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Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

USDA to Invest $10 Million to Support Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry through Voluntary Conservation (2021-06-24)

USDA to Invest $1 Billion to Purchase Healthy Food for Food Insecure Americans and Build Food Bank Capacity, First Investment of the New ‘Build Back Better’ Initiative Will Serve as a Bridge from Pandemic Assistance to Food System Transformation (2021-06-04)

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) specializes in identifying resources for food systems and management practices that support the United States Department of Agriculture's effort to ensure a sustainable future and economic viablity for agriculture and farmers worldwide.

Baskets of greens and purple cabbage. Hayward, CA farmers market.

Marketing Options

Find marketing strategies, direct marketing ideas, and expertise to successfully move your products from farm to table.

Organic Roots Collection. NAL

Organic Roots Collection

Search our online collection of historic documents published before 1942 – a time before synthetic chemicals became widely used.

Raisins, lettuce, and yellow bell pepper.

Local and Regional Food Systems

Learn about local foods, community gardening, urban agriculture and more. Find food and farms near you.

Cacao pods. ARS K4636-12 Keith Weller

Growing Specialty Crops and Plants

Learn about floral, forest, heirloom, herb, nursery, nut, and other specialty crops or products.

Lady Justice on Silhouette of Trees. DOJ

Environmental Justice and Quality of Life

Agriculture can be integrated in to all aspects of life including who we are and how we live. Learn more about a variety of people and practices in agriculture.

Sustainable Agriculture Education Directory

Sustainable Agriculture Education Directory

Find academic and training programs in organic, sustainable, or alternative agriculture.

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Find published information originating from a dynamic search on general topics in plant and animal farming, research, specialty crops, production management, and conservation practices.

PubAg:  Articles

AGRICOLA:  Books

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USDA News (Select from agencies such as Agricultural Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health, Economic Research Service, Rural Development, and more...)

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in the News

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Automated (dynamic) searches are run in the NAL's AGRICOLA, Navigator, PubAg, and Scopus databases to generate the lists of publications. This list is a bibliography.  The term "dynamic" refers to the fact that a new bibliography is generated each time you use the link, so the bibliography's citations are always up-to-date. There are benefits and limitations to receiving information this way. For more information please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

USDA Agricultural Research Service

National Programs (NPs) aligned with the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center:

Food Animal Production (NP #101)
Mission: Conduct research to improve food animal production efficiency, industry sustainability, animal welfare, product quality and nutritional value while safeguarding animal genetic resources.

Aquaculture (NP #106)
Mission: Conduct research and deliver technologies that improve domestic aquaculture production efficiency and product quality while minimizing impacts on natural resources.

Soil and Air (NP #212)
Mission:  To improve the quality of atmosphere and soil resources affected by, and having an effect on, agriculture and to understand the effects of, and prepare agriculture for, adaptation to climate change.

Sustainable Agricultural Systems Research (NP #216)
Mission:  This interdisciplinary research integrates information and technologies to develop new practices and dynamic systems that optimally enhance productivity, profitability, energy efficiency, and natural resource stewardship for different kinds and sizes of American farms. 

Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics and Genetic Improvement (NP #301)
Mission: To safeguard and utilize plant genetic resources (genetic raw material), associated genetic and genomic databases, and bioinformatic tools to ensure an abundant, safe, and inexpensive supply of food, feed, fiber, ornamentals, and industrial products for the United States and other nations. Research components include: crop genetic improvement; plant and microbial genetic resource and information management; crop biological and molecular processes; and, information resources and tools for crop genetics, genomics, and genetic improvement.

Plant Diseases (NP #303)
Mission: Develop control strategies to reduce losses caused by plant diseases that are effective and affordable while maintaining environmental quality.

Crop Protection and Quarantine (NP #304)
Mission:  To provide technology to manage pest populations below economic damage thresholds by the integration of environmentally compatible strategies that are based on increased understanding of the biology and ecology of insect, mite, and weed pests.

Crop Production (NP #305)
Mission:  Develop and transfer sound, science-based information and technologies for productive and profitable food, fiber, and floral/ornamental crop production systems that meet consumer demands for high quality, affordable products, grower needs for a stable income and competitiveness in the global marketplace, worker needs for a safe working environment, and the public's desire for maintaining or improving environmental quality.

Product Quality and New Uses (NP #306)
Mission:  Enhance the marketability of agricultural products, increase the availability of healthful foods, develop value-added food and nonfood products, and enable commercially-preferred technologies for post-harvest processing. Program components include food, non-food, and biorefining.

USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC)

NAC accelerates the adoption of agroforestry by leading, catalyzing, coordinating, and conducting research and science-based outreach. It is the only U.S. Department of Agriculture unit dedicated to agroforestry and is uniquely poised to provide U.S. leadership in agroforestry research and application.

Agriculture and Climate (EPA)

Changes in ozone, greenhouse gases and climate change affect agricultural producers greatly because agriculture and fisheries depend on specific climate conditions. Temperature changes can cause habitat ranges and crop planting dates to shift and droughts and floods due to climate change may hinder farming practices.

We feature current and historical videos from the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center and others that explore sustainable, organic, natural, or alternative agricultural production.

Videos also highlight agricultural funding sources, aquaculture, and beekeeping.   Select a video here...

AFSIC History Timeline

AFSIC, founded in 1985, is an integral part of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland. The Center was one of the first USDA programs to focus on sustainable and organic agriculture and produced many groundbreaking publications that enabled researchers, educators and producers to access previously difficult-to-find research, literature and expertise.  More...

History of Organic Agriculture
Trace the origins of the organic agriculture movement through historic publications and reports, oral histories, video archives, USDA legislation and regulations, and other published resources.  More...

Organic Roots Collection
AFSIC's Organic Roots Digital Collection is an electronic collection of historic USDA documents published before 1942 (before synthetic chemicals became widely used) that contain information and data that is still pertinent for today's agriculture.  More...

Definitions and History of Sustainable Agriculture
The USDA has defined sustainable agriculture - but underlying the definition are diverse and sometimes controversial views of sustainability. Explore a variety of approaches and practices, current and past, to appreciate where agriculture is going in the future.  More...

Tracing the Evolution of Organic / Sustainable Agriculture
Discover the philosophical and scientific roots of sustainable, regenerative agriculture through readings dating from the 1500s.  More...

Mailboxes, Mom and Pop Stands, and Markets
View the National Agricultural Library's "Local Foods Then and Now Digital Exhibit."  More...

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