Say the word "sustainable," and most people in agriculture agree it means increased profits, sound stewardship of the air, water and soil, and improved quality of life for farming communities. But how do you get there? There are almost as many ways to achieve these goals as there are farms and ranches in America.

That is why the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, or SARE, program created “What is Sustainable Agriculture?”, a 12-page sampler of best practices in sustainable production. Along with descriptions of techniques, this full-color publication includes eight profiles from around the country of producers, researchers and educators who have implemented them to reap success.

“What is Sustainable Agriculture?” illustrates many of the tried-and-true methods for making agriculture more sustainable, including cover crops, on-farm energy conservation and production, marketing, conservation tillage, and more. In one profile, an Oregon couple used riparian buffers and rotational grazing strategies to triple their beef production while reviving their waterways. In another, a Connecticut Extension agent is showing local vegetable growers how to save money by slashing their pesticide use. In a third, a Texas researcher has spent years showing producers that they can help overcome a looming water crisis by establishing integrated cotton, forage and livestock systems.

What is Sustainable Agriculture? is not meant as a strict prescription for attaining better profits, better stewardship and better communities. Rather, readers will find it a concise and informative introduction to the widely varied landscape of sustainable agriculture. Hopefully, it will inspire producers across the country to see that they, too, can begin implementing sustainable practices on their farms and ranches.

Download SARE's  “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” for free from the organization’s Web site.

You also can call (301) 374-9696 or write to SARE Outreach, PO Box 753, Waldorf, Maryland 20604-0753.