Sustainability on the Farm

Learn about sustainability indicators used to gauge and evaluate a farm’s progress toward a more sustainable future.

Contour farming with buffer strips. These conservation practices reduce erosion and water pollution.. Photo: NRCS/USDA; Wikimedia Commons.

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Sustainability on the

Introduction to Farm Equipment Energy Efficiency


Photo: Jason Johnson, NRCS.

Farms have lots of equipment, and most of it uses energy. In some cases, increasing the efficiency of a single piece of equipment or an operation can result in significant energy savings, especially over time. In other situations, many small improvements in efficiency and conservation across the farm can add up to meaningful reductions in energy use and operating costs.

In field-crop based agriculture, liquid fuel use in field operations is equivalent to fertilizers and pesticides …

Soil Erosion and Sustainable Biofuel Production

Learn strategies for growing feedstocks while reducing erosion.

Erosion near the edge of a freshly planted field after heavy spring rain. Bare soil is particularly susceptible to erosion. Crop residues can help hold soil in place. Photo: Michael Bomford.

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Introduction to Soil Erosion

There is strong interest in production and use of agricultural crops for biofuels. However, these crops, like all others, need to be grown in …

Oilseed Crops for Biodiesel Production

Do you know that energy in the oil from oilseed crops, algae, restaurant waste oil, and animal fat can serve as a biodiesel feedstock? This article explores many feedstocks that make oil, which can be used in biodiesel production.

Harvesting soybeans in Nebraska.  Photo: F. John Hay, Extension Educator, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.


Water Use and Sustainable Biofuel Production

Do you have enough water to start a biofuel feedstock crop? Learn how much water is required to grow and process biofuels.  

Biofuel crop research plots. Photo: Dennis Pennington, Bioenergy Educator, Michigan State University.

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Introduction to Water Use in Biofuels Production

In a world experiencing serious water shortages for meeting …

Key Components of the Biofuels Sustainability Debate

Are biofuels truly sustainable? Explore biofuel sustainability in regards to the environment, economy, energy, and farming livelihood.

Soybean biodiesel fuel.  Photo: Leandro Maranghetti Lourenço, Brazil; Wikimedia Commons.

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Major Questions about the Sustainability of Biofuels


Conflicting messages:

Biofuels and Greenhouse Gas Reductions

Can we reduce greenhouse gases with biofuels? Explore biofuels, the carbon cycle and potential impacts.

Palm oil plantation, in Indonesia. Photo: Achmad Rabin Taim; Wikimedia Commons.

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Biofuels and the Carbon Cycle

From the standpoint of human-released carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gas emissions, and contributions to climate change biofuels have one large advantage over gasoline, diesel and other fossil fuels: The feedstocks for biofuels …

Sustainability Standards for Farm Energy


Family standing next to a solar installation on their shed. How can biofuel be certified sustainable? Examine guidelines, criteria, and measurable indicators.

How can biofuel be certified sustainable? Examine guidelines, criteria, and measurable indicators.

Windmills on a farm. Photo: Farm Energy Community of Practice.

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