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Washington, D.C. 20078-5500

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Putting Trees to Work for Agriculture

Program Purpose

The Agroforestry program is a joint-venture of the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Its purpose is to educate technical assistance providers, landowners, and stakeholders about the benefits of agroforestry, resulting in increased adoption. Through research, development, applications, and training, the Program provides appropriate technologies, documentation, and tools to extension agents and others participating in efforts to incorporate agroforestry into conservation and production systems for farms, ranches, and communities.

Agroforestry emphasizes planting "Working Trees" in agricultural settings in the form of windbreaks, riparian buffers, alley cropping, silvopasture, timberbelts, and forest farming. Specific benefits provided to farmers include reduced wind erosion, increased crop yields, reduced energy costs; reduced stress on livestock from cold winter winds and hot summer heat, improved livestock weight gain and reduced feed costs, increased milk production, increased water use efficiency, wildlife habitat, reduced runoff and water pollution, landscape diversity, natural pest controls, and marketable products.

Agroforestry has significant untapped potential to increase agricultural productivity and sustainability by conserving natural resources, increasing crop and livestock production, and improving human environments. Agroforestry works wherever trees grow, in rural areas, communities, and the interface in between where land use conflicts may occur. The success of agroforestry depends on landowners' willingness and ability to care for the land and pass on profitable and sustainable natural resources to future generations.

Program Activities

The National Agroforestry Center (NAC), in Lincoln, Nebraska and jointly sponsored by the Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, is the centerpiece of the Agroforestry Program. Through interagency collaboration, cooperation with universities, and partnerships with the private sector, the Center provides state forestry and NRCS personnel, and other extension agents with information on agroforestry techniques, which in turn allows them share this information with farmers, NIPF land owners and others.

Public Benefits and Informational Contacts

State forestry agencies and NRCS offices can provide more information on agroforestry practices and the particular programs available in any given state. And, anyone can benefit from agroforestry research conducted by the Research branch of the Forest Service. Publications are generally available in public and university libraries and through the internet.


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 Last Modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 09:29 AM CDT