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Sustainable Agriculture in Tennessee


Elements of Sustainability

  1. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - IPM is an approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.
  2. Rotational Grazing Management - intensive grazing systems take animals out of the barn and into the pasture to provide high-quality forage and reduced feed costs, while avoiding manure buildup.
  3. Soil Conservation - Many soil conservation methods, including strip cropping, reduced tillage and no-till, help prevent loss of soil due to wind and water erosion.
  4. Water Quality/Wetlands - Water conservation and protection have become important parts of agricultural stewardship. Practices such as planting riparian buffer strips can improve the quality of drinking and surface water, as well as protect wetlands.
  5. Cover Crops - Growing plants such as rye, clover or vetch after harvesting a grain or vegetable crop or inter cropping them can provide several benefits, including week suppression, erosion control and improved soil nutrients and soil quality.
  6. Crop/Landscape Diversity - Growing a greater variety of crops and livestock on a farm can help reduce risks from extremes in weather, market conditions or pests. Increased diversity of crops and other plants, such as trees and shrubs, can also contribute to soil conservation, wildlife habitat and increased populations of beneficial insects.
  7. Nutrient Management - Proper management of manure, nitrogen and other plant nutrients can improve the soil and protect the environment. Increased use of on-farm nutrient sources, such as manure and leguminous cover crops, also reduces purchased fertilizer costs.
  8. Agroforestry - Agroforestry covers a range of tree uses on farms, including inter planting trees (such as walnuts) with crops or pasture, growing shade-loving specialty crops in forests, better managing woodlots and windbreaks, and using trees and shrubs along streams as buffer strips.
  9. Alternative Marketing - Farmers are finding that innovative marketing strategies can improve profits. Direct marketing of agricultural goods may include selling at farmers markets, roadside stands or through the World Wide Web; delivering to restaurants and small grocers and running community-supported agriculture (CSA) enterprises.


Rob Holland -
The University of Tennessee

Tennessee State University

Roy Bullock -
Tennessee State University