Free books on agriculture

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Building Soils for Better Crops, II Edition - Download this 240 page book free as a PDF file.

"Building Soils for Better Crops" unlocks the secret of maintaining a diverse ecosystem below ground to foster healthy crops above. Ecological soil management, as detailed by the soil experts who wrote the book, can raise fertility - and yields -while reducing environmental impacts. Building Soils contains detailed information about soil structure and the management practices that affect soils, as well as practical information like how to interpret soil test results.

http://www.sare.org/publications/soils.htm



Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 2nd Edition - Download this 212 page book free as a PDF file.

"Managing Cover Crops Profitably" explores how and why cover crops work and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation. This is the most comprehensive book ever published on the use of cover crops to sustain cropping systems and build soil.

http://www.sare.org/publications/covercrops.htm



Manage Insects on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies - Download this 128 page book free as a PDF file.

While every farming system is unique, the principles of ecological pest management apply universally. "Manage Insects on Your Farm" highlights ecological strategies that improve your farm's natural defenses and encourage beneficial insects to attack your worst pests.

Learn about the principles of ecologically based pest management and the strategies of farmers around the world to address insect problems. Minimize insect damage with wise soil management and identify beneficial insects to put these "good bugs" to work for you.

Examples of successful pest management strategies sprinkled throughout the book will stimulate your imagination to address insect problems and develop a more complex, more diverse ecosystem on your farm.

http://www.sare.org/publications/insect.htm



The New American Farmer, 2nd Edition - Download this 200 page book free as a PDF file or as an HTML file.

Hailing from small vegetable farms, cattle ranches and grain farms covering thousands of acres, the producers in The New American Farmer, 2nd edition have embraced new approaches to agriculture. They are renewing profits, enhancing environmental stewardship and improving the lives of their families as well as their communities. The second edition builds on our popular first book. We've updated many of the profiles originally researched and written in 2000 and added 14 new profiles to represent every state and two U.S. territories. The book now features more than 60 successful farmers and ranchers.

The profiles in the online version, like the print edition, are divided into four regions. See the left navigation bar to view profiles by region, or to search by state, featured commodities or problems addressed.

http://www.sare.org/publications/naf.htm



Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses - Download this 280page book free as a PDF file.

"Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses" brings the business planning process alive to help today's alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises. Sample worksheets lend a practical perspective and illustrate how real farm families set goals, researched processing alternatives, determined potential markets, and evaluated financing options. Blank worksheets help the reader develop a detailed, lender-ready business plan or map out strategies to take advantage of new opportunities.

http://www.sare.org/publications/business.htm



'Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture' - Download this book free as an HTML or PDF file.

"Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture" defines sustainable agriculture by providing snapshots of different producers who apply sustainable principles on their farms and ranches. Ten farmers and ranchers from Montana to New Jersey describe how their farming systems evolved to meet their financial, ecological and quality of life goals. Created by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, the 16-page pamphlet includes a colorful annotated illustration of practices used on a model sustainable farm and a list of hints to help consumers make ecologically friendly choices when they buy food.

http://www.sare.org/publications/exploring.htm



How to Direct Market Your Beef - Download this 96 page book free as a PDF file.

"How to Direct Market Your Beef" portrays how one couple used their family's ranch to launch a profitable, grass-based beef operation focused on direct market sales. From slaughtering to packaging, through labeling and advertising, Jan and Will Holder transform their real-life experiences to a compelling narrative rich with practical tips.

http://www.sare.org/publications/beef.htm



Profitable Pork: Alternative Strategies for Hog Producers

Farmers who want to successfully produce pork on a small scale can preserve their independence in the face of the consolidating hog industry. "Profitable Pork: Alternative Strategies for Hog Producers" showcases examples of alternative ways to raise pork profitably. In designing hog systems that work on their farms - in deep-straw bedding, in hoop structures and on pasture - producers have been able to save on fixed costs, find greater flexibility, identify unique marketing channels and enjoy a better quality of life. The 16-page bulletin features profiles about successful hog producers as well as the latest research on everything from greater profits to better-tasting pork raised in alternative hog systems.

http://www.sare.org/publications/hogs.htm



Profitable Poultry: Raising Birds on Pasture - Download this book as an HTML or PDF file.

