ASA Practices

Learning Communities

With the ASA practices we promote

Water productivity, by reducing evaporation and increasing water infiltration, more water is retained in the soil and made available to plants.

Organic matter in the soil, fundamental to improving soil health and water retention.

Water retention, which results in more water available to crops, especially during prolonged dry periods, resulting in fewer crop losses due to water scarcity and drought.

Farmland resilience, with the strength to withstand adverse climate conditions such as droughts, heavy rainfall, and high temperatures.

Return on investment, when implemented correctly, ASA generates increased net incomes while improving overall productivity and efficiency.

With the ASA practices we promote
Conservation Agriculture

Combining the practices of minimal to no-tillage with permanent soil cover and crop rotation. Eliminating slash-and-burn is a prerequisite to implementing this approach.


Making trees an inherent part of the agricultural system, as either the main crop or for shade, wind barriers, or soil conservation.

Integrated Soil Fertility Management

A holistic approach to plant nutrition through soil management that includes organic amendments and mineral fertilizers. Use of the 4R approach: applying the right source of fertilizer, at the right time, in the right way, and with the right dose.

Water Management

Examination of and planning for farm water needs which include supplemental irrigation and domestic and livestock use in the context of the greater landscape and in coordination with other watershed stakeholders, both upstream and downstream.

Cover cropping and green manures

A key tenet, cover cropping improves soil fertility, controls weeds and reduces rainwater runoff. Cover crop legumes are particularly effective for improving soil structure, which in turn supports optimal root development and water infiltration and storage.

Pastureland management

Overgrazing on the steep hillsides of Central America and Mexico has contributed greatly to soil and water resource degradation as animals eat away all of the vegetation that protects the soil surface and compact the exposed surface with their hooves. The ASA approach to pasture management includes rotation of grazing areas, inclusion of cut forages in crop rotations, and storage of animal feed for the dry season.