Farmers, Fairness & the Farm Bill

where issues of producers, policy and equity converge

A Collaborative Research Project with Rural Coalition, National Family Farm Coalition & American University's School of International Service (Washington, DC)

The farm bill 2018 symposium was held on March 28, 2017 at american university in D.C.

Farm Bill 2018: Policy, Politics, and Potential

American University, School of International Service | March 28, 2017 - 8am-4pm

Please join us for a public symposium US Farm Bill 2018: Policy, Politics & Potential. This event will mark the first time that academics, civil society leaders, policy-makers, producers and the general public will be able to present and discuss original research both on and for the US Farm Bill, across and beyond disciplines. Participants will collectively identify research needs and gaps regarding the US Farm Bill, with the objective of increasing popular and scholarly understanding of--and engagement with--this complex legislation  and its cascade of impacts. Our goal is to expand the standard debate, which often dichotomizes constituents and oversimplifies key issues, while ignoring others. Instead, we wish to open up this pivotal policy to a wider array of dialogue and analyses, with an eye toward  how community-partnered research on and for the US Farm Bill can help inform, reform, and transform it.

Livestream and archived video of the symposium will be available at the Symposium's website, below.

Sponsored by the Berkeley Food Institute and the AU SIS Global Environmental Politics Program

Please contact with any questions.


Yao Afantchao works at the University of DC as the Ethnic Crop Development Specialist with the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) and coordinates the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research Education program. He advises food producers and residents on how to grow and cook a variety of healthy and flavorful international crops. He also introduces commercial growers to the expanding high-value marketing opportunities for ethnic produce and alternative crops in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Molly D. Anderson is organizing a program in Food Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, where she teaches about hunger and food security, fixing food systems, and sustainability. She participates in the regional Food Solutions New England network and the national Inter-Institutional Network for Food, Agriculture & Sustainability, and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food). She was a Coordinating Lead Author on the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science & Technology for Development (IAASTD) and served on the Board of the Community Food Security Coalition for 6 years.

Selected Publications:

  • "Roles of Rural Areas in Sustainable Food System Transformations” inDevelopment
  • "The role of knowledge in building food security resilience across food system domains" in Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Rudy Arredondo has been the leading visionary for the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Association for over 13 years. Rudy has spent his lifetime defending the rights of Latinos around the United States. A highly motivated bilingual problem solver and advocate with a lifetime career in civil, human, labor, immigration, and health care rights. Throughout his 24 years in Washington, D.C., he has successfully managed millions of dollars in public project funds and has worked with League of United Latin American Citizens, the Department of Agriculture, Hispanic Organizations Leadership Alliance amongst others. 

Julian Baer is the Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition on Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in early 2013. His issue portfolio includes nutrition, horticulture, and specialty crops. Prior to joining the Committee, Julian spent over 12 years working in agriculture, food, and nutrition policy. He previously held positions at OFW Law, FoodMinds LLC, the Food Marketing Institute, and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives. During his time at Education and the Workforce, he worked on the 2004 reauthorization of the child nutrition programs.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer represents Oregon's Third District. He was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1972, where he served three terms and Chaired the House Education and Revenue Committee in 1977-78. In 1978, he was elected to the Multnomah County Commission, where he served for eight years before being elected to the Portland City Council in 1986. There, his 10-year tenure as the Commissioner of Public Works demonstrated his leadership on the innovative accomplishments in transportation, planning, environmental programs and public participation that have helped Portland earn an international reputation as one of America's most livable cities. Elected to the US House of Representatives in 1996, Mr. Blumenauer has created a unique role as Congress' chief spokesperson for Livable Communities: places where people are safe, healthy and economically secure. From 1996 to 2007, he served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he was a strong advocate for federal policies that address transportation alternatives, provide housing choices, support sustainable economies and improve the environment. He was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee from 2001 to 2007, and vice-chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming from 2007 to 2010.  He is currently a member of the Ways and Means Committee and the subcommittees on Health, Social Security and Trade.

Ben Burkett is president of the National Family Farms Coalition (NFFC) and current director of the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, the local arm of The Federation of Southern Cooperatives. Ben is a farmer and community activist. Ben represents NFFC on La Via Campesina Food Sovereignty Commission and is a board member of the Community Food Security Coalition.

Carolyn Dimitri is an applied economist at New York University, an Associate Editor of the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, and a member of the scientific board of the Organic Center. A common thread throughout her research is the role of governmental and private institutions in facilitating transactions between buyers and sellers, including how food labels transmit unobservable information about product quality to buyers and how policies support farmer income and consumer health. Dr. Dimitri is widely recognized as the leading US expert in the procurement and marketing of organic food, and has published extensively on the distribution, processing, retailing, and consumption of organic food. Her paper "Organic food consumers: What do we really know about them?" received a commendable paper award from the British Food Journal in 2013. 

