Coalition Needs Feedback on Sustainability Calculator

August 28, 2009 Bookmark and Share

NAWG and the Field to Market coalition are seeking grower feedback on a new online calculator meant to help producers assess how some of their operational decisions affect natural resource management and sustainability.

Growers of wheat and other commodities now have access to the free, confidential tool at www.fieldtomarket.org, and can provide feedback there or directly to the NAWG office by e-mailing wheatworld@wheatworld.org.

The calculator is intended to provide an easy way for growers to assess their use of land, energy and water, greenhouse gas emissions and soil loss and explore various scenarios that may help further improve their use of natural resources. Future versions will also include functions to assess efficiency and financial return.

The tool was created based on indicators outlined in an earlier Field to Market report that examined national-scale metrics over the past two decades for land use, water use, energy use, soil loss and climate impact for corn, soy, cotton and wheat. That report, released in January, showed that crop production has become increasingly efficient by relying on fewer inputs to produce more food and fiber.

Using a simple question-and-answer format, the new calculator confidentially collects information related to resource use or impact and provides benchmarks of an operation’s sustainability against the industry index. It also allows growers to securely save data to compare year-to-year changes, which can help determine the value and impact new practices are having. Ultimately the site will give growers access to an online community where they can learn from experiences of other growers and expert advice.

NAWG and other representatives from throughout the food and fiber chain work on with Field to Market to define, measure and document changes in sustainability over time. This information will help the industry be better able to strike a long-term balance between environmental concerns, natural resource concerns and feeding a projected population of nine billion by the year 2050.

More information about Field to Market is also online at www.fieldtomarket.org.