The state of the environment has been a growing concern for most people in the world. People are alarmed by the effects of climate change and the implication that the situation needs serious human intervention. There is a very real call-to-action by most of the population to the industrialized corporations of the world. Either use sustainable practices or lose customers. Soy producers are no exception.
Consumers are using their collective buying power to affect change. No industry has escaped this powerful call demanding sustainability, including and especially agriculture and food industries. That’s why the United Soybean Board has partnered with Dupont Nutrition & Biosciences and Soylent to develop a new sustainable soy label.
This label pilot program was designed to offer more transparency to consumers. The United Soybean Board and its partners want to “ensure that U.S. soy sets the global benchmark for sustainable plant protein production” according to Tony Andrew, the business unit leader at DN&B.
To do this, they developed the label ‘Sustainably Grown U.S. Soy’ and put it on all their products containing soy. This was done over a two-month period from Mid-January to Mid-March of 2021. After a successful trial, they began offering the mark to other interested companies who meet the standards.
Sustainably Grown U.S. Soy Mark: Standards
So, how do farmers earn the mark?
It’s not enough to slap a sustainable label on products and keep it moving. There must be certain industry standards that are met. The goal is to recognize that the soybeans with this label come from a system continuously focused on environmental improvement.
This label identifies the use of agricultural practices like the use of cover crops and no-till farming. These processes provide sustainable outcomes in soil carbon, biodiversity, soil conservation, and water management. U.S. Soy and partners are focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving soil health, and reducing energy usage.
Customers who purchase products and ingredients with this soy mark can be assured that:
1. The soy was grown in the United States.
2. It adheres to all United States environmental rules and regulations.
3. Wetlands and severely erodible soil are protected.
4. The soy was grown on family farms that use responsible and equitable labor practices.
Farmers across the United States have become global industry leaders of sustainable agriculture. They are focused on being curators of positive change using sustainable practices and natural resources.
Soybean farmer Belinda Burrier is one such farmer. For her, it feels good “knowing that when I grow this nutrient-dense protein, I am not only helping the food industry feed millions of families across the country sustainably, but also contributing to a cleaner planet for the next generation.” This soy mark offers environmentally-conscious farmers like Burrier the opportunity to be rewarded for their hard work.
Sustainability Pays Off
Sustainable products and ingredients do more than just help the environment. They also help both food and industrial companies reach their business goals. As we mentioned earlier U.S. consumers in today’s market prefer sustainable products grown in their country.
Locally sourced products reduce our carbon footprint as well as keep job opportunities at home. Highlighting this point are the results from the United Soybean Board’s 27th annual Food Industry Insights survey. When a product features the ‘Sustainably Grown U.S. soy’ label:
· 62% of consumers prefer purchasing products with the label over products without the label.
· 71% of consumers prefer to support domestic agriculture by purchasing foods produced by crops grown in the United States.
From these results it’s quite clear, the majority of consumers surveyed prefer sustainably grown and locally produced ingredients and products. This tells us is that sustainability has selling power to go along with its cost-cutting benefits.
Farmers who are ready to get an early lead on the competition can now request the ‘Sustainably Grown U.S.’ soy mark for their products. However, they must meet the sustainability standards set forth by this pilot program. A third-party auditor will need an overview of their supply chain for review. If you want to learn more about the ‘Sustainably Grown U.S. soy’ label or want to apply yourself, visit www.sustainableussoymark.com.
If you’re looking for other sustainable ways improve your farm’s functionality check out remote grain monitoring systems. You can monitor your grain health remotely and with more accuracy letting you hold onto your quality grain for the best market prices.
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