USDA Policy for Agroforestry
This regulation sets forth the policy of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on agroforestry based on the USDA Agroforestry Strategic Framework, Fiscal Year 2011-2016 (approved by Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack, May 2011), hereinafter referred to as the “Framework”.
Agroforestry is the intentional mixing of trees and shrubs into crop and animal production systems to create environmental, economic, and social benefits. It is a unique land management approach that provides opportunities to integrate productivity and profitability with environmental stewardship, resulting in healthy and sustainable agricultural systems. The Framework was developed by an interagency agroforestry team (IAT), with input from a broad diversity of stakeholders, in recognition of the societal contributions of agroforestry, and the need to coordinate USDA efforts to maximize public benefits. The members of the IAT represented five USDA agencies (Agricultural Research Service, Farm Service Agency, Forest Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Natural Resources Conservation Service) and two key partners (National Association of Conservation Districts and National Association of State Foresters). The Framework was officially released by USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan on June 6, 2011, at the 12th North American Agroforestry Conference in Athens, Georgia.
In order to provide knowledge, tools, and assistance in combining agriculture and forestry for the benefit of the landowner, the community, and the Nation, the Framework identifies three goals:
a. Increase use of agroforestry by landowners and communities;
b. Advance the understanding of, and tools for, applying agroforestry; and
c. Incorporate agroforestry into an all-lands approach to conservation and economic development.
The Agroforestry Executive Steering Committee, hereinafter referred to as the “Committee”, was established in October 2011 to guide and facilitate the resources needed within USDA to implement the Framework. The Committee’s members are senior executives representing six USDA agencies (Agricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service, Farm Service Agency, Forest Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Natural Resources Conservation Service) and the Rural Development (RD) mission area. The Committee is supported by an expanded IAT, comprised of program directors and managers from each of the six agencies and RD and provides program and policy analysis for the Committee.