Included below are some documents and links to various resources regarding sustainability policies and practices that you may find useful.

U.S. Policies and Laws in Support of Sustainability

Sector: Crop, Livestock, Fishery and Forestry

Source: Environmental Protection Agency or one of the agencies of the Department of Agriculture

Topic: U.S. federal laws

Summary: A comprehensive set of papers that summarizes major U.S. federal laws that affect the crop, livestock, fishery and forestry sectors.

Description: An overview is provided for each major law or policy area, along with background on why the policy was enacted, details on the program’s operation and administration, and the statutory basis (references to the U.S. Code [U.S.C.]). It also provides links to web-based information on each policy area with emphasis on official U.S. government sites. The document contains all the policies and laws found in the U.S. Sustainability section of this web site. The summaries are accurate as of late 2020, and include changes made to several programs by the Agricultural Act of 2018 (2018 farm bill).

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Quantifying the Relationship Between U.S. Cattle Hide Prices/Value and U.S. Cattle Production (4 February 2021)

Sector: Waste, Carbon, By Products

Source: The Leather & Hide Council of America

Topic: Waste, Carbon

Summary: Research establishes leather is a by-product, showing no direct link between leather use and cattle numbers

Description: Leather’s status as a by-product is examined in this report, as informed by a quantitative economic analysis commissioned by the Leather and Hide Council of America. Led by Dr. Gary W. Brester, Professor Emeritus at Montana State University, and leading Agricultural Economist Dr. Kole Swanser, PhD., the research tracks government data over 25 years to ascertain if cattle hide prices directly affect cattle production.

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U.S. Pork Industry Sustainability Report (17 February 2022)

Sector: Farming

Source: The National Pork Board

Topic: Conservation, Sustainability reporting & metrics

Summary: An overview of the U.S. pork industry’s sustainability progress over the past six decades and its goals for continuous improvement

Description: The National Pork Board’s first-ever sustainability report tracks the pork industry’s progress in reducing its environmental impact over the past six decades. It also outlines its new sustainability goals and the data-driven metrics it will be using to measure improvements. Access the report and learn more about the sustainable pork supply chain and what sustainability means to the U.S. pork industry, in the words of the pork producers themselves.

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U.S. Soy Sustainability Overview 2021 (30 March 2022)

Sector: Farming

Source: The United Soybean Board

Topic: Conservation, Sustainability reporting & metrics

Summary: A summary of U.S. Soy’s sustainability goals for 2025, reflecting on four decades of sustainability progress

Description: The inaugural U.S. Soy Sustainability Overview charts 40 years of sustainability progress while outlining the additional improvements the U.S. soy industry is targeting by 2025. Learn more about the climate-smart practices U.S. soybean farmers are using, from conservation tillage to the latest innovations in biotechnology. And read about how these practices are making a difference through case studies from the farmers themselves.

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USDA Technology Transfer Report (27 May 2022)

Sector: Farming, Forestry and Fisheries

Source: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Topic: Science, Technology and Innovation

Summary: An annual overview of USDA technology and innovations that are solving agricultural problems

Description: USDA agencies, from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), play a vital role in technology transfer – helping drive the adoption of research solutions for public benefit. The FY 2021 Technology Transfer report shares their latest accomplishments, including a patent-pending robotic apple harvesting technology, new peanut cultivars with disease resistance, and a unique forecasting tool for quantifying the chance of wildfire ‘ignitions’ up to 10 days in advance.

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OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2022 – 2031 (29 June 2022)

Sector: Farming and Fisheries

Source: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Topic: Market projections, market trends

Summary: An annual publication outlining market projections for major agricultural commodities, biofuels and fish that supports forward-looking policy analysis and planning

Description: The annual Agricultural Outlook from the OECD and FAO provides a consensus assessment of the ten-year prospects for 40 farm and fisheries products at a regional, national, and global level. Access the latest intelligence on trends and drivers of performance in the agri-food sector, and explore market developments, risks, and medium-term projections for commodities ranging from dairy and meat to cotton and oilseed products.

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The 2022 Global Agricultural Productivity Report or GAP Report (4 October 2022)

Sector: Farming, Food Production

Source: Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Topic: Agricultural productivity

Summary: An annual report on global agricultural productivity featuring alarming data, but also solutions, to accelerate growth

Description: Global agricultural productivity growth is in steep decline, finds the latest GAP Report, and current efforts to boost productivity to feed a growing world population are inadequate amid challenges such as conflict and extreme climate events. Access this year’s report for the latest productivity data and analysis, along with data-driven solutions for recovering from agricultural system shocks and boosting agricultural productivity.

