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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Practical Agroforestry Guide Released for Landownders, Farmers, and Ranchers

Publication: Profitable Farms and Woodlands: A Practical Guide in Agroforestry for Landowners, Farmers and Ranchers. Forest ServiceSnapshot : Guide informs underserved and limited resource farmers in the Southeast ways to use agroforestry to better manage their lands and boost profits

Principal Investigators(s) :
Andy Mason 
Research Station : Washington Office (WO)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 167

Summary

In 2012, the Forest Service published a much-needed practical guide about agroforestry and distributed it to extension and other natural resource professionals in the Southeastern United States. Agroforestry is a unique land management approach for farms, ranches, and woodlands that intentionally combines agriculture and forestry to create integrated and sustainable land-use systems.

Profitable Farms and Woodlands, the first-of-its-kind handbook, was written specifically for minority landowners and agricultural producers living in the Southeastern United States. It includes chapters for each of the five main agroforestry practices: alley cropping, forest farming, riparian buffer strips, silvopasture, and windbreaks. The guide was developed by a team of agroforestry specialists from the 1890 and 1862 Land Grant Universities, led by the 1890 Agroforestry Consortium in close cooperation with the USDA's National Agroforestry Center (NAC).

The guide depicts step-by-step methods and principles on developing agroforestry practices for the purpose of enhancing the economic and environmental benefits of their farms, ranches, and woodlands. Among the information in the book are simple explanations of how growing medicinal plants, mushrooms, or cultivating bee products can help landowners join a multibillion-dollar industry.

Limited resource farmers and woodland owners who met twice in focus groups in Birmingham, AL, and Atlanta, GA, with a team of agroforestry experts suggested the contents of Profitable Farms and Woodlands. The views expressed by these underserved and limited resource landowners were the guiding light that led to the publication's development. NAC facilitated intensive reviews of each chapter and contracted with Minority Landowner magazine for the final editing to ensure the information applied to the targeted audiences and their needs.

Copies of Profitable Farms and Woodlands are available as a take-home resource for participants from NAC for organizations that sponsor agroforestry-related workshops. The guide can be viewed or downloaded at nac.unl.edu/documents/morepublications/profitable_farms.pdf.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • State & Private Forestry
  • USDA National Agroforestry Center
  • USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Resource Management and Use
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