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RAFI Annual Report 2013


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The 2013 Annual Report from the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA.

For more information contact:
PO Box 640
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Published in: Environment, Technology, Business
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RAFI Annual Report 2013

  1. 1. ANNUAL REPORT 2013 rural advancement foundation international
  2. 2. As the food and agriculture movement continues to gain momentum, we feel encouraged and downright proud. Long ago, RAFI’s passion for a just world in food and agriculture helped plant the seeds for what we now see as a growing community of activists, researchers, farmers and concerned people.Through decades of history in this work, we know that we must pay attention to each moving part in order to achieve our triple bottom line—a focus on people, environmental sustainability and economic vitality. Progress can only happen when communities, markets and policies are all aligned to provide opportunities for farmers and rural areas to thrive in empowering ways that work for them. In 2013, RAFI succeeded in meeting farmers where they are, finding solutions together that preserve and reinvigorate the environment while sustaining viable economic models and creating innovative markets for future generations.
  3. 3. With both pride and gratitude With both pride and gratitude, we present this report on the activities of the Rural Advancement Foundation International for the year 2013. As we take this opportunity to look back, the principles that underlay our work are fairly simple ones. Farmers and rural folks should be treated fairly and have every chance to succeed based on their hard work and ingenuity, not because of who they are or who they know. When farmers make the decisions that are good for their families, the results should be good for their communities and the environment. Our laws and our markets should make stewardship of the land and community an economic benefit, not a disadvantage. We believe that these principles are both fundamental and radical. We are committed to creating positive models and change. RAFI traces its history back to the Southern Tenant Farmers Union of the 1930’s. During that time, courageous individuals brought people together across the lines of race and class to make their shared world a better and more just place.We hope that the activities described in this report live up to that legacy. And, as always, we invite you to join us. Together, there is much to do. Scott Marlow RAFI Executive Director Alex Hitt RAFI Board President
  4. 4. 2013 Board of Directors Along with our dedicated staff, RAFI is fortunate to have an equally engaged volunteer Board of Directors with broad experience in sustainable agriculture issues. This includes farmers who span the spectrum of scale and production, lawyers and activists who have dedicated their lives to social justice issues, expert academic researchers and leaders in non-profit management, community lending and government. Archie Hart Program Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Agriculture NC Department of Agriculture Knightdale, NC Mary Hendrickson Associate Director, Community Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture Program Extension Associate Professor Department of Rural Sociology University of Missouri Columbia, MO Alex Hitt, Board President, Farmer Peregrine Farm Graham, NC Lenwood V. Long, Sr. President/CEO The Support Center Raleigh, NC Edna Rodriguez, Staff Representative to Board RAFI Development Director Pittsboro, NC Randi Ilyse Roth Executive Director Otto Bremer Foundation Saint Paul, MN Alton Thompson Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Delaware State University Summerfield, SC Tom Trantham Dairy Farmer Trantham’s 12 Aprils Dairyand HappyCowCreamery,Inc. Pelzer, SC
  5. 5. 24 innovative farm projects were funded by TCRF in 2013. 2013 At A Glance 800 More than 800 people attended RAFI community presentations on landowner rights & fracking. 1,200 More than 1,200 NC residents took action to oppose forced pooling. 600 More than 600 faith leaders, farmers and hunger advocates attended regional Come to the Table conferences: 50% of surveyed attendees took back tools to their farm or ministry. 72% of surveyed attendees were inspired to change relationship with food, faith or agriculture. 60 Whole Foods Market stores nationwide carry the Agricultural Justice Project Food Justice Certified Label. 16 varieties of organic wheat have been tested on NC farms since 2010. 54 varieties of organic soybean have been tested on NC farms since 2010. 15 varieties of organic corn have been tested on NC farms since 2010. 274 Pittsboro Elem. Sch. Rd. • Pittsboro, NC 27312 • Tel: 919-542-1396 • Fax: 919-542-0069 •
