How do you make a farm or ranch more sustainable? There is no single answer, but SARE’s video series “What is Sustainable Agriculture” highlights some common practices farmers and ranchers across the country use to improve profitability, quality of life and environmental stewardship.

In this episode we look at what it means to be sustainable across an entire farm or ranch operation. 

Dig Deeper: Whole-Farm Sustainability

Information for farmers, ranchers, educators and researchers who are seeking to make agricultural systems more sustainable.

Stories from the Field

Here are some of the ways SARE grantees are improving farm and ranch sustainability. Explore more stories.

Interseeding side by side

Promoting the Adoption of Interseeding for Increased Sustainability

" "We feel interseeding has real potential, and thanks to SARE, we were able to demonstrate its efficacy and encourage its use in South Carolina." Dan Anco, Clemson University " THE CHALLENGE Commodity growers in the southern United States face relatively new production problems that can affect farm profits and threaten soil health. Many come…

Strahinja Stepanovic working with farmer Steve Tucker

Field Peas: A New Crop to Replace Fallow and Diversify the Farm

" "As a result of this project, field peas became an established crop in southwest Nebraska, and we built a foundation for a successful and long-term pulse industry." Strahinja Stepanovic, University of Nebraska-Lincoln " THE CHALLENGE In semi-arid regions, farmers without irrigation oftentimes conserve precious soil water by rotating cereal crops such as corn or…

Resources and Learning

Search by topic or browse SARE Outreach publications to begin learning about specific topics in sustainability. Examples include:

A guide to developing a business plan for farms and rural businesses.

Building a Sustainable Business

Bringing the business planning process alive, Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses helps today's alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises. Incluye una versión abreviada en español.

For Educators and Researchers

These resources are of particular value to educators and researchers.

Systems Research for Agriculture Book Cover

Systems Research for Agriculture

Practical information for researchers, educators and extension professionals seeking to understand and apply systems research to agriculture.

Technical bulletin page

How to Conduct Research on Your Farm or Ranch

This 32-page bulletin outlines how to conduct research at the farm level, offering practical tips for both crop and livestock producers, as well as a comprehensive list of more in-depth resources.


Reading the Farm

Farm educators often  have in-depth knowledge of certain components of agriculture, but have few opportunities to see how these components work together to influence sustainability. Reading the Farm brings together educators and experts who share knowledge in the context of working, real-world farms. 

Woman kneeling in vegetable crop.

National Continuing Education Program

This program is designed for Cooperative Extension and Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel, and is also open to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural professionals nationwide. It emphasizes core concepts and a basic understanding of sustainable agriculture, its goals and its relevance to every farming and ranching operation—large or small.

The core of the national continuing education program is a series of three online courses. Take them now.