Checkoff Helps Farmers Stay in Front of Demands for Sustainable Soy
Since the United Soybean Board created its Sustainability Initiative three years ago, few issues have been as important as sustainability. And its importance will likely continue. Demands for sustainably sourced ingredients seem to come from every customer of U.S. soy. To help meet these demands, USB and the Sustainability Initiative engaged in several important efforts. Here are five of them:
- Documenting the excellent sustainability performance of U.S. soy to meet customer demands for responsible ingredients. USB continues to work with the entire U.S. soy industry to compile performance data that prove the environmental, social and economic impacts of U.S. soy’s sustainability performance. For example, a checkoff-funded life-cycle study showed the U.S. soybean industry has improved its environmental friendliness by decreasing greenhouse-gas emissions, reducing energy use and other factors.
- Making a pledge to U.S. soy customers that farmers will continue growing U.S. soy in a sustainable manner. The pledge represents a commitment by the entire U.S. soy industry to continue using practices that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. USB and other U.S. soy organizations will use the pledge and supporting data to help increase U.S soy sales.
- Educating U.S. soy customers on farmers’ commitment to sustainability. During a recent series of farm tours (pictured above), U.S. farmers showed a group of food company representatives some examples of on-farm practices they’ve adopted to decrease their impact on the environment. The tours also highlighted how these practices can positively impact a farmer’s profitability.
- Informing U.S. soybean farmers of the importance of continuing to improve their sustainability performance. The soy checkoff collaborated on development of the Fieldprint Calculator, a free, online tool that can show farmers the environmental and economic impacts of certain farm-management practices.
- Communicating U.S. soy’s positive environmental benefits to decision makers in the European Union. An EU renewable-energy requirement currently excludes biodiesel made from U.S. soy oil, despite checkoff-funded efforts that prove U.S. soy biodiesel meets the regulation’s greenhouse-gas-reduction criteria.