"Profitable Poultry: Raising Birds on Pasture" features farmer experiences plus the latest research in a guide to raising chickens and turkeys using pens, movable fencing and pastures. A Kentucky family nets between 90 cents and $1.50 per pound from Louisville customers for birds raised on pasture. A New Mexico producer who rotates birds across his property year-round has seen dramatic improvements to his desert soil. And a Wyoming producer was able to quit a full-time, off-the-farm job to stay home and raise pastured poultry with help from her school-age kids. With those examples and more from around the country, the bulletin touches on the system's many opportunities to improve profits, environment and rural family life. With original ideas for marketing poultry products and a page of additional, expert resources, the 16-page bulletin offers a jumping-off point for new producers.

Worldwide, concerns about the avian influenza virus, which causes varying amounts of illness in poultry, are growing. Those viruses can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl, as well as a wide variety of other birds. According to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), USDA, migratory waterfowl have proved to be a natural reservoir for the less infectious strains of the disease. For more information about avian flu and what you can do, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/birdbiosecurity/hpai.html.

http://www.sare.org/publications/poultry.htm



How to Conduct Research on Your Farm or Ranch - Download this free book as an HTML or PDF file.

This 12-page bulletin outlines how to conduct research at the farm level, offering practical tips for both crop and livestock producers, as well as a comprehensive list of more in-depth resources. Real-life examples - from a Pennsylvania vegetable farmer testing new rotations to a Montana producer experimenting with legumes to build soil and prolong pasture - may stimulate research ideas. Co-written by a team of research scientists.

http://www.sare.org/publications/research.htm




The Small Dairy Resource Book - Download this free 56 page book as a PDF file.

Intended for family farmers who want to produce value-added dairy products, The Small Dairy Resource Book evaluates books, periodicals, videos and other materials on farmstead dairy processing in a thorough, annotated bibliography. Extension agents and other agricultural educators also will find this cohesive guide a valuable source of information about farmstead dairy production and processing.

Topics include:

  • Cheesemaking
  • Ice cream
  • Dairy processing
  • Dairy animals
  • Business and marketing
  • Butter
  • Other dairy foods
  • Food safety
  • Feeds & grazing

"This book will save you hours of searching and direct you to books you may have never found otherwise. It is an investment you will turn to time and time again." — Paul Hamby Dairy equipment dealer/Alpine dairy goat producer Weatherby, Mo.

http://www.sare.org/publications/dairyresource.htm


A Whole-Farm Approach to Managing Pests - Download this free bookletof 20pages as an HTML or PDF file

This 20-page bulletin helps producers - and the educators who work with them - design farm-wide approaches to control pests. It lays out basic ecological principles for managing pests and suggests how to apply them to real farm situations - along with cutting-edge research examples and anecdotes from farmers using such strategies in their fields. Co-written by a team of research scientists.

http://www.sare.org/publications/farmpest.htm



'Steel in the Field: A Farmers Guide to Weed Management Tools - Download this free 128 page book as an HTML or PDF file.

Weed control demands time, labor and expense for every farmer every year. "Steel in the Field" shows how today's implements and techniques can control weeds while reducing - or eliminating - herbicides. In practical language, Steel presents what farmers and researchers have learned in the last 20 years about cutting weed-control costs through improved cultivation tools, cover crops and new cropping rotations.

http://www.sare.org/publications/weeds.htm



Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch - Download this free book as an HTML or PDF file.

As producers throughout the nation grow increasingly concerned about water scarcity, farmers, ranchers and agricultural educators are beginning to explore new, conservation-oriented approaches to water use. They are managing soil to improve infiltration, selecting drought-tolerant crops and native forages, and designing innovative runoff collection systems.

This book spotlights innovative, SARE-funded research into a range of conservation options including soil management, such as using compost, conservation tillage and cover crops; plant management, featuring crop rotation, water-conserving plants and rangeland drought mitigation; and water management strategies such as low-volume irrigation and water recycling.

http://www.sare.org/publications/water.htm



Posted with permission from the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), the national outreach arm of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, USDA. For more information about SAN or sustainable agriculture, see www.sare.org.


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This comment was left: Needs to be rewritten and laid out more clearly.

The copyright of the source (various pages on sare.org) is unclear - it's funded by the US Federal govt which in theory may make it public domain; however in some such cases copyright is still claimed. In this case, there is no statement on the site claiming copyright or declaring public domain - best to rewrite as much as possible, to be safe.