Release No. 0229.11
Office of Communications (202)720-4623
USDA Releases Plan to Promote Agroforestry as Means to Improve the
Environment, Make Better Use Of Land and Help Landowners Find Other
Sources Of Revenue
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2011 - USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today
unveiled a plan that will help farmers, ranchers and woodland owners
enhance productivity, profitability and environmental stewardship by
using the practice of agroforestry. Agroforestry intentionally combines
agriculture and forestry to create integrated and sustainable land-use
systems that take advantage of the interactive benefits from combining
trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock.
Merrigan unveiled the USDA Agroforestry Strategic Framework <
during the North American Agroforestry Conference, in Athens, Ga. The
framework is the USDA guide to advance agroforestry knowledge, practices
and assistance that lays the roadmap to influence the long-term health
and sustainability of all lands for future generations.
"Agroforestry does not sacrifice farmland for forests or forests for
farmland," Merrigan said. "Rather, agroforestry is the marriage of
disciplines that, in the end, will protect our natural resources,
benefit our communities and allow for the development of other sources
of income for farmers, ranchers and woodland owners. Agroforestry can
enhance values for any landowner."
Agroforestry practices may appear like a living patchwork quilt across
entire watersheds. For instance, managed forest canopies in a woodland
area can protect a range of crops grown for food, landscaping, and
medicinal use - plants such as shiitake mushrooms, ramps, ginseng,
goldenseal, curly willow and Galax. Likewise, farmers and ranchers who
plant pine trees on land used for livestock and forage production can
add to their profits by selling pine straw and high-value saw logs.
"The foundation of agroforestry is putting trees to work in conservation
and production systems. Agroforestry begins with placing the right
plant, in the right place, for the right purpose," said Andy Mason of
the U.S. Forest Service and leader of the Interagency Agroforestry Team
< http://www.unl.edu/nac/iat.htm > that developed the framework with
input from diverse stakeholders. "This framework will help USDA focus
its efforts on developing the highest priority science and tools while
expanding its educational, training, and partnership activities so that
America's farmers, ranchers and woodland owners have the greatest
opportunity to consider agroforestry for their operation."
The Agroforestry Strategic Framework is built around three simple goals:
adoption - increase the use of agroforestry by landowners and
communities; science - advance the understanding of and tools for
applying agroforestry; and integration - incorporate agroforestry into
an all-lands approach to conservation and economic development.
Agroforestry provides benefits beyond rural areas. In rural-urban
interface 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, and do "double duty" as green
spaces where food and other products can be grown, while also providing
a more pleasing place to work and live.
The Interagency Agroforestry Team includes representatives from five
USDA agencies ( U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation
Service; Agricultural Research Service; National Institute of Food and
Agriculture; and Farm Service Agency) and two key partners ( National
Association of State Foresters and National Association of Conservation
Districts). Those agencies, partners and others work with the USDA
National Agroforestry Center, which conducts research, develops tools
and coordinates training for natural resource professionals.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a
complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil
Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call
(800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
[USDA news releases are available in the "Newsroom" section at
Enviro-News is a service of the Water Quality
Information Center at the National Agricultural
Library. The center's Web site is at
The Enviro-News list facilitates information exchange.
Inclusion of an item in Enviro-News does not imply
United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) agreement,
nor does USDA attest to the accuracy or completeness of
the item. See
You can contact the list owner at
[log in to unmask]