With its ideal growing conditions, rich soil and abundant sunshine, California supplies more than 80% of the global almond demand. U.S. almond growers and processors are committed to using sustainable practices that conserve the natural resources they depend on for their livelihood, serving their local communities by providing jobs and minimizing environmental impacts, and producing nutritious, sustainably-grown almonds to families around the world. Packed with powerful nutrition, almonds are not only good for the individual, but also good for local communities and the planet.
American beef producers have known for generations how important it is to keep their animals healthy and contented. Their commitment to providing quality care proves itself in the data: U.S. herds represent only 8% of the world’s cattle yet provide 18% of the world’s beef.
Modern beef production requires fewer resources than the equivalent system in 1977, using 69.9% of animals, 81.4% of feedstuffs, 87.9% of the water, and only 67.0% of the land required to produce 1 billion kgs of beef. This reduced the waste outputs and beef’s carbon footprint by 16.3% from 1977 levels.
Corn Producers’ Sustainable Intensification: Advanced production methods such as low-till and no-till planting have greatly reduced energy consumption, soil loss, pesticide use, and greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing yields. In the 1980-2011 period, U.S. corn producers achieved declines per unit of production in soil erosion, irrigation, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions.
From 1980 – 2015, U.S. Corn producers achieved declines per unit of production in soil erosion (-58%); irrigation (-46%); energy use (-41%); and greenhouse gas emissions (-31%).
Cotton – a natural fiber – has been used to dress and protect families for at least 7,000 years. Of the thousands of U.S. cotton growers – predominantly family farms – 100% of them are committed to continual improvement that positions U.S. cotton to support society’s quality of life for future generations. Accordingly, the U.S. cotton industry continues to research and adopt responsible production practices that not only promote economic sustainability but also minimize impact on natural resources.
Dairy Industry’s Commitment to Reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions: Dairy farmers have a long heritage as responsible stewards of the land, air and water, which has enabled them to pass their farms along to multiple generations. Through the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, dairy farmers, dairy processors, retailers and businesses are working together so they can continue to provide products that are nutritious, produced responsibly and economically.
The U.S. Dairy sector has:
- Reduced dairy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 63% over the past 60 years;
- Committed to a voluntary goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the production of fluid milk by 25 percent by the year 2020.
It is estimated that humans have been growing and eating dry beans for more than 11,000 years. In the Americas, beans have been grown for about 6,000 years. Dry beans, a subgroup of pulses and legumes, are climate smart: they simultaneously adapt to varying climates and use less water compared to many other protein sources, require less fertilizers, and they increase biodiversity, all which play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Hardwoods from Sustainably-Managed Forests: By definition, “sustainable” means to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony. More simply, “sustainability” means meeting today’s needs while conserving the resources needed for tomorrow. Due to the intensive application of best management practices, the hardwood forests of the United States support a vibrant healthy stand of timber, as well as a large and diverse wildlife population, clean rivers and streams, and a host of recreational activities. And since there is twice as much American hardwood growing than is being selectively harvested annually, it is clear the hardwood supply for future generations is sustainable.
American Hardwoods are derived from sustainably-managed forests in the United States. Forest inventories demonstrate that between 1953 and 2007, the volume of U.S. hardwood growing stock more than doubled from 5,210 million to 11,326 million m3.
The volume of hides and skins collected as a by-product of the meat industry is significant. The leather industry purchases these by-products, which otherwise would mostly go to waste, and transforms them into one of the most versatile and attractive materials on earth. Leather — a protective, versatile, durable, breathable material — is the best way of dealing with the high volume of hides and skins that have to be sustainably and affordably managed. There is no better alternative to using discarded hides and skins than to make leather. The presence of large volumes of perishable animal waste would have serious consequences on solid waste systems and place tremendous pressure on the environment.
Organic Agriculture in the U.S. is Based on Sustainable Practices that Not Only Protect Environmental Health, but Also Strive to Improve It: Organic farmers understand that what ‘you put into the soil has a profound impact on what you get out of it’. This is why they rely on natural processes and materials when developing farming systems—these contribute to soil, crop and livestock nutrition, pest and weed management, attainment of production goals, and conservation of biological diversity.
Peanuts are naturally sustainable. Originally introduced as a nitrogen-fixing rotation crop for cotton, they replenish soil with the essential nitrogen depleted by other crops. This means that less fertilizer is needed to grow peanuts, as well as the subsequent rotation crop, resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions.
Poultry Farmers Advance Sustainability of Poultry and Eggs: Improving sustainability in poultry and egg production means not only focusing on bird health and welfare, but also reducing costs and maximizing productivity while addressing societal concerns. The heritage of the family farm and the importance of land have allowed the poultry and egg industries to take the lead in the development of sustainable practices as a core principle to maintain a safe and secure food supply.
Rendering of meat production by-products and used cooking oils are environmentally friendly ways to recycle material that would otherwise be wasted. In short, rendering is recycling. If not rendered, these perishable materials can create human and animal health hazards. Rendering allows for the recovery of fat, protein, and minerals from these raw materials for new uses. While providing these essential services and products, rendering also boosts the sustainability of animal agriculture by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving fuel and water.
Rice Farmers Produce More With Less: On a national level, U.S. rice production has become increasingly efficient over the years, relying on fewer inputs to produce more rice. The rice industry is moving toward meeting increasing demand while achieving a reduced environmental impact for every 100 pounds of rice produced. America’s rice farmers produce more than 20 billion pounds of rice each year, providing 85 percent of the rice that is consumed in the United States.
The most recent Field to Market survey determined that from 1980 – 2015, U.S. Rice improved on measures of resource “efficiency,” with decreases (in per hundredweight) in land use (-39%); soil erosion (-28%); irrigation water (-52%); energy use (-34%); and greenhouse gas emissions (-41%).
Sustainable Fishery Management Since 1976: Sustainable seafood is caught in a way that guarantees the long-term health and abundance of the oceans’ bounty. Across the U.S., fishermen, scientists and citizens work together to determine best practices to ensure fisheries are responsibly managed so there is an abundance of seafood to harvest now and for generations to come.
The U.S. has more trees today than 70 years ago. In fact, 1.6 billion seedlings are planted in the U.S. every year – the equivalent of 4.4 million trees every single day of the year. Modern forest management ensures not only that felled trees are replaced, but that every year more wood is grown in U.S. forests than is harvested.
Soybean Producers Demonstrate Sustainability through Conservation: U.S. soybean production is based on a national system of sustainability and conservation laws and regulations combined with careful implementation of best production practices by the nation’s 279,110 soybean producers. In addition, U.S. soybean producers participate in numerous certified and audited voluntary sustainability and conservation programs.
Since the 1980s, the U.S. Soy sector has:
- Decreased energy use by 35% per hectare of U.S. soybean production;
- Decreased greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 38% per hectare of U.S. soybeans;
- Decreased soil erosion by 47% per hectare of U.S. soy production.
U.S. Wheat Farmers Work every Day to Contribute to a Sustainable Future in Agriculture: Sustainability is reflected in agronomic practices, research and development, and transportation methods, all of which contribute to making the United States a sustainable source of wheat for export. Sustainability is also about innovation—reducing inputs while producing better wheat varieties to increase yields and provide consistently high-quality wheat to customers around the world.