From the Executive Director What is RAFI-USA?
The Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA
cultivates markets, policies and communities that support
thriving, socially just and environmentally sound family farms.
RAFI is creating a movement among farm, environmental
and consumer groups to ensure that:
• everyone who labors in agriculture is respected,
protected, and valued by society;
• air, water and soil are preserved for future generations;
• the land yields healthy and abundant food and fiber that
is accessible to all members of society;
• the full diversity of seeds and breeds, the building blocks
of agriculture, are reinvigorated and publicly protected.
Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA • 274 Pittsboro Elementary School Road
PO Box 640 • Pittsboro, NC 27312
Telephone (919) 542-1396 www.rafiusa.org Facsimile (919) 542-0069
Make a Sure Investment
RAFI-USA is working to preserve family farms and rural
communities and to establish - in this country and
worldwide - the values of equity, diversity and community
in agriculture. You can support these values and work by
planning a future gift for RAFI-USA’s continuing needs.
Join the RAFI supporters who are leaving a legacy by
making a bequest in your will. You can help ensure our
ability to continue to preserve family farms and
strengthen rural communities for future generations.
If you would like information on how to designate the
Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA
through a will or bequest, please contact us by phone at
(919) 542-1396, or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
INCOME and EXPENSE STATEMENT
as of December 31, 2009 (Unaudited)
SUPPORT & REVENUE
Private Foundations & Public Funds* $ 5,795,951 $ 367,888
Individual Contributions 387,110 276,855
Corporate Contributions 13,310 25,809
Service Contracts/Honoraria 126,676 196,695
Rental Income & Other 26,609 68,952
Total Support and Revenue $ 6,349,656 $ 936,199
Farm Sustainability $ 284,833 $ 364,269
Tobacco Communities 129,630 312,975
Just Foods 432,707 466,842
Rural Advancement Institute 33,198 975,937
Contract Agriculture Reform 160,014 194,922
Total Program Services $ 1,040,382 $ 2,314,945
General & Administrative $ 158,008 $ 178,659
Fundraising 137,530 148,204
Total Supporting Services 295,538 326,863
Total Expenses $ 1,335,920 $ 2,641,808
CHANGE IN NET ASSETS $ 5,013,736 $ (1,705,609)
NET ASSETS - Beginning of Year $ 1,843,957 $ 6,857,693
NET ASSETS - End of Year $ 6,857,693 $ 5,152,084
* Includes the recording of the 2009-2011
Tobacco Trust Fund Commission grant of $4,748,870.
A year of challenges, of transition, of endurance – 2009 was a make-
or-break year for many farmers and for many organizations. Most had
planned as best they could for such dark days, yet only some survived.
Fortunately, RAFI was among those who planned and managed well,
so even in the dire economy, there was some good news. Many years
of RAFI work came to fruition in 2009. We achieved some long-
awaited, long term solutions – such as much needed safeguards in
poultry contracts for growers and increased resources for farmers
transitioning to organic practices – that will help prevent or mitigate
future economic distress for farmers.
We brought new resources to farmers and rural communities through
our expanded Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund. The
monies, from the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, are helping
farmers implement new ideas for earning a living in agriculture and
uncovering possible long term solutions to changing markets.
We finalized the National Organic Action Plan that provides a
roadmap for establishing an organic foundation for food and
agricultural production systems in the United States. The plan reflects
the collective vision of the grassroots organic community, and like all
RAFI-led projects, it was created with significant input from farmers.
RAFI brought information, solutions and strategies to communities,
congregations and consumers interested in relieving hunger and sustaining local farms. Nearly 300 people
attended our Come to the Table workshops, and twice that many received our guidebook of the same name.
Supported by the Duke Endowment and in collaboration with the NC Council of Churches, our efforts continue to
connect lower income consumers and farmers.
RAFI laid the foundation for these successes years ago. Because of RAFI’s commitment to careful stewardship,
we were in a strong position to not only weather the storm, but to address growing needs. We garnered additional
resources to address the immediate impact of the poultry shutdowns. We provided information to a new cadre
of governmental leaders, many of whom we had worked with in previous years. We nurtured collaborations and
partnerships that allowed us to accomplish far more than we could have alone. We expanded our fight to preserve
and protect the diversity of seeds and breeds. We found ourselves in the midst of a food safety fight, bringing the
common-sense perspective of the small farmer. And we looked for better ways to address the risk management
needs of small farmers.
