Society has an enormous stake in fostering progress toward profitable, environmentally stable farming systems. Farming systems collapse or are forced to change when they become unprofitable to the farmer or when they impose on farm families, neighbors, rural communities, or perhaps even whole nations clearly excessive indirect costs or burdens. The world is tragically well-supplied these days with examples of clearly unsustainable farming practices. Drought, floods, deforestation, uncontrollable insect pest outbreaks, erosion, and economic calamity in food production systems threaten at least some farming regions in virtually all countries. The diversity of American agriculture makes it difficult to characterize briefly the consequences of a successful transition to sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agricultural practices on diversified farms would greatly facilitate further progress in erosion control by fostering rotations, cover crops, and efficient use of organic materials, such as crop residues and manure.