative Ltd. Regina, SK, Canada • GreenStar Natural Foods Co-op, NY • Pie Ranch, CA • Swanton Berry Farm, CA • The Family Garden/Browns Organic Farm, FL • The Piggery Butcher & Local Grocer, NY • West Haven Farm, NY Agricultural justice project
  17. 17. our team in 2014 Scott Marlow, Executive Director Kathy Zaumseil, Administrative Director Elizabeth MacLachlan, Finance Director Edna Rodriguez, Development Director Chris Bouton, Development Assistant Victoria Bouloubasis, Communications Manager Benny Bunting, Lead Farm Advocate Michael Sligh, Program Director, Just Foods Program Kelli Dale, BOPS Project Coordinator Joe Schroeder, Program Director, Farm Sustainability Francesca Hyatt, Program Director, Beyond Hunger Relief Salem Neff, Local Food Access Coordinator Athan Lindsay, CTTT Project Manager James Robinson, Research & Policy Associate Viola Glenn, Research Coordinator Jean Willoughby, Project Director, Agricultural Reinvestment Fund Kavita Koppa, AmeriCorps VISTA Member & Farm Community Organizer AMERIcorps Vista members Kavita Koppa Rita Bennett-Chew Amanda Bravo Hannah Henza Emily Stallings Ben Paynter Annie Segal Hayes Simpson 17|2014AnnualReport 2014 STaff
  18. 18. SUPPORT AND REVENUE Private foundations and public funds Service contracts and honoraria Individual contributions Corporate contributions Rental income Registration fees Special events income In-kind contributions Interest and dividends Change in value of charitable gift annuity TOTAL support and revenue Expenses program services supporting services General and administrative Fundraising Total supporting services Total expenses Changes in net assets net assets beginning of year net assets end of year 2014 totals $1,415,985 136,204 99,270 6,997 19,957 8,269 4,902 1,424 273 -300 1,692,981 1,371,145 265,900 95,382 361,282 1,732,427 -39,446 2,081,282 2,041,836 SUPPort and Revenueexpenses General and administrative 15% 79% Program Services 6% Fundraising 84% Private foundations & public funds 8% 6% Service contracts & honoraria Rental income 1% Corporate contributions & all other support 1% Individual contributions 18|2014AnnualReport 2014 financial report
  19. 19. We are grateful to the following funders who supported our work in 2014 through a donation worth $5,000 or more. AmeriCorps VISTA* Alces Foundation Cedar Tree Foundation Ceres Trust Clif Bar Family Foundation Charles W. Gaddy and Lucy Finch Gaddy Endowment Fund C.S. fund Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Farm Aid Fenwick Foundation Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund First Citizens Bank Gaia Fund GBL Charitable Foundation Google, Inc.* Hillsdale Fund Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust LeFort-Martin Fund of Chicago Community Trust Mary Lynn Richardson Fund Mary Norris Preyer Fund North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church North Carolina Specialty Crop Grant Program North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission North Carolina State University North Pond Foundation Oak Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation Organic Valley Family Of Farms Park Foundation Presbyterian Hunger Program Singing for Change Foundation Southern Risk Management Education Center The Duke Endowment The Haw River Ballroom* The McKnight Foundation The Salesforce Foundation* Elise Jerard Environmental and Humanitarian Trust The William Zimmerman Foundation Tivka Grassroots Empowerment Fund of Tides Foundation United States Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development Wallace Genetic Foundation Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Inc. *In-kind donations valued above $5,000. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Financial information about Rural Advancement Foundation Interantional and a copy of our North Carolina solicitation license are available from the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section at 888-830-4989. This license is not an endorsement by the State of North Carolina. RAFI has earned the Guidestar Gold Exchange Seal, demonstrating our commitment to transparency. 19|2014AnnualReport 2014 supporters DONATE Looking back, we are reminded of how many people have come together to help create the just and sustainable agricultural community that we envision. Please consider making a contribution to help support family farms. Consider becoming a monthly donor by visiting: www.rafiusa.org/donate
  20. 20. MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 640, Pittsboro, NC 27312 STREET ADDRESS: 274 Pittsboro Elementary School Road Pittsboro, NC 27312 Phone: (919) 542-1396 Fax: (919) 542-0069 Website: www.rafiusa.org CONTENT AND DESIGN: Hayes Simpson Jean Willoughby PHOTO CREDITS: Front Cover: Gene Pickett photo courtesy of Beth Kahn Page 6: Seed photo courtesy of Organic Seed Alliance Page 7: Seed photo courtesy of Organic Seed Alliance Page 14: Aardvark Farm (in circle) photo courtesy of ASAP Page 16: Food Justice Certified strawberries photo courtesy of Agricultural Justice Project 2014 Board of directors Benny Bunting Staff Representative RAFI Lead Farm Advocate Oak City, NC Archie L. Hart Special Assistant to NC Commis- sioner of Agriculture Knightdale, NC Mary K. Hendrickson, Vice President Assistant Professor of Rural Sociol- ogy at the University of Missouri Columbia, MO Alex Hitt, President Organic Farmer, Peregrine Farm Graham, NC Lenwood V. Long, Sr. President/CEO,The Support Center Raleigh, NC LaRhea Pepper Managing Director, Textile Exchange Lander, WY Randi Ilyse Roth,Treasurer Attorney Saint Paul, MN Shirley Sherrod Co-founder, Southwest Georgia Project Albany, GA Tom Trantham, Emeritus Dairy Farmer,Trantham’s 12 Aprils Dairy and Happy Cow Creamery, Inc. Pelzer, SC