As 2015 comes to a close, SFA celebrates a 25-year run of education, demonstration and networking on behalf of sustainable farmers and sustainable farming professionals. The past 25 years have brought about a marked change in agriculture and SFA has had to adapt, change and grow to remain relevant to our audience and stay true to our mission and our members.
The next 25 years will see even greater levels of positive change in agriculture. Building on the accomplishments of our first 25 years, SFA has moved into a leadership role in breaking down the walls between different brands of agriculture. We want to see all farmers improve sustainability in production practices, as well as in the impact their farming operation has on the community. As a sustainability movement, we cannot only speak to those who like to hear our message – we need to speak to those who haven’t heard it, or who have dismissed us due to preconceived ideas about what SFA is all about.
While ringing in the New Year, here are five things to bear in mind about SFA – who we are, and are not.
1. SFA is not a political organization. Admittedly, there are problems in agriculture that need to be addressed in the public policy arena, and I’m thankful for the many organizations working on that level. SFA addresses problems in agriculture through networking, education, and demonstration.
2. SFA is no longer a “spinoff” of the Land Stewardship Project. Twenty five years ago, some very bright people who were involved in getting LSP started understood the need for a networking organization that could work on agriculture issues from a different angle than LSP, and SFA was born. We enjoy a good working relationship with many organizations, including LSP, but SFA operates separately from LSP and has for many, many years.
3. SFA is open to all farmers who are seeking to improve the sustainability of their operations, including commodity row crop producers. Incremental improvements on large-scale operations are going to be essential to our movement achieving its goals in the next 25 years.
4. SFA emphasizes two main programatic areas: Soil Health and Farmer Development. Everything we do in terms of programming is tied to these areas in one way or another. We work diligently to focus our efforts on the things we do well, and the things we were created to do.
5. SFA is working beyond the borders of Minnesota. We have members from all of the surrounding states, and some as far away as California, Colorado, and North Carolina. We will continue to be open to opportunities to serve agriculture wherever we can make a difference.
Thank you for your interest in our work, and for everything you do to make our world better. Here’s wishing you and yours a safe, happy and profitable 2016!