Sustaining our natural resources in the face of increasing societal demands on agriculture: Directions for future research

Madhu Khanna, Scott M. Swinton, Kent D. Messer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


U.S. agriculture is vital to meeting a growing global population's demand for food, fiber, feed, and fuel. Smart technologies, big data, and improvements in crop genetics present producers with promising new opportunities for meeting these needs. However, a changing climate and an expanding global population impose challenges to increasing crop and livestock production while sustaining the natural resource base and protecting environmental quality. Sustainable agricultural development will call for systems approaches to allocate land among competing uses, coupled with the adoption of conservation technologies incentivized by cost-effective policies that have been based on evidence from sound economic, behavioral, biological, and technological research. This paper suggests directions for future research in nine key dimensions that can fill important gaps in the existing literature and build on new research methods and policy needs, as well as inform strategies for sustainable growth of agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-59
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018



  • Agricultural technology adoption
  • Agro-environmental policy
  • Ecosystem services
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Systems approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics

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