The National Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (NISA)

NISA began in November 2010 when several national agriculture leaders met with University of Wisconsin researchers in Madison to discuss a vision for producer led programs aimed at improving the sustainability of American agriculture. The participants in the November meeting committed to establishing a process for developing sustainability initiatives that meet value chain expectations with regard to sustainable agricultural production, through producer leadership and participation. Expectations are that this process will be defined and implemented in model systems by November 2012.


Mission Statement

NISA’s mission is to develop a roadmap of farm management systems that will help producers to achieve verifiable sustainability outcomes, improve the environmental services and productivity of their farms, help their rural communities thrive, and satisfy performance expectations of the value chain. These efforts will operate at the farm level; incorporate a framework of tools and technical information from a wide base of expertise and programs; and, with the support of regional and national experts, communicate sustainability management systems that are valid across crops and regions.


NISA aims to provide a common playing field – regardless of crop or location – filtered through the guiding principles crafted and refined by agricultural producers. NISA seeks to provide producers with a suite of science-based, regionally-appropriate, and systems-neutral tools that result in verifiable changes in ecosystem services and farm productivity.


Science Foundation for NISA

NISA will coordinate a science-based foundation to guide decisions in agriculture towards optimized productivity that maximizes return to the producer while enhancing surrounding agroecosystems and the communities that agriculture serves. This foundation will be based on a set of tools, models and data, knowledge and information assets, and continuing research to address information gaps and verify predicted outcomes. These outcomes must preserve and stabilize the productive capacity of the landscape, the integrity and supply of natural resources, and the efficiency of human effort within agricultural systems.


Current Activities

  • Expanding producer participation
  • Establishing the NISA Advisory Board
  • Building regional working groups
  • Pilot testing NISA model in soybeans

NISA Conference Calls

NISA holds regularly scheduled conference calls at 3:30 pm Eastern/2:30 pm Central each Monday. If you are interested in participating in the calls, please contact Amanda Raster (

NISA Documents