US Agricultural Sustainability Grows but Slows
Here’s a report about US Agricultural sustainability. The original title “US agricultural sustainability grows” is a bit misleading. When you actually read the report it clearly states that sustainability is growing, but the rate is slowing.
The report followed a number of US crops and concluded that peanuts is the only crop that did not show an increase in soil conservation. Additionally, US farm accidents were decreased.
Although these types of reports are dry reading it is important to look at the big picture as we set sustainability rules.
Report: U.S. ag sustainability grows
Though U.S. farmers have gotten better at sustainability since 1980, their improvement has plateaued in recent years, a new report finds.
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a diverse group of 117 members that include grower organizations, universities and conservation groups, recently issued the 71-page “Environmental and Socioeconomic Indicators for Measuring Outcomes of On-Farm Agricultural Production in the United States.” It’s more commonly known as the 2016 National Indicators report.
The report evaluates sustainability trends from 1980 to 2015 by measuring eight environmental and five socioeconomic indicators for 10 crops: barley, wheat, corn for grain, corn for silage, potatoes, soybeans, sugar beets, cotton, peanuts, soybeans and rice. The report uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey.
Among the report’s conclusions:
All primary environmental indicators for land use, soil conservation, irrigation water use, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, except soil conservation for peanuts, showed improvement in 2015 from 1980.
National trends for biodiversity, soil carbon and water quality are difficult to assess.
Farm financial health and worker safety improved over the 35-year period, while the labor productivity index showed improved production efficiency. The farm profitability and generation of economic value indicators show that the ag sector’s contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product has increased over the 35 years. Read more…
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