  6. 6. Keeping the farm To more than 2 million family farmers in the United States, sustainability means not losing the farm and ensuring future innovation for generations to come. Farm Advocacy is the backbone of RAFI, both guiding and guided by our critical analysis that spans decades. The advocacy work we do is rare, combining both financial counseling and advocacy on behalf of the farmer to banks and other agencies. Family farmers come to us in crisis, and we help save their farms. In 2013, we continued providing in-depth financial counseling to farmers in danger of losing their farms, and making sure that they are given their best chance to succeed. From 2010-2013, RAFI worked with more than 250 family farms, preserving approximately $50 million in farm assets. In 2013, we secured more than $1 million in new credit and restructured more than $15 million in existing loans for farmers. The number of organizations that provide this service is very small. In 2013, we began developing curricula to help other organizations better serve the farmers in their communities. We piloted a model that combines training with ongoing technical assistance to address the needs of farmers in areas across the country. We are honored to work with Hmong National Development to provide assistance to poultry PEOPLE producers in Arkansas and throughout the Southeast. Sometimeseffectiveoutreachmeansbringingtheagenciestothe farmers, rather than the farmers to the agency. In 2013, we also conducted six regional Resource Rodeos to connect farmers in underserved communities with agencies and financial institutions that can supply needed resources. Resource Rodeos gave farmers the opportunity to meet with representatives of USDA agencies, banks, Community Development Financial Institutions and attor- neys to open the door to new opportunities. "I feel like we would not be able to address our issues without a trusted leader like RAFI." - Gene Jacobs, Coharie Tribe Chief and American Prawn Cooperative
  7. 7. Our Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund rounded out 2013 with 24 farmer grantees leading the way in farm innovation. A handful of our 2013 TCRF grantees include: George F. Smith, Jr. Smith Farms, Gibsonville, NC Solar collectors on a existing wood-fired boiler system in a former tobacco greenhouse. The low-cost, solar-energy method maximizes vegetable production by heating boiler water as well as the 750-gallon water storage tank for a well-rounded heat. Previously wasted heat during daylight is now used for nighttime heating. Brian Rollins River Bend Nursery, Lincolnton, NC A farm to pizza operation, with 2,000 shitake mushroom logs, a small oys- ter mushroom production and 7 acres of winter wheat for Brian’s own bread in his wood-fired oven. PEOPLE 2013 Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund Grantees VJ Switzer Rural Hall, NC The only African American farm within 50 miles, a converted an old, stick-style tobacco barn is now a modern roadside market open 9 months out of the year. Taylor Williams Carthage, NC Fifteen farmers, in the counties of Lee, Moore, and Richmond, are using this funding to market produce to institutions that are currently under-served by local foods. Local food produced in the Sandhills region will be sold to local institutions in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Fayetteville market. To facilitate a “learn by doing” pilot, Cooperative Extension is assisting the Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative to operate this venture for one year. Neill Lindley Lindale Farms, Snow Camp, NC Internal parasites are the biggest health challenge facing naturally raised goats in the Southeast. Lindale Farms is testing a solution to this problem by implementing and evaluating the range of organically permissible methods for a comprehensive Integrated Parasite Management Program. This includes selection and breeding, rotational and multispecies grazing, dry lot feeding during times of highest parasite pressure, pasture grazing during lower parasite pressure, alternative forages and forest browsing, and more.