The year brought considerable organizational change as well, with the retirement of the founding executive
director, the addition of several new staff members, and a truly challenging philanthropic climate. But throughout
it all - strengthened by your support - RAFI remained focused on our mission, meeting the challenges,
RAFI is on a ‘friendraising mission!’ While renowned in our
field of work, there are still many who don’t know about us.
We are taking on the challenge in 2010 to reach more
people. It is possible for us to reach thousands more -
one by one. Will you help?
Most people are very concerned about the issues on
which RAFI is working. As you’re talking with your friends
and family about these concerns, please remember to
introduce RAFI to them. People care, and more often than
not, would like to know how to best help the cause - with
someone they can trust. Tell them about the work RAFI is
doing - the work you support. Please let them know how
they, too, can make a difference.
If each of you share RAFI’s work with three people who
don’t know RAFI, program resources will be supercharged
and results will follow!
Will you join with us in our 2010 friendraising efforts to
increase awareness about RAFI’s work? Share this report
with your family and friends, and we’ll send more if you
need them. If you would like to know how you can help us
further in friendraising, please contact us. You may note it
on your reply card.
Board of Directors
Kathryn J. Waller, President, Former Director, Rural
Advancement Fund/National Sharecroppers Fund
Archie Hart, Vice President, Special Assistant to NC
Commissioner of Agriculture
Floyd B. McKissick, Jr. Treasurer, Attorney and NC State
Mary Clouse, Farmer and retired RAFI-USA program director
Alex Hitt, Organic Farmer
Daniel Pollitt, Attorney/Professor of Law, Emeritus UNC at
Randi Ilyse Roth, Executive Director of the Otto Bremer
Dr. Alton Thompson, Interim Provost / Vice Chancellor of
Academic Affairs NC A&T State University
Tom Trantham, Dairy Farmer
Helen Vinton, Rural Development Specialist, Southern Mutual
Linda Shaw • Regina Bridgman • Benny Bunting
Claire Hermann • Becky Ceartas • Patricia Clark
Laura Deaton Klauke • Sally V. Lee • Scott Marlow
Jacqueline Murphy Miller • Lori Myers • Julius Tillery
Robin Iten Porter • Jason Roehrig • Nancy Simons
Joe Schroeder • Michael Sligh • Kathy Zaumseil
Linda S. Shaw
Daniel E. Rothenberg
Duke Endowment/North Carolina Conference of
the United Methodist Church
Episcopal Diocese of North
Carolina / Jessie Ball DuPont Fund
F.B. Heron Foundation
Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
First Citizens Bank
GBL Charitable Foundation
Golden LEAF Foundation
John Merck Fund
Lawson Valentine Foundation
Mary Lynn Richardson Fund
Mary Norris Preyer Foundation
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
New York Community Trust
North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund
North Pond Foundation
Oak Fund of the Triangle Community
Organic Valley/ CROPP Cooperative
Paul and Eileen LeFort
Presbyterian Hunger Program
Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels
Rural Economic Development Center
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Tides Foundation (Anonymous Fund)
Unitarian Universalist Fund for a Just Society
Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation
Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
RAFI sincerely thanks our 1,200 individual supporters,
foundations and organizations who continue to stand
firm with us through these tumultuous economic times.
We take this opportunity also to welcome our new
Thank you for making RAFI what we are today. You
sent checks, you gave on-line, you contributed time and
energy, you gave guidance, you wrote letters and emails
to help educate policymakers and make a better world
Dear Friends of RAFI-USA,
It is my privilege to report to you that RAFI-USA is well and strong! Although neither our Board nor Staff can
claim to have foreseen this recession, RAFI’s long term commitment to careful stewardship has served us well.
We have experienced hard times before and we did not forget the lessons learned. 2009 was indeed a time to tighten
belts but we were debt free, and we were in the fortunate position of having secured several multi-year grants from
Foundations. This, combined with the generous support of our individual donors, left us in an enviable position
while many non-profits were floundering.
