Agriculture, Food, Nutrition

Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA

  • Pittsboro, NC
  • http://www.rafiusa.org

Mission Statement

The Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA (RAFI-USA) cultivates markets, policies and communities that support thriving, socially just and environmentally sound family farms.

Main Programs

  1. Just Foods
  2. Farm Sustainability
  3. Contract Agriculture Reform & Corporate Concentration
  4. Agricultural Reinvestment Fund
  5. Come to the Table
  6. Landowner Rights and Fracking
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

While focusing on North Carolina and the southeastern United States, we also work nationally and internationally.

ruling year

1990

Executive Director

Self-reported

Mr. Scott Marlow

Keywords

Self-reported

family farming, contract agriculture, organics, sustainable agriculture, food security, biodiversity, rural, economic development, community development

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Also Known As

RAFI

EIN

56-1704863

 Number

0413747409

Physical Address

274 Pittsboro Elementary School Road

Pittsboro, 27312

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Other Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition N.E.C. (K99)

Community Coalitions (S21)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (S01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

RAFI-USA's approach to change is built on the assumption that environmental sustainability, economic viability, biodiversity, and social justice are inextricably linked, and that the best way to ensure a just, sustainable future for farming is to create markets, policies, and communities that reward farmers for doing the right thing. This farmer-driven approach has enabled us to build effective coalitions that mobilize unusual groups of partners towards a common goal. Our decades of organizing and advocacy have built relationships between RAFI and a wide community of stakeholders in the agricultural community.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Just Foods

The Just Foods program promotes a systems-based approach to a more sustainable food and fiber system. We work nationally and internationally.

Through research, analysis, education, advocacy and coalition-building, we:

1) educate farmers and consumers about diversity’s importance in agriculture

2) promote meaningful standards for organic agriculture

3) emphasize how GE/ GMO foods could jeopardize long-term food security and farmers’ livelihoods

4) evaluate new technology based on economic viability, environmental soundness, and social justice

5) create new and expanded production, marketing and research opportunities for sustainable and organic farmers.


Active Projects & Work Areas:
Organic Integrity
Agricultural Biodiversity
Seeds & Breeds for the 21st Century
Social Justice in Agriculture
Biotechnology

Category

Sustainable Agriculture

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

$537,405.00

Program 2

Farm Sustainability

RAFI’s Farm Sustainability Program serves small and mid-scale family farmers by assisting them in transitioning to more sustainable farming operations and increasing their chances for success. The transition to high-value, differentiated markets is crucial to the success of mid-scale family farms. Family farmers are uniquely situated to fill the growing demand for specialty products that provide environmental benefits.

Through RAFI’s Farm Sustainability program, we:
-Assist individual farmers who are facing financial crisis.
-Provide training and publications for farmers and advocates on significant agricultural issues.
-Advocate for policies that encourage and support the transition to sustainable farming operations.

Category

Community Development, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

None

Budget

$213,499.00

Program 3

Contract Agriculture Reform & Corporate Concentration

RAFI’s Contract Agriculture Reform Program fights for the economic and civil rights of farmers, taking on issue of pay, working conditions, and redress of grievances. Great numbers of U.S. farmers are under contracts for what they grow. These contracts can minimize farm income and farmers’ management options, while increasing financial and environmental liabilities. The Contract Agriculture Reform program supports policies that enforce fair and equitable contract arrangements between individual farmers and processors. We help grower associations recruit members and train farmer leadership. We also provide information and technical assistance that enables prospective contract farmers to avoid unnecessary financial risks.

Category

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

None

Budget

$55,014.00

Program 4

Agricultural Reinvestment Fund

The Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund successfully enables small and medium sized tobacco growers to create new farm-based ventures to replace lost tobacco income. We give farmers and communities technical and cost-share support so they can try out innovative ideas. From 2003 to 2007, RAFI assisted 87 new agricultural enterprises, retained and created 747 jobs, and leveraged $2.5 million in new investment. These enterprises are generating close to $4 million in new farm income annually. In 2009, RAFI expanded statewide in North Carolina to 100 counties.

