Sustainable Agriculture

Farm scene in Klingerstown, PA with buildings, field crops, tractor (Copyright ARS)Sustainable food systems integrate many disciplines, goals and agricultural practices. Find guides and links to sustainable agriculture information related to:

University of California. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

"The goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s food and textile needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Practitioners of sustainable agriculture seek to integrate three main objectives into their work: a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity." The author explores "the philosophy and practices underpinning sustainable agriculture."

USDA. National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

NIFA "promotes sustainable agriculture through national program leadership and funding for research and extension," "offers competitive grants programs and a professional development program," and "collaborates with other federal agencies." Site includes the legal definition of sustainable agriculture and a list of common farm and ranch practices.

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Identifies the best sources to research this multi-faceted topic:

  • What is Sustainable Agriculture?
  • What standards are available for sustainable agriculture?
  • Where are the best sustainable agriculture research and information sources?
  • How can I find sustainable agriculture people and organizations?
  • Where can I explore educational and career opportunities?
  • Who will fund my sustainable agriculture research project?
  • Where can I find sustainable agriculture events and calendars?

USDA. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) works to advance farming systems and innovations "that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life" through a nationwide research and education grants program. Publishes What is Sustainable Agriculture? with snapshots of producers who apply sustainable principles on their farms and ranches.

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

Describes USDA projects and publications documenting multi-disciplinary research to understand fundamental agro-ecological processes underlying sustainable systems.

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

Organizes USDA research on technologies and strategies needed to help farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural practitioners manage their resources. Includes National Programs on Pasture, Forage and Rangeland Systems (#215) and Agricultural System Competitiveness and Sustainability (#216).

USDA. Economic Research Service.

Research on how changes in global climate may affect both U.S. and world agricultural production and on those agricultural practices - such as conservation tillage or winter cover crops - that can mitigate climate change by reducing emissions or increasing carbon sequestration.

United Nations. Food and Agriculture Organization.

"FAO has developed a common vision and an integrated approach to sustainability across agriculture, forestry and fisheries." Discusses frameworks and approaches tailored to specific agricultural sectors, describes international partnerships, and provides news and full-text resources.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

This guide details USDA programs, arranged by Agency, "that have been created to help farmers succeed." Each program description "provides helpful information on who's eligible, what a program helps farmers do, and where to go to get more information."

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

A directory of U.S. institutions and organizations that offer undergraduate and graduate programs, research opportunities, or training in organic, alternative, or sustainable agriculture. Identifies student farms and research and demonstration farms.