  8. 8. The Right to Know In 2013, as North Carolina rushed toward allowing hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction, RAFI provided community members with critical information on both natural gas leases and proposed regulations. We maintain that people have the right to an informed choice, whether that choice is to sign a licensing agreement or not, or to make their voices heard on proposed regulations. In 2013, RAFI kept North Carolina residents informed with comprehensive information and analysis about forced pooling and mineral rights leases. Our web portal gave community members access to all of the current proposed regulations, minutes of committee meetings and hearings, and clear instructions on how to engage in the process in a constructive way. This spurred action across the state toward this vision by host forced pooling and the rush to frack. Our Landowner Rights & Fracking focuses heavily on the area of the state where leases have been signed, particularly in Lee, Chatham and Moore counties with more than 2,100 farms (spanningover220,000acres). Butthemodelsofcommunity-focused regulations that we are advocating for have effects on extractive industries across the state, and the nation. RAFI’s work with all stakeholders in the process helped build community literacy on important regulatory issues and ways for community members to engage in the process constructively. Community engagement and education in 2013 lays the ground- work for the push for fair policies coming in 2014. PEOPLE "RAFI gives us the right information." -Lee County landowner
  9. 9. PEOPLE What Compulsory Pooling Means 640 ACRES 90%T H R E S H O L D T O L E E C O U N T Y R E S I D E N T S This map shows the effects of potential compulsory pooling in Lee County if the threshold of consent was legally set at 90%. *Total map represents 143 intersecting parcels within a 640-acre drilling unit. Data provided by Lee County Strategic Services, with GIS analysis by Director Don Kovasckitz. BY ACREAGE BY ACREAGE 80% THRESHOLD force pools 79% of landowners against their will. 90% THRESHOLD force pools 55% of landowners against their will. 95% THRESHOLD force pools 31% of landowners against their will. 90% 45% Acreage leased of parcels / 576 acres / 65 parcels 10% 55% Pooled acreage of parcels / 64 acres / 78 parcels MAP KEY BY PARCELS BY PARCELS PooledLeased WHAT DOES IT MEAN? 65 parcels of land make up the majority of land mass in the map example. That’s up to just 65 landowners who consent to drilling. But, as a result of compulsory pooling, 78 plots of land would be subjected to drilling… whether those landowners sign a lease or not. Even with a 90% threshold of consent, more than half of landowners face losing their property rights against their will. INFOGRAPHIC DESIGNED BY SHANTHONY EXUM ART & DESIGN What is a compulsory pooling threshold? BY ACREAGE BY PARCELS RAFI’s 2013 infographic on the reality of forced pooling in Lee County.
  10. 10. PEOPLE Bringing it all to the table Feeding poor communities is often a rationalization for the exploitation of land and people, and the externalization of the costs of stewardship. Addressing poverty in one area should not increase poverty in another. By bringing the food, faith and farm communities together, RAFI addresses the needs of the people, the environment and the market to create cohesive solutions to hunger, food access and fair markets for farmers. Our Come to the Table conference year of 2013 energized communities across the state to grow this movement together in faith-based, rural farming communities. We met in three North Carolina towns—Kinston, Greensboro and Sylva—where faith leaders, empowered youth, farmers and congregations, who often work in isolation, came together to find collaborative solutions that benefit everyone. As a result, communities across the state are invigorated to address the issues of food access, hunger and farmland loss together as one goal; people working in partnership to build strong, self-reliant communities where everyone has access to enough healthy, just and sustainably produced food. And we believe that feeding the hungry must not result in cheaper pay for farmers. In 2013, Come to the Table broadened its scope by building our vision to create a more symbiotic relationship between low-wealth communities and local farmers. In a new strategic plan, we put in place a program plan for January 2014 to launch a three-year research project that will examine the barriers and opportunities for farmers selling in these communities, with an emphasis on market-based solutions for hunger relief. "This was fabulous! The conferences left me inspired and renewed." -Conference attendee
  11. 11. MARKETS Ensuring a better farming future Access to cost-effective crop insurance determines which farms live or die, and which farms grow or shrink. For over 10 years, RAFI has been active in developing and reforming crop insurance to make it work for farmers who are doing the right thing for their communities and the environment. When it comes to analyzing the complexities of ensuring a crop’s return on investment in the face of uncontrollable and unpredictable obstacles, farmers know best. In the fall, we proudly made it possible for two North Carolina farmers, Esmeralda Sandoval and Martha Calderon, founders of the Hispanic Women in Agriculture Cooperative, to meet with USDA officials in Kansas City, MO. They took their concerns and raised their voices directly to the policy makers, working together toward reforms that give them a fair chance. We anticipate that a reformed whole-farm revenue crop insurance containing many of our recommendations will be available in 2015. "I don't want to go back to being a farmworker. If we don't have good insurance for our vegetables, then that could be what happens." - Martha Calderon
  12. 12. 10years of analysis reap success 2013 saw progress on two of our long-term priorities: USDA eliminated the surcharge for crop insurance for organic producers, and extended the availability of crop insurance at the organic price to an additional 6 crops, with the ability for organic producers with marketing contracts to insure their crops at the contracted price. Over the last 6 years, RAFI has testified with farmers in Congress, collaborated with USDA’s Risk Management Agency and published numerous reports and a strawberry crop insurance concept proposal. In September, we completed and published a comprehensive report entitled Managing Specialty Crop Risk In North Carolina, funded by the NC Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant. A survey of 157 farmers on crop insurance conducted by RAFI showed that: MARKETS 50% of farmers surveyed do not know if crop insurance is available. 66% of farmers surveyed self-reported little to no knowledge of crop insurance. 1/3 of farmers surveyed say crop insurance plays role in what they grow.