Category

Agriculture

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

None

Budget

$284,692.00

Program 5

Come to the Table

The mission of Come To The Table is to relieve hunger and strengthen just and sustainable agriculture in rural North Carolina. We do this by engaging and mobilizing people of faith, farmers and communities.

Category

Hunger Action

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

$142,871.00

Program 6

Landowner Rights and Fracking

Through this project, we educate landowners and policy makers about the risks of signing mineral rights leases, including the impact leasing can have on mortgages, one’s ability to refinance, and USDA loans.

Category

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

$78,555.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    RAFI-USA believes that farmers and consumers must be informed, involved with each other and active in protecting and directing the use of natural and human agricultural resources. Our programs are strategically designed to advance our mission and vision.

    Our vision:
    1) Family farmers have the power to earn a fair and dependable income.
    2) Everyone who labors in agriculture is respected, protected, and valued by society.
    3) Air, water and soil are preserved for future generations.
    4) The land yields healthy and abundant food and fiber that is accessible to all members of society.
    5) The full diversity of seeds and breeds, the building blocks of agriculture, are reinvigorated and publicly protected.

    Through this vision, we have ensured that hundreds of farmers kept their land, and the livelihood that is their dream and our trust. We have demonstrated that responsibility to the community and the environment is good business, and builds rural economies. And we have fought to keep the care of our land and water in the hands of our communities.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Working with a variety of farm, community, university and government groups, RAFI promotes sustainability, equity and diversity in agriculture through policy changes, practical assistance, market opportunities, and access to financial and technical resources. RAFI's programs address the trends and changes in agriculture that affect us from the local to the global levels. Our focus is on systematic solutions that build the policy, market, and financial infrastructure to support the long-term viability and prosperity of family farms and rural communities.

    We combine on-the-ground services with national and international policy advocacy in order to ensure that farmers have access to the tools they need to make the right choices for their farm and families, and to ensure that the best choice for farmers will also be the best choice for the environment and their communities.

    Our strategy and organizational style is collaborative, achieving results through coalitions, partnerships and affiliations. Key strategies include:

    1) Preserving farm and community assets through one-on-one farmer support and fair development and implementation of public policy.

    2) Supporting innovative, replicable models of farm and community-based enterprise development in the Southeast by leveraging public money from economic recovery initiatives and the tobacco Master Settlement funds.

    3) Increasing financial capital and risk-management tools available to underserved farmers through policy research, insurance policy development, education, advocacy, and partnership-building.

    4) Developing marketplace initiatives that provide economic incentives for sustainable production and fair compensation and working conditions

    5) Committing to farmer-led solutions by ensuring that farmers, workers, and others in rural communities have a seat at the table and the power to identify and act on solutions for moving families and communities out of poverty.

    6) Closing the loop between farmers and policymakers through organizing, advocacy, and policy research. RAFI brings lessons and leaders from direct-service and grassroots work to policy-makers and coalitions, then brings the resulting improvements in policy back to farmers and farm communities, making sure those wins meet their intended purpose and are accessible.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Since our incorporation in 1990, RAFI has been a leader in farmer-led policy and market reforms. Our work is guided by the belief that in order to ensure a safe, adequate supply of healthy food we must protect family farms and encourage environmentally sound farming.

    At RAFI, our view is that organic offers the best agricultural approach for meaningful long-term solutions to the continuing and escalating environmental challenges facing our planet. As such, the organization has a very long history and body of work, tracing back to the early 1970's, on the development, promotion and protection of organic farming, both domestically as well as internationally. RAFI is also the forefront of several national initiatives to create, support, and promote model fair food systems. We work for social justice along the entire production and marketing chain, from farm workers to consumers.

    In addition to our work promoting common sense policies and alternatives, we also work directly with farmers providing financial counseling and cost-share grants for farm innovation enterprises. Our experience supporting family farmers provides us with the insight necessary to inform our advocacy and organizing work.

