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Secretary Vilsack Highlights First-Ever Report on USDA Efforts to Expand Agroforestry Practices on Farms, Ranches and Woodlands

 United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the first-ever report on USDA's role advancing agroforestry. Tree cover-384Agroforestry: USDA Reports to America details how agroforestry practices are helping farmers, ranchers and woodland owners enhance agricultural productivity, protect the environment and increase profits.

"USDA has invested less than one percent of its budget into tree-based practices. Yet that small investment allows us to help create private goods and public services that reap great rewards, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and more resilient agricultural lands," Vilsack said. "However, much work remains to promote and sustain agroforestry practices, which have great potential to promote economic growth and job creation in rural communities."

Agroforestry is a management approach that intentionally combines agriculture and forestry to create more sustainable land-use systems. Over the last five years, USDA has assisted landowners financially and with technical guidance to establish roughly 336,000 acres of windbreaks, riparian forest buffers and alley cropping; about 2,000 acres of silvopasture; and about 500 acres of forest farming. Those acres represent less than 1 percent of the potentially suitable land for applying those practices, suggesting there is an opportunity to significantly expand the application of agroforestry in the United States.

"Agroforestry provides benefits beyond rural areas," Vilsack said. "In suburban areas, agroforestry practices can improve wildlife habitat, mitigate the movement of odors and dust, serve as noise barriers and act as filters that help keep water clean."

Agroforestry: USDA Reports to America is a cross-Departmental effort from eight agencies serving on the Agroforestry Executive Steering Committee: Agricultural Marketing Service; Agricultural Research Service; Farm Service Agency; National Agricultural Statistics Service; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Rural Development; and U.S. Forest Service. These agencies work closely with the USDA National Agroforestry Center to advance the science, practice and application of agroforestry, and guide implementation of the USDA Agroforestry Strategic Framework. A longer version of the report will be posted by USDA soon.

With the release of this report on agroforestry, USDA wants to start a national conversation about agroforestry with producers, landowners, communities and young people - America's future farmers.

"Our goal is and always has been to help landowners understand that trees - and other permanent vegetation - planted in the right place for the right reason, will add value to their lands," said Wayne Honeycutt, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Deputy Chief for Science and Technology, who chairs USDA's Agroforestry Executive Steering Committee. "Through the report, we are able to show landowner successes. In some cases, family farms have been saved and woodlands spared from development. We hope by showing these stories, more landowners will see the potential for their operations."

To view the report CLICK HERE

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LandDesign Becomes ISC Charter Member

LandDesignLandDesign, with offices in Charlotte, NC, Washington, DC, Pinehurst, NC, Asheville, NC, Tampa, FL, Nashville, TN and Beijing, China is a multidisciplinary firm that offers services including Urban Design, Planning, Civil Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Branding and Architecture.

LandDesign joined the ISC about a year ago and spent the past several months creating their Sustainability Charter, which was submitted too and approved by the ISC Council.  This approved Sustainability Charter is the basis for LandDesign becoming an ISC Charter Member.

Over the next year, LandDesign will create a team approach to implementing their Charter within each of their seven offices.  Watch for updates on their efforts in future updates posted on the Sustainability Campaign Blog and in future issues of this newsletter.

For information on LandDesign services, visit their web page at:



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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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