(Posted Tue. Oct 30th, 2012)
Oct. 30: Last week, members of the Field to Market sustainability effort met in St. Louis to welcome new comers, hear program updates and discuss their 2013 annual work plan. High on the list of farmer priorities was the ability to participate among a diverse group of stakeholders in a consensus-driven approach to making decisions regarding agricultural sustainability.
“We know as farmers that we’re continually improving our efficiencies, fertilizer use and things along that line,” said Keith Alverson, NCGA Corn Board member. “However, we always have a concern that some things that are being asked of us aren’t real feasible. Field to Market allows NCGA and other commodity groups the opportunity to come together with Walmart, Coca Cola, General Mills and other large consumer-facing companies to discuss what can and can’t be done.”
“Where they need to go next is finding a way to make it easier for a farmer to participate, and communicate the value of participation from a farming perspective, said Gary Edwards, NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team member. “That is where NCGA and other farmer groups can make a huge impact in the acceptance and adaption of sustainable farming practices.”
Formed to create opportunities across the agricultural supply chain for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality and human well-being, Field to Market continues to expand its membership and activities. Added to the member roster this year are CHS, Inc., Ducks Unlimited, North Carolina State University and Walmart.
In addition to furthering implementation of tools, metrics and pilot projects, Field to Market’s next big agenda item is to identify and capture the value of continuous improvement efforts. It will be the task of the new Shared Value Working Group to determine areas of value creation for farmers, the supply chain and the environment.