Wisconsin Farmer-Led Soybean Sustainability Initiative Measures a Farm’s Performance August 7th, 2013

Date: August 7, 2013
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Linda Funk
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Wisconsin Farmer-Led Soybean Sustainability Initiative Measures a Farm’s Performance

Madison, WI, August 7, 2013 — Wisconsin soybean farmers are measuring their sustainability performance through a soy-checkoff-supported initiative that will inform consumers how soy and new soy-based products are grown and produced.

In a collaborative effort with a network of national and state soybean organizations, the University of Wisconsin – Madison is leading the National Soybean Sustainability Initiative (NSSI). This Initiative will allow U.S. soybean growers to maximize global utilization of U.S. soy in the feed, food, industrial and energy markets.

State Soybean Extension Specialist, Shawn Conley, Ph. D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, outlines how the National Soybean Sustainability Initiative (NSSI) can help soybean farmers self-assess their sustainability performance, which can help them meet customer demands and expand markets.

Conley discusses how farmers must address the three pillars of sustainability in order to meet customers’ expectations:

  • Social Aspects, includes human resources, waste management, recycling, community involvement and maintaining lands for farming.
  • Environmental Aspects, includes developing conservation plans, fertility management and water management.
  • Economic Aspects, includes cost of production and net returns, working with financial or business advisors, insurance and disaster plans and farm succession.

“Our goal is to identify the junction of all three pillars and improve the sustainability performance of U.S. soybean production as a whole,” says Conley. “The goal of this Initiative is to develop a roadmap of soybean management systems that will help growers to achieve verifiable sustainability outcomes, improve the environmental services and productivity of their farms, help their rural communities thrive, and satisfy performance expectations of the soybean value chain.”

Wisconsin soybean growers are committed to improving the environmental footprint as a part of the U.S. soybean industry. The state’s 11,000 soybean farmers grow twice as much food as they did 30 years ago, using less land, energy and water.

The NSSI is funded in partnership with the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, United Soybean Board, Illinois Soybean Association and the National Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (NISA).

For more information on the National Soybean Sustainability Initiative, visit www.coolbean.info. To learn about the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and its work, visit the website at www.wisoybean.org.

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The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is a grassroots, farmer-led organization that leads efforts in soybean research and the expansion of soybean market opportunities. Established in 1983 as part of a Wisconsin-mandated checkoff, the board works every day to maximize the profitability of Wisconsin soybean producers. It builds soybean demand, creates new uses for soybeans, and focuses on soybean disease research. WSMB is committed to providing statewide soy education and outreach programs that inform consumers about the benefits of soy. It offers a comprehensive soy curriculum for educators, and partners with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom to provide Soybean Science Kits and lessons that increase agricultural literacy.