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Field to Market Climate Compendium, third edition (20 September 2022)

Sector: Agribusiness, Retail, Farming

Source: Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture™

Topic: Climate action

Summary: A compendium of climate commitments by Field to Market members – several of whom also belong to the U.S. Sustainability Alliance

Description: The latest Climate Compendium shows that organizations across the agriculture value chain are focusing greater attention on the climate crisis. The report finds that two-thirds of Field to Market members (73%) have made public commitments on climate change, up from 68% in 2021. In addition, five of 11 commodity groups engaged in the Alliance have set national, industry-wide targets for emissions reduction from all producers.

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Soil health and nutrient density: preliminary comparison of regenerative and conventional farming (27 January 2022)

Sector: Farming, Food

Source: University of Washington and PeerJ, the open access journal for life sciences and the environment

Topic: Regenerative Agriculture, Soil Health

Summary: A preliminary study highlighting the soil health and crop nutrient benefits of regenerative farming

Description: New research shows that crops grown using regenerative agriculture practices, such as no-till, cover crops, and diverse rotations, have a healthier nutritional profile than their conventionally grown equivalents. The preliminary experiment led by the University of Washington compared crops from ten farms following soil-friendly practices for at least five years with those from neighboring conventional farms.

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America’s Farms and Ranches at a glance: 2022 Edition (6 December 2022)

Sector: Farming, Food production

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service

Topic: Sector analysis, Statistics

Summary: Annual statistics on U.S. farms, including production and financial performance by farm size

Description: This annual publication, previously known as America’s Diverse Family Farms, provides data and statistics on the United States’ diverse farm sector. It reports on the number of farms, the percentage of land operated, and the value of production based on farm typography, finding that in 2021, 98% of America’s farms were family owned and operated.

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Data Driven. Traceable by Design. A Smarter Cotton Future (10 November 2022)

Sector: Farming, Natural materials

Source: The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

Topic: Sustainability reporting & metrics, sustainable sourcing

Summary: Report on the progress made by U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol members in 2021/22, including their environmental performance

Description: The progress made by members of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol standard is charted in this, its second annual report. Through data and case studies, the report covers the sustainability improvements recorded by grower members across six key metrics, the evolution of the Protocol’s membership across the value chain, and proof of its growing acceptance as an international standard in sustainable cotton.

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Forest Carbon: An Essential Natural Solution for Climate Change (update of a report first published in 2019)

Sector: Forestry

Source: The University of Massachusetts Amherst and The University of Vermont

Topic: Forest carbon, climate change

Summary: Aimed at forest landowners, this accessible guide covers forests, their role as a natural climate solution and how to protect it

Description: This publication provides a framework for understanding the role carbon plays within forests. It focuses on the impacts and trade-offs of various land use options and decisions on forests’ ability to sequester and store carbon and, therefore, mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Sustainable U.S. Peanuts Initiative: 2022 Year-One Impact Report

Sector: Farming

Source:  The American Peanut Council

Topic:  Sustainability reporting & metrics

Summary: A round-up of information obtained from the pilot year of the Sustainable U.S. Peanuts Initiative

Description: Following the launch of the Sustainable U.S. Peanuts Initiative in early 2022, this impact report outlines the data obtained in its pilot year. The information covers the 2021 crop season as supplied by the 69 growers enrolled in the initiative across the U.S., representing 2.5% of 2021 peanut acres. It spans inputs and outputs to promote a better understanding of what it takes to grow, on average, peanuts in the U.S. and the resulting environmental impact.

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Almond Almanac 2022 (December 2022)

Sector: Farming, Food production

Source: The Almond Board of California

Topic: Industry data (California almonds)

Summary: Annual statistics on the California almond industry, from production to sustainability

Description: The latest edition of this annual publication contains a wealth of facts and figures on California almonds from the crop year 2021/2022. Areas covered include production, spanning acreage and varieties, as well as export shipment and market information. There are also sections dedicated to the U.S. almond industry’s 2025 goals for continuous improvement and to its investment in research and innovation.

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State Policies for Farm Animal Welfare in Production Practices of U.S. Livestock and Poultry Industries: An Overview (30 December 2022)

Sector: Farming, Livestock, Poultry

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS)

Topic: Animal welfare policy and regulatory issues

Summary: A review of State animal welfare policies in the U.S. livestock and poultry industries and their impact

Description: This study examines current State-level policies addressing practices that can impact farm animal welfare. It covers the extent of the policies’ implementation and geographic coverage, the legal environment and the challenges these laws have faced, as well as their influence (if any) on international trade.

Access a summary by clicking here.

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Certified Organic Survey: 2021 Summary (15 December 2022)

Sector: Farming, Organic production

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

Topic: Industry data (certified organics)

Summary: The findings of the 2021 Certified Organic Survey

Description: Based on a census of producers certified organic or transitioning to organic certification, this report provides the latest statistics on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. It includes commodity-level data on acreage, production, and sales for organic crop and livestock commodities, marketing and production practices, crop insurance usage, production expenses, and acres transitioning into organic production.

For the latest facts and figures on the U.S. organic industry, read the survey highlights.

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