and Farm Size
The goals of sustainable agriculture—profit,
stewardship, and quality of life—apply
to farms and ranches of all sizes and types.
However the methods and practices that best
meet these goals may differ considerably
from small enterprises to large, or from
one type to another.
There are many examples of large farms and
ranches that use innovative methods to achieve
sustainability (see Farm
and Ranch Profiles), and of research,
education, and extension projects relevant
to farms of all sizes (see SARE
Sustainable agriculture is particularly
beneficial to small and medium-sized farms
for several reasons
- Sustainable agriculture emphasizes methods
that take advantage of on-farm resources
and natural biological cycles and controls.
Such methods are often more affordable
to smaller and limited-resource farmers
than are more capital-intensive methods.
- Some of the marketing methods often
associated with sustainable agriculture—which
link producers to consumers and return
a larger share of the consumer dollar to
farmers—are very practical and lucrative
for smaller farmers.
- Farm size, scale, and type of organization
all have implications for the surrounding
community, affecting the “quality
of life” goal of sustainability.
For more information on NIFA activities
for small farms and ranches, see the Small
Farms program page.
Back to Sustainable Agriculture Home Page