Jim Stute inspecting barley
Jim Stute of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute inspects malt barley used to expand crop rotations on 40 Wisconsin farms as part of a successful profit-generating diversification effort, partly funded by SARE.
– Photo by Ron Doetch

General Information/Resource Centers

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program (301) 504-5230;; Studies and disseminates information about sustainable agriculture via a nationwide grants program. See research findings at

Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) (800) 346-9140 English, (800) 411-3222 (Spanish); http://attra. Provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and educators involved in sustainable agriculture. See especially “Alternative Agronomic Crops,” by Patricia Sauer and Preston Sullivan, an overview of the considerations involved in selecting, cultivating and marketing alternative agronomic crops,

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) (301) 504-6559;; in identifying and accessing information related to alternative agricultural enterprises and crops as well as alternative cropping systems.

Jefferson Institute(573) 449-3518; A nonprofit agricultural education and research center that provides help on growing and marketing alternative grains, oilseeds and other specialty crops.

Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) (301) 504-5236;; As SARE’s national outreach arm, SAN offers farmer-ready information through electronic and print publications. It helps farmers, ranchers, Extension educators and other agricultural professionals learn more about applying sustainable agriculture principles and practices in farm settings across the U.S.

“Tilling the Soil of Opportunity,” a NxLeveL™ course for agricultural entrepreneurs, is aimed at those who are thinking about starting an agricultural based venture that is not tied to large-scale commodity production. This 10–session course is taught by specially trained instructors. To find out if NxLevel is offered near you, go to Pages/states.html

Publications from the Sustainable Agriculture Network

(To order SAN books, go to where you can download an order form. To order by credit card, or for information about bulk discounts and rush orders, contact (802) 656-0484; .

Building Soils for Better Crops, 2nd edition $19.95 + $3.95 s/h. This 240-page book contains detailed information about soil structure and the management practices that affect soils.

Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 2nd edition $19 + $3.95 s/h. This is the most comprehensive book ever published on the use of cover crops to sustain cropping systems and build soil. Provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation.

Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses $14 + $3.95 s/h. Helps today’s alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises. Sample worksheets illustrate how real farm families set goals, determined potential markets and evaluated financing options – and help the reader develop a detailed business plan.

‘Naturalize’ Your Farming System: A Whole-Farm Approach to Managing Pests This free 20-page bulletin helps producers – and the educators who work with them – design farm-wide approaches to controlling pests. Download a printable version from or contact or (301) 504-5236.

Other Publications

Agricultural Production Contracts University of Minnesota Extension. Legal considerations involved in agricultural production contracts. www.extension.

Alternative Field Crops Manual University of Wisconsin-Extension, University of Minnesota Center for Alternative Plant & Animal Products and Minnesota Extension Service. Comprehensive source of production information on nearly 50 alternative agronomic crops adapted to the upper Midwest.

Biodiversity and Pest Management in Agroecosystems 2nd edition, by Miguel Altieri and Clara Nicholls. Entomological aspects and the ecological basis for the maintenance of biodiversity in agriculture. $49.95 (soft cover), $79.95 (hard cover) from The Haworth Press, Inc.,1-800-HAWORTH;;

Inside Agroforestry The National Agroforestry Center’s quarterly newsletter covers the latest agroforestry news and information. See the summer/fall 2003 issue to read about SARE’s partnership with NAC. (402) 437-5178 or

“Production Practices for Major Crops in U.S. Agriculture, 1990-97” September 2000, USDA Economic Research Service,

Web sites Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Buffers web site. Provides a variety of handbooks and technical notes for farmers and ranchers on the use of conservation buffers. University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program web site includes a cover crops database that describes the management and effects of 32-plus species of cover crops. Readers can view more than 400 different cover crop images. This permanent cover cropping systems web site is maintained by Pennsylvania grower Steve Groff. Oatlink is a consortium of farmers, grain handlers, processors and university researchers striving to connect the production, handling and processing of value-added grain. Download the “Farmers Guide and Resource to Quality Small Grain Production,” Delta Enterprise Network is an evolving group of farmers, entrepreneurs and others who assist each other in overcoming barriers to sustainable agricultural enterprises in the seven Delta states.


Center for New Crops & Plant Products Purdue University;(765) 494-1329; Subscribe to Purdue’s New Crop Discussion Group or order Purdue’s New Crop Compendium CD-ROM, a searchable resource of new, specialty, neglected and underutilized crops. (Also available by calling (800) 830-0269.) $75 + $5 s/h.

Michael Fields Agriculture Institute (262) 642-3303; A public nonprofit education and research organization committed to promoting resource-conserving, ecologically sustainable and economically viable food and farming systems.

National Agroforestry Center USDA Forest Service and NRCS; (402) 437-5178; Develops and delivers technology on a broad suite of agroforestry practices to natural resource professionals and conducts research on how to design and install forested buffers to protect water quality. The center publishes “Inside Agroforestry” newsletter and fact sheets.

University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry (573) 884-2874;; An interdisciplinary research and teaching program on forestry, fisheries and wildlife, entomology, plant pathology, agronomy, animal science, agricultural economics, rural sociology and horticulture.

The Land Institute Salina, Kansas. (785) 823-5376;; Offers a number of books and other publications on a perennial plant system of agriculture and the role of diversity in the agricultural landscape.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Iowa State University. (515) 294-3711;; Conducts research into the negative impacts of agricultural practices and assists in developing alternative practices.

You are reading the SARE bulletin Diversifying Cropping Systems.

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