To effectively promote sustainable agriculture, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) takes a systems approach to its policy option development and advocacy work: giving attention to a breadth of issues, from stewardship of the land and natural resources, to interdisciplinary efforts in research and education, to local economic development. To organize this work, NSAC divides its issues into four clusters (see below).
These issue clusters also represent the four policy issue committees made up of NSAC member organizations and allies who discuss and help to develop NSAC’s policy positions and grassroots strategies. Each year at the NSAC annual winter meeting, the NSAC Policy Council votes on which specific legislative campaigns or policies will be priorities for each issue committee in the coming year. In making a decision, members consider the overall balance and coordination, commitment levels of member organizations, and resources and staff time available to the proposed priorities.
The Conservation, Energy and Environment Committee helps formulate policy options and positions on the broad array of agricultural conservation programs, renewable energy policy, and environmental policy issues.
The Marketing, Food Systems and Rural Development Committee explores alternative and value-added marketing channels for sustainably produced farm goods as well as economic strategies that build the vitality and sustainability of rural communities.
Research, Education and Extension
The Research, Education and Extension Committee focuses on USDA and other public agricultural research and extension programs and land-grant university accountability activities that support sustainable agriculture.
The Farming Opportunities and Fair Competition Committee works on commodity program reform, farm credit, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer and rancher provisions, federal crop insurance and revenue insurance programs, tax policy, trade issues, and agribusiness concentration. These issues are considered in respect to their impact on small and medium-sized family farms and the broader application of sustainable farming practices and systems.
The Food System Integrity Committee develops and advances policies that both ensure a safe food supply and support thriving family farms, healthy food systems, and opportunities for sustainable farmers.