What is Sustainable Agriculture?

Sustainable Agriculture seeks to identify methods  that will help all producers continue to produce an adequate and safe food supply that can thrive through the next millennium. It integrates all elements of management -- pesticides, fertilizers, wastes, energy, economics, etc.

Sustainable Agriculture has been defined in several ways. For example, it has been defined as a system that can indefinitely sustain itself without degrading the land, the environment, or the people.

Sustainable Agriculture reflects our concern with the long-term viability of agriculture.

As defined by Congress, Sustainable Agriculture is:

"an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

  1. satisfy human food and fiber needs;
  2. enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends;
  3. make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
  4. sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and
  5. enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole."

In short, Sustainable Agriculture is:

Economically viable:

  • If it is not profitable, it is not sustainable . . .

Socially supportive:

  • The quality of life of farmers, farm families, and farm communities is important...

Ecologically sound:

  • We must preserve the resource base that sustains us all...