The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) provides research-based resources for nontraditional food-production and crop-management practices to support the USDA's mission of promoting a sustainable future and agricultural economic viability for farmers worldwide.
Video interviews with individuals who provided leadership and inspiration in the early years of alternative and sustainable agriculture, including Dr. James Duke, Dr. Charles Francis, Robert Rodale and others. (Recorded with AFSIC staff, 1988-1991)
The documents in this NAL digital collection were specifically chosen for their relevance to today’s sustainable and organic farmers.
Dr. James Duke was a USDA botanist and a leading authority on medicinal herbs. This database is one of the world's leading repositories of ethnobotanical data and houses information on plants and their chemicals, bioactivity, and ethnobotany.
Funding Opportunity Announcements
See Agricultural Funding Resources by Topic for additional resources.)
- Forest Landowner Support Program (Track B) - Rolling applications reviewed quarterly, final deadline August 21, 2024.
USDA Forest Service program designed to assist underserved forest landowners in emerging markets to mitigate climate effects and/or improve resiliency. Details on webinars and office hours included.
- Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) - Applications due November 23, 2023 (11:59PM ET)
Program awards grants to help eligible, domestically-owned, meat processors expand their processing capacity.
What is Agricultural Literacy?
An agriculturally literate person is one who understands "the food and fiber system, and this would include its history and its current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans." (National Research Council)
Gearing up to Sow and What is a Plant Breeder?
Plant breeding is an ancient activity that originated as our ancestors shifted from gathering wild plants to growing them in a controlled manner.
What is Sustainable Agriculture?
"Sustainable agriculture" is legally defined as integrating plant and animal production practices that target several specific long-term objectives.
Urban producers, innovative producers, and other stakeholders are invited to attend this public meeting of the UAIP Federal Advisory Committee. Register to attend the next meeting on November 29, 2023 from 1-3pm EDT.
The USDA annually surveys the top pumpkin-producing States and publishes the data. With production widely dispersed throughout the United States, read more to discover what's going on in the field to bring this sweet or savory fruit to your Thanksgiving table.
USDA To Provide Additional Financial Assistance to Qualifying Guaranteed Farm Loan Borrowers Facing Financial Risk
The USDA will begin providing qualifying guaranteed Farm Loan Program (FLP) borrowers experiencing financial risk with additional, automatic financial assistance.
The strategy reflects a three-year vision for transforming U.S. agriculture through science and innovation.
This ERS Brief explains what regulatory authorities mean by "natural," and how the public misinterprets these claims.
Regional Food Business Centers assist small- and mid-sized farms and food businesses with technical and financial assistance, as well as coordinate food systems across geographic regions and organizations.
The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC), founded in 1985, was one of the first USDA programs to focus on sustainable and organic agriculture.
AFSIC disseminates information across a diverse subject area to a broad audience that includes research scientists, agricultural professionals, and the hobbyist. The Center regularly collaborates with other federal agencies and organizations and serves as a communication hub fostering delivery of relevant data-driven science, tools, and agricultural program information to public stakeholders – ensuring that USDA resources for agricultural equity, resilience, and prosperity are available to all.
Online: Use the library's Ask a Question form.
Questions will be answered by AFSIC Technical Information Specialists.
Phone: (301) 504-6559
To sign up for the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center Listserv go to USDA Agricultural Research Service (govdelivery.com) and find us under the National Agricultural Library.