Scaling Sustainable Agriculture Requires a New Level of Collaboration
Research shows while farmers understand benefits of conservation adoption, perceptions of risk to productivity and profitability create barriers to adoption and call for the food and agriculture value chain to equally share in the risk and cost associated with change.
Lenexa, Kan., and Washington, DC, (Nov. 19, 2020) – Farmers have made meaningful progress in adopting conservation practices, but the value chain will need to ramp up its support at the farm level if this progress is to be scaled substantially, according to “The State of Sustainable Ag,” which outlines new research from Farm Journal’s Trust In Food initiative and Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture with research support provided by Aimpoint Research.
“Our report clearly spells out that a majority of row-crop farmers are incorporating conservation ag practices into their operations,” said Amy Skoczlas Cole, executive vice president for Trust In Food. “But very few of them report they are seeing financial benefits for doing so. There’s no doubt that there are long-term benefits to conservation agriculture, but we need much deeper collaboration with consumers and the food industry to more fairly allocate the risk and cost associated with change.”
To help catalyze the rate and scale at which farm-level changes are made, Trust In Food and Field to Market surveyed American farmers on their perceptions surrounding conservation ag practices. The resulting report, “The State of Sustainable Ag,” highlights responses from more than 500 farmers across the nation.
Key findings include:
- Nearly all survey respondents indicate they are currently implementing to some extent, or have tried, at least one conservation practice
- 62% believe that implementing conservation practices typically improves a farming operation’s profitability in the long term
- However, only 15% have received better market access or additional revenue because of implemented conservation farming practices
- 74% responded that they believe farmers should receive monetary incentives for using certain production practices that benefit the public good
- 65% of farmers currently do not use farm management software solutions
- 84% do not use sustainability reporting platforms, which demonstrates significant room for growth in data-driven management decisions and supply chain reporting
Farm-level production practices play a critical role in conservation and sustainability efforts for food, fuel, feed and fiber supply chains. To build resilience, improve environmental and economic outcomes and ensure positive social impacts, rapid and large-scale farm-level changes must be made.
“This research demonstrates that farmers understand the long-term benefit of conservation practices; however, short-term risks to productivity and profitability often create barriers to adoption,” said Rod Snyder, president for Field to Market. “The entire value chain must work together to strengthen the business case for sustainability through science-based, data-driven and locally relevant solutions.”
The full report can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/State-of-Sust-Ag-20
About Farm Journal
Farm Journal is the nation’s leading business information and media company serving the agricultural market. Started 144 years ago with the preeminent Farm Journal magazine, the company serves the row crop, livestock, produce and retail sectors through branded websites, eNewsletters and phone apps; business magazines; live events including conferences, seminars and tradeshows; nationally broadcasted television and radio programs; a robust mobile-text-marketing business; and an array of data-driven, paid information products. Farm Journal also is the majority shareholder of the online equipment marketplace, Machinery Pete LLC. In 2010, the company established the non-profit public charity, Farm Journal Foundation, dedicated to sustaining agriculture’s ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population through education and empowerment.
About Trust in Food
Trust In Food is a purpose-driven division of Farm Journal dedicated to mainstreaming and accelerating the transition to more sustainable and regenerative ag practices, making every dollar invested in conservation agriculture more impactful. We bring business intelligence to agricultural production behavior change: helping farmers understand, want and feel capable of undertaking practice change through data science, social research and strategic communications deployed through the omnichannel Farm Journal platform in collaboration with our partners. Visit www.trustinfood.com to learn more.
About Field to Market
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture brings together a diverse group of grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, beverage, restaurant and retail companies; conservation groups; universities and public sector partners to focus on defining, measuring and advancing the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production. Field to Market is comprised of nearly 150 members representing all facets of the U.S. agricultural supply chain with members employing more than 5 million people and representing combined revenues totaling over $1.5 trillion. For more information, visit www.fieldtomarket.org and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/FieldtoMarket.
About Aimpoint Research
Aimpoint Research is a global, multi-disciplinary strategic intelligence firm. Aimpoint Research offers organizations a competitive advantage by blending best practices from military intelligence and marketing research. Aimpoint Research helps leaders make better decisions that reduce risk, optimize resources and maximize success. Aimpoint Research has extensive experience serving clients throughout the agri-food value chain. Visit www.aimpointresearch.com to learn more.