The Rural Advancement Foundation International’s (RAFI) mission is to cultivate markets, policies and communities that sustain thriving, socially just and environmentally sound family farms. One way that they support family farmers is through their farm advocacy program, connecting farmers with social, legal, agricultural and financial resources and services.
Earlier this year, RAFI’s two farm advocates worked to find a creative solution to an old problem: too much debt. A five-family, multi-generational commodity farm in eastern North Carolina approached the advocates because they, like many farmers, had a few bad crop years, were unable to repay their buildup of debt, and were facing foreclosure.
With some creative legwork, the advocates called on two North Carolina-based community development financial institutions. Together, they leveraged the farm families’ existing equity to help them into a better financial position. Thanks to RAFI’s farm advocacy program, this multi-generational farm supporting 25 people in five families is now free of its financial burden. This collaboration also helped to preserve important farm assets in an agriculturally significant part of the state.
Farm Aid is both an invaluable partner and critical source of funding for RAFI. “Historically, Farm Aid grants have provided financial support for work that is extremely hard to fund via grants and core to our mission and vision for agriculture. Thanks to Farm Aid, we have been able to keep momentum alive in our Farm Advocacy and Contract Agriculture Reform programs—two critically important pieces of work for RAFI and the movement.”