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When Do Cover Crops Pay? New USDA-SARE Report Addresses the Question

Farmers around the country are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use cover crops, the more they value this conservation practice. Cover Crop Economics, a new report published by USDA-SARE looks at the economics of cover crops to help farmers answer that big […]

New Video: Building a Local Food Movement

When Congress ended its tobacco support programs in 2000, thousands of tobacco growers in western North Carolina who depended on them were left without a viable way to make a living. “There wasn’t a real future for the farms in our region if we didn’t come up with something new,” says Charlie Jackson, the executive […]

New Video: Bringing Independent Farmers into the Marketplace

Access to profitable retail and wholesale markets is a challenge for small- to mid-scale family farmers. “The days of showing up with your cantaloupes in the back of the pickup are no longer a way to make a living,” says Diana Endicott of Kansas City, Mo. “So you have to be willing to make a […]

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What is Soil Health?

Soil health plays an essential role in raising healthy, productive crops and livestock. With this interactive infographic, learn how practices such as cover crops, no-till, crop rotation and the integration of livestock work in concert to improve soil health.

cover image of Cover Crop Economics publication

Cover Crop Economics

Cover crops can build soil health, control weeds, conserve moisture, provide grazing opportunities and more. But when do they start to pay for themselves? This analysis looks at the economics behind different management scenarios to determine if cover crops are likely to improve profitability in one, three or five years of use in corn and soybean rotations. 

Cover of Report from the Field 2019-2020

2019/2020 Report from the Field

Stories of how recent SARE grantees are improving the sustainability of U.S. agriculture, plus a snapshot of our total investment in research and education projects since 1988.

New Video: Improving Soil Through Cover Crops

Like many farmers, Jeff Frey sees the soil as his livelihood, so he does what he can to protect and improve this vital resource beneath his feet. "I remember one afternoon we had a thunderstorm that washed mud out into the road and I could actually see some of my freshly planted soybeans in with […]

New Video: How SARE Supports Farmer-Driven Sustainability

There is no universal vision for agricultural sustainability in the United States—every region, every farm may require a different approach to improving livelihoods, protecting the nation’s land and water resources, and strengthening communities. Since its inception in 1988, the SARE program has supported a broad range of innovations in sustainability through its grassroots, farmer-driven grants […]

NAC Index of SARE-Funded Agroforestry Projects Now Online

Photo credit: Shibu Jose, University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry Valuable SARE-funded agroforestry research is now even more accessible to producers and educators across the country thanks to a new online index created by the National Agroforestry Center (NAC) using data from the SARE project database. The NAC index allows users to search SARE-funded agroforestry […]

A bee on a red flower

Reflections of a SARE Fellow

The 2014-2016 cadre of SARE Fellows visited numerous farms in Arkansas, Nebraska, Idaho, and West Virginia to study sustainable agricultural practices. The Fellows themselves were from Florida, Maine, Missouri, and Washington; they overlapped with eight other Fellows who were either starting or ending their two-year study period. The various locations visited, diverse enterprises studied, and range […]

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SARE Fellows Visit Oregon

Every year since 2007, USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension program (SARE) and the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA) has offered a national Fellows program. The program is designed for Extension faculty who are interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture in different parts of the country. Eight Fellows, two from each of […]

Pink Spotted Lady Beetle

Using Flowering Insectary Borders to Boost Natural Enemies

Beneficial insects play an important role in managing insect pests and pollinating crops, but they struggle to thrive in and around farms that have low plant diversity and rely mainly on tillage. Routine soil disturbances and low plant diversity can mean fewer prey, shelter and plant-based resources available to support natural enemies, especially early in […]

Cover of Farmers' Guild to Business Structures in blue and brown text lined with phots of farmers at the top

Farmers' Guide to Business Structures

Farmers’ Guide to Business Structures describes the fundamentals of sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited liability companies and C, S and B corporations in straightforward language, to help you choose the best entity for your operation. Selecting the right business entity for your farm is like building the foundation of a house.

The cover of our farms, our future

30 Years of SARE: Our Farms, Our Future

30 Years of SARE: Our Farms, Our Future tells the story of thousands of men and women who have led SARE and received SARE grants. They have one objective in common: making American agriculture stronger, more sustainable and better equipped to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

article on ten ways cover crops enhance soil health

10 Ways Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health

Soil health is a hot topic these days, one that is justifiably receiving considerable attention from farmers and their farm advisors. This short fact sheet highlights some of the key ways that cover crops improve soil health by influencing the biological and physical characteristics of the soil.

Man talking in cow pasture

Bringing Independent Farmers into the Marketplace

Small- and mid-sized farms are increasingly turning to supermarkets as a means to earn more for their products and to participate in local economies. In this video, Diana Endicott discusses how she decided to take this route 15 years ago when it was less typical, and how her efforts have resulted in a 100-member co-op today that sells to 30 stores in the Kansas City area.