SARE 20/20: Sustainable Innovations Are Revitalizing American Agriculture

Beltsville, MD – A New Mexico farmer cut annual greenhouse heating costs from $2,000 to zero using the power of the sun. Perched at the edge of the Sonoran desert in New Mexico, Don Bustos’ family farm is endowed with ample sunshine – but cool temperatures limit the growing season to only four or five months. When rising fuel costs threatened his farm and family, Bustos tapped nature’s own energy source: the sun. With the help of a grant from the USDA/CSREES-supported Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, Bustos tested a new system that uses solar heated fluid to warm greenhouse beds, lengthen his growing season and increase profits.

Bustos’ innovative approach is just one of dozens profiled in SARE’s newest free publication, SARE 20/20: Celebrating our First 20 years, Envisioning the Next. Featuring farmers and ranchers who are turning to sustainable agriculture to boost profits, protect the environment and build their communities, SARE 20/20 chronicles two decades of agricultural innovation supported by SARE.

“We are proud of how SARE grantees – from every corner of the nation – have used sound research to advance the frontier of sustainable agriculture,” said Jill Auburn, SARE director.

SARE 20/20 highlights cream-of-the-crop projects from more than 3,700 SARE funded grants, illustrating how producers, researchers and educators are collaborating to advance sustainable innovations to the whole of American agriculture. A few examples:

  • A nonprofit uses innovative marketing strategies to open new markets for more than 40 produce farmers, resulting in a tenfold increase in sales spanning six years.
  • Researchers in the South develop a toolbox of low-cost strategies to detect and target parasites in goats and sheep, reducing the use of chemical dewormers.
  • Minnesota researchers find success using reduced tillage and rotations to control corn rootworm.

Download SARE 20/20 for free at To order print copies, visit, call 301/374-9696 or write to Sustainable Agriculture Publications, PO Box 753, Waldorf, Md. 20604-0753. (Please specify SARE 20/20 when ordering by mail.) Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.

SARE 20/20 was published by the national outreach office of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA. SARE’s nationwide research and education grants program advances farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.  The national outreach office operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Maryland and the University of Vermont to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture. Visit for more information about SARE.


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