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Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture is farming in such a way to protect the environment, aid and expand natural resources and to make the best use of nonrenewable resources.  On this page, learn the legal definition of sustainable agriculture, find organizations to help with sustainable farming, discover funding resources,  and access articles from our collection on the subject.




Legal Definition of Sustainable Agriculture

The term ''sustainable agriculture'' (U.S. Code Title 7, Section 3103) means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long-term:

  • Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
  • Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends.
  • Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls.
  • Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
  • Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

Organizations and Information Providers

Agricultural Funding Resources for Sustainable Agriculture
  1. Growing Opportunity: A Guide to USDA Sustainable Farming Programs [

    National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). 2022.

    Provides an overview of key Farm Bill programs offered by USDA that can help sustainable agriculture farmers and ranchers. Updates 2017 USDA/NSAC Guide.

  2. Sustainable Agriculture Programs [].

    USDA. National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

  3. How does USDA support Organic Farms and Businesses? []

  4. Grass Roots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs [].

    National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).

    Provides an in-depth look at federal programs and policies important to sustainable agriculture, and details how they can be accessed by farmers, ranchers, and grassroots organizations nationwide.

  5. Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities [].

    A Guide to Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Entrepreneurship, Conservation, Food Systems and Community Development.

    Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

  6. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Grants [].

    SARE grants are available to farmers and ranchers, researchers, Extension agents and other educators, and graduate students.  Search funded USDA SARE projects  in the SARE National Projects Database [].


Pioneers in Sustainable Agriculture

farmland, farm buildings, and crops

Oral history interviews with people who have provided leadership and inspiration in the field of alternative or sustainable agriculture.


Sweet potatoes

Sustainable agricultural practices are intended to maintain and improve soil fertility.

Sustainable Agriculture

eyeglasses on a book

The National Agricultural Law Center identifies legal resources and links to information on sustainable agriculture.

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