Callie Eideberg works at the Environmental Defense Fund as a Senior Policy Manager on Ecosystems Sustainable Agriculture. Callie leads the formation and implementation of sustainable agriculture policy on the federal level, working with the Administration, federal agencies, and both the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.

Selected Publication:

Sam Farr is a former Democratic member of the U.S. House representing California's 20th Congressional District. Farr served in the House from 1993 to 2017. Prior to his career in the U.S. House, Farr served in the California State Assembly from 1980 to 1993. Farr joined the Peace Corps in 1964 and served for two years as a volunteer in Colombia. He served as the ranking member of the House’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies from 2011 to 2016.

Jessica Felix-Romero is the Director of Communications & Insights at Farmworker Justice. Jessica has PhD from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on permaculture as a peacebuilding tool in post-conflict El Salvador. 

  • Co-author of "Food Justice: Combating Racism in the Agricultural System" published in Liberal Education

Greg Fogel serves as Policy Director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of California, Berkeley, and holds an M.S. in Environmental Planning and a Master of Public Policy degree. Greg staffed NSAC's Conservation, Energy, and Environment Committee from 2010 through 2016 and led NSAC's annual appropriations and budget work from 2012 through 2016. Prior to joining NSAC, Greg worked as a campaign coordinator, an educator, a researcher, and an advocate in the U.S. and abroad.

Jim Goodman and his wife Rebecca run a 45-cow organic dairy farm in southwest Wisconsin. His farming roots trace back to his great-grandparents immigration from Ireland during the famine and the farm's original purchase in 1848. Jim credits more than 150 years of failed farm and social policy as his motivation to advocate for a farmer-controlled consumer-oriented food system. He currently serves on the policy advisory boards for the Center for Food Safety and the Organic Consumers Association, and is a board member of Midwest Environmental Advocates and of the Family Farm Defenders, he also works with the National Family Farm Coalition. He is the past chair of the USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education Administrative Council and is a current member of the USDA National Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board. He was a WK Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow.

Selected Publications:

Karen Hansen-Kuhn works on policy, trade, and economic justice at Institute for Agriculture and Trade. She has published articles on U.S. trade and agriculture policies, the impacts of U.S. biofuels policies on food security, and women and food crises. She was the international coordinator of the Alliance for Responsible Trade (ART), a U.S. multisectoral coalition promoting just and sustainable trade, until 2005. After that, she was policy director at the U.S. office of ActionAid, an international development organization.

Selected Publications:

Janie Simms Hipp is the Director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and visiting professor of law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Prior to joining the law school, she was the senior adviser for tribal relations to Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She is the founder of the USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations in the Office of the Secretary and served two terms on the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.

Selected Publications:

Casey Hoy has held the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management and provided leadership to the Agroecosystems Management Program of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center since 2006.  Prof. Hoy's past research has included systems analysis and its application to integrated pest management and applied ecology.  His current work provides interdisciplinary leadership toward advancements in agroecosystem health and sustainable communities. He is the Faculty Director for the Ohio State University Discovery Themes Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation, an investment of more than $100 million over the next 10 years in resilient and sustainable food security.  

Daniel Imhoff is a researcher, author, and independent publisher who has concentrated for over 20 years on issues related to farming, the environment, and design. Dan is the author of multiple books about the food system, including Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill and CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, (winner of the Nautilus 2011 Gold Prize for Investigative Reporting). He is the president and co-founder of Watershed Media, a non-profit publishing house based in Healdsburg, California, and president and a co-founder of the Wild Farm Alliance, a ten-year-old national organization that works to promote agriculture systems that support and accommodate wild nature.

Michael Kotutwa Johnson is a PhD Candidate in the University of Arizona’s School of Renewable Natural Resources and the Environment. Michael is a member of the Hopi Tribe and a traditional Hopi dryland farmer. His experience in planting Hopi heirloom varieties and then tending to his crops gives him a unique perspective on how he looks at natural resource conservation and subsequent nutrient, soil and water management issues found in Hopi cropping systems. 