In addition to the challenging economic situation, 2009 was our year of transition. Our Executive Director of
18 years, Betty Bailey, retired and we installed our new Executive Director, Linda Shaw. We are indeed blessed
with Linda’s leadership. She has made RAFI’s transition a seamless one and guided us through her first year with
wisdom, courage and sensitivity.
As you will read in other parts of this report, 2009 also brought fruition in many areas of our work, some of which
was begun many years ago, long before the issues became common knowledge.
Although we are encouraged by our successes, we know that there is still much work to be done. To guide us
through the next year we have chosen a new Board President. It is time for me to turn over the reins to a younger
and wiser leader, Archie Hart. Archie is the Special Assistant to the NC Commissioner of Agriculture and has been
a valuable member of our Board for a number of years. I will continue to serve on the Board and I look forward to
being able to follow his lead!
Best wishes, as always,
Kathryn J. Waller
History will not only judge us by how well we managed our resources but
also by how well we defended opportunities of future generations. Now
is the time for us to set the course.
- Michael Sligh, RAFI-USA & Founding Chair, USDA National Organic Standards Board
For all who labor in agriculture
RAFI-USA traces its heritage to the National Sharecroppers'
Fund, which was founded in the 1930's. Fortified by lessons
learned through the century, RAFI-USA came into its own in
1990. We are proud of our heritage, and honored that we are
entrusted to carry on the mission.
2009 ANNUAL REPORT
Organic: From Niche to
America has lagged behind other nations in terms of its
commitment to promoting and enhancing opportunities
for organic food and agriculture. But with a new
administration demonstrating a commitment to organic,
RAFI and its partners were ready in 2009 to seize the
initiative and elevate organic agriculture.
RAFI was an early proponent of organic agriculture as a
way to reduce adverse impacts of agriculture on the
environment and to contribute to the development of
sustainable food and self-sufficient communities. The
unceasing work on the issue yielded rewards this year:
The USDA doubled the budget and staff of the National
Organic Program (NOP), elevated its status to a stand-
alone program, and hired the first NOP secretary who
has extensive organic experience.
Simultaneously, RAFI and our partners were finalizing a
National Organic Action Plan (NOAP) for the nation.
NOAP represents the culmination of five years of
meetings across the U.S. that engaged diverse
stakeholders in envisioning the future of organic and in
building strategies for realizing our collective vision. It
calls for the creation of an expanded organic policy
agenda for the next decade and reflects the broad
social, environmental and health values that organic
food systems afford society. The goal of the NOAP
project is to establish organic as the foundation for food
and agricultural production systems across the U.S.
America is the last remaining industrialized country to
develop a national organic action plan that will protect
the integrity of organic and prevent contamination from
genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In contrast to
the many government-derived plans in other countries,
we wanted our plan to emanate from the grassroots
organic community so that the broadest range of
stakeholders would share in its development and take
responsibility for its implementation. Farmers and non-
farmers alike joined the NOAP initiative to strengthen
organic’s integrity, grow markets, and facilitate universal
access to healthy, organic food.
The NOAP publication, From the Margins to the
Mainstream: Advancing Organic Agriculture in the U.S,
is available on our website at http://rafiusa.org/docs/
RAFI leads various collaborations working for social
justice along the entire food production and marketing
chain, from farm workers to consumers. And as new
technologies are introduced in agriculture, we raise
questions with the family farmer in mind: Who benefits?
Hope in Hard Times
The current crisis may feel new but RAFI has been working on solutions for decades. What RAFI-USA and
our supporters have always known is now quite clear: Economically viable, socially just, and environmentally
friendly systems are essential for the endurance of family farms, safe food and a healthy planet.
Our future depends on a diverse and equitable system of agriculture - one that allows farmers to earn a
living while feeding us in safe and healthy ways.
RAFI-USA is working side-by-side with farmers and concerned consumers to create this sustainable system.
We are finding alternatives by listening to and supporting the ideas of those who know the work best. It is
these grassroots driven solutions that will allow farmers to recover from the
economic chaos of 2009, and that will lead us into a better future for farmers,
communities and consumers.
Ideas at Work
RAFI has assisted hundreds of NC farmers to
implement innovative strategies with cost-share grants
through the Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund.
