By Elizabeth Westendorf, USW Policy Specialist
A rapidly emerging food marketing trend is the concept of “sustainable production.” Sustainability is not clearly defined and therefore means something different to each participant in the value chain. The stakes are high in this game for industry impact and environmental protection, and this creates challenges for producers. U.S. farmers are committed to continuous improvement, and that is why U.S. wheat industry organizations are actively engaged in relevant sustainability initiatives.
For example, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is a member of Field To Market®: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a coalition focused on “promoting, defining and measuring the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production.”
Field to Market pioneered a “fieldprint calculator,” which allows farmers to input information about their operations, compare themselves to others and track improvement over time. Many Field to Market members are involved in fieldprint projects in regions where food companies source ingredients for their products. Field to Market has also produced two national indicator reports assessing sustainability trends for wheat, corn, cotton, potatoes, rice and soybeans. USW attended a Field to Market plenary session held in Washington, DC, earlier this year and saw how both food companies and farmers are working to decrease their environmental impact while producing high quality, reliable food supplies.
Internationally, questions about production practices have led USW to join the U.S. Sustainability Alliance (USSA), a group of American agricultural organizations committed to responsible resource management. USSA works to inform international customers about current U.S. efforts in sustainability. As customers worldwide take a greater interest in how their food is produced, it has become more important to share what U.S. farmers have been doing for generations. …
Source: U.S. Wheat Associates