A new report from the National Research Council on sustainable agriculture systems concludes that policies need to look beyond low cost and high production. The report, “Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century,” urges national agricultural policies and research programs to adopt a holistic perspective to farming that encompasses multiple end goals.

Sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation and published by the National Academies Press, the report outlined four goals:

  • Satisfy human food, fiber and feed requirements, and contribute to biofuels needs
  • Enhance environmental quality and the resource base
  • Maintain economic viability of agriculture
  • Improve the quality of life for farmers, farm workers and society