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Field to Market The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture Farmer Cooperative Conference December 7, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Field to Market The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture Farmer Cooperative Conference December 7, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Field to Market The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture Farmer Cooperative Conference December 7, 2010

2 Who is the Keystone Center? The Keystone Center for Science and Public Policy – promotes practical solutions to energy, environment, and public health problems – encourages creative thinking and collaborative decision-making – is committed to convening the right people, using reliable scientific information, and building trust and understanding We serve as neutral conveners, independently facilitating and mediating: – stakeholder dialogues – public engagement processes – joint fact-finding – advisory boards Keystone Center for Education – uses models above to provide science-based teacher training and educational experiences for middle and high school students

3 What is Field to Market? A collaborative stakeholder group of producers, agribusinesses, food and retail companies, and conservation organizations Focusing on defining and measuring the sustainability of food and fiber production Developing outcomes-based metrics Measuring the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of agriculture Providing tools to help growers analyze operations and food companies explain how natural resources are being managed

4 Who is Field to Market? American Farm Bureau Federation American Farmland Trust American Soybean Association BASF Bayer CropScience Bunge Cargill Conservation International Conservation Technology Information Center Cotton Incorporated CropLife America CropLife International Darden Restaurants, Inc DuPont Environmental Defense Fund Fleishman-Hillard General Mills Grocery Manufacturers of America Indiana Corn Growers Association Indiana Soybean Alliance Innovation Center for US Dairy International Plant Nutrition Institute John Deere Kellogg Company Land O'Lakes Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences Mars, Incorporated Monsanto Company National Association of Conservation Districts National Association of Wheat Growers National Corn Growers Association National Cotton Council of America National Potato Council Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Penton Media The Coca Cola Company The Fertilizer Institute The Irrigation Association The Nature Conservancy Syngenta Corporation United Soybean Board University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences USA Rice Federation World Resources Institute World Wildlife Fund – US

5 How We Define Sustainable Agriculture Meeting the needs of the present while improving the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – Increasing productivity to meet future food and fiber demands – Decreasing impacts on the environment – Improving human health – Improving the social and economic well-being of agricultural communities

6 Field to Market Objectives Develop outcomes-based metrics Measure the environmental, health, and socioeconomic impacts of agriculture in the United States – National scale environmental indicators for U.S. corn, soy, wheat, and cotton production – First step in a long-term effort to quantify and improve the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of agriculture production

7 First Step: Initial Environmental Indicator Report January 2009

8 Environmental Indicators Report Criteria for Development – Outcomes based – Practice/technology neutral – Transparent and credible science – Measures on-farm production outcomes within a grower’s control Data and Methods – Crop-specific focus on four commodities: corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat – Five indicators: land use, soil use, water use, energy use and climate impact (green house gas emissions) – Analyzed data from – U.S. national-scale indicators – Publically available data, including USDA ARMS, NRI, etc.

9 Environmental Indicators Report Peer Review Process – Conducted in May 2008 with 17 reviewers – Feedback was incorporated into revisions of the current report

10 Report Conclusions Production agriculture has become increasingly efficient for many crops and indicators, relying on fewer inputs to produce more – For example, soil loss trends have improved substantially by 30 to nearly 70 percent for the four crops evaluated Suggests progress toward meeting the increasing demand while achieving lesser environmental impact per unit of output produced

11 Corn: Summary of Results Per bushel findings: Productivity (yield per acre) increased 41 percent Land use decreased 37 percent Soil loss decreased 69 percent Irrigation water use has been variable, with an average 27 percent decrease Energy use decreased 37 percent Greenhouse gas emissions decreased 30 percent Total annual trends indicate increases in total annual energy use (28 percent), water use (17 percent), and greenhouse gas emissions (34 percent). Total annual soil loss has decreased 33 percent.

12 Cotton: Summary of Results Per pound findings: Productivity (yield per acre) increased 31 percent Land use per pound produced has decreased 25 percent Soil loss decreased 34 percent Irrigation water use per incremental pound of cotton produced (above that expected without irrigation) decreased by 49 percent Energy use energy use per pound decreased 66 percent Greenhouse gas emissions per pound fluctuated. More recent improvements resulting in a 33 percent average decrease Total annual trends indicate soil loss and climate impact in 2007 are similar to the impact in 1987, with average trends over the study period remaining relatively flat. Total energy use decreased 45 percent and total water use decreased 26 percent.

13 Soybeans: Summary of Results Per bushel findings: Productivity (yield per acre) increased steadily by 29 percent Land use efficiency per bushel improved by 26 percent Soil loss decreased 49 percent Irrigation water use improved 20 percent Energy use decreased 65 percent Greenhouse gas emissions decreased 38 percent Total annual trends indicate soybean production’s total energy use decreased 29 percent, soil loss decreased 11 percent, irrigation water use increased 39 percent, and climate impact increased 15 percent.

14 Wheat: Summary of Results Per bushel findings: Productivity (yield per acre) increased by 19 percent Land use was variable, with an average overall decrease of 17 percent Soil loss improved 50 percent with most improvements over the first half of the study period Irrigation water use per bushel produced due to irrigation showed an average flat trend Energy use decreased nine percent Greenhouse gas emissions increased 15 percent, with a larger increase in the latter half of the study period Total annual trends indicate total energy use and total irrigation water use were similar in 1987 and 2007, with average trends showing an 18 percent decrease in total energy use and an 11 percent decrease in total water use. Total soil loss has decreased 54 percent. Total climate impact has increased an average of five percent over the study period, with a more significant increase over the past decade.

15 What is the Fieldprint Calculator? A free online tool for growers to assess the efficiency of their operations to make informed natural resource management decisions – Allows farmers to voluntarily and confidentially evaluate their operations against an national and state averages – Analyzes use of natural resources (land, topsoil, and water) and crop production inputs (energy, nutrients, crop protection products) – Helps farmers to analyze how their choices impact natural resources and operational efficiency

16 Fieldprint Calculator Developed to accelerate gains made inside the farm gate and explain those practices outside the farm gate – May help growers and food companies answer consumers questions about how products are produced – Lays foundation to document improvements – Can tie to programs being implemented throughout the food chain to improve sustainability as a whole

17 Continued Development An economic report connecting resource efficiency to diesel costs is now available New version of the calculator in development based on grower feedback – Recommended resources to provide further education – Future versions may include additional crops and additional indicators Water quality Biodiversity Ecosystem services Economic and social

18 Next Steps Continued farmer engagement in calculator Continue work on water quality, biodiversity, and socio-economic indicators Explore supply chain mechanisms to support sustainability through piloting and case studies Peer review and release of methods for broader adoption Outreach and partnering with other groups

19 19 Questions/Contact Information Sarah Stokes Alexander, Director, Sustainability and Leadership Programs – ; Julie Shapiro, Associate – ; Field to Market Website (includes Fieldprint Calculator and background information) –


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