Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Mission statement
IATP works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.

Rooted in family farms
In the mid-1980s, family farmers across America were in the fight of their lives. Prices had dropped below the cost of production. Family farmers were told they were inefficient and they had to either get big or get out. Deeply flawed national and international policies were the root cause of the crisis. A galvanizing effort to save the family farm helped spawn the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). In 1986, IATP began documenting the underlying causes of America's rural crisis and proposing policies that would benefit farmers, consumers, rural communities and the environment. Read more about IATP's history

Facing globalization
IATP works with organizations around the world to analyze how global trade agreements impact domestic farm and food policies. Alongside a global coalition, IATP advocates for fair trade policies that promote strong health standards, labor and human rights, the environment and, most fundamentally, democratic institutions.

Building sustainability
We are developing alternative economic models that include clean sources of energy such as wind power and biofuel that would spur rural development. We're working with landowners to form cooperatives that promote sustainable forest management. We're advocating for green businesses and farms that reduce toxic runoff into the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.

Safe food, healthy ecosystems
We are working to stop the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and aquaculture, while limiting the release of mercury and other toxic pollutants that fall onto farmland and enter the food supply. IATP is also monitoring the impact of genetically engineered crops on the environment, human health and farmer income.

Climate work from this organization

The past few months have been as much about looking ahead as they have been about coping with life in post-election America, a space that feels post-apocalyptic for many. Americans and people across the globe have been processing their emotions, trying to understand a vote that came as a surprise to many, and in some... Read more

In country star Jason Aldean’s song Fly over States, he overhears first class passengers on a flight from New York to LA, looking down on the countryside and wondering, “who’d want to live down there, in the middle of nowhere.” Aldean then flips... Read more

Minneapolis – The success of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan will depend largely on state-level engagement with rural communities who are most directly affected by shifts in energy production, finds a new report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

The report,... Read more

Carbon markets and cap-and-trade programs are increasingly being used as a mechanism to mitigate climate change by reducing net greenhouse gas emissions. In the U.S., there are already two large carbon markets in play—one in California, and one in the Northeast. There will likely be an expansion of U.S. carbon markets... Read more

Discussions about climate change often lead to how agriculture is a major contributor of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is also true that agricultural communities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as they are often those most closely linked to natural ecosystems for their economic,... Read more

President Obama, like the Bushes and Clinton before him, is all in on expanding the type of free trade multinational corporations love. Unfortunately, these trade agreements fuel an extractive form of globalization that has negatively impacted jobs and inequality, and have also been devastating for the climate. This... Read more

Extreme weather brought on by climate change will affect each community differently. Rural communities face particular challenges, as they often have higher transportation and energy costs, and their economy is frequently linked to agriculture—a sector directly impacted by a changing climate. But as we learned at the... Read more

As the impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent, society is becoming more serious about the need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and begin preparing for a changing climate. The needs are profound—practically every area of our economy and society will be impacted and we need comprehensive... Read more

In part one of IATP's "Climate change, agriculture and resilience" series, we look at how farmer Terry Ingram's grass-fed dairy farm relies on the sun instead of fossil fuel-based inputs to remain financially stable as climate change makes farming an increasingly risky business.

Part two of our "Climate change, agriculture and resilience" series features the Minnesota organic dairy farm of Martin and Loretta Jaus who farm the same 410 acres that Martin's great grandfather homesteaded in 1877. In order to combat the eroding soil, and remain more resilient in the increasing incidences of drought... Read more