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Farming with Soil Life
This handbook, created by The Xerces Society, dives into soil biology. It provides a connection between healthy soils and healthy invertebrates found in temperate agricultural soils. The publication starts with a review of soil basics, including the functions, classifications and properties (physical, biological and chemical) of soil. It provides detailed methods on how observe soil […]
Transitioning to Organic Production
Transitioning to Organic Production lays out many promising conversion strategies, covering typical organic farming production practices, innovative marketing ideas and federal standards for certified organic crop production.
Soil Health Principles and Practices Videos
Experienced farmers and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) provide information on managing and improving soil health. Farmers discuss practices such as cover cropping, and using mulch and compost to improve soil health.
New “Cover Crops and Soil Health” Video from SARE
The newest episode of SARE’s "What is Sustainable Agriculture" animation series illustrates how producers can use cover crops to improve productivity and sustainability. In just a few short minutes, “Cover Crops and Soil Health” outlines how cover crops can build soil structure, protect water quality, suppress pests and improve a farm's bottom line. Combining cover […]
Selecting Cattle to Improve Grazing Distribution Patterns, Rangeland Health and Water Quality
This project is the first and only study that we are aware of that has evaluated whether grazing distribution has the potential to be improved through intensive breed selection. Most of the management approaches currently used to increase grazing uniformity, such as water developments and fencing, can resolve livestock grazing distribution problems on both private and public lands. However, these practices usually require large capital expenditures.
Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch
As producers throughout the nation grow increasingly concerned about water scarcity, farmers, ranchers and agricultural educators are beginning to explore new, conservation-oriented approaches to water use.
A Whole Farm Approach to Managing Pests
This 16-page bulletin helps producers—and the educators who work with them—use ecological principles across the entire farm to control pests.
Free Fact Sheets Identify Broad Benefits of Cover Crops
Along with cutting costs and increasing crop productivity, cover crops provide various ecosystem services that benefit the environment both on and off the farm. For instance, adding cover crops to a rotation can significantly increase the portion of the year when living roots are present for soil organisms to feed on, which can have a […]
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.
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 […]
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.
Improving Soil Health Through Cover Crops
Farmers around the country are discovering the power of cover crops to curb erosion and improve soil health. This video is from Pennsylvania, where a Penn State researcher and a grain farmer are partnering to spread the word.
The Power of Data: Improving the Management of Rangeland Ecosystems
California's rangelands face a wide range of challenges, from invasive species and pests to flooding and drought. Much of the knowledge of how to manage rangelands effectively resides in the personal experience of land managers. To capitalize on this collective wisdom, University of California Davis researchers partnered with ranchers around the region to compile a database of site-specific management information that can help everybody take better care of the land.
Investing in the Future of Agriculture: How SARE Supports Farmer-Driven Sustainability
The most pressing challenges that face U.S. agriculture today require science-based solutions developed by partnerships of farmers, ranchers, researchers and educators. Discover how the SARE program enables such partnerships to flourish and meet the needs of agricultural communities across the country.
Growing the Field for Organic Conservation
As producers work to meet regulations under the National Organic Program (NOP) and become certified organic, they often apply conservation practices that align well with the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) conservation activities, such as green manures, buffer strips, and rotational grazing. NRCS assistance is being sought by both new and established organic farmers to […]
Researchers Say Hill-Climbing Cows May Bring Big Benefits for Western Ranchers
Conventional wisdom says cows don’t go up steep slopes. They don’t climb hills and don’t travel very far from water. But some cows never got that memo. “I’ve been watching cattle for years, and there are always some cows that just take off for the hills, like they didn’t know they weren’t elk,” said Derek […]
Economic and Environmental Aspects of Cover Crops
- Economics of Cover Crops
- Business Opportunities with Cover Crops and Soil Health
- Environmental Impacts of Cover Crop Systems
Capitalize on the booming organic industry. This topic room has resources on organic systems, pest management, animal production, marketing, certification, conservation and much more.
Managing Cover Crops for Ecosystem Services in Vegetable Systems
Natalie Lounsbury (University of New Hampshire) discusses how to manage cover crops for such ecosystem services as: suppressing weeds, attracting pollinators, cycling nutrients, promoting biological diversity and controlling erosion.
The Colorado River irrigates 15 percent of the nation’s crops, making the conservation efforts of Western producers crucial to the American food system. Conservation Generation is a new short film by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) about four young farmers and ranchers in the arid West who are committed to conservation practices that conserve water and promote soil health.