Selected Publications:

  •  Working paper - “Aspects of Ecohydrological Principles/Processes as it Relates to Hopi Dry Land Farming Practices”

Dr. Joe Leonard, USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 2, 2009, Assistant Secretary Leonard is the longest serving Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in USDA's history and the longest serving African-American Senate confirmed appointee ever at USDA. Under Assistant Secretary Leonard's leadership, USDA was able to accomplish several historic accomplishments. To address long-standing allegations of past discrimination, Assistant Secretary Leonard spearheaded an effort to settle large-scale class-action lawsuits with Native American and African American farmers and ranchers and established a voluntary claims process for women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers, which provided payments of more than $2.5 billion combined and over $118 million in debt forgiveness. Notably, during Dr. Leonard's tenure, there has been an increase in civil rights trainings within USDA nationwide, a 90% decrease in farmer complaints nationwide, a 9% increase in the number of African-American farmers and a 21% increase in the number of Hispanic farmers in the United States.

Selected Publication

·         Legacy of civil rights progress at USDA [Commentary] 

Jeremiah Lowery is Campaign Director at Universal Childcare NOW DC Coalition and is an appointee to the DC Food Policy Council. Jerimiah has over 6 years of experience working in under-served communities in the Washington, DC area. His project range from writing business plans for business development centers, writing grants with AARP to bring attention to inter-generational approaches that end senior hunger, and working on education policy for the Washington, D.C. city council. Jerimiah was named one of Elevation D.C. Magazine's 50 under 50 Food Heroes. 

Selected Publication

·         Midtown Senior Health Assessment and Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Meal, Health and Wellness Program 

Patty Lovera is the Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch where she coordinates the food team. Patty has a bachelor's degree in environmental science from Lehigh University and a master's degree in environmental policy from the University of Michigan. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Patty was the deputy director of the energy and environment program at Public Citizen and a researcher at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

Bob Martin is the Program Director of the Food System Policy Program at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and is also a senior lecturer at the university's Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. As Program Director, he ensures that the program takes a coordinated approach to research and policy while optimizing partnerships with colleagues at other organizations. Previously he worked at Pew Research Center with the Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production to publish eight technical reports and one seminal report entitled "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America.

Stephanie Mercier is Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Farm Journal Foundation. Dr. Stephanie Mercier expands the Foundation's partnership network, provides policy analysis, and leads the Foundation's Farm Team program. Previously, Stephanie has served in the position of chief economist for the Democratic staff of the Senate Agriculture Committee and as team leader for the Trade Policy and Programs area of the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as an independent agricultural policy consultant on projects in the areas of domestic farm and risk management programs, environmental policy, federal agricultural budgets, domestic nutrition assistance programs, and international food security and agricultural development policy.
Recent Publications at

  • "Straight From D.C.: Issues Leading to the Next Farm Bill"
  • "Straight From D.C: China's Mixed Messages on U.S. Corn Imports"
  • "Straight From D.C.: Where Do Clinton, Trump Land on Ag Issues?"

Kathleen Merrigan is former USDA Deputy Secretary and currently Executive Director of Sustainability at George Washington University, where she leads the GW Sustainability Collaborative, GW Food Institute, and serves as Professor of Public Policy. Kathleen also serves as a Co-Chair for AGree, Board Director for the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and FoodCorps, member of the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund Advisory Committee, Senior Advisor at the Kendall Foundation, and steering committee member of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors of the National Council for Science and the Environment and the United Nations Environment Programme led initiative TEEB for Agriculture & Food. 

Selected Publications:

  • Co-author of "Beyond interdisciplinary: how sustainability creates opportunities for pan-university efforts" in Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • Co-author of "Designing a sustainable diet" in Science

National Family Farm Coalition is a non-profit 501(c)(3), North American organization that serves as a national link for grassroots organizations working on family farm issues. NFFC represents 24 grassroots organizations in 32 states. These groups work in respective regions on credit, trade, and farm and food policy issues to ensure fair prices for farmers, local jobs for communities, and fresh foods for all. Through the NFFC, these organizations collaborate regionally on nation-wide campaigns making the most of every group's experience, resources, and impact.

Gerardo Otero is professor of International Studies and Sociology at Simon Fraser University. He has also taught at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, the Autonomous University of Puebla, the University of Guadalajara and Tulane University. In Fall 2014, Otero was the Tinker Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, housed in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology. Dr. Otero has published more than 100 scholarly articles, chapters and books 

Selected Publications:

  • Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree was elected to Congress from Maine’s 1st Congressional District—the first woman elected to Congress from that District- in 2008. Chellie was elected to the Maine State Senate in 1992, representing Knox County. In 1996, Chellie was chosen by her peers to be the Maine Senate Majority Leader. She helped lead the Senate for four more years, until leaving office due to term limits. As a Senator, she fought for economic and social justice, taking on powerful adversaries - most notably the pharmaceutical lobby. From 2003 to 2007, Chellie served as the National President and CEO of Common Cause, a non-partisan citizen activist group with nearly 300,000 members and 35 state chapters. Common Cause's mission is to help citizens make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

