New SARE Bulletin: Resilient Farmers, Ranchers and Communities

May 8, 2023
A farmer mentor posing with the college student who works at his farm
D’Quinton Robertson (right) gains valuable farming experience by working on Aaron Lehman’s (left) farm in Polk City, Iowa, while attending college to study agricultural business. Photo by Preston Keres, USDA

Sustainable farming emphasizes the need to consider the environmental, economic and social impacts of agriculture. For decades, sustainable agriculture research has focused more on environmental stewardship and profitability than on personal and social issues. SARE’s newest bulletin, Resilient Farmers, Ranchers and Communities: Social Sustainability in Agriculture, describes how an increasing number of farmers and ranchers are realizing that addressing social issues is crucial to making farming systems more prosperous, resilient and sustainable.

When Nfamara Badjie, Dawn Hoyte and other family members started Ever-Growing Family Farm in Upstate New York, they had a bold goal: to grow rice well enough to allow at least one of them to eventually leave their off-farm job and work full time on the farm. It was also important to preserve Badjie’s cultural heritage as a subsistence farmer in Gambia and to bring close family members into the operation. After years of experimenting with rice varieties and growing practices, they have built a customer base and are on their way to realizing that vision.

Resilient Farmers, Ranchers and Communities: Social Sustainability in Agriculture focuses on the human side of agriculture and provides strategies for tackling some of the most pressing social challenges facing agriculture today:

  • Social justice, equity and inclusion: eliminating systemic inequities and discrimination
  • Pathways for the next generation: helping young farmers access land and benefit from preserving generational farming knowledge  
  • Health and wellbeing: prioritizing the physical and mental health of farmers and workers to foster a productive and resilient working environment 
  • Community connections: developing a sense of belonging and mutually beneficial relationships in the farming community 
  • Entrepreneurship as an engine for innovation and adaptation: encouraging a culture of innovation and adaptability that facilitates long-term success

Download or order your free print copy of Resilient Farmers, Ranchers and Communities at or by calling (301) 779–1007. Resilient Farmers, Ranchers and Communities is available in quantity for free to educators for use in educational workshops, classes or tours.

Topics: Quality of Life, Social Capital, Social Networks, Social Psychological Indicators, Sustainable Communities
Related Locations: North Central, Northeast, South, West