The United Soybean Board this week at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., released a series of interactive presentations introducing the Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol, a process U.S. soybean exporters can complete to ensure international customers that U.S. soy is sustainably produced.
Starting this fall, exporters will be able to go to a website and get an actual certificate of sustainability for the amount of soy they want to export. The certificate will confirm that the U.S. soy was produced with sustainable farming practices for international customers.
Measurement of sustainability is based on analysis of existing data that the National Agricultural Statistics Service and other agencies collect regularly from U.S. soybean farmers.
Exporters' soy shipments can be certified sustainable through online program
The protocol contains no additional requirements or demands of U.S. farmers.
Presentations available soon
Following the Farm Progress Show, USB will post the presentations on its own website and make them available to other organizations to ensure soybean farmers understand the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol.
The U.S. soy family, consisting of the American Soybean Association, U.S. Soybean Export Council, USB and state soybean boards, has developed the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol to help define and document sustainable performance in soybean production for international customers.
The protocol covers four key components of U.S. sustainable soy production: sound environmental objectives, social responsibility, promoting economic growth and continuous improvement in technology and cultural practices. The protocol also addresses how sustainable performance by U.S. soybean farmers is measured and verified by various government programs.
Through the protocol, farmers pledge they are committed to ensuring that U.S. soybeans continue to be produced in a sustainable manner.
Doug Winter, a USB director and soybean farmer from Mill Shoals, Ill., says the organization not only wants international customers to be aware of the sustainable performance of U.S. soybean farmers, but also for farmers to know that the Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol provides a competitive advantage for U.S. soy.
"I know in my part of the country, and from talking to other farmers around the country, 90% of the farmers are probably doing 90% of the practices and things that are in the protocol," he says.
"In addition to protecting farmers' freedom to operate, the protocol ensures that global demand and acceptance for our product will remain strong. It is a promise that U.S. farmers can keep, because we are committed to responsible production and continuous improvement," Winter says.