LaDonna Redmond is a food justice activist that is currently the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Seward Community Co-op in Minneapolis. She staffed the food and justice program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and is co-founder and president of Graffiti and Grub, a grocery store for the hip-hop generation. She was also a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow, named Responsibility Pioneer in 2009 by Time Magazine, and was awarded the Green for All Fellowship in 2007. 
TED Talks:

Audrey Rowe is the former administrator of USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). While Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs at FNS, she leas the effort to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity in a generation. Previously she has served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director for the Children and Family Services division for Affiliated Computer Service (ACS). In this capacity, she spearheaded industry leadership in the realms of child support payment processing and enforcement and the electronic dissemination of public assistance benefits, including implementing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) programs in over 20 states.

Selected Publications:

  • “The Feminization of Poverty: An Issue for the90's” in Yale University Journal of Law and Feminism
  • Editor of The State of Black America, 1991, "To Be Equal," National Urban League

Ricardo Salvador is a senior scientist and the Director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists where he works with citizens, scientists, economists, and politicians to transition our current food system into one that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices.Before coming to UCS, Dr. Salvador served as a program officer for food, health, and well-being with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this capacity, he was responsible for conceptualizing and managing the Foundation's food systems programming. He partnered with colleagues to create programs that addressed the connections between food and health, environment, economic development, sovereignty, and social justice.

Harwood Schaffer is Director of the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC), an independent analytical organization devoted to providing information that meets the needs of farmers and consumers. He has published hundreds of papers, most with Darryl Ray; the two founded Policy Pennings newsletter which has 100,000+ subscribers. He has been involved in various projects of the center including two economic studies of hog production, the analysis of numerous farm bill proposals, a study of the economic impact of the elimination of the Conservation Reserve Program, and the study of various commodity reserve program designs.

He served as an ordained minister and rural parish pastor in agricultural communities for 30 years before coming to coming to APAC, where he earned an M.S. in Agricultural Economics (2006) and a PhD in Sociology (2010) from the University of Tennessee. He was Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Resource and Agricultural Economics from 2010 until his retirement in 2016. Dr. Schaffer also conducts policy research that examines the needs of subsistence producers in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Selected Publications:

  • Rethinking U.S. Agricultural Policy: Changing Course to Secure Farmer Livelihoods Worldwide, Dr. Daryll E. Ray, Daniel G. De La Torre Ugarte, Kelly H. Tiller
  • An Analysis of a Market-Driven Inventory System (MDIS), Harwood D. Schaffer, Chad Hellwinckel, Daryll E. Ray and Daniel G. De La Torre Ugarte, 2012.
  • Co-author of “Profiling H-2A Program Participants in Tobacco Farming: Implications for Extension” in Journal of Extension; “The Assumption of Non-coerciveness and the Total Food Market” in International Journal of Agriculture Innovations and Research

  • Co-author of the chapter “Toward a Pro-Middle Farm Policy: What Will It Take To Ensure a Promising Future for Family Farming?”in the collection In Food and the Mid-Level Farm

The Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural is an alliance of farmers, farmworkers, indigenous, migrant, immigrant and working people from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and beyond working together toward a new society which values unity, hope, the land and the people.Born of the civil rights and anti-poverty rural movements, Rural Coalition has worked for more than 36 years to assure that diverse organizations from all regions, ethnic and racial groups and genders have the opportunity to work in solidarity on the issues that affect them all. The foundation of this work is strong local, regional and national organizations that work to assure the representation and involvement of every sector of this diverse fabric of rural peoples.

Bill Wenzel is the director of the Food and Farming Program at U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). He works with both the U.S. PIRG and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund to advance program goals and objectives. Bill is a 1981 graduate of the Hamline University School of Law and has worked extensively on state and federal policy development and advocacy on a wide variety of agriculture, environmental and food issues in collaboration with farm, food, consumer and environmental groups and organizations. Many of the policy successes were the result of grassroots organizing efforts driven by broad collaborations of partners and allies. He has also worked as Chief of Staff for two Wisconsin State Senators and served as Staff Director for the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environmental Resources. 

Carl Zulauf is a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at The Ohio State University. Dr. Zulauf’s areas of specialization are commercial agricultural policy and commodity futures and options markets. In 2008, Zulauf made a significant contribution to the farm policy debate by offering to policymakers a conceptual framework that became the basis for the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program, which was crafted into legislation and introduced to the 2008 Farm Bill debate by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois.

Selected Publications:

Community partnered action research on and for U.S. agricultural policy