These farmers have been very creative in finding
solutions that enable them to continue farming and
contribute to the rural economy.
“This year has been the best year so far for our cheese
sales, and the grant has allowed us to really expand,”
said Carol Coulter of Heritage Homestead Farmstead.
”We’ve gotten our products in twice as many retail and
wholesale outlets, and are looking forward to an even
better year in 2010.”
Coulter’s Cheese Project is a great success. She has
provided business for 67 area farmers, hired a full-time
employee, and given demonstrations to over 150
farmers. Nine have expressed interest in replicating her
Cassi Parsons’ “Local Lunch Cart” has proven that
Charlotte is hungry for local food. Her pastured hogs
are combined with other area farmer products and
turned into gourmet lunches that are sold from her food
cart in downtown Charlotte. She has received
considerable press attention. Dozens of neighboring
farmers are now selling her products and hundreds of
customers agree that she’s on to something.
“We’ve increased sales over 1000% in two months. It’s
amazing. People can’t get enough of the idea, then they
try the food and are immediately impressed.”
Come to the Table
RAFI has the privilege of coordinating the Come to the
Table (CTTT) project of the Rural Life Committee of
the North Carolina Council of Churches. CTTT works
with people of faith to relieve hunger and support local
farms in North Carolina. It is supported by the Duke
RAFI coordinated three Come to the Table (CTTT)
conferences throughout North Carolina in 2009. The
conferences featured speaker Michael Schut, author
of Food and Faith: Justice, Joy and Daily Bread, and
workshops on topics from food preservation to church
lot farmers’ markets. Each conference was held in an
area of the state that depends heavily on agricultural
income and experiences relatively high rates of poverty
and food insecurity.
Food for each conference was grown and prepared
locally, providing income for local farmers and chefs and
demonstrating the accessibility and quality of local food
in North Carolina, even during the winter months.
The nearly 300 attendees included lay leaders and
ministers, community leaders, farmers, reporters, and
representatives from state agencies and nonprofits.
Equipped with information from the workshops on
resources and projects, inspired attendees returned to
their communities and organized efforts that led to new
community gardens and gleaning projects.
Each attendee received a copy of Come to the Table:
How People of Faith Can Relieve Hunger and Sustain
Local Farms in North Carolina. It offers information,
inspiration, and resources for groups addressing hunger
in local communities. More than 600 copies of this
guidebook, which has garnered interest from across the
nation, have been distributed. It is available on-line at
www.cometothetablenc.org or by contacting our office.
This year was a time of significant transition for the
Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund (TCRF).
The program began in 1997 as a four county pilot project
to help farmers replace lost tobacco income by putting
their own ideas to work. It expanded in 2009 with a
three-year grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust
Fund Commission, to include all 100 counties in the
state, and is now available to all independent farmers.
The grant allows RAFI to inject much needed capital into
rural economies via cost share support to individual
farmers and collaborative farmer projects. These direct
investments in North Carolina farm businesses enable
farmers to implement their own innovative ideas for
keeping their farms viable and contributing to the rural
economy. (See Ideas at Work.)
In 2009, RAFI awarded cost-share support to 88
farmers and collaborative farmer groups totaling over
$690,000. That support is key to keeping farmers
employed and their businesses going. A RAFI survey
shows that 85% of Reinvestment Fund projects are
successful in helping farmers to earn more income. The
additional income translates to employment, providing
jobs for people who would otherwise be looking for work
in a tough job market.
“As our farmers in North Carolina continue their
transition from tobacco,” says NC Speaker of the House
Joe Hackney, “this program [TCRF] and others like it are
crucial to keeping family farms running. Their work
protects jobs, families, communities and land. They help
make sure that those who want to can still make a living
on the farm and that we all have the variety of
agricultural products we depend upon in our own lives.
North Carolina ranks among the nation’s leaders in
agricultural diversity and increasing that diversity only
strengthens agribusiness in this state.”
RAFI also wrote and distributed The Farmer’s Guide to
Development of New Farm Enterprises. The 2009
publication tells the stories of past grant award
recipients and illustrates the process of evaluating and
developing new farm enterprises from idea to
implementation. The publication is available online at
From the Farm House to the
RAFI continued to bring the experience of farmers to policy
makers in 2009. We organized face-to-face visits between
farmers and members of Congress and the administration.
