U.S. soybean farmers practice sustainability in order to survive and that’s a message they need to share with end users of their products who are growing more persistent in their demand for sustainably produced products. Mike Beard from Frankfort, Indiana is a director on the United Soybean Board who manned their trade show booth at Commodity Classic last week. USB’s goal was to make sure farmers understand the sustainability link to their bottom line.
“Sustainability impacts our bottom line in a subtle way in that our customers, our end users are serving their customers and those customers are asking them about the sustainability aspects of the soybean that they’re buying,” he explained. “So without that ability to claim sustainability our market share has the potential to lose customers.”
Beard told HAT he spent time with growers making sure they know in what ways they are sustainable.
“Things as simple as crop rotation, as reduced tillage, no-till, pest management, nutrient management, the record keeping that we’re all forced to do today. Most of the farmers we talked to today have yield monitors or more technology in their equipment. The guidance systems also relate to our sustainability by not over applying pesticides and other chemicals. And then our overall conservation attitude of all of us who are U.S. soy producers.”
Beard also said the multiple visits each year to the Farm Service Agency offices serve to document certain sustainability efforts by the nation’s farmers. His message is pay attention to your sustainability on the farm because when the market goes away prices suffer.