    These strengths and histories make us uniquely situated to bring people together in broad coalitions working towards a common goal, and enable us to work with farmers and partners to build a strong movement that engages diverse supporters.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Sample Key Indicators (by program area)

    Farmer Entrepreneurship / Farmer grants program:
    -Number of jobs created
    -Farm income generated

    Farm Advocacy Program:
    -Value ($) of farm assets preserved
    -Homes & farms saved from foreclosure
    -Value ($) of farm credit secured or restructured

    Come to the Table Project:
    -Number of farmers markets accepting SNAP benefits
    -Number of church ministries supporting local farm businesses
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Highlight of Accomplishments by Program Area

    Farm Advocacy & Farm Sustainability Program:
    -From 2010-2013, we worked with more than 250 family farms, preserving approximately $50 million in farm assets.
    -In 2012, we were successful in securing more than $1 million in new credit and restructuring more than $15 million in existing loans for farmers.
    -In 2013, the Farm Sustainability Program staff has developed a series of 10+ training modules for farm advocates in an effort to create a formal curriculum. We plan to release all of the modules by early Spring 2014.

    Crop Insurance Research & Development:
    Our work in crop insurance research and development continues with an exciting research project examining the use of crop insurance by specialty crop growers in North Carolina. In 2013, we examined farmers' crop insurance and risk management needs, while also identifying ways to encourage environmentally-sound, production-based risk management through crop insurance. This research project was focused on assessing the crop insurance and risk management needs of specialty crop growers in North Carolina.

    The mixed-methods project included:
    • A survey distributed to North Carolina farmers designed to identify (1) uninsured farm income, (2) crop insurance models that fit producers' needs and (3) gaps in risk management;
    • Farmer focus groups and farm site visits;
    • Development of a specialty crop professional advisory board, which now includes active participation of key experts in crop insurance and actuarial analysis;
    • Educational workshops for specialty growers on specialty crop risk management.

    A final report detailing the results of our research was distributed to USDA administrators, insurance professionals, project participants and farmers in September of 2013.

    Farmer Entrepreneurship/TCRF:
    In the 19 years since the program began, we have disbursed almost $5.5M to more than 550 farmers and collaborative farmer groups throughout the state of North Carolina. In 2015, we distributed $196,000 in grants to innovative farmers throughout North Carolina. Each grant cycle typically results in the following impacts.
    • 96 people were directly employed;
    • more than $400,000 outside of RAFI's investment was contributed by the farmers;
    • approximately 100 unfunded farmers used the lessons provided by our grantees on their farms.

    For more details regarding our impacts and progress visit our website at www.rafiusa.org.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

While focusing on North Carolina and the southeastern United States, we also work nationally and internationally.

Social Media

Blog

Funding Needs

2013 Priority Funding Areas:   Farm Advocacy - Providing farmers in financial crisis with expert financial counseling and advocacy services.    Advocacy - all issues including Organic Integrity, Seeds & Breeds, Farm Bill, Corporate Concentration/Contract Agriculture Reform and Landowner Rights/Fracking.    General Support - Funding is needed to invest in building communications capacity.

Videos

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

RURAL ADVANCEMENT FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL - USA
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Mr. Scott Marlow

BIO

Scott currently serves as Executive Director of the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA. Scott's specialty is financial infrastructure, including access to credit and risk management for value-added producers. He previously directed the organization's Farm Sustainability program, providing in-depth financial counseling to farmers in crisis, education on disaster assistance programs and access to credit, and addressing the needs of mid-scale farmers who are increasing the sustainability of their farms by transitioning to higher-value specialty markets. Scott has served on the steering committee of the National Task Force to Renew Agriculture of the Middle, the Organization Council of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, the Board of the North Carolina Farm Transition Network, and currently serves on the NC Agricultural Advancement Consortium and the Advisory Committee of the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.  Scott holds a Masters degree in Crop Science from NC State University, and a BA in Political Science from Duke University.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Alex Hitt

Peregrine Farm

Term: Jan 2013 - Dec 2015

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Full-Time Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.
Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.
Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies
No
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
No
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
Yes
We have a diversity committee in place
No
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan
No
We use other methods to support diversity