Show your commitment to sustainability. Order your free truck magnet below.
What is sustainability?
Sustainability is about farmers making a living, remaining financially resilient against fluctuations in weather and commodity prices. It’s also about preserving and protecting soil, air and water and passing on a thriving operation to the next generation.
Why is sustainability necessary?
Customers expect it.
Now more than ever, customers want to know how their food is grown and what impact it has on the environment. Many major feed companies, food companies, manufacturing companies and other important customers of soybeans have made commitments to source sustainable raw goods. That means that everything they buy must be produced in a sustainable manner.
U.S. soybean farmers lead the world in meeting the demand for sustainable soy. But sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Therefore, we must continually improve our on-farm sustainability to maintain customer demand.
The soil, air and water need it.
Despite many sustainable practices already in place over decades of production, further improvements can lessen the impacts of soybean farming on the environment. For example, soil health and water-quality issues, such as topsoil erosion and nutrient runoff, demand immediate action.
How can you improve sustainability?
From reduced tillage to nutrient and water management, it’s the variety of things you do that open up to the big picture of sustainability. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for your sustainability journey. But you can read advice from other farmers and stakeholders and determine what might work on your operation.
Advice from an Iowa farmer: “Reduced tillage is a great start to any sustainability plan. Find out how you can no-till corn and soybeans. And I recommend getting to know your watershed. Learn what’s coming off your land. For example, if you see high levels of nitrates coming out of your tile, you can put a plan in place to protect your water supply.”
Advice from an Illinois soil scientist: “For nutrient management, start with the four R’s: right source, right rate, right time and right place. We also have buffers, wetlands, perennial grasses and bioreactors. And we’ve found that cover crops are the shining star of any nutrient-reduction strategy.”
Advice from a Maryland farmer: “Information is available everywhere. Attend a field day or visit other regions. Also, I think being transparent with our information will be critical in the future. I really think it is important to share what we do and why we do it.”
Advice from an Ohio scientist: “Explore participating in on-farm trials and partnering with crop consultants, co-ops and agronomists. And we need farmers on board to make a difference.”
As demands for sustainability continue rising, farmers across the country must commit to continuous improvement. That commitment from all U.S. soybean farmers will help secure our status as the most sustainable producer of soy worldwide.
If we succeed, everyone wins. Farmers remain profitable and pass on living legacies. Customers source U.S. soy because they know they’ll receive a sustainable, dependable product. And the planet’s soil, air and water will remain viable for future generations.
As a token of appreciation for your commitment to sustainability, please complete the form below, and we will mail you an “I am a Sustainable Farmer” magnet for your farm vehicle.