In these meetings farmers provided first-hand testimony as
to how the economic downturn is impacting our rural
communities. For many of those D.C. officials visited, this
was the first they had heard about farmers’ difficulties
accessing financing and getting fair contracts. And for most
of the farmers, it was their first trip to our nation’s capital to
advocate for justice and fairness.
A coordinated campaign for fairness has never been more
important or more possible. RAFI-USA with our
organizational partners won the first ever Livestock Title in
the 2008 Farm Bill. The Livestock Title established new
protections for contract growers and requires USDA to
report annually to Congress on enforcement activities.
Fair and full implementation of these critical new farmer
protections was a major focus in 2009. We educated farmers
throughout the country on their new rights, held workshops
with more than 450 growers, and reached over 13,000
farmers through mailings and organizational newsletters.
RAFI and poultry grower associations tracked compliance
with the 2008 Farm Bill contract fairness standards. We
empowered farmers to file complaints with USDA when
companies failed to adhere to the new law. Of particular
importance is the 2008 Farm Bill ban on mandatory
In 2009 mandatory binding arbitration clauses were removed
from all poultry contracts. All new and renewed poultry,
livestock and hog contracts must now fully recognise the
right of farmers to opt out of binding arbitration without fear
of retaliation. This is the first time binding mandatory
arbitration clauses have been systematically removed from
farmer contracts. Since being introduced in the early 1990’s,
these abusive arbitration provisions have been a major
impediment to poultry and hog farmers seeking justice from
retaliation and discrimination and significantly hindered
RAFI also led a coalition of organizations that pressed the
administration to make refinancing requirements for farmers
one of the conditions of banks receiving TARP funding. Staff
members Becky Ceartas and Benny Bunting participated in
conversations with the Treasury Department and key
congressional staff to promote this.
FROM THE MARGINS TO THE MAINSTREAM
Agriculture in the U.S.
Farm Survival in the
The economic downturn dominated the news and
provided a significant focus for RAFI’s work in 2009.
After a relatively strong 2008, the financial crisis hit
specific areas of agriculture hard, especially dairy and
poultry farms. RAFI responded by expanding our direct
work with farmers, increasing education on addressing
credit needs, and pursuing policy advocacy to ensure
that farmers had access to the funding they needed to
survive tough times.
RAFI advocates worked with 108 new farmers in 2009,
providing in-depth financial counseling and advocacy on
behalf of the farmer to banks and agencies. In many of
the cases, this financial counseling often made the
difference between keeping and selling the farm.
Farmers were referred to RAFI from Congressional
offices, state agencies, banks, cooperative extension
and other state and national organizations. We worked
with farms of a few acres to over a thousand acres, with
local vegetable producers, large commodity producers,
and everything in between.
Staff provided expert training on negotiating with lenders
during workshops for dairy farmers. We reached out to
poultry growers who had been cut off by their company
to provide information on financing options, assistance
understanding complicated lending situations, and a
very important listening ear.
RAFI was there when USDA loan programs ran out of
money, leaving individual farmers with no funding for
approved, critical loans. RAFI worked with a team of
organizations to successfully press Congress to
increase the loan funding and provide the crucial
financing to prevent farmers from losing their farms.
RAFI advocates worked with farmers to improve the
triple bottom line of their operations, finding ways to
increase their economic viability, their environmental
stewardship, and the health of their families and
communities. And true to our mission, we helped
cultivate new markets. RAFI worked with a group of
poultry producers in a local hormone and antibiotic free
poultry project, and several farmers who are selling
specialty crops into local markets received RAFI
RAFI specializes in providing training to farmers
and farm advisors on important issues that affect
the farming business. Trainings and
presentations in 2009 included:
• Understanding Chapter 12 bankruptcy
• Working with your lender
• New livestock disaster programs
• What beginning farmers need to know about
why farms fail
• Understanding the farm bill
• NC farm grant proposal workshops
• Understanding grower contracts
• Organic certification workshops
• Preserving biodiversity in seeds and breeds