Chapter 1

Chapter 1:

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." [3]

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.

Food Supply

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 environmental stewardship.

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 Recommendations | Table of Contents

Sustainable Agriculture - Contents

Appendix C


Chapter 1

Chapter 2



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