  13. 13. By the end of 2013, 60Whole Foods Market stores across the nation implemented the Food Justice Certified label. AJP is a partnership of RAFI, The Farmworker Support Committee (CATA), Florida Organic Growers (FOG), and the Northeastern Organic Farming Association (NOFA). For consumers to have confidence in fair trade labels, they must be clear and trustworthy. To ensure the integrity of fair trade labels as a whole, RAFI helped found the Domestic Fair Trade Association. Our Just Foods Director, Michael Sligh, continued as its president in 2013. MARKETS Our Agricultural Justice Project has worked tirelessly since 1999 to ensure justice in food and agriculture. Its goal is to transform the existing unjust food system to one that is based on thriving, ecological family-scale farms that provide well-being for farmers, dignified work for wage laborers, and that distributes its benefits fairly throughout the food chain from seed to table. AJP launched domestic fair trade in the United States with a social justice label, Food Justice Certified.This new label allows consumers to reward farmers who treat workers fairly and buy products that reflect their values with confidence. Making food justice a household name
  14. 14. ENVIRONMENT RAFI has a long-standing commitment and focus on seeds, the rights of farmers and the need for greater public seed choices and support systems. In 2013, our Just Foods program continued to advocate for and expand public plant breeding programs. Our mission remains rooted in collaboration among farmers and researchers to protectandenhancetheavailablegermplasmfororganicproducers. Together, breeders and farmers can make a realistic assessment of hownewbreedinglineswillperformunderactualorganicconditions. Through our Breeding for Organic Production Systems (BOPS) partnership with North Carolina State University, we are facilitating collaboration between organic farmers and plant breeders to develop varieties of corn, wheat, soybeans and peanuts that are particularly suited for organic production in the Southeastern US. RAFI brought together NCSU researchers and local farmers to develop criteria for what organic farmers were looking for, assisted with variety screening, and in 2013 held on-farm variety trials in soybeans and wheat. This participatory model allows for the farmer to help determine what crop varieties work best for their climate conditions, production methods and business model. This unified effort strengthens innovation in public plant breeding, enhancing our mission for the resilient biodiversity of seeds and breeds for the 21st century and a fair market that keeps control of seeds in the hands of farmers and communities. Who will control seed?
