Sustainability is a hot topic in agriculture, but if its meaning is nebulous measuring its progress is even more so. What exactly can be done to support this important cause?
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture has attempted to answer that question in a new paper, Exploring Opportunities to Advance Soil Health: The Role of Commodity Crop Supply Chains in Maintaining and Improving the Health of Our Nation’s Soil. The document looks at soil health as it relates to sustainability and discusses what we know about testing and tools. Information about using Field to Market’s Metrics and the Fieldprint Calculator are also part of the project.
The publication is available on the Field to Market website. This paper came forth from the Alliance’s work to help inform how U.S. agriculture can improve soil health. Designed by a subgroup of the Field to Market Metrics and Goals Working Groups, the paper continues an ongoing conversation in agriculture about soil health that includes discussion of the state of science and considers options for aligning tools with soil health objectives.
The Soil Health Partnership currently augments these efforts to further soil health by encouraging use of the Fieldprint Calculator and collaborating on the development of soil health metrics. An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the SHP works closely with diverse organizations including commodity groups, federal agencies and well-known environmental groups toward common goals.
Field to Market focuses on increasing agricultural productivity to meet future nutritional needs while decreasing impacts on the environment, including water, soil, habitat, air quality and climate emissions, and land use as well as improving human health through access to safe, nutritious food and improving the social and economic well-being of agricultural communities.