Sustaining Sustainability Strength

Is sustainable agriculture sustainable in the public’s eye?

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Environmental Respect Award event in Washington, DC. During one of the morning sessions, the attendees broke into three smaller groups to discuss the topic of sustainable agriculture at length.

It was interesting, to say the least. While everyone in my breakout group agreed that sustainable agriculture was definitely an industry practice everyone in the marketplace was wise to adopt, getting this decidedly good news out to John Q. Public seemed to be a much fuzzier proposition.

“I know I’ve talked about the benefits of sustainable agriculture to the farm press folks, and they get it,” said one attendees, pointing in my direction. “But I have no idea how I can reach out to those outside our market and get them to realize just how great a practice this really is.”

Since virtually everyone in my breakout group agreed this was a major issue for agriculture, we spent the rest of our 40 minutes together thinking of ways to bridge this gap between the industry and the outside world. Some recommended intensifying community outreach efforts that promoted sustainable agriculture. Others thought some kind of sustainable agriculture television ad, akin to the Chevy/Paul Harvey/Farmer spot that ran during the 2013 Super Bowl, might work. A minority thought just continuing to support sustainable agriculture would eventually do the trick.

So what do you think? If you can, answer this week’s poll question on how the industry can spread the good word of sustainable agriculture. It’s definitely something our market needs to promote more than it has been in the past.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Sustaining Sustainability Strength

  1. I think you have to clearly define what sustainable agriculture is to the public first before you will gain their trust and buy-in. Does sustainable agriculture mean using less chemicals, less water use, less runoff, reduced tillage, preserved wetlands, less carbon release, more organic, and similar? Has anyone really asked the consumer what they expect from today's food producers? The "grow local" food coops are addressing many consumer demands and are growing in popularity. How do you propose to bridge the gap? The Chevy-Farmer ad was an excellent ad as it was nostalgic for simpler times. Clearly, nostalgia works in messaging and branding. Consumers want to know if today's food production is safe for their families? The word "sustainable" means something different to many consumers and producers.

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More
CPS Truck door
Eric SfiligojThe 2015 CropLife 100 Preview
November 5, 2015
Harvests should be largely done and grower-customers and the ag retailers that rely on them for income will have a Read More
Dow AgroSciences Logo wall
Eric SfiligojCrop Protection Suppliers: Rumor Has It
November 2, 2015
A few weeks ago, pop singer Adele debuted a new song for the world to hear. For those who might Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100United Cooperative Acquires Four ADM Wisconsin Facilities
November 12, 2015
United Cooperative, based out of Beaver Dam, WI, recently acquired four grain and agronomy locations from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Car Makes NASCAR Xfinity Series
October 29, 2015
BRANDT will join JR Motorsports with driver, Justin Allgaier, for the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity (NXS) Series season. Allgaier will pilot Read More
CHS Building exterior
CropLife 100CHS Leaders Help Shape Succession Report
October 22, 2015
Succession planning was listed as a main concern of cooperative leaders at this summer’s 15 regional CHS owner town hall Read More
Fall Harvest
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases Eight Regional Seed Companies
October 12, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has announced the purchase of eight regional seed companies to advance its seed business. Pinnacle has acquired: Read More
MRM Agricultural Service
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires CropLife 100 Ag Retailer
October 8, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has successfully acquired the Missouri-based agronomy business of MRM Agricultural Service, LLC and its affiliates (MRM). Operating Read More
Eric Jenks, Wilbur-Ellis
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Opens Dry Fertilizer Storage And Blending Facility In Washington
October 8, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co., ranked No. 4 on the CropLife 100, has constructed and opened a 22,000-ton dry fertilizer storage and blending Read More
Latest News
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More
Cornfield near Sioux City Iowa
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Sells Oxyfluorfen Herbicides To China&…
November 16, 2015
Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co., has entered into definitive agreements under which Nutrichem Read More
HerbicidesEuropean Agency Declares Glyphosate Unlikely To Cause C…
November 13, 2015
Glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said on Thursday, and the agency Read More