The Farm Advocate Link, a project of Farm Aid, RAFI-USA, and many cooperating partners, is a national network of Farm Advocates. The Farm Advocate Link aims to honor and support established Farm Advocates; recruit and develop new Farm Advocates; and provide ongoing training, professional development, and a sense of community to all Farm Advocates.
The Farm Advocate Link arises from the tradition of farm advocacy established during the 1980s farm crisis. A Farm Advocate is someone who works one-on-one with individual farmers to help them navigate the complex world of farm lending, state and federal regulations, contracts, and government programs in a way that increases their chance to stay on the land and be successful. A Farm Advocate helps to uncover injustice, bias or flawed servicing, and in doing so is able to identify opportunities for legal and political action at the systemic level. Farm Advocates are laymen or professionals who develop expertise to assist farmers who:
- Are in need of financial counseling
- Have received an adverse decision from a federal or state agency
- Are dealing with disaster losses on the farm
- Are going into mediation or negotiation
- Are in need of mental health or other social services
- Are in need of legal counseling
- Are dealing with contract negotiations or abuses
- Are navigating codes and regulations, including zoning, food safety, and property rights
Today, Farm Advocates throughout the country act as referrals for farmers and ranchers who seek assistance via Farm Aid’s hotline (1-800-FARM-AID) and Farmer Resource Network.
Watch this video from longtime Farm Advocate Mona Lee Brock to learn how she got involved in farm advocacy, some of her most memorable cases, and her perspective on why it’s so important that young people get involved in Farm Advocacy. Her son Ron also offers his thoughts on being the child of a dedicated Farm Advocate and how that experience has informed his life.
Homeplace Under Fire
A documentary film directed by Charles D. Thompson and produced by Farm Aid in cooperation with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
Homeplace Under Fire is the story of the frontline, grassroots work of American farm advocates and their thirty-year fight to keep family farmers on the land.
The Farm Crisis of the 1980s drove hundreds of thousands of family farmers into foreclosure. Yet, out of that crisis arose a legion of farm advocates who have refused to stand idly by and watch their way of life go up in flames.
Ordinary Americans taught themselves extraordinary skills. As fellow farmers, farm wives, and rural leaders, they studied laws and regulations, started hotlines, answered farmers’ calls from their kitchen tables, counseled their neighbors, and went toe-to-toe with lenders – giving their all to keep neighbors on their land.
Homeplace Under Fire celebrates these advocates and their remarkable work. Thousands of farmers are alive and on their land today because of them. As Willie Nelson says in the film, these advocates are the best of America.
The film will be released to a broader audience in 2016; stay tuned for more information.
For additional information or to get involved with the Farm Advocate Link, contact Farm Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org.