  15. 15. ENVIRONMENT 78.9 bu/acre 77.4 bu/acre 82.5 bu/acre 76.8 bu/acre 75.5 bu/acre 72.8 bu/acre Rankings for Organic Wheat Varieties Ryegrass Suppression // Yield Results based on official variety trials RyegrassSuppressionRanking WheatVarietyYieldRanking 1st 10th 20th 30th 40th 50th 1st 5th 10th 15th 20th USG3438 Pioneer 25R32 Southern States5205 Agrimaxx 413 Agrimaxx 415 Pioneer 26R20 Oakes DGShirley USG3201 NCNeuse Pioneer 26R12 Southern States8641 NCYadkin NC CapeFear Southern States520 Featherstone VA258 95.8 bu/acre 74.8 bu/acre 77.9 bu/acre 85.1 bu/acre 80.1 bu/acre 69.6 bu/acre 78.7 bu/acre 84.4 bu/acre 80.7 bu/acre 74.7 bu/acre Organic Official Variety Trials The organic official variety trials (OVT) began with wheat in 2010 in order to identify varieties that perform well under organic production conditions in North Carolina. These 16 varieties were tested in both the wheat OVT and in the ryegrass suppression OVT. Featherstone VA 258 surpasses the other varieties, ranking highest in both yield and ryegrass suppression. BOPS Coalition Breeding for Organic Production Systems (BOPS) is a joint project by North Carolina State University and in the Rural Advancement Foundation International, started in the spring of 2009. The project develops field crop varieties specifically selected for organic production in the Southeast. For more information and to view the complete results of all varieties tested, visit: RYEGRASS HEADS IN SQUARE METER 200 300 400 500 501 481 427 426 426 414 411 403 397 386 380 378 373 368 348 308 HOW MANY RYEGRASS HEADS sq.meter [per] ? Featherstone VA 258 Southern States 520 NC Cape Fear NC Yadkin Southern States 8641 Pioneer 26R12 NC Neuse USG3201 DG Shirley Oakes Pioneer 26R20 Agrimaxx 415 Agrimaxx 413 Southern States 5205 Pioneer 25R32 USG 3438 WHEATVARIETY RAFI created a series infographics to display the data from our BOPS organic trials. See more at
  16. 16. The Crop Hop In 2013, we launched our first annual Crop Hop, a square dance fundraiser for RAFI's Farm Sustainability Program. The community event brought together farmers and residents from around North Carolina to celebrate sustainable agriculture and innovation! About 300 people attended, raising $13,000. We are grateful to all of our sponsors for their generous contributions in support of RAFI and The Crop Hop: Fearrington Village, Organic Valley, First Citizens Bank, The Abundance Foundation, INDY Week, Grapevine Realty Services, Lisa London CPA, New Belgium Brewing, Riley MacLean Photography, Lindley Farms Creamery, Fullsteam Brewery, Carolina Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Goat Lady Dairy, Chatham Marketplace.
  17. 17. Financial OverviewFor the Year Ended December 31, 2013 Support and Revenue: Private foundations and public funds Service contracts and honoraria Individual contributions Rental income Registration fees Special events proceeds (after expenses) 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 Asssets Net Asstes - Beginning of Year Net Assets - End of Year 2013 Totals 1,512,064 145,062 92,437 22,623 33,576 8,176 653 2,517 1,817,108 1,312,036 145,763 112,756 258,519 1,570,555 246,553 1,834,729 2,081,282 $ $ 84%of RAFI’s funds are used for program services $1,570,555 Total Expenses ProgramServices 84% General& Administrative 9% Fundraising 7%
  18. 18. Alces Foundation Cedar Tree Foundation Clif Bar Family Foundation Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Elise Jerard Environmental and Humanitarian Trust Farm Aid Gaia Fund Google, Inc.* GBL Charitable Foundation Hillsdale Fund Mary L. Richardson Fund McKnight Foundation North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church North Carolina Specialty Crop Grant Program North Carolina State University North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission North Pond Foundation Organic Valley Family of Farms / Farmers Advocating for Organics Fund Presbyterian Hunger Program Southern Risk Management Education Center Stonyfield Farm, Inc. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Financial information about Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA 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. 2013supporters DONATE TO RAFI As farmer and former TCRF grantee George O’Neal of Lil Farm says of our support,“Nobody does anything awesome by themselves.” In order to continue the work we do, we depend on donations from people who share our same fire to lift up the work of all family farmers. Help us support family farms and a just, sustainable world for agriculture. Consider becoming a monthly donor to RAFI by visiting: The CS Fund The Ceres Trust The Duke Endowment The Park Foundation The Foundation * The William Zimmerman Foundation Tivka Grassroots Empowerment Fund of Tides Foundation Wallace Genetic Foundation Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation *Inkind donations valued above $5,000. 274 Pittsboro Elem. Sch. Rd. • Pittsboro, NC 27312 • Tel: 919-542-1396 • Fax: 919-542-0069 • Thank you to the gracious funders, listed here, who supported RAFI with a generous donation worth $5,000 or more.
  19. 19. 274 Pittsboro Elem. Sch. Rd. • Pittsboro, NC 27312 • Tel: 919-542-1396 • Fax: 919-542-0069 •