Farmers for Soil Health started as a collaboration between the United Soybean Board, the National Corn Growers Association, and the National Pork Board. The three organizations are working together to improve sustainability practices in agriculture. Dr. Ben West, executive director of Farmers for Soil Health, says one of the ways they’re doing that is developing a sustainability marketplace.
Dr. West says, “We’ve already got the bones of the technological platform developed. The purpose or goal of that platform is to put farmers in a more direct and transparent connection with end users. Farmers growing commodities with certain sustainability practices that lead to benefits like carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water quality, solar erosion, etc., can list those commodities on the platform. End users, whether they are food companies, biofuel companies, or feed companies looking to acquire commodities grown under certain practices and yielding certain environmental benefits, can talk to each other and make bids and deals in a direct, transparent kind of way.”
They’re getting positive feedback on the platform idea, which is still a work in progress. Dr. West says, “We’ve still got some details of this to work out. As you might expect, it’s a pretty complex system and idea. But one of the things that we’re becoming more and more confident about as we talk to our corporate advisory groups and farmer advisory groups is that everybody is enthusiastic about the basic idea of having a more clear and transparent connection between farmers and end users. It puts both of them on a level playing field, and we think it will be good for both ends of the supply chain.”
Dr. West says his group is looking for farmers who want to take steps forward in sustainability.
He says, “Enrollment and farmers for soil health is open now. We actually opened it last fall. We’ve had a decent amount of enrollment already, but we expect this year, 2024, to be our big enrollment year. We’re hoping over the next five years to get about 1.3 million acres enrolled and set the stage for farmers to be in the driver’s seat, to be a leader in the sustainability space in even bigger ways than they have in the past.”
Story courtesy of the NAFB News Service