The 1990 Farm Bill defined sustainable agriculture as "an integrated
system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific
application that will, over the long term, satisfy human food and fiber
needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resources
base upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the most
efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm/ranch resources; and
integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
sustain the economic viability of farm/ranch operations; and enhance the
quality of life for farmers/ranchers and society as a whole." 
The Task Force recognized sustainable agriculture as agriculture that
combines modem technological innovation with proven resource conservation
and food and fiber production practices to protect environmental
quality, maintain and enhance profitability, preserve rural communities,
and produce a safe and adequate supply of food for all members of the
current and future generations. This definition is reflected in the
goals that the Task Force articulated for a sustainable U.S.
agriculture. These goals are set forth for the following four areas:
Management of agricultural activities to protect air, soil, and water
quality, and to conserve wildlife habitat and biodiversity, thereby
increasing agriculture's long-term productivity and profitability, as
well as enhancing human health and well-being.
Farmers and Farming Communities
Achieve viable farmers and farm communities.
Production of a safe, high-quality, and affordable supply of food and
fiber in a manner that protects and conserves natural resources.
Agricultural Research and Education
Creation of institutional incentives and funding arrangements that
focus public and private research, education, and technology development
on integrating agricultural productivity and profitability with
As these overlapping goals suggest, environmental quality, natural
resource conservation, profitability, preservation of farming
communities, productivity, and human health are all interrelated aspects
of sustainable agriculture.
Chapter 2: Policy