6 Associations Standing Up For Farmers

The agriculture industry is made up of millions of workers, many of whom have trouble making ends meet. Fortunately, there are many organizations that strive to look after those who make the fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, and milk that human beings rely on. In no particular order, here are some groups that act as a voice for food producers.

At #1 is a coalition of farm, ranch, and agribusiness women called American Agri-Women. The AAW describes itself as a force for truth and a non-partisan voice for the agricultural community to the public. Made up of dozens of state, commodity, and food production business affiliate organizations, the coalition comes together to communicate with one another and with consumers to make the industry better.

American Agri-Women works to influence policymakers to protect the sector from anything that might threaten it. In addition, the group helps foster the next generation of leaders in the field with scholarships, which are often awarded at an annual convention. With an emphasis on student and consumer education, it initiated the Agriculture in the Classroom program at the national level, as well as other national and state programs.

#2 on our list is Nebraska Farmers Union, a grassroots organization that works to protect and enhance the quality of life and economic well-being of family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. NFU's actions include educating members and the public, lobbying in the legislative arena for more favorable policies, and fostering cooperative business practices.

The Lincoln-based NFU advocates for reductions in corporate consolidation and against land inequality. The organization wants to see more money from food sales be received by the people who make it, better treatment of workers, and the implementation of market-based strategies to fight climate change.

Occupying the #3 spot is the Hawai'i Farm Bureau. This agricultural advocacy organization offers member benefits, connects people with business opportunities, manages a bevy of farmers' markets with locally-grown produce, and gives free food to needy individuals and groups.

The Hawai'i Farm Bureau is also active in government affairs. Some of the group's legislative goals include obtaining manageable water rate price structures and reliable water sources; adopting land use policies that preserve areas that are suitable for agricultural use; and procuring state and county support of marketing programs that promote consumption of Hawai'i-grown crops.

Continuing the list at #4 is the World Farmers' Organisation. A member-based association, it brings together national farmers' organizations and agricultural cooperatives from all over the globe. The group hosts events, makes strategy and policy recommendations, and releases publications such as the Nutrient Management Handbook and Land Tenure Challenges and Practices.

The WFO's projects include Transitional Agriculture, an exchange program with African organizations, and the Climakers, which seeks to enhance the position of farmers in climate change policy discussions. Other initiatives are Demeter, a showcase for technologies that could make food systems more sustainable, and the Gymnasium, which provides young farmers with training and an opportunity to attend the World Economic Forum as delegates.

Our #5 entry is the National Family Farm Coalition. It mobilizes family farmers, fishers, and ranchers for what it describes as fair prices, vibrant communities, and healthy foods that are free of corporate domination. The NFFC both helps people take action in their communities and ensures their voices are represented in Washington, DC.

The group advocates on issues like achieving equity for Black farmers, ending subsidies that favor large corporations, and preventing the turnover of land from family businesses to investors and extractive industries. The NFFC also pushes for the implementation of federal supply management policies that control the market quantity of commodities such as milk, and for tighter regulations on genetically engineered crops.

Rounding out the overview at #6 is Viva Farms, a nonprofit that provides training in the cultivation of organic food, as well as access to land, infrastructure, equipment, marketing, and capital. The organization also has a community-supported agriculture program, incubates independent farms, and contributes to local food needs. It operates two locations in Skagit County Washington, and one in King County.

A core aspect of Viva Farms' work is a bilingual, land-based education program called the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture, a hands-on, applied course in Certified Organic production and small business management. Additionally, the group provides training and resources to veteran and family farmers.