Kerr Center Mission and Core Values

Mission Statement

The mission of the Kerr Center is to assist in developing sustainable food and farming systems by:

Supporting farms that provide a perpetual stream of economic goods and ecological/environmental benefits, and which enhance the quality of life of farm families, rural residents and society as a whole;

Promoting markets made up of independently owned and operated farms and firms of a scale appropriate to offer a wide variety of product choices for consumers and economic opportunities for existing and beginning farmers;

Encouraging communities to protect the land from misuse, exploitation, and unfettered urban development, to ensure inclusion and equality of opportunity for all; to promote community food security; and support to economic development from within;

Proclaiming the need for a culture that respects the earth and all of its diversity of life, and recognizes the physical, social and spiritual connections between people within a higher order of things.

Core Values

The Family Farm Structure of Agriculture

  • We value the family farm system of production and believe it is cost effective, profitable, and resource conserving when operated under the principles of sustainability
  • We value the quality of life that sustainable farms provide, including: being a good place to raise children; giving people the opportunity to connect with nature; and providing a clean environment
  • We value policies that provide support for family farmers to diversify with alternative production and marketing practices
  • We value information and education drawn from farmers’ experiences

A Fair Playing Field

  • We value a secure future and a fair playing field for independent farmers and ranchers
  • We believe that the cost of food does not currently reflect the costs associated with its production. These costs include natural resource degradation, loss of land, out-migration, and an increasing concentration of power within the food system
  • We value open and fair competitive markets free of monopolistic power
  • We value policies that are scale/size neutral
  • We value an agriculture that does not exploit land or people
  • We value policies that allow farmers to pass their land and knowledge down to new farmers at affordable prices

Public Research for the Public Domain

  • We value public research at universities which is freely available in a timely manner to the public
  • We value the utilization of broad stakeholders’ input in developing research agendas
  • We value annual financial disclosures by university funding sources and transparency in
    university administrations regarding potential conflicts of interest
  • We value the development of affordable, realistic technologies and cultural practices that benefit the entire farming community

The Enhancement and Protection of Natural Resources

  • We value farming methods that are ecologically sound, regenerative, and resource conserving
  • We value protecting farmland from development pressures
  • We value economic support of farmers for protection of natural resources as opposed to support for overproduction of agriculture commodities
  • We value having a series of biologically diverse farms rather than large farms that are primarily monocultures
  • We value research and subsidies designed to enhance proven technologies and better model natural systems

Respect for Nature

  • We value the humane and ethical treatment of animals
  • We value the indigenous wisdom of people from all parts of the world
  • We value basing an agricultural system on natural cycles where waste is nonexistent
  • We value collaborating with nature and the free services that nature provides as a way
    to restore natural systems rather than dominating nature

Local Food Systems and Better Communities

  • We value ensuring food security through regional/local food systems which support local economies and provide fresh produce for entire communities
  • We value capturing a greater share of food market dollars for farmers
  • We believe that society benefits from communities that are self-sufficient
  • We believe that our country needs a comprehensive